TA Press Release, June 5, 2018
Lleyton Hewitt’s memorable run to the Australian Open final in 2005 included an enthralling five-set battle with emerging Spanish teen Rafael Nadal.
The Australian favourite won in five gripping sets 7-5 6-3 1-6 7-6(3) 6-2.
Highlights of the match now feature on the Australian Open YouTube channel as part of a series celebrating the tournament’s classic matches in the lead-up to the 2019 event.
“Who could forget this incredible match, where the crowd was truly behind Lleyton to get the win, but also in awe of a young Rafael Nadal and his incredible fighting spirit,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“This is just one of those classic matches we will be reliving in coming months, to remind tennis fans in Australia and around the world just how many great tennis moments we have had at the Australian Open.”
Hewitt, now Australia’s Davis Cup captain, has fond memories of the match.
“It was such an incredible atmosphere to be part of,” Hewitt said.
“It was a real honour to play in front of such supportive home crowd, and also to beat a quality rising star in Rafa.”
Nadal built a two-sets-to-one lead, before Hewitt levelled the match in a tense fourth set tiebreak.
It was the second time the pair had met at the Australian Open, a year earlier Hewitt defeated Nadal in three sets in the third round.
Afterwards Hewitt predicted Nadal was going to be around for a long time.
“Rafael had nothing to lose, he’s got a great attitude and he’s good for the game,” Hewitt said at the time back in 2005.
“He’s hungry, he wants to play these matches in front of big crowds… this guy’s going to be around for a while.”
Hewitt’s sensational run to the final ended in four sets to Russian Marat Safin.
Other classic matches in this series included Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber’s 2018 semifinal and Monica Seles’ showdown with Martina Hingis in the 2002 semifinals.
More matches will be added in coming weeks and months, as excitement continues to build around the Australian Open 2019. Visit Australian Open YouTube channel to watch.