Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt - Cedrik Pioline 6-7(7) 6-7(6) 5-7
ITF: Questions for Captain Newcombe and Lleyton Hewitt.
Q. What made the difference out there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think it comes back to serving at 5-4 in the first set. You know, I had him on the ropes then. That's when I really had to sort of dig deep and get the first couple points on my serve, put him under pressure. It was much like the Paris Indoors where I served for the set, goes into a tiebreaker. Tiebreaker, he's all over me. Eventually I have a chance. Also I was up a break early in the first set which I was 40-Love up on my service game, let it slip there. That was a crucial game because I felt like I was on top of him then. I felt like I was going to be the fitter guy out there today. You know, if I could get one, two sets - for him to win in four or five sets, I think, was going to make it tough for him; particularly the way the sets were going, how long they were going.
Q. Give us your resume of the first day's play, John?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, it's finished up as perfect from the Davis Cup, I guess, general standpoint of it's one match all, poised tomorrow for what should be an unbelievably exciting doubles match. Philippoussis walks away, you know, feeling pretty good about the way he's played, as Pioline walks away feeling pretty good. But I think from Lleyton's point of view, he knows he could play a little better than he did in the first set and a half, and, you know, he could have been up the first set if he had won the first set, then he had the chances, two breaks early, a set point, served a double-fault. If he'd won the first set, things could have been different. I don't think when he reflects tomorrow he'll say, "I could have done a little better, but the other guy played as great as he could play." I think Lleyton will be confident going into Day 3 if he has to play the decider. I know from my point of view, I feel pretty good about what he did out there today.
Q. How do you feel about how you did out there today, Lleyton?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt like I was fighting the whole day. You know, I couldn't seem to just get that breakthrough, that one piece of luck or whatever it may be that, you know, really sort of opened up the match for me, whether it was on breakpoints - it happened every set - the double-fault I suppose in the first set tiebreaker, then I sort of worked my way back into the second set tiebreak as well. In the third set, I get back to 5-All and had, gee, it felt like 50 breakpoints on it, I couldn't break him. The whole match, even when I was 5-1 down in the third set, I felt if I could get one set, I was going to win the match. I just couldn't get that breakthrough, as I said. It just felt so hard for me today to, you know, come up with the right shots on the big points.
Q. I guess you said it was easy for you to play with the crowd against you. How tough or easy was it to play against Cedric today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What was that?
Q. You've been quoted to say that you would prefer to play with the crowd against you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: It's a misquote.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Misquote, I think. I'd love to play the crowd with me anytime.
Q. How tough was it to play against Cedric today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He played great. You know, he mixed it up very well today; came up with big serves on big points when he needed to. You know, you got to take your hat off to him. You know, I think it comes back to he's played in the Davis Cup final before. You know, he knows what it's all about. You know, I suppose you can't buy experience.
Q. Story of today really was that you were on the brink so many times of "getting" Cedric - so close to breaking him; got to two tiebreaks and he won them both. How psychologically draining is that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was very tough out there at the time. As I said, I felt like even when I was two sets to love down, if I could just sneak out the third set, I felt like I was going to win the match. At no time during the match did I feel like it was over. You know, I kept telling myself, you know, "We're in this match." You know, I thought I was playing at times a lot better than he was, yet I was a bit unlucky. He would hit some great angle volleys on big points. You know, just little things. He shanked a couple balls over my head which I couldn't get to. You know, just felt like a lot was going against me at the time.
Q. Is there anything you take out of that that you think will help you on Sunday if it comes down to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's the worst feeling I've ever had as a tennis player, losing a Davis Cup match. I can say I don't want to have this feeling again. You know, I can take so many things away from today's match, whether it be how to handle the crowd. Everyone can talk about how loud the crowd is going to be. Until you're actually out there playing in the middle of it, you got no idea. For me to experience that today, you know, if it does come -- I hope it doesn't come down to my match for the team's point of view, but if it did come down on my match on Sunday, I can say I'd handle everything a lot better.
Q. Newc, can you comment on the way Mark played today?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I thought he played a very intelligent match, a good-thinking match. He really got Grosjean against the ropes, and he didn't let him off. He didn't give away a lot of shots. When he had to play good solid-type stuff, that's what he did. He just kept his opponent on the ropes and didn't let him off, put him away. That's the type of game that Tony and, I believe that Mark can play on clay all the time. He's so powerful from the back that when he uses his head and plays tennis like that, he's very, very tough to beat.
Q. On today's evidence, how do you feel Mark will match up against Pioline on Sunday?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: That should be pretty exciting because they're both playing excellent tennis. I think I give Mark, you know, a slight edge. I think that the type of game Mark plays is maybe able to penetrate some of Cedric's game. I don't want to go into specifics, but I think there are certain shots that Mark hits that may be able to penetrate Cedric's game. I've seen him do it before. I think he can do it again.
Q. Newc, is your gut feeling still that it's Australia's destiny to win?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Sure (laughter). Yeah, you know, I just know what we've done. Yeah, I have a good feeling. I mean, I've got to say, even when Lleyton was down and looked like he was out of it in that third set, I honestly thought he could win the match. I mean, not stupidly thinking, but it was -- we discussed it at a set and a break down. I said, "How do you feel about what's happening out here?" Lleyton said to me, "That's my interpretation, as well, that a couple of the things happen and this whole thing could turn around." Even in the third set, I felt that that was there. I know that he wasn't ready to die. You know, he was going to have to be killed before he was going to finish the match. If he'd have broken through at 5-All, anything could have happened. They could still be out there. Could have been a five-hour match. So, yeah, I feel really good. But I know it's going to be very, very tough.
Q. Newc, so often the doubles rubber is a match that could turn a Davis Cup tie. How are you feeling about Todd and Mark coming out tomorrow?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: They've done all the work that they can do. They're playing as well as I've seen them play on clay. So we'll just have to see what happens. As I said just a while ago, it's going to be one of those doubles matches where there's going to be long, extending rallies, lots of shots hit, and the pressure's going to be immense. It's going to take the boys -- our boys are going to have to stand up very tall tomorrow and believe in themselves.
Q. Newc, we all know about the reputation of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge - they go back so many years together; yet in their two meeting against Santoro/Delaitre, they lost both occasions. Are you going to change the tactics tomorrow?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I didn't see those matches when they lost. I know Mark has been asked that question and Todd. They both said when they did lose, it was in a tournament, they weren't playing particularly well at that time when they did lose. I think in Davis Cup, especially in doubles, everything gets thrown out the window. I've seen pairs that you don't think are very good, come out in a Davis Cup doubles and they do unbelievable things. So in doubles more than singles you get the extraordinary performances put in.