Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
March 14, 2000
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
GREG SHARKO: With the win today, Lleyton improves to an ATP Tour best 21-1 on the season. His three titles coming into Indian Wells is the first time a player has done that since Pete Sampras in '97. Craig, want to start it off?
Q. Are you feeling at the moment the way you were feeling at the beginning of the year when you won Adelaide and Sydney back-to-back?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much. Last week was a big week for me, coming off a break there. I wasn't expecting much going into the week. I just got better and better as the tournament went on. I have this self-confidence back in me again that I did have over the Australian summer, going into the Davis Cup ties. You know, it's a great feeling to have, stepping out on the court knowing that you're hitting the ball well enough to match it with anyone.
Q. Did you feel a little shaky at times in the match today against Moya?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. He's a great player. He started off a little bit scratchy, then found his game. You know, his forehand proved to be pretty dangerous in the end.
Q. Were there times at all you had to keep telling yourself to calm down, relax, not be overconfident?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, but I think that's one thing that I've done well in the past. I haven't really gone overconfident into matches. I'm not sure how I tell myself to do that, but I think that's something that's been in me sort of growing up. I don't go into matches overly confident. I give my opponents a lot of credit, sort of, before the match.
Q. Pretty nice effort to get to match point there.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that was a good point. Nice little chip backhand.
Q. Were you stunned when he netted the volley?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. When I got to the ball - we played a good point - I had that feeling that this chip was going to work. I've worked on that shot a lot with Tony Roche and that. It paid off.
Q. Was there a turning point or was it just kind of grind it out from start to finish?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was pretty much grind it out. You know, there weren't too many turning points. Obviously, you know, just the one break in each set.
Q. Was this the kind of match that you play well in, the way the match went, as far as his style and your style? Was it hard for you to play against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's always going to be a tough match playing Carlos Moya in the first round, when I'm seeded. That's something you don't really expect too often. I think now that I feel a lot more confident that I've beaten Carlos Moya in the first round than maybe if I didn't play a player who's had the results of Carlos. You know, I feel good now going into the second round. But, you know, I don't think there's a particular style of game that I prefer to play against.
Q. When you're playing a player like him who you know is coming back from a bad back problem, do you change what you do at all, try to move him around more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I didn't really think of it all. If he's playing in the tournament, I expect that he's a hundred percent. I'm not going to try and play so he gets reinjured or something like that anyway.
Q. The point that Carlos disputed toward the end of the match, did you have a good view of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I jumped up in the air, otherwise the ball probably would have hit me, hit my feet maybe. I had to jump back as I was sort of trying to turn around. I knew it was bloody close, though. It could have gone either way.
Q. Was there anything that worked well for you today? Do you feel you played well enough all around?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I just played solid today. I went out there and I was solid right from the start. I didn't really change my game up much at all. Even though I did lose the second set there, I just tried to play the same game. I felt like I was hitting the ball well enough to break sometime in the third set.
Q. How about the court and the stadium, what was your impression of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Great stadium, nice court. I've got no complaints at all.
Q. You had a really long run at the beginning of the season when you won a couple of tournaments, then there was the Australian Open and Davis Cup. Were you sort of tired after that? Did you need to take some time off to recover?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't play a tournament for another about three or four weeks, four weeks I think. But, you know, obviously I was pretty mentally tired after all that period, just playing so many matches, playing every day. When you weren't playing, you were practicing. You know, it started building up, especially with that trip over to Europe, as well, to play the Davis Cup straight after I'd just lost the singles in the Australian Open. It was a hectic time of the year, but it was a great time of the year, as well.
Q. What did you do when you took the time off? Did you just put the racquet away for a while?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Played a lot of golf. Got to see some mates back home.
Q. Your record, 21-1, you've won all these tournaments. You're having a great year. Do you ever think about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I try and block it out as much as possible. Obviously, it's very hard. It pops up whatever interview you're doing, people off the street are talking about that person who has the record at the moment. It is very hard to block it out. Once I get into a tournament or step on the court, that's right out of my mind.
Q. You prefer not to think about it and get distracted?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I try not to think about it as much as possible.
Q. The first foot fault of him, it was a curious thing because the call came from the other side.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never seen that before. It happened twice. Actually, I don't really look at that kind of stuff. Then he did actually line up once, then he had to move his feet. He must have thought his back foot was across the other side.
Q. The call comes from the other side.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's got to come from the person on the center line. I've never seen it happen before.
Q. What was the direct reaction to you from home after Scottsdale? I heard there was a lot of television coverage.
LLEYTON HEWITT: From home?
Q. Yes. To you directly.
LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean? Like the feeling from the public?
Q. Messages and things like that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't received a hell of a lot, to tell you the truth (laughter). Yeah, a few people sent congratulation notes, articles that were in the paper yesterday, I think, or the day before. You know, obviously it's great to sort of be getting that good publicity back home. It's always nice after you win a tournament, sort of the public is really behind you, they know what's going on, whereabouts you're playing, the results you're having, as well. I think it's a good thing.
Q. When you're playing like you are right now, do you go out there kind of with the feeling that, "I can't do anything wrong"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I've got this self-belief in myself that, you know, I feel like I can step on the court, and if I play to my full potential, play my game, I feel like I can match it at the moment. You're going to have a lot of highs and lows in sport and in tennis. At the moment, I'm just sort of riding this high.
Q. Do you have fixed goals, Grand Slam goals?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no goals at all. My next thing is to try and probably crack the Top 10 on the old system as soon as possible. I'm 12 this week. That's a career best. As soon as I can do that, I'll sort of take it from there, but that's probably the next big thing for me.
Q. You're probably a big fan of the new system. Do you find the people in the public understand it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The new system?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I get asked a lot of questions about it. I suppose no one really understood why I was No. 1 in the world after two weeks in the year. It's very strange (laughter), considering that Agassi and Sampras hadn't picked up a racquet for the year. I get asked a lot of questions, family, friends, whoever just ask. The only rankings I see in the paper now is this race ranking. Some of the top players may not be in that, the Top 10 or Top 20. I think in the end it will all pan out. It's only because it's sort of the first year, starting off.
Q. What kind of ointment is that you smear on your face?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Zinc. Australian thing.
Q. Australian thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Pat Rafter wore it, as well.
Q. Do you have any zinc endorsements?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.