01 May - 15:29

Not so Rusty! - Hewitt hunting for another title in Portugal

After almost two decades former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt returns to Portugal this week as part of #ATPNextGen Alex de Minaur’s entourage and to play alongside his young compatriot in the Doubles draw. The 37-year-old Aussie is looking forward to getting “dirty” on the Portuguese clay and admits the decision to come to Millennium Estoril Open was not a difficult one to make.

After almost two decades former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt returns to Portugal this week as part of #ATPNextGen Alex de Minaur’s entourage and to play alongside his young compatriot in the Doubles draw. The 37-year-old Aussie is looking forward to getting “dirty” on the Portuguese clay and admits the decision to come to Millennium Estoril Open was not a difficult one to make.

“I’ve heard a lot of good reports about this tournament. Some of the Australian players that are part of my Davis Cup team have played here in the last few years and I’ve heard great things about the tournament. It’s nice to come here and help Alex de Minaur, who is an up and coming player with a lot of talent, said Hewitt in a pre-tournament press conference.

Hewitt has played doubles twice already this season, in Brisbane alongside Jordan Thompson and in the Australian Open with good friend Sam Groth (they reached the quarter-finals). In Estoril he has partnered up with De Minaur and the Aussie duo hit the ground running defeating second-seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus (6-4 6-4) in their debut match in Doubles.

“I don’t know if I ever retired from Doubles. Since I stopped playing at the Aussie Open, I’ve played a couple of doubles tournaments, for different reasons and situations. Earlier this year I played doubles in the Australian Open with a great mate of mine, Sam Groth, and we actually played really well. I was surprised with how I played and I really enjoyed it as well,” said Hewitt about his doubles efforts this year. “For me to get the opportunity to play with a kid like Alex, to whom I know it means a lot. I really enjoy working with him and try to give him some knowledge of things that I went through. He’s only just turned 19 so there are a lot of experiences I can pass on to him.”

Hewitt and De Minaur’s win this Tuesday, in the packed Court Cascais, was the first ATP Tour doubles win for the 19-year-old Australian, a day after he kick-started his singles campaign with a solid win over home favourite Gastão Elias (his first tour-level clay-court win).

“To be on the same side of the court as him was incredible. At some stages I was just laughing at his level. It’s insane how he hits the ball and this is a day I will never forget,” said an elated De Minaur after the match.

“For me it was a thrill. It was Alex’s first win in an ATP event in Doubles. He has a bright future ahead of him and it was was great fun,” said Hewitt. “I’m still pretty competitive when I go out on the court  so for me it’s about going out there and giving my best. I don’t know what other events I’ll play this year but I’ll certainly be playing some.”

In the Doubles quarter-finals De Minaur/Hewitt will go up against Brits Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie.  

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