Aussies inspired by great Hoad in Malaga

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Davis Cup contenders Lleyton Hewitt draw inspiration from the memory of Lew Hoad as they bid to regain the World Tag Team title. The late grand champion once helped Australia dominate.

And Jenny Staley Hoad, widow of the charismatic star and herself a one-time Australian Open finalist, will be at the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena in Malaga on Friday to cheer on Hewitt’s side in the semi-finals against the Croatia.

Hoad and Staley moved to the Costa del Sol after his illustrious career ended, establishing a tennis resort and academy in Fuengirola, just 25km south of Malaga, which they ran for 30 years before his death in 1994 at just 59 after a battle with leukemia.

To inspire the current team, Hewitt and his assistant Tony Roche, Hoad’s old friend, organized a trip last week for the team to visit the famous ‘Campo de Tenis’, which in its glitzy 1970s heyday was attracted Lew’s showbiz pals like Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra and Kirk Douglas.

“Lew was one of the greats at Davis Cup so it was good for the boys to get a chance to see the academy. They really enjoyed it and met Jenny, who is coming to see them on Friday,” said to AAP team manager Kathryn Oyeniyi. .

After Hoad’s death, Jenny sold the club in 1999 but she continued to live in the neighboring complex and is still in great shape at 88.

For Spain-based Alex de Minaur, the team’s No. 1 who is so steeped in the Davis Cup that he got the number 109 tattooed on his chest above his heart after becoming the 109th Australian player to deserve this honor, seeing Jenny at the former Spaniard of Hoad kingdom felt special.

“He was one of the greats of Australian tennis, a Davis Cup champion and to be able to see his legacy, it was just a great experience to have with the whole team,” said de Minaur.

Hoad was a two-time Wimbledon champion as well as winner of the Australian Open and French Open in a glorious career in which his natural talent and bold approach have led some opponents to suggest that he could have been the best of all.

And he was particularly proud of Australia’s Davis Cup record in the mid-1950s when he and Ken Rosewall formed the dazzling pair of a side that won four times in five years.

This was when Australia dominated the competition, winning it 15 times in 18 editions between 1950 and 1967, with de Minaur now describing the idea of ​​winning it this weekend for the first time in 19 years as “the ultimate dream”.

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