Hewitt wins on Estoril ‘return’

Paire into the Winston Salem Open semi-finals

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, who retired in 2016, made a surprise return to top-flight tennis when he teamed up with youngster Alex de Minaur in a doubles pairing at the Estoril Open on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old Hewitt and his 19-year-old Australian countryman combined well to send second seeds South African Raven Klaasen and New Zealand’s Michael Venus crashing out of the first round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in 66 minutes on the clay-courts.

In an interview afterwards, the two-time grand slam winner said he was surprised by their victory, being the first time he had played together with De Minaur in competition.

“Even though I know Alex extremely well, this was our first time playing together,” Hewitt said. “We’ve never even done that in practice.

“For me, it was a thrill and for Alex, it’s his first ATP doubles win, it was fun.”

Hewitt added when asked, that though he had retired from playing singles in 2016, he never officially retired from doubles and is hoping to play more ATP events in future.

“This was a dream come true,” De Minaur said. “I’ve watched Lleyton play so much, but to be on the same side of the net is incredible.

“It’s insane how he hits the ball. I wanted to give a good level, I was nervous at the start. I’m happy we got the win, I’ll never forget this day.”

The duo will next be up against Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie of Britain in the quarter-finals.