Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has chosen Lleyton Hewitt to play for Australia in the singles and doubles competitions in this week’s Davis Cup matchup against China.
The Australian tennis legend picked Hewitt ahead of the higher ranked Matthew Ebden, claiming the World No. 130 was back to playing at an elite level.
"To me he is back in the top 20 in terms of how he is hitting the ball,” he said.
Rafter believes that Hewitt is as close as he ever may come to reaching his past world no.1 level form and said that Hewitt’s low ranking was a result of the injuries he had suffered over the past two seasons.
Hewitt jumped over 50 positions from World No.182 after reaching the fourth round of last month’s Australian Open where he lost to World No.1, and eventual champion, Novak Djokovic.
The tie against China will be played in Geelong, a grass court, which will suit Hewitt.
World No. 36 Bernard Tomic will also play in the singles competition while Chris Guccione will partner up with Hewitt in the doubles.
Australia, a former powerhouse of the world’s premier team tennis event, has won the event 28 times and is behind only the United States in Davis Cup titles won, however has struggled in recent years and is no longer ranked in the top-16.
But this year could very well be different; Tomic appears to be the next big thing in Australian tennis and Hewitt fighting to regain respect he once commanded.
Australia is expected to come out on top against China, a country that is as close to laughing-stock at this level as one can be. Their best player is Zhang Ze, World No. 278.
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