Lleyton Hewitt
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt sits in his chair as Spain's David Ferrer is interviewed after Ferrer won their second round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 21, 2016. Reuters/Thomas Peter

Australian tennis icon Lleyton Hewitt officially ended his singles career in the sport after bowing out of the 2016 Australian Open in an emotional night filled with tear-jerking moments.

Hewitt played the last singles match of his tennis career after losing to Ferrer 6-2 6-4 6-4 in the second round of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Thursday night. After the match, which lasted two hours and 32 minutes, the former world No. 1 got emotional as Ferrer gave a heart-felt message to Hewitt.

“He’s one of the best players in history,” Ferrer, who now faces USA’s Steve Johnson the third round of the tournament, said. “I don’t have idols, but Lleyton is my idol.”

“He deserves everything. Tonight is the day for him, not for me.”

Ferrer’s on-court tribute was followed by a video message from Andy Murray, Nick Kyrgios, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer, who all thanked Hewitt for what he has done for the game. Hewitt, who played his 20th consecutive Australian Open, admitted he got a bit emotional watching the video as the 34-year-old thanked every member of his team, the fans, and his wife Bec.

"I feel honoured to have had this support and this love from this crowd. It means so much for me,” Hewitt said. "I've had so much success in big matches on this court and I feel fortunate to finish here. It's the perfect place to finish."

Hewitt, the youngest ever world No. 1 at age 20, also received tributes from sports personalities on social media. Australian great golfer Greg Norman took to Twitter to support Hewitt’s retirement from tennis, while Sam Burgess of the South Sydney Rabbitohs also wished the two-time Grand Slam champion the best.

Hewitt still has a chance to end the Australian Open on a high when he teams up with fellow Aussie Sam Groth to take on Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Australian John Peers in the second round of the men’s doubles.