Jarryd Hayne joins chorus of tributes for Aussie tennis icon Lleyton Hewitt

By @hoopsdontstop30 on
Jarryd Hayne
Jarryd Hayne paid tribute to Lleyton Hewitt, who ended his singles career in tennis after losing against David Ferrer at the 2016 Australian Open. Reuters/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Jarryd Hayne has joined the chorus of tributes and support for retiring Aussie tennis great Lleyton Hewitt.

Hayne took to social media platform Instagram to share his views on Hewitt’s retirement from tennis. The Australian rugby league star posted Australian Open’s picture of Hewitt at the Rod Laver Arena, along with his three children, captioned, “The final walk…”

Hayne joined a wave of personalities who poured in their support for Hewitt, including NRL's South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess and WTA former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, who took to Twitter to bid the two-time Grand Slam champ best wishes.

Aussie golf icon Greg Norman, a constant supporter of Hewitt, also paid tribute to the former World No.1 on the social media platform, while Cleveland Cavalier guard Matthew Dellavedova wished his fellow Aussie good luck prior to facing Spain’s David Ferrer in the second round of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

Hewitt ended his singles career in tennis following a 6-2 6-4 6-4 loss to Ferrer on Thursday. The 34-year-old Aussie’s men’s doubles campaign is still alive though as he plays with Sam Groth to take on Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Australian John Peers in the second round of the category.

Meanwhile, Hayne, who has had a successful yet challenging rookie season with the 49ers, hopes to keep his spot in the team’s active roster after new coach Chip Kelly evaluates the entire roster. Kelly, who was hired after 49ers ex-coach Jim Tomsula was sacked due to a dismal season, said he would like to see Hayne and other 49ers players in live action before deciding the San Francisco’s active roster.

“The main thing for me now is putting a staff together and we will evaluate everybody on the roster,” Kelly said, reports Fox Sports. “There’s always someone that you kind of saw them on film and you’re not really sure about and then you see them in person and you’re like, ‘Wow, this kid is really special. There’s something to him.”

As for Hayne, this means he has the chance to showcase his full potential in playing the running back position in front of Kelly when the 49ers’ offseason program starts. The former Eel had 17 carries for 52 yards during the NFL regular season in a very limited role.

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