Blinking back tears and drenched in sweat from his hard-fought final tennis match after an incredible career, Lleyton Hewitt clutched his three gorgeous kids close and prepared to say goodbye to the fans who cheered him on for 20 years.
After thanking coaches and supporters at the Australian Open, Lleyton steeled himself to address the most important person in his life – wife of 11 years, Bec.
During an interview with Channel 7’s Bruce McAvaney, Lleyton searched out his wife in his players box and declared, “Bec – she’s been fantastic. She’s my rock, obviously.”
It was a rarely seen emotional side of the 34-year-old, who’s better known for bellowing “come on!” on-court and the occasional mid-game tantrum (indeed, he declared one of the linesmen last night was a “moron” in the heat of the battle).
It was a roller-coaster night for Lleyton, who lost to world number eight, Spaniard David Ferrer.
And while the scoreboard says he lost in straight sets, anyone who watched will say the dogged two-time Grand Slam winner went down fighting.
His tribute to his wife sent goosebumps – and even some tears - through the Melbourne arena – not least for Bec herself.
But the 32-year-old former Home and Away star lightened the mood when she burst into giggles at his next comment.
“I love her so much and we have a great life together, and she produced three fantastic kids, so thank you...” he said, blushing.
Lleyton was joined on court by his kids Mia, 10, Ava, 5, and his seven-year-old mini-me, Cruz, who is already tipped to follow in his dad’s footsteps to tennis stardom.
As the foursome made its way down into the locker rooms, awestruck fans cheering them as they went, Lleyton could be heard simply telling his children, “Let’s go find Mum.”
In his final press conference as a professional singles tennis player, Lleyton was all about his family.
“For me it has been extra special these last 10 years because they have been able to be on this journey with us as well,” he said.
While Bec didn’t join him to face the media, she was spotted to one side, with tears streaming down her face.
Watch Lleyton's gorgeous tribute to his family in the video player above.