Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
July 2, 2001, 4th Round
Lleyton Hewitt - Nicolas Escude 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-4 4-6
MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. Who would like to start.
Q. Did you have much juice in the tank in the fifth set or were things starting to take a toll?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually felt fine. My fitness really wasn't a worry. Obviously I was a bit let down after having won love, love, 30. Then, 15-30, he hit a great return. You know, I don't know how he hit that shot that he hit. That would have given me two breakpoints. I felt like I was starting to get on top, in control then. That put a bit of a dent in the confidence, I think. Then I played a couple of slack points the start of the next game. Then he sort of picked up again. He got on a bit of a roll from there.
Q. The start of the sets, a problem again for you instead of having a period where you relaxed?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The first set, I didn't really have many chances. He came out and was too good at the start of the first. Second set, that's when I struggled a little bit, early in that one, for sure. I didn't hang with him. Then I still got an opportunity, though. I kept fighting that set. 4-All I had two breakpoints there. You know, didn't capitalize. You know, paid the price. It was going to be hard. He would have beat me if I got into a two-set-to-love lead.
Q. Did you feel at any stage of the tournament that you were likely to win it? You had a few struggles to get to this point. Did you ever feel like you had it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. That's hard to say. I'd never been past the third round. You know, it would be silly for me to think that I'm going to hold up the trophy next Sunday.
Q. Were you playing well enough to do that, did you feel?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I would have had to play a lot better, that's for sure. You know, I've had a glimpse of playing well over the last four weeks, but I would have had to do it every match for five sets, every set from now on, if you're going to win it. I would have had to play a lot better than I did today.
Q. Do you think Pat can win it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Pat's got a big chance. He hasn't been playing his best tennis so far, but I actually think that's better for him. I think for him -- you know, he struggled a bit more than he did last year through to this stage so far. But he's still there. You know, he hasn't wasted a lot of energy getting there either. You know, I think things are panning out nicely for him. You know, he's probably going to be my favourite. I'd like to see him win it.
Q. Obviously you've had two tournament wins, 15 matches under your belt on grass. You've come further than you have done before at Wimbledon. Has this just whetted your appetite now for next summer to come back and do a lot better and feel at home more on grass?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. You know, I've had a great grass court season. You know, it's over though, now. Not too much I can do about it. But obviously, you know, it comes and goes so quickly, the grass court tournaments. You know, I've done extremely well this year. But, you know, I'll be trying to do better in Wimbledon, in the major one, instead of winning the other two. You know, if that happens, it happens. But obviously my main focus is going to be Wimbledon.
Q. Do you think you maybe played one tournament too many?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, I don't. I think I feel good. You know, I feel fine. It's hard to say if I got through the Dent match or something a bit easier, I could have, you know, helped the body, as well. But, you know, you never know. You can go in and sometimes people will say you're underdone. Went to Queen's, lost first or second round, didn't go to Rosmalen. You can say you're underdone, you don't have the matches on grass. There's two ways to look at it. This year I took a chance by playing two tournaments. You know, I definitely hit some form on grass there for a bit.
Q. When you say you knew earlier on you would have had to have lifted your form to win this, can you put your finger on why you weren't quite at your peak?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. You know, I just didn't feel comfortable at all out there today. You know, I returned fairly well for most of the match. But I just didn't feel comfortable with my groundstrokes. You know, I don't usually have that feeling.
Q. What signal does it give to you to see Roger Federer beat Pete Sampras today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't know until I just came in five minutes ago. It's obviously a great win for Roger, there's no doubt about that. But, I don't know. I'm sure Pete's going to come back and be , you know, next year as high favoured as he's ever been. But I think it says a lot of things to other people, you know, that he is beatable here, as well. Obviously, he's had a great career here. He's probably the best champion, the best player ever to play here. But, you know, it's one day. I didn't see any of the match. I can't really comment on how it went, if Roger was too good, whatever.
Q. You withdrew from the mixed doubles with Kim. I heard her saying it was due to some pain in your knee. Was it really so? If so, was it still bothering you today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've had a little bit of pain in my knee. You know, it really hasn't bothered me, though, too much. You know, it bothered me more in my first couple matches than it did the last couple.
Q. Is there a medical problem?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, they're not really sure. It's like patella-something. I got no idea. I haven't had any scans or ultrasounds or anything done. I don't know the exact problem. Just been getting treatment every day.
Q. Do you plan to have some scans or anything?
LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, the last two or three days I have been feeling a lot better, nearly 100%. I was a bit more worried at the start of the tournament. You know, we'll just see how it goes the next few days.
Q. Pat said before you're only 20, that everyone should be patient waiting for you to win your first Slam. Are you getting impatient?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. You know, when I first came on the tour, I had a bit of a slow start after I won Adelaide there. You know, Darren took me over the next year. You know, we weren't trying to win Grand Slams, you know, when you're 18, 19, 20. He was trying to work on my game when I was 23 going on till I'm 29, 30, trying to work on my game. I'm still developing the game. You know, that comes with fitness and weight work and everything, you know, the whole package. He told me that as soon as we started working nearly three years ago now. You know, so far, so good. You know, I've gone up the rankings; I keep improving every year. You know, I think my time's going to come. I can't put a finger on when it's going to come. Hopefully not too late. You know, I think, you know, everything's improving and I'm still looking forward to hopefully having that one day when I get that opportunity.
Q. Do you leave this tournament thinking there's any one part of your game in particular that you need to improve on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for grass, I think a bit more of an all-court game. You know, there's no doubt I have to try to come to the net more and be a bit more aggressive from the baseline. But, you know, that's a thing I knew coming into Queen's this year, as well. But, you know, that's something that's not just going to change over night (snapping fingers). You have to work, you have to play more matches and you've got to do it in practise. You have to go out there and practise. That's why the Davis Cup ties have helped me on grass so far and they're going to continue to help me when we play those ties on grass.
Q. Will you go out with more feelings of regret than achievement or vice versa?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, it's nice to have won a few matches on Centre Court. I'm pretty happy with that. Obviously, there was an opportunity to play, you know, a guy like Agassi in the quarterfinals. You know, I've just missed out on that. You know, the way that I was playing anyway, I would have got killed by him. Wouldn't have been much of a match.
Q. Do you think you played better at Queen's than you played here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I hit the ball better, yeah.
Q. You're having a break now, I believe. How long will you hang around? How long will you have off? What will you do?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure yet. Got no idea. Yeah, I don't plan on playing again till Montreal. A few weeks off, which is nice. I've been going since Rome. It's taking its toll now. But, you know, I've got no idea what I'm going to do. Probably a lot of fitness work, hopefully stay healthy, get in the gym, work pretty hard so I can last the American summer.
Q. With your game on grass, do you have a preference at all playing a big server or a baseliner like Agassi?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it doesn't really worry me. In the past, you know, I really haven't minded playing the big servers such as Sampras, Rusedski, Henman, those guys. Last week in Rosmalen I played a lot of baseliners, as well. That didn't really affect me on an average grass court in Rosmalen A lot softer, a lot more dodgey bounces there. I don't really have a favourite, no.
Q. There's no bigger temptation of showing the big servers how to return?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all, no.
Q. You've had such great Davis Cup results obviously on grass, the two titles at Queen's. When you've come to Wimbledon, it's still alluded you to play quite that well. Do you scratch your head and wonder why that is?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think I will this year. You know, if it keeps happening, you know, if I bomb out in the first couple rounds for the next six to eight years, then I'll start wondering. I'm still young. I've had my best result at Paris a couple weeks ago, and now at Wimbledon here. You know, it's going to come, but it's going to take time. As I said, you know, the changes that I'm trying to do to my game and help my game for the years to come, it's not going to happen overnight. I've got to be patient. There's nothing much I can do about it.
Q. Do you and Kim sometimes motivate each other by saying, "Let's see who is the first to win a Grand Slam"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. No, we're not like that. We don't really talk about tennis.
Q. Any holidaying in the next few weeks, as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I got no idea what I'm doing. Just thinking about Wimbledon.
Q. Are you going to stay here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'll probably watch Kim play. I don't know if she plays tomorrow. I'll probably watch that.
Q. You talked about Pat's great chance now. Who will the players be putting their money on? Agassi?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The other players?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got no idea.
Q. You, Agassi?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me? Who would I put my money on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Rafter. That's what I said. You know, I suppose it's a bit with your heart, as well. Obviously, I'd like to see him win. But I think, you know, he's had to work a little bit harder this year. I think we all realise how close he was last year. You know, he was a couple of points away from holding up the trophy. I think he wants it, this and probably the Davis Cup at the end of the year, the two most important things left in his career. You know, he struggled a little bit so far. But, you know, the draw's opening up nicely for him, I think.
Q. Do you think you'll stay as long as he's in the tournament and watch him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure. I haven't spoken to Darren yet. I'm not sure what's going to happen.