Melbourne - Lleyton Hewitt's return to the Australian Open has come to an end, albeit much later than he was expecting.
The Australian came out of retirement for this year's tournament to play men's doubles with his former Davis Cup team-mate, Sam Groth, who was playing his final tournament.
The pair won three matches at Melbourne Park, including an upset over the No 3-seeded team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, but their luck ran out in the quarter-finals on Wednesday as they fell to Colombia's Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-4, 7-5.
Afterward, two-time major winner Hewitt said: "Playing in front of great crowds on big home courts like this is what you really miss in retirement.”
The 36-year-old Hewitt played his last singles match at the Australian Open in 2016 and is now Australia's Davis Cup captain.
The 30-year-old Groth's career highlight was a semi-final finish in doubles at the French Open and two doubles quarter-finals at the Australian Open.
Hewitt said of his team-mate: "I loved playing Davis Cup with this fella. He wore his heart on his sleeve… and for me to come out and play alongside him in his last event was pretty special."