NEW YORK - Lleyton Hewitt has suffered a heavy first round US Open defeat to complete the worst grand slam season of his celebrated 18-year career.
Powerhouse sixth seed Tomas Berdych had too many guns, ousting Hewitt in straight sets on the very court where it all began for Australia's former world No.1.
Berdych's 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory at Flushing Meadows will inevitably cast doubts over Hewitt's playing future after a miserable 2014 at the four majors.
The 33-year-old's only grand slam win this season came against world No.120 Michal Przysiezny at Wimbledon.
In addition to his early US Open exit, Hewitt also crashed out in the first round at Melbourne Park and Roland Garros.
It's been 13 years since Hewitt dismantled the great Pete Sampras in straight sets at Arthur Ashe Stadium to land the first of his two grand slam trophies and pave a path to the No.1 ranking he held for 80 weeks.
The now world No.41 also made the final in New York a decade ago, falling to career-long rival Roger Federer.
But the baseline warrior was no match for Berdych on Wednesday.
Berdych is certainly no mug.
He is a former Wimbledon runner-up, 2014 Australian Open semi-finalist and two years ago destroyed Federer's flawless record under lights at Flushing Meadows.
Hewitt, though, was left disappointed to have wasted a 4-1 second-set lead that allowed the sixth seed to take a stranglehold on the match.
"That was obviously my small chance out there, if I could have tried to keep that lead obviously," he said.