The 41-year-old, now Australia Davis Cup captain, retired in 2001 and his return had been a secret until the draw was made on Sunday.
He was far from disgraced alongside great friend Hewitt, but South African Raven Klaasen and American Eric Butorac were the party poopers on Hisense Arena as they came through 6-4 7-5.
Speaking on court, former two-time US Open champion Rafter said: "It started off all right. I made a return on the first game and that was the last one I made.
"That was always my big concern. I thought I could serve okay and volley okay. The returning was awful.
"I was pretty nervous. I was copping it in the locker room. (Ivan) Lendl's a menace - he's a pest of a guy. But it's good fun. I didn't want to make an idiot of myself and I think I got through it okay."
It was Hewitt's second first-round exit in as many days following his five-set defeat by Andreas Seppi in the singles on Tuesday.
He said: "It's a couple of frustrating days, obviously, but it's been a good summer. It was fun to come out and have a bit of fun on the doubles court."