Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
July 18, 1999
Q. We have had a parade of people in here already. We are apologizing hitting you with this right off. Seems that there isn't much question on the Australian side about the integrity of Todd Martin. But are there questions sort of about integrity of this whole weekend and sort of how things went down?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No.
Q. Now, the other answer.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: (Laughs) No, not really. I mean, I don't know what was going on in the other dressing room this morning, so --
Q. When you read this morning that Gullikson was leaving very open the possibility that Sampras would play, what was your reaction to that?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I didn't think it would be true. We didn't know any reason why Todd wouldn't be able to play the rules are very explicit so he didn't have an injury.
Q. But as it turned out he said he did and his doctor, his team doctor concurred and said that he could not play.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I don't know, he played 3 and a half hours of pretty good tennis in the heat and had Pat two sets to Love and two breaks in the fifth. I think that speaks for itself.
Q. Talk about Patrick's match, winning the match (inaudible) --
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Sorry to --
Q. Talk about Patrick's match.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, it was a very hard one for Pat to play. Because of all the -- at five past 12 Pat didn't even know who he was going to play with everything that was happening back there. And then he is playing Todd and Todd comes out and was obviously just going for everything and jumping on Pat's second serves and everything he hit was coming off, not just -- that just threw Pat wide out of kilter and it was extremely difficult position because it was like you can see Pat thinking, oh, gee, I am playing someone that I think I can beat, but he is just going for his shots and it will be a terrible loss if I lose, then Lleyton is going to have to come out and play the fifth match, I should be winning, but I can't get any rhythm in the match add Todd is playing great and serving great. Is he going to fall over or not; at one stage Pat said to me, well, could you -- this is just about the beginning of the second set, he said, can you mention to the umpire that I think Todd is taking a bit of extra time on the change of ends. He is going over what you are supposed to take. He says, I know he is sick, but I think we should mention it. So it was -- they are good friends; it was on Pat's minds that Todd was sick; well, two hours later the guy was still there, so it was a very difficult situation for Pat. He really just had to dig down deep and as you saw in the fifth set twice down on service break in the fifth it was not too many guys that are going to get out of that position an Pat is one of the guys that can dig down and find something a little extra when he has to do it.
Q. Does this have -- did this sort of sour relations between the US and Australia in terms of the mind games that have gone on and sort of the subterfuge that has gone on this week?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, not really.
Q. Put yourself in Gully's position, how would you have done things differently?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I am not going to start second guess that. That is mind games. (Laughs) We are not into mind games. We just carry out and play.
Q. Do you think it was particularly fair to Pat that he didn't know the identity of the opponent --
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it was a very unfair situation, yes. And it I think it definitely parade on him out there because he was very uptight for two sets. He was just like he was wound up and who am I going to play it is sort of ridiculous. You don't know and it was 5, 10 past 12 before he really had any idea.
Q. The talk about Pete at all until last night, or this morning?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No. I mean, Pat had said last night if Pete plays well that is good. Bring him on. But you go back to the rules, okay, the doctor said he wasn't fit to play and yet he played three and a half hours; had Pat a break down twice in the fifth.
Q. Would you consider that maybe that Todd actually was ill but that he just went out there and really did his best and gutted it out, just didn't have enough at the end.
That he actually was sick out there and -- but he played through it.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: (NO RESPONSE)
Q. Or you wouldn't even consider that a possibility?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I don't want to get into it. Todd is a good friend of ours. I don't want to get into it. It speaks for itself.
Q. Lleyton, what do you think of Davis Cup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it has been a great week or week and a half since I arrived here in Boston sort of our one goal was to come out and make it to the semifinals and just get through this tough time in the States here and now we have done it and we can look forward to playing Russia in September.
Q. How much have you grown up as a tennis player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: This week?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I have learned a lot, I suppose, just hanging around Pat so much and just sort of talking about the guys we have had to play and sort of how he looks at his opponents and sort of he gave me a few hints if I was in that situation in the fifth match today, which I could have nearly been in, just how he normally handles it; how he handles the pressure and maybe it could be a good thing for me to handle, how I am going to handle it. Just to sort of think of it not as such a Davis Cup match but a normal match because nine times out of 10 because I think I would do well against Jim Courier but in a Davis Cup match you know how well Jim plays under pressure and that it is a totally different situation.
Q. John, can you look at A. ahead to Russia, B., what kind of celebration plans you might have, and C., Lleyton or Mark Philippoussis in the semifinals?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Wow, you really are giving me the whammies here. We will celebrate and we will have a good strong celebration tonight, I will guarantee you to that. You don't want to see me around 11 o'clock, believe me. We have to decide in two week's time, August 2nd where we play. It will be Brisbane, Sydney, Perth or I am not sure -- I think Adelaide may have put in too.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Let's get Adelaide. (laughter).
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: It is quite probably will be on grass. And I can't even begin to think of the answer to the last question. For starters we don't -- Mark is not even back playing yet. So we just have to see what happens. But Lleyton has been given his opportunity here through unfortunate circumstances to Mark and he seized on his opportunity and got us that unbelievably valuable point first up which was sort of broke the tie wide open for us. So his credentials are established now he has passed the test.
Q. I know you don't want to sort of go on about this but you have been around this game your whole life. Do you think what Todd Martin was put through this week was fair?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Look, honestly that is really not up to me to -- I don't know what was going on in the other dressing room and what discussions took place between everybody and that is really their business and I am not going to start making quotes about what is their business.
Q. All the Davis cups you have played and captained, given the fact that you weren't even supposed to be playing here and what went on during the tie, how does this rate as a satisfaction level for you?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yeah, we were stung in the semis two years ago in Washington and now I think two years later we are a stronger team, a better team, a more experienced team. It is satisfying for Tony and myself. I think we have got an excellent chance to win the Cup this year. This is our 6th year; we would really love to win it for the boys because Pat played his first Davis Cup match with us and Mark Philippoussis did and Lleyton did and we have sort of grown pretty close to all these guys, so it will be just an enormous thrill for Tony and myself if we can do a little bit to help them get their names on the Cup. It will be a big thrill. This is a step along the way really. It was -- I think I was probably like everyone when who was barking for Australia you couldn't believe it was over when it was over today.
Q. What did you say to Todd when he came over to shake your hand at the end of the match?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I said a great fight, mate, well done.
Q. What did you say to Gully?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Bad luck. He said congratulations, well done. Good luck in the semis.
Q. Given coaching or captaining in tennis and stuff, it is somewhat different obviously a lot of restrictions who you can play (inaudible) it is tough coaching?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: That is part of the job. Everybody knows that we didn't go through a very pleasant year last year lose to go Zimbabwe. I am Bob way and everything that happen. You just have to accept that. We didn't have a pleasant time when we lost to hung Guy in '95 and we were put out of the World Group. That is part of it. If you can't stand the heat huff got to get out of the kitchen. The boys don't expect you to belly up when the going gets tough; same way we don't expect them to belly up when the going gets tough. If the tough things are there they expect us to be able to make the call on it. Hopefully we make the right call. But that is what you get selected to do the job for. So really not a matter of sympathy or anything else, of course, he has a tough decision to make, but that is part of the job.