Tennis players love Newport. They love the weather. They love the relaxed, yet enthusiastic crowds at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. They love the diversions the town offers — the restaurants, the yachting, the golf, the cottages along the cliff. They love the ambiance and the history that surrounds them while they play. They love the chance to polish their grass game, even if it occurs post Wimbledon. One by one, the top tennis players are firming up their summer plans, and making sure they include that glorious July week in Newport (and who can blame them?).
So far, with today’s announcement that Lleyton Hewitt will participate, there are five confirmed players for Newport’s 2013 Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. The committed players so far are: Ryan Harrison, John Isner, Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Querrey and Jack Sock. The full player acceptance list will be available at the end of May, 2013. (FYI: Parcbench.com will also be there to cover all the grass court action that week.)
Former world No. 1, Aussie tennis great Lleyton Hewitt has committed to the player field for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, to be played in Newport, Rhode Island, July 8 – 14. Hewitt is returning to Newport for the second year in a row, following a great run last year that brought him into the tournament final where he faced John Isner, the eventual champion. Isner, who won the Newport title in both 2012 and 2011, will also return to Newport this year, setting up the potential for a re-match of the 2012 final. The two have faced each other 4 times, with Hewitt winning 3 times, including a victory over Isner earlier this year at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming Lleyton back to Newport this year. He consistently delivers exciting, intense tennis and we know our fans will be pleased to see him back on the Hall of Fame’s grass courts this summer,” said Tournament Director Mark Stenning. “Adding Lleyton into the mix with John Isner, Sam Querrey, and Ryan Harrison, sets our tournament up to deliver an exciting week of tennis in the ATP World Tour’s first stop of the North American summer swing.”
Hewitt is the first international star to commit to the tournament, which traditionally draws a strong contention of top American players for the first summer event back in the United States, along with an array of international players. Hosted right after Wimbledon, the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is the only ATP World Tour event in the Northeast and the only tournament played on grass courts in North or South America. (For tickets, click here or phone (401) 849-6053).
Hewitt won the US Open title in 2001 and the Wimbledon title in 2002. In all, he has won 28 ATP World Tour titles in singles and two in doubles (including the 2000 US Open) during his lengthy career.
Hewitt is currently ranked world No. 83 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. His success at Newport last year propelled his ranking significantly, which had dropped into the 200s as he dealt with a toe injury, and he has steadily continued to climb in the rankings ever since. He spent 80 non-consecutive weeks as the No. 1 ranked player in the world, an accomplishment he first achieved at 20 years, 8 months old in 2001, making him the youngest No. 1 in history.
A unique part of the festivities of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is always the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, when the highest honor in the sport of tennis is presented to great champions and leaders in the sport. Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis will be enshrined this year, along with Australian tennis great Thelma Coyne Long, and longtime tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13, just prior to the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.