Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
September 6, 2001, QF
Lleyton Hewitt - Andy Roddick 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-4
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Do you want to talk about what was going on with you while the commotion was going on after the first point of the last game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What was going on with me?
Q. What do you do during that time, your opponent is getting upset over an overrule?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's Love-15. I'm just trying to concentrate on the next point, trying to make a return. He was serving pretty big out there tonight. You just have to take your chances when you can. Didn't do much good on the next point anyway. I lost that one. But I've just got to try and block it out, try and focus on my game.
Q. How does it rank overall amongst all your wins?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's definitely up there. You know, gutsy performances, it's pretty hard to beat Brazil. The Costa match in Barcelona. Probably pretty close behind that, that's for sure. Especially it's in a Slam. You know, to come out of it against a guy like that who is so hard to break, especially when you get in a fifth set with him. I was down a couple of breakpoints there, fought them off well at 4-All.
Q. Do you also take more out of it considering what's happened to you over the past ten days, play like that tonight, rise above it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't really worry about it. I'm going out there, I'm doing a job. I wanted to make the semifinals again. I've had a consistent year this year without having a great or fantastic year. I've made a lot of semifinals in the Masters Series event, but haven't been able to make that next step up in the slams or Masters Series. Coming back here and having to defend a semifinal from last year, to be through the semis now, it's a big relief, it's great.
Q. He was saying that chair umpires should never make that call in that situation. Have you ever had a call like that go against you, an overrule, that you can recall?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've had overrules. I can remember an overrule in the final of Scottsdale to lose my serve. I went down a break, and Jan-Michael Gambill served for the match after that. It happens. But you can't say someone can't overrule it because of what stage of the match it's in. It's up to the umpire. He can't be biased and say, "It's tight, a close match, I can't call this one. I have to go with the line call." The way he sees it from the first point, last point, match point, he's got to go with his instincts. He obviously thought the ball was out.
Q. When you see a player go that crazy, you're tending to your own game, do you feel his concentration is going to be a bit shoddy coming back, you can take advantage of that, or do you concentrate on yourself?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I try and -- obviously, he was going to be disappointed, but I knew he was going to be very fired up coming the next serve. So it was a tough situation because the whole crowd was behind him after that call, as well. He came out and played a great point the very next point. But I try and block it out as much as possible and just concentrate on my game, what I've got to do. I try and block out what he's going on about with the umpire.
Q. He was pretty angry about it when he came in here still, even said he felt as if the match was stolen from him in some respects. Can you understand that anger?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's straight off after the match. He hasn't had time to reflect on it. We've been out there for three and a half, I'm not sure, maybe around that mark. It all comes down to one last service game where 4-All he has two breakpoints, facing a second serve on one of them, he thinks, "I'm about to serve for the match here in the fifth set." Two minutes later, he's down match point. He's got a bad line call at the start of that game. It's a tough situation. I don't think anyone can blame him for not being happy, that's for sure.
Q. Was the ball clearly out to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me? I thought the ball was out. I wasn't sure if the lady on the line was blinded by me or she saw the ball in.
Q. There was a moment in the fifth set, serving to the ad court, missed the first serve. Someone in the crowd screamed out, "Foot-fault." You took a moment and then you missed your second serve, long for you. Can you talk about that moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't hear it. I remember serving a lot of double-faults in the fourth and fifth set. I definitely didn't take my time extra if someone said something. I just went through my normal routine.
Q. Spectators were riding you very hard. Tonight. Did that bother you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I tried to block it out as much as possible when I'm out there. I actually thought the crowd was pretty good. I've played some Davis Cup ties. Yeah, that's pretty gentle. I had a lot of support when I hit good shots. You know, they obviously enjoyed my style of tennis, as well. It was two totally different styles playing each other. You have one guy who is very aggressive, plays with a lot of power. Then you have me, sort of counter-punching, running everything down, trying to guts it out. I think the crowd enjoyed that sort of match-up.
Q. Not to say that the call was a break for you, but when he got upset and all this happens at that point, do you feel that is a break for you, rattled him a bit?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously better than being 15-Love, him serving. Having it Love-15, having that little bit of an opportunity. As I said, he's the kind of guy, a lot of other guys maybe, but with his serve, he can come out and serve four aces, it really doesn't matter. So who knows. He's the only one who can tell if it played on his mind at all. I still think he didn't play that bad a game. He won the next point. It was a 30-All game, pretty tight there. He didn't go for it as much on match point. He had a short forehand, and he didn't quite rip it as he probably would have at 2-All in the first set. I got a chance to hit that passing shot.
Q. Is it harder to back yourself up for your next match after a win like this? What sort of experience do you have there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know. I got a day off tomorrow. Obviously, I want to reflect on the match, let it sink in. This is a semifinal of a Grand Slam. You know, this is equal to my best performance in a Grand Slam. I'm going to go out there Saturday and give everything I've got again. Hopefully I've got enough energy in the tank. You know, I don't think it's going to be a downer. This is a great opportunity for me to go out there and, you know, really see what I'm made of.
Q. How did you learn last year's semifinal? Will you take that to the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll try to. Just the nerves, being part of Super Saturday here. Last year obviously I had a set point in the first set. I lost 6, 3, 6. A few tiebreakers there where I had chances against Pete. Totally different style of game playing Yevgeny.
Q. You compared the crowd atmosphere to Davis Cup. People are rooting for their country or against the country. Generally in the individual events, the crowd doesn't get against an individual, especially the No. 4 guy. Does it at all start to say anything to you about what's been going on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: If I was American, I'd be out there supporting him. If I was someone from the public, watching him play, he's a 19-year-old who has had some unbelievable results over the last time. He played with a lot of hype. Been in the public eye. If I lived here, I'd go out and support him.
Q. But they wouldn't boo you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just go out there. I think they're in their rights to (inaudible) as hard as they want for their guy. Probably 90, 95% of the people there tonight wanted Andy to win. I can understand all those reasons.
Q. There's been a history of there with Yevgeny, Brisbane, Davis Cup. How do you prepare to play Yevgeny?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player, especially in Grand Slams. He's a lot tougher in Grand Slams than week-in and week-out at the smaller tournaments. I've never played him in a Grand Slam. He played extremely well today in the parts that I saw. I'm going to have to be prepared to sort of match it with him from the baseline and take my opportunities when I can. As I said, he's had great Grand Slam results. It's going to be awfully tough.
Q. What are your thoughts on Yevgeny? Obviously, you had the thing in Brisbane Davis Cup. Sort of bloke you'd have like to have a beer with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's been fine. We've practiced together a lot in the last few months actually. He's been fine in the locker rooms. He's actually -- I'm pretty happy with the relationship.
Q. 4-4, two breakpoints. What was going through your mind?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Really just sort of hang in there. You know, I didn't know how many opportunities I was going to get. I definitely didn't want to make an easy mistake. Then I ended up going for it a little bit on one of the breakpoints. I hit a big forehand up the line. On the other one, I hit a pretty good first serve.
Q. Getting tight at the end?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Definitely I didn't feel that tight when I had to go for it when I was down breakpoint.
Q. How do you feel you shaped up after this match, 3 hours and 40 minutes, not just the time of the match, but the emotion and all that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm going to have to put my feet up tomorrow. You know, it's definitely both physically and mentally draining out there tonight. Playing a night match, playing a guy who's had so much hype, playing with a packed house out there, as well. You know, it was really a good feeling to be a part of it and be up there playing in that environment. I've got to try and block that out now. I'm into a semifinal. I've never been past the semifinal here. Only my second time. I look forward to getting out there. Hopefully I'll be fresh enough to give it a hundred percent.
Q. How would you compare reaching the semis this year to last year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think last year I was sort of gradually getting better and better a little bit with matches. Here the first few matches, I really didn't play that well. Even against Tommy, I didn't think I played that great of tennis. I hung in there well, I kept fighting, made him play that extra ball. But tonight I played some of my best tennis. Hopefully I can keep that going for, you know, maybe one, maybe two more matches.
Q. After having played not so well the first two or three rounds, do you think you're to the point where you could maybe win this thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a long way from winning. As I say, this is only my second time in the semis of a Slam. I lost that one in straight sets. I've got a lot of work to do before I can even get out there and play one match for a title.
Q. What were the parts of the game that came good tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Return of serve was fantastic. Couldn't return much better. My hustling around the court, my court coverage, staying aggressive on big points. It's been a big improvement for the first three or four rounds.
Q. Playing at night, any disadvantage for you getting used to the change in conditions?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit different. I played enough night matches, especially probably at the Aussie Open more than anywhere, in big arenas. It's good lights out there. It's obviously a little bit different just with conditions and that, a little bit heavier at night. I felt like I pretty much got into it after a few games out there.
Q. Out of all the Grand Slams, the surfaces you played before, is this the one that fits best your style of play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably at the moment here or the Australian Open. I grew up playing on Rebound Ace. Even though I haven't had my best results at the Australian Open, I still feel very comfortable as soon as I get on Rebound Ace.
Q. What do you do tomorrow? Do you have a hit at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably have a bit of a hit, very light though. Won't be doing too much running. Sleep in as well. Probably have a massage.