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Men Tennis Lleyton Hewitt reveals retirement plan, Pat Rafter gives up Davis Cup captaincy

Lleyton Hewitt announced he is likely to retire after the 2016 Australian Open, while Pat Rafter stepped down from the Davis Cup captaincy.

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Lleyton Hewitt announced the 2016 Australian Open will likely be his last on Thursday, while Pat Rafter stood down as Australia's Davis Cup captain.

In an oddly timed news conference at Melbourne Park - the Australian Open women's singles semi-finals were ongoing - Hewitt revealed his retirement plans, while Rafter was replaced in the captaincy role for the interim by Wally Masur.

Hewitt will succeed Masur as captain once he retires from playing, which he suggested could be as early as 12 months' time.

"I've thought long and hard. I plan to play the Aussie Open next year and most likely finish then," said 33-year-old Hewitt, who also said he would likely bypass the French Open in May.

"Obviously for me the Davis Cup is something we've worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a position in the World Group where we have a genuine shot.

"I believe with the guys now we have a lot more options, a lot more depth."

Masur will take the reins for Australia's World Group first-round tie against Czech Republic in Ostrava starting March 6.

Rafter, who was appointed Tennis Australia's director of performance in November, said he simply could not manage the role along with leading the men's tennis squad.

"In December this year, January, [I] started getting a lot more heavily involved with the [director of performance] job, especially in January," Rafter said.

"Sitting down during the Brisbane tournament, running over everything that had to be done, has to be done, just realised it's a really big job.

"I just can't do both roles."

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