Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
DAVIS CUP - SPAIN vs AUSTRALIA
December 10, 2000
Lleyton Hewitt - Juan Carlos Ferrero 2-6 6-7(5) 6-4 4-6
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How emotional was that for you today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's obviously very hard to take, especially being the one out there to actually lose the Davis Cup. You know, two days ago I was saying I had the greatest feeling out on that court, and now it's probably the worst feel in my tennis career so far. How things change so quickly. I felt like I gave 100% out there today. You know, I've been struggling coming into this Davis Cup. You know, I gave everything I had in both matches. I couldn't have asked any more of myself.
Q. Were you pretty tired towards the end?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt as good at the end as I did at the start. Obviously, the body was pretty stiff after the five-setter two days ago. You know, I felt if I could have got out of that fourth set, I would have won the fifth. He gave everything that he had. To his credit, he came up with some big points at the right time. Obviously, with such a big crowd behind him, as well, he knew he was only a game or two away at that stage. It's tough to stop someone in that situation.
Q. How were the crowd today? A lot better than it was on Friday?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, pretty much the same. I think they kept a pretty poor standard the whole way through. You know, it's definitely a lot worse than Nice last year, that's for sure.
Q. What condition would you have been in if you were required to play today?
PATRICK RAFTER: Obviously, it was more strange and disappointing the first match I played. I felt I was in pretty good condition. So it was a bit baffling for me to have done what happened, how the way it went. Today I sort of looked after myself a lot better. I didn't watch that much of Lleyton's. I was really calm and a lot more controlled than when I was watching Lleyton on Friday. I presume I would have been fine.
Q. John, what are your feelings on the three days and the end of your reign as Davis Cup captain?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Just checking Sandon is all right. You don't need to do anything?
SANDON STOLLE: No.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: The three days, I think as I said on the court, in the end, you know, the Spanish team won. We have to say that over the three days, they proved that they were the better team in these conditions. We fought as hard as we could. I would have loved to have seen it gone to the fifth and decided between Pat and Corretja. That would have been something to watch. I thought that Lleyton's two singles matches were what sport's all about: two guys just going at one another. Today was something special because we saw the two of the future people of the world of tennis playing in that sort of a match. Some of the points towards the end, you had to just applaud. Didn't matter who won the point because they were such great points. I thought perhaps today it was difficult for Lleyton because, you know, he sort of gave away the start there. That was mainly because, you know, we were concerned about how much gas he had in the tank. Until you get in the match, you really don't know that. You try to take it easy at the start. Of course, Juan Carlos came out swinging, and that got him away to a lead. It was catch-up for Lleyton. At a set all, if he would have gotten those set points at, a set all, the story could have been different. But that's how it finished up. They deserve all the credit.
Q. Your own emotions?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: My own emotions? Whenever a battle like this is over, I find it very difficult to know exactly what my emotions are. It's like it's over and you just slump down. The next couple of days you think about it. I know that my chief emotion is that the last seven years is seven years of my life that I'll always remember.
Q. A word on Ferrero's performance today in beating Lleyton.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it was great. As I said, it's two young guys of the future playing against each other. They're going to be around for another eight to ten years playing some more, you know, huge matches against one another. Tennis is going to be the better for it. You could see Juan Carlos' face, going into the fourth set, that he really didn't want to get into the fifth set. As Lleyton set, he took his chances at the end of the fourth, and that's great. I'm sure the crowd support pulled him through, as well. Had he not been playing in Spain, been playing in Australia, under those conditions, he might not have survived.
Q. What's your overriding feeling as you go away from this final? I imagine a few different things going through your head. Since you rested and you felt fine, does that make the regret about Friday even more difficult?
PATRICK RAFTER: What was the first one?
Q. Your overriding feeling going away.
PATRICK RAFTER: I sort of feel really weird. I trained very hard, and I wanted this a lot, this Davis Cup. I was playing well. I just feel like a bit of a real letdown for myself and for the team for really only being able to play two sets. You know, the guys might say otherwise, but it's something that it will leave a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth for a while, the way I performed. So I've just got to try and pick up my heels and get ready for next year. The great thing about this game is there's always next year or there's always next week. That's the way we're going to approach it now. Keep our chins up, look at the side that we fought hard and hopefully next year will be a win for us again.
Q. Did you get treatment for a blister or was it something else?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just had a blood blister from two days ago when I was playing. It got worse and worse as the match went on. Towards the end of the second set, start of the third set, it just sort of popped open. I just had to get a little Band-Aid just to keep playing, I suppose. You know, it was nothing too major.
Q. In terms of a legacy for Fitzy and Wally, are you happy with the state of the squad, what's coming up in Australian tennis?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yeah. I think things are looking pretty good for us. We desperately need in the next two years to come up with some backup support for Lleyton. Pat probably has two or hopefully three more years. We'll squeeze that out of him (laughter). You know, we need to get some new guys coming through. We've got to find who they are and really try to fast-track them through. That's the key thing at the moment. But overall, I think the stage is set if we can find those young players for the next 10, 15 years. Could be really good for Australia.
Q. Lleyton, considering the occasion and your condition, how would you describe the last few days?
LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, you know, two days ago, I was on top of the world. There was no better feeling than, you know, coming back from two sets to one down in a Davis Cup final away from home. Two days later, playing to keep the team back -- sort of to give Pat a chance to go out there and play the fifth rubber. You end up losing the match. You know you've given everything you've got left in the tank, whatever. You're still so disappointed with yourself. You know, you look back on little points where maybe if I won these points, maybe if I got off to a better start, I'd give Pat that chance of going out there and playing the fifth rubber. It's very hard to look back on it so quickly after the match, as well. You know, it was obviously disappointing standing out there and getting the silver medal, that's for sure.
Q. Mark, not to dwell on this crowd in Barcelona, but when you look back on your Davis Cup career, what is it about a Davis Cup crowd that sets it apart from other tournaments?
MARK WOODFORDE: I think it's the home-and-away aspect. You know, like we're playing here in Spain, and you know what 90% of the crowd are going to be for the opposing team. You get to play under immense types of pressure. I just think it makes you a better player. I think you get a lot more passionate spectators coming out to watch a Davis Cup match. Probably at a regular tour event, you get people from all types of countries coming out just to watch tennis, they just want to see it. Here they want to support their own countrymen. They're very passionate about it. I would say they're very passionate about it here, as well.
Q. John, did you have another chat with Stefan Fransson today? Any complaints lodged? Were you disappointed that he didn't appear to do anything today when you went over to him?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, because he said that the umpire had already spoken to him and if he got up again, he would speak to him himself. I was just getting a little bit sick and tired of him complaining about Lleyton, you know, playing within the rules. I mean, he was going over and changing a racquet because a string was looking like it was going to bust. You're allowed to do that. I think the complaint he did was when he fixed his strings up, which you're also allowed to do, within the rules. I just got a little fed up with him trying to tell the umpire how to run the match. You know, in hindsight, I didn't know that was how he behaved all the time. In hindsight, I would have acted on day one. It just sort of happened. We figured out that was what was going on, so we took measures to try to stop it.
Q. You talked to Fransson this morning?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I want to see if he does it when he's in Australia next time - if he's around.
Q. Did you talk to Fransson this morning before the match?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No. We did have a discussion last night. I had a transcript of his press conference. We had a good discussion about everything. There was no bad blood between us.
Q. Mark, as you bow out, what advice would you have for Fitzy and Wally? What would you like to see with regard to Mark Philippoussis and the future of this team?
MARK WOODFORDE: It would be pretty tough to ignore a guy ranked in the Top 15 at the moment. No. 10, I'm not sure of his exact ranking. It's up to them to sit down face-to-face with him and give that a try. It's not to say that John and Tony never tried that. I think if you can just get to him and get all the outside influences away from him, just speak face-to-face, and hear it from him, hear it from the horse's mouth. If he doesn't want to play, that's fine. We've all said that the last few years. If you don't want to play, that's fine. We have no problem with that. Don't chop and change, say you're going to play, knowing that you're not, and make up an excuse that you're injured. I think our team is so much stronger and better if you have a guy like Philippoussis playing. You have a choice of three singles players. I mean, how rare is it to have three Top 10 tennis players in the one team? I mean, that's huge, a huge advantage over a lot of other countries. It would be great to see him back there. But, again, it's up to Mark. It's his final choice.
Q. If you could explain what the King told you, the conversation with the King of Spain?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I was so nervous, I can't remember (laughter). I told him it was good to be King. No, I'm just joking (laughter).
Q. Was it in English?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yes. He speaks English very well. He was very complimentary to Lleyton. He told Lleyton what a great fighter he was, how tough he was. Then I said to the King that I was watching him towards the end of the match on some of those points, and -- he had his hand covering his eyes. He was very nervous. So we just laughed about that.