James Duckworth recalls watching Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter as kid

Australia’s James Duckworth revealed growing up he looked up to Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter.

Hewitt, the Australia ATP Cup team captain, is a former two-time Grand Slam champion and world No. 1.

Rafter enjoyed the similar success as he also captured two Grand Slam titles and achieved the No. 1 ranking during his career. 

“When I was younger, I watched a lot of Lleyton [Hewitt] and Pat [Rafter]. I was looking through some photos at Christmas… I went and watched when they played at Qudos Bank Arena in 2001 at the [Nitto ATP] Finals. Lleyton beat Pat to be World No. 1 that year, so that was a cool match that I was at with my brother. We’ve got some signs that we held up watching that match, so that was really cool,” Duckworth explained to the ATP Cup. 

“Probably just those two, just following them through, watching them throughout their careers, watching them win Grand Slams. I was super pumped when Lleyton won his first one at the US Open and I was really shattered when Pat lost in the final to Goran at Wimbledon [in 2001]. And then the Davis Cup ties — I was shattered when they lost that final to France in 2001, but it was awesome when they then got the win a couple of years later against Spain.”

Duckworth nominated by Hewitt for the ATP Cup

Following a breakout 2021 season, Duckworth was nominated for the ATP Cup.

Duckworth was asked what was his favorite thing about being part of the Australia ATP Cup team. 

“Obviously it’s an individual sport, so as a tennis player you’re not in that team environment very often. To have the guys on the bench, to have the common goal between all of you and just have that camaraderie and banter amongst all the boys is really good fun, and we all sort of feed off each other. I think we push each other as well, to strive to get better and to get success,” Duckworth said. 

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