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“Just proud. I’m thrilled that these boys get that opportunity on Sunday” – Captain Hewitt on Australia reaching the final
28-time champions Australia will face either Italy or Canada in Sunday’s final
The last time Team Australia was in the final of the Davis Cup in 2003, Lleyton Hewitt was the world’s top-ranked player and spearheaded the team’s run to their 28th Davis Cup triumph. On Sunday, the Australian squad advanced to their 48th final in the event and this time Hewitt is there once again – as the team captain.
Hewitt’s team pulled off a 2-1 win over Croatia, with Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell teaming up to beat Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 6-4 in the decisive doubles rubber. The win came after Borna Coric defeated Thnasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-3 to give the Croats a 1-0 lead before Alex de Minaur beat Davis Cup stalwart Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2 to level the semi-final.
Speaking to the media after their semi-final win, Hewitt said he was proud of the team and is delighted that they have the opportunity to experience playing the final on Sunday.
“Just proud. Yeah, and the whole team, the support staff, the hitting partners, Kubes, who is the sixth guy on the team, these guys make a lot of sacrifices to come here, and they have done it all year for me, for me and the coaching staff, and they do absolutely everything that we ask of them and they deserve to get results like that,” Hewitt said. “It’s just nice when it all comes off and all the hard work pays off. Yeah, they deserve to play in a big match on Sunday.”
Hewitt was a Davis Cup warhorse as a player – competing in 43 ties for Australia and gathering a 59-21 record, including 42-14 in singles, through the course of his career.
“Obviously Australia has a really rich history in this competition, and we have been fortunate enough to win it on a lot of occasions, back a long time ago, and then I know how much it meant for me as a player to get the opportunity to play in finals. So I’m thrilled that these boys get that opportunity on Sunday. I’d love it to be in Australia, though. I’m disappointed the boys don’t get to play in front of 15,000 at Rod Laver Arena. But it’s what they have worked so hard for, and we are fortunate that we come from a country that has played in this competition for so many years. I just couldn’t be prouder of these guys and the heart and the passion and the pride that they are playing with out there.”
“We know exactly what we’d expect in both matchups. They will both be extremely tough” – Hewitt on facing either Canada or Italy in the Davis Cup final
Australia will face either Canada or Italy in Sunday’s final and Hewitt will go back to the drawing board for that.
“I have said pretty much the whole year to these boys but especially this week that this is going to be a team effort. So far the first two matches have been. And, we will have to go back to the drawing board and work out a plan for Sunday.
“I will watch tomorrow and see who comes through and how they are playing. But, I think all of them are going to be pretty fired up to get an opportunity to play in the final on Sunday. It should be a great match but up until now I have only really focused on our half of the draw.” Hewitt said.
“Italy, they are undermanned, and it was a hell of an effort the other day. They play with a lot of passion and fight out there, as well. They are quite even across the board. They have an experienced doubles pair that can get the job done under pressure. Canada, as well, they have just got firepower. They’ve got two very quality singles players, obviously. Doubles-wise, we lost to them a couple years ago in the quarterfinals, the two guys that got them through last night. We know exactly what we’d expect in both matchups. They will both be extremely tough.”