Rafter, Hewitt to play doubles at Australian Open

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 12, 2014 at 12:32 am •  Published: January 12, 2014
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt have entered the doubles competition at the Australian Open as a wild-card entry, with both players admitting they're planning to have "a bit of fun."

It comes less than a month after John McEnroe criticized the current state of the doubles game, saying the standard of players is poor and the money would be better spent on struggling singles players.

On Sunday, the 41-year-old Rafter said he would come out of more than a decade of retirement to play with Hewitt, although how far they go in the doubles draw might depend on how long Hewitt stays active in singles.

The 32-year-old Hewitt plays his first-round singles match against No. 24 Andreas Seppi on Tuesday.

Rafter hasn't played since Australia's Davis Cup final loss to France in Melbourne in 2001. He and Hewitt, both two-time Grand Slam singles champions, were drawn to play American Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen of South Africa in the first round of the doubles.

Hewitt, when asked if there was a serious side to the doubles pairing, responded: "Not really. Just a bit of fun."

"I think he still thinks he's got it in him, so... Hope I don't have to carry him too much," Hewitt added, smiling. "He's hitting the ball well enough. Beat (Goran) Ivanisevic and (Tim) Henman and those guys over in the seniors tour."

Rafter appeared to play down any long-range plans for the twosome.

"Listen, nothing is happening just yet," Rafter said. "We're in the draw, but it will all depend on how he goes. It's really important for him to play great singles. That's what it's all about.