Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
June 30, 2001, 3rd Round
Lleyton Hewitt - Younes El Aynaoui 7-5 5-7 6-4 7-6(4)
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Listening to the commentary of the game, everyone seemed to suggest whenever you were in trouble you had the ability to get out of it no matter what happened. Is that something different this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it was a tough match. It was a lot tougher than I thought. I (inaudible) really serve out there today. I was really struggling. You know, I felt like I started getting onto Dent as much as I could the other day. Dent is obviously a better server. Younes served great the whole match. Every time I got to Love-30 or 15-30, he put in two or three big serves. He was serving right to the lines. But I felt like, you know, I felt like the better player for the whole match. It was just a matter of time before I'd get those opportunities to break again. It happened in the third set there. I got fortunate at 4-All. Then in the last set I had another opportunity to break at 5-All. He served well again. I played a very good tiebreak.
Q. I know you treat everything as just the next step onto another game. What's the difference in getting the first time to this level at Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, it's great to, you know, make it through to the second week now. It's fantastic. Especially with a lot of expectation on your shoulders, as well, coming into it. It feels good. You know, I'm going to have a tough match. Looks as though it's probably going to be Escude at the moment, the two Frenchies. Whichever I play, I'm going to have to step it up another gear if I'm going to get to the quarters.
Q. Speaking of tiebreaks, this is an area where you've had a bit of trouble, not just this year but in past years as well. Have you changed the way you approach tiebreaks at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually, I feel pretty good in tiebreaks. This year has been very kind to me in tiebreaks. You know, the way that I've played at Queen's against Henman in the two tiebreaks in the final there, I came out and played perfect. In Brazil, I played three doubles tiebreaks and two singles against Kuerten in that one. You know, I feel like, you know, obviously it takes a little bit of experience to, you know, set you up for winning seven points, win by two. But I feel like I've been able to do that pretty well. You're always going to lose the odd one. That's part of playing a tennis match.
Q. No different approach to them at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I go out there. You know, I try to get off to as good a start as possible. It helped today getting a mini break straightaway.
Q. How concerned are you by how hard you're having to fight to get through these matches?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, I feel pretty good out there. I feel like I've got a lot of energy. Playing on grass, it doesn't take as much out of you as playing on clay or hard court, I think. Especially in these conditions, I've played a couple of rain-delayed matches, as well. I've had delays in both my last two matches. I feel pretty good. I get a rest after this. I got to go for broke one week now. Hopefully I can get to the last of the week.
Q. I know you're a confirmed Aussie Rules man. We have to ask the question, did you watch this morning?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I saw, 83, some of it. Rochey was in the changing rooms crying (laughter). It was very hard -- watching it. Every time I came in, he was going nuts. Obviously, a bit disappointing. The boys will bounce back, I'm sure.
Q. Whereabouts would you rate your form at the moment? Do you think you're playing as well as you have at other tournaments, US Open last year? Do you think you're playing well enough to win the whole thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've definitely got to go up, play a lot better if I have a good chance of winning it. I think I'm playing pretty good, though. The way that I've been playing on grass, you know, the last few weeks gives me a lot of confidence, as well. I've beaten some top players in the last few weeks, you know, survived a couple of tight matches already in the tournament. I've got those -- some of the tough ones out of the way. If I get in a tight situation, I know how to sort of react. Here at Wimbledon in the past I've maybe pushed the panic button too early.
Q. Guys were saying they were surprised you didn't go into the net more often. In hindsight, do you think you should have?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I probably should have. You know, it's tough when you're out there. The guy had an extremely good forehand. Obviously, his backhand was his more weaker shot. You know, it was hard to get to his backhand because he kept running around hitting forehands. You have to hit it basically on a dime, then come in on that. I could have taken a few more chances, yeah, for sure. You know, I didn't really want to come in on his forehand too much because it was sort of a hit-and-miss shot. He was hitting a lot of winners off it. Did make it hard for me from the baseline. I felt like I was winning my service games pretty convincingly anyway. Maybe I could have taken a few more risks on his serve.
Q. Did you feel comfortable going out on Centre Court today, more so than the other day?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Always nice when you have a win on the board.
Q. Over the three years you've been here, have you felt constrained or intimidated by the Centre Court, all the history?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. It's a different kind of court. There's so much tradition, such a prestigious court out there. Such a great atmosphere to play tennis in. I've never felt intimidated when I step out there. You know, I'll be myself. Paid off the last couple of matches.
Q. Players say they never look at the draw or they're taking them one match at a time. You secretly suspect that they've snuck a peek down the line. I wonder whether Andre Agassi has been at all on your mind during the first week of the tournament.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I haven't seen one of Andre's matches. That's how much he's been on my mind. As I said, I have Grosjean or Escude. I'm going to have to play better than I did the last few days to get past that one. I've never been to the second one. My goal was to get through to the second week. Here I am. I'm going to take it one match at a time from here.
Q. You said before you couldn't serve today. When that's happened to you in the past, how have you gone about trying to rediscover how to serve?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I served very well.
Q. I thought you said you didn't.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I served well today. That's as well as I've served out on Centre Court today.
Q. Do you actually feel a part of the event now, after the last couple years? Is it a different feeling to be part of the tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a great feeling, you know, to get through to the last 16. This is when, you know, most of the top seeds start meeting each other. This is when, you know, the tournament starts all over again. You know, I'm feeling -- it's fantastic. I felt like I've been able to do it at all the other three Slams. Now to be able to do it here at Wimbledon, it means a lot to me to be able to play well here. It's an added bonus, that's for sure.
Q. Has fatigue ever been a factor in the last couple of matches? You played so much, quarterfinals French, back-to-back titles coming in, long match against Taylor. Do you feel tired at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I actually feel good. With the days off and that, it's been fine. I'm feeling strong. You know, I put in a bit of extra fitness work straight after I lost in Paris. After I lost to Ferrero, I was in the gym the next five or six days before going into Queen's. The goal was to be able to last, you know, four tough weeks, then be able to put the feet up another three weeks before playing the American circuit. So far it's paying off. Obviously, I was a little bit sort of tired going into Queen's at the start. Now I've sort of freshened up. That's good.
Q. Weight work or endurance work?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Mainly endurance work - on the bike, running, skipping, stuff like that.
Q. With a player like Taylor, he's not going to let you get too much rhythm. If you wind up playing Grosjean, could you have some long rallies that will help you get grooved. Is that ultimately helping you in a tournament, or does it make no difference whatsoever?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Not with the matches that I've played over the last couple of weeks. Maybe if you hadn't played too many matches coming into a Slam, you're wanting to sort of get in a nice groove before the tournament, before you start playing sort of the big names in the Round of 16, quarters. I've played that many matches. I've played quite a few baseliners over the last couple weeks. I feel like I am in a bit of a groove. Playing Dent was sort of a one-off thing. I haven't played that many big hitters. Really most of Rosmalen was, you know, pretty baseline sort of tennis.
Q. Do you know your record against Escude, if it's him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I lost to him the first time. I think I'm 2-1 up. I think I've won the last two.
Q. How does your game match up against his, do you think?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. He's got an all-court game. He's going to serve-volley a bit, stay back a bit. He returns very well, he moves well. You know, I'm going to have to, you know, be prepared to return very well. He's got a pretty good first serve. I'm going to have to, you know, being seeing the ball well. I'm going to have to move well, you know, make some pretty good passes I think if I'm going to win.
Q. And Grosjean?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Grosjean, I've played a few times. I don't know the record. I think it's about even. You know, he's obviously very quick around the court. He's probably more of a baseliner than Escude. He's got a dangerously sneaky first serve. He wins a lot of points off his first serve, which a lot of people don't realise, I think. It's going to be tough either way.
Q. Did you know the Crows got beaten, as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't know that.
Q. Two points.
LLEYTON HEWITT: At least the one result.