1. Since losing the world number one ranking in 2003, Lleyton has been in decline. This gradual slide down the ATP rankings cannot be reversed, not even with the help of a coach as highly credentialed as Tony Roche.
  2. He could be richer. Lleyton’s career prize money now tops $21.1 million, but in 2006 BRW valued his personal wealth at $33 million, which, comparatively speaking, is not wealthy at all. Mentor and friend Greg Norman is worth $325 million, a humbling 10 times more than Lleyton. If he wants to graduate from the sports rich list to the real rich list, he’s not going to do it with endorsements and losing in the fourth round of grand slams. He needs to go into business.
  3. Australian tennis needs him. Lleyton’s passion for the green and gold should be focussed on the next generation of grand slam winners, perhaps at a Nick Bollettieri-style school of tennis excellence on the Gold Coast. As Australia’s most successful player of the last decade, Lleyton is ideally placed to help those who actually have a chance of beating Nadal or Federer.
  4. His reputation needs work. Australians are happy to have Pat Rafter waltzing around in his underwear because he seems nice, but nobody likes Lleyton enough to want to see him near-naked on billboards. Mentoring young tennis players is one way of softening his public image.
  5. Adelaide is a city crying out for a hometown hero who doesn’t yell at his own hand.
  6. The door is wide open for a career in motivational sock puppetry.
  7. Tennis is being dominated by two players for whom former world number ones hold no fear. Lleyton has been an improved player in recent weeks, competitive even, yet last night Rafael Nadal brushed him aside with ease – Hewitt won four games in the first two sets and then blew his chances in the third. When is being merely competitive not good enough for such a fierce competitor?
  8. Because enhancing the national reputation is better left to Sir Les Patterson.
  9. As a truly modern male, and therefore as a role model to other Australian men, Lleyton could support Bec in her return to the dramatic arts. This would also give him a chance to spend more time with baby Mia. Also good for image-softening.
  10. The Adelaide Crows are sitting fifth on AFL ladder, but there remains an issue created by Hewitt’s falling out with Andrew McLeod. Tyson Edwards is still friends with Hewitt, leading to a Lleyton/Edwards versus McLeod social divide. Lleyton needs to heal this hurt for his beloved Crows to have any real chance of premiership success in 2007.

Have we missed any reasons why Lleyton should retire? Tell [email protected]