Lleyton Hewitt played his final professional match after he was sent into retirement by eighth seed David Ferrer in a straight-sets loss at the Australian Open on Thursday.
Featuring in his 20th and last Australian Open, two-time grand slam champion and 34-year-old Hewitt was hoping to prolong his farewell tour beyond the second round in Melbourne.
However, Ferrer did not read the script, showing no mercy in a 6-2 6-4 6-4 victory against the former world number one, who exited the sport in front of a full house at Rod Laver Arena.
Hewitt came out all guns blazing, attacking with intent against the heavy-hitting Ferrer, but it all went downhill when he was broken in the fifth game as the Spaniard moved ahead and held serve for a 4-2 lead.
The Australian looked sluggish from that moment, with Ferrer - who boasted a 41-1 record when winning the opening set on the ATP Tour last year - claiming the double-break before he fended off two break points to serve out the opener.
Hewitt managed to dig in and keep the second set on serve through to the fourth game, not before calling a trainer to attend to his quadriceps.
But just like the first set, Ferrer broke in the fifth game and after saving seven break points in the eighth, the two-time Australian Open semi-finalist pulled clear to go two sets up.
In trademark fashion, Hewitt refused to surrender and battled tirelessly as he exchanged breaks, but he lacked the polish to force a fourth set after more than two hours on court.
Ferrer  bt Hewitt 6-2 6-4 6-4
Ferrer - 4
Hewitt - 2
Ferrer - 34/36
Hewitt - 27/43
BREAK POINTS WON
Ferrer - 5/15
Hewitt - 1/10
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Ferrer - 70
Hewitt - 50
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Ferrer - 68/58
Hewitt - 67/39
Ferrer - 114
Hewitt - 91