Hewitt defers Hall of Fame induction due to travel restrictions

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FILE PHOTO: AUSTRALIA'S HEWITT HOLDS UP WINNER'S TROPHY AT WIMBLEDON TENNISCHAMPIONSHIPS.
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(Reuters) - Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt's induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame will be deferred by a year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions from Australia to the United States, the Hall of Fame said on Thursday.

Australian great Hewitt, who won two Grand Slam titles during his career, was named to the Class of 2021 in February and was to be honoured at a July 17 induction ceremony at the Newport, Rhode Island-based Hall of Fame.

"Unfortunately due to the circumstances around COVID this year, my family and I won't be able to make it over to Newport to celebrate this July," former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Hewitt said in a video on the Hall of Fame's website.

"But we are really looking forward to coming back and actually being a part of it in 2022 in July there in Newport, Rhode Island at the Hall of Fame.

"I wish absolutely everyone who is getting inducted this year all the very best and so hopefully they can really enjoy and celebrate their great achievements."

Hewitt, 40, was elected to the Class of 2021 along with the trailblazing 'Original 9', who laid the groundwork for the women's professional tour, and long-time coach Dennis Van der Meer who will inducted posthumously having passed away in 2019.

Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic and Spaniard Conchita Martinez, former players who were voted in as the Class of 2020, will also be honoured at the July ceremony after last year's festivities were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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