Former No. 1 Patrick Rafter will play doubles with countryman Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open. The two-time U.S. Open champion has not played a match since September 2001, when, riddled with shoulder problems, he managed to beat Sebastian Grosjean in a Davis Cup tie in Melbourne, then teamed with Hewitt in the doubles. The Australian duo lost to Cedric Pioline and Fabrice Santoro.
Now 41, Rafter recently won a senior tournament in London.
Hewitt said that he asked Rafter, who is Australia’s Davis Cup captain, to play.
“Hope I don't have to carry him too much," Hewitt said with a laugh. “He still hits a lot at the Davis Cup ties, works us out a bit. It's just a bit of fun. It will be nice on my off days, hopefully I'm still in the singles, on my off days to go out and play dubs with Pat.
"He's hitting the ball well enough. Beat Ivanisevic and Henman and those guys over in the seniors tour."
Rafter says he has a great relationship with Hewitt, who grew up admiring him. He joked that, “Under pressure I'll probably choke. Expect that to happen…. I haven't played with Lleyton here at the Open. Played with him Davis Cup. It was shocking, horrible. I was really bad. So my mates are sending me texts saying, ‘Can you please work on your returns.’ I'll be definitely the worst player in the competition out there. But I'll have fun. I'm playing with one of the best players in the competition. Figure it's like eating chocolate or having broccoli, sort of equal it out.”