Hewitt replaces Wally Masur, who stood in as interim captain following Pat Rafter’s sudden resignation in January as Australia went on to lose in the semi-finals to Great Britain.
John Fitzgerald (2001-2010), John Newcombe (1995-2000), Neale Fraser (1970-1994) and the legendary Harry Hopman (1950-69) are the only others to have held the coveted position in the past 65 years.
Hewitt is the country’s most prolific Davis Cup singles winner, holds a number of other Cup records and helped Australia win the trophy in 1999 and 2003.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work under some of the greatest Davis Cup captains in history,” he said at Tuesday’s announcement at Melbourne Park.
A veteran of 40 ties over a record 17 years’ service, Hewitt says he’s excited by the prospect of leading young guns Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in an exciting new era for Australian tennis.
“For me, it’s about instilling my experience in these younger guys,” he said.
Rafter, now Tennis Australia’s director of player performance, said Hewitt’s appointment was a no-brainer.
“He’s going to give it his best shot, he’s going to instil all those qualities that mean a lot to him,” Rafter said.
Hewitt’s first tie in charge will be next March when Australia host the USA in a first-round fixture featuring the two most successful Davis Cup nations in history.
Fittingly, Hewitt – who will retire after contesting an unprecedented 20th consecutive Australian Open in January – made his playing debut against the USA in 1999.
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