Lleyton Hewitt retires in farewell at Australian Open

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt bade an emotional farewell from tennis on Thursday after a combustible Australian Open defeat in which he was warned for swearing and slammed the umpire as an 'idiot'.

Aussie outsider John Millman took a feel-good win over Gilles Muller, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 but there was no lifeline for Sam Groth against Murray, who beat the big hitter, 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 for a 17-0 career record against Australians.

First, Ferrer, who won in straights, gave a touching speech (in English, not his first language, nor a language he speaks easily) in which he said he only had one signed shirt in his house and that it belonged to Hewitt. "When I'm with my close friends and coaching staff that have helped me so much out, it's sort of a strange feeling because you're obviously disappointed not to keep going, but proud of everything we've done as well".

After a career spent trying to win the Australian Open, the 34-year-old Hewitt had said that this year's tournament - his 20th attempt - would be his last.

Andy Murray: "You were an idol of mine when I was growing up and you've always been so nice to me and helpful on tour and I really appreciate that".

"This whole last year has been tough, and I felt like this was the perfect place to finish".

If the fans were expecting Hewitt to roll back the years and push his higher ranked opponent the distance, like he has so many times, they were disappointingly mistaken. But he also named his dog after Hewitt!

Hewitt retires to take over as Australia's Davis Cup captain.

"It's special. It is", he said. I think your love and passion for this sport is a great inspiration for the next generation too.

He had always dreamed of playing at his home grand slam, where he used to watch the world's stars on the practice courts and then join the scrum to get hold of a souvenir headband.

Murray, who has one of the best returns of serve in the game, didn't give Groth much of a look before closing with an ace - his 10th - in 1 hour, 31 minutes.

But the lasting impression Hewitt leaves is that undeniable spirit he displayed on court, his feisty attitude, tenacity and honesty.

Hewitt remains a role model in the 2000's tennis.

"He had the shorts over his knees, the Prince racquets - he had about eight racquets in his bag".

Play was suspended on Rod Laver Arena early Thursday when a spectator fell on a stairwell in the upper level of the 15,000-seat stadium.

"I know what I said to the umpire and the umpire knows as well". Tennis Australia supplied glasses of champagne to the 100 or so reporters in the room and tournament director Craig Tiley called for a toast to "Australia's greatest-ever competitor". "Without proof it is nothing more than speculation". He was known for fist-pumping, chest-thumping bravado and tactless remarks both on and off the court. His game was suited to fast surfaces more as displayed in his wins at Wimbledon and US Open.

"Obviously this subject of conversation, I would say speculation, has come up, and it's not a regular, I would say, subject of press conferences".

"But it wouldn't have made a lot of difference to the match at all".

Misty rain has briefly delayed the start of play on outdoor courts at the Australian Open.

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