Lleyton Hewitt is challenging his triumphant Davis Cup charges to take their game to the next level – Pat Rafter-style – following Australia’s epic qualifying win over Hungary.

Hewitt hopes the hard-earned 3-2 victory in Sydney plus a week working with master coach Tony Roche drives Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and doubles specialists John Peers and Luke Saville to new heights.

The proud captain pointed to Rafter’s breakthrough win over Cedric Pioline from two sets down at White City 25 years ago, when France were defending Davis Cup champions, as proof the famous teams’ event can be a career changer.

Hewitt was an orange boy for that 1997 tie and “Rafter was a so-so player back then”.

Seven months later and armed with new-found belief, Rafter won the first of back-to-back US Open crowns that propelled the serve-volleyer to world No.1.

“I just wanted to play Davis Cup from that day,” Hewitt said of Rafter’s memorable Cup win.

The skipper urged de Minaur, Kokkinakis, Popyrin and company to draw similar confidence from their Davis Cup experiences ahead of bumper hardcourt events in Indian Wells and Miami and then the rest of the grand slam season.

“This has to be confidence building for these guys,” Hewitt said.

“Even Alexei, he could have easily played this week as well. He came back and did absolutely everything we asked of him.

“But when he leaves this tie, we want him to be a better player than when he arrived.

“We try and do hard work on the practice court and we want them to go out and have success now and we feel like these guys are due and they deserve that.

“They’ve put in the hard work and they’ve got a couple of big tournaments coming up the next four weeks and there’s no reason why they can’t be pushing deep into these bigger tournaments and also at the next few majors coming up as well.

“The next three majors are before the next Davis Cup group stages (in September) so all these guys have a great opportunity whether it’s singles or doubles.”

Hewitt hailed 76-year-old Roche – the coaching guru who guided Rafter, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl to a dozen slams between them – as Australia’s unsung hero.

“The boys speak about the team camaraderie but it’s not just me. Rochey is one of the biggest drivers of it.

“I couldn’t be doing what I try and do with these guys without Rochey and we’re just so lucky to have someone like him that wants to still be a part of it because in my opinion he is the best coach in the world – and he still is.

“The intensity that he can bring to any practice court – I don’t care who’s on the practice court – the intensity goes through the roof.

“We’re just very fortunate that we’ve got him part of our team and our tennis community and I’m lucky to have him as a mate.”