Tennis: Rafter emerges from a decade in retirement

Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has emerged from more than a decade in retirement to accept a wildcard into the Australian Open doubles with Lleyton Hewitt. Photo / AP
Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has emerged from more than a decade in retirement to accept a wildcard into the Australian Open doubles with Lleyton Hewitt. Photo / AP

Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has emerged from more than a decade in retirement to accept a wildcard into the Australian Open doubles with Lleyton Hewitt.

Rafter, 41, hasn't played since Australia's Davis Cup final loss to France in Melbourne in 2001.

Rafter and Hewitt will play American Eric Butorac and South African Raven Klaasen in the first round at Melbourne Park.

Hewitt was the last player to beat Rafter in a singles match on the ATP Tour, also in 2001.

Hewitt's victory over the one-time world No.1 in his final round-robin match at the season-ending Masters Cup in Sydney clinched the South Australian the top ranking for the first time.

A week later, Rafter and Hewitt lost to Fabrice Santoro and Cedric Pioline in the pivotal doubles rubber of that Davis Cup final on grass at Melbourne Park.

In a quirky twist of fate, Australia face France next month in France in the first round of the 2014 Davis Cup, with Rafter now captain and Hewitt still the team's spearhead.

-AAP

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