- Hewitt v Ferrer: as it happened
- 'You're a freaking idiot': Hewitt blasts umpire
- Tomic sets up all-Aussie third round clash
- Federer and Hewitt: a tale of two tyros
An obituary notice would read as follows: After a long, distinguished and defiant career, Lleyton Hewitt's time as a tour professional ended after a short struggle with David Ferrer.
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Australian Open day four highlights
Lleyton Hewitt retires from ATP tour after being beaten by David Ferrer in straight sets as qualifier Zhang Shuai progresses into round three.
Nineteen years after his first match at the Australian Open, Hewitt's last went relatively swiftly and with little pain, his career put to sleep by the similarly indomitable Spaniard 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.
Three generations of his family - parents, wife and kids - tennis friends and luminaries were at courtside to see the passing of Hewitt's career.
A match that you once would bet on stretching till midnight was dusted before 10pm.
But the underwhelming score should not read as a sign that Hewitt did not summon his typical effort or intensity.
The match was replete with the Australian's famed "c'mons", clenched fists and verbal remonstrations - he told an official "you're a freaking idiot". The nearly 35-year-old raged against the dying of the light.
As ever, Hewitt gave whatever he had. Unfortunately for those who turned up or tuned in to see a Hewitt insurrection, he didn't have the legs or power to extend Ferrer and thus his singles career (Hewitt is still in the doubles).
Hewitt had entered the match with what you would call hope, rather than confidence, in the knowledge that he was playing the world no 8.
Ferrer has many Hewitt-like qualities, his lack of size compensated for with vast reserves of grit, court speed and nous.
Ferrer was almost unbreakable and played with robotic consistency. The defining period was at 3-4 in the second set when Hewitt had no less than seven break points, but was unable to convert.
This failure to break Ferrer spelt the end, as the Spaniard grabbed the early break in the third set.
Hewitt, though, had one last flurry left before he went under. At 1-3 in the third set, he fended off a second break, then broke Ferrer for the first time in the match.
The crowd jumped to their feet. Hewitt had a sniff.
Terminator Ferrer, though, was unrelenting. He broke again, and then served out the match 6-4.
Hewitt started with zest, leading 2-1 on serve, but it turned decisively in the fifth game when was broken for the first time, as Ferrer stepped up and reeled off the next five games.
The Australian was troubled with a leg problem, which became evident in the second set when he called for an injury time out and had the trainer go to work on his right leg. The manipulations seemed to help, as his agility improved thereafter.
Ferrer's advantage lay in his greater power. He committed fewer errors, forced or unforced and belted more winners.
The Hewitt of 2016 is not the Lleyton of 2000-2001 who won Wimbledon and the US Open, nor the finalist at Melbourne Park of 2005, except in this respect: he did not fail to fight.
"Lleyton fights until the last ball, he's unbelievable," Ferrer would say, calling Hewitt an "idol for me" and one of the best players in history.
"Tonight is the day for him and not for me."
Standing on court afterwards with fellow South Australian Bruce McAvaney, Hewitt would add that he had "left nothing in the locker room". As tributes were flashed up on the screen from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios, Hewitt was misty eyed, as his kids joined him on centre court.
"It's the perfect place to finish," he said, thanking all those who had helped his journey. Now, he's an ex-singles player. Next month, he'll be a Davis Cup captain.