Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 14, 2002, 3rd Round
Lleyton Hewitt - Jan-Michael Gambill 6-2 6-4
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
MODERATOR: Lleyton wins his eighth match in a row on the season. He's into the quarterfinals here for the second straight year. Tomorrow he'll take a 4-1 lifetime record into the quarterfinals against Enqvist. Questions for Lleyton.
Q. What goes through your mind when your opponent flings his racquet six games into the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a good feeling. You know, he was very frustrated I felt right from the word "go." In the first game, he was up 30-Love. He hit two bombs. I got back to 30-All. I could already see the sort of frustration on his face at that point. Yeah, it's a good feeling going out there and seeing that up the other end. You know, I'm trying to concentrate as much as possible on my game, my confidence, whatever out there. But, you know, if you can look over the net and see him getting frustrated at such an early point, maybe he's thinking about the last match we played a couple weeks ago in San Jose.
Q. Is that the quickest you got an opponent to throw his racquet?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. There's probably been quicker. Yeah, pretty quick.
Q. How satisfying is that when you consider that he had beaten you on three occasions out of the previous five you played?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a good feeling. What is it, 3-All I think now. It's a good feeling. I felt like, you know, I was playing well, especially the Scottsdale final when I was pretty young. That was one of my first finals. I lost that one in a tight three-setter after a dodgey line call there. Then I lost to him at Wimbledon where I thought he was just too good. I thought I played, you know, reasonably well, and he just outplayed me that day. Then I lost to him in Miami last year where, you know, I had the momentum, and there was a huge turning point in that match where he hit a pass, scary pass, passed me on the run. Sort of changed the whole momentum of the match. It's nice, I've been up the last two times, San Jose and Indian Wells, for the match against Jan-Michael. I feel like I've played some of my best tennis against him.
Q. Did you use the wind when you were serving? Didn't look like much of a serve.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Use?
Q. Your service.
LLEYTON HEWITT: What about it, though?
Q. Did you use the wind when you served? Didn't look like much.
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, a little bit. Not a lot, though. It was pretty windy out there again today. I just tried to concentrate on the basics. Placement against him, he's the kind of guy if you get it in the zone, he's a very good returner in the zone. Once you sort of get him in the body or moving, that's where he's more vulnerable.
Q. He had 30 approaches. Did he try to play you that way in San Jose or was that different?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. He changed his game. I think it probably even more so changed during the match out there. Once I got up that early break, you know, got the double break in the first set, he felt like he wasn't able to win that many points from the baseline. So he tried changing up his game. You know, I was aware of that. Yeah, it made him, you know, concentrate on trying to pound that first shot maybe a little bit more and getting to the net. He's not the greatest net player around the game. When I did get, you know, in position to make a pass, then, you know, I felt pretty confident at times. You know, I think it did help his game though a little bit, sort of trying to attack and going for his shots a bit more.
Q. When you consider the disappointment of Australia, the time you had to take off, has it impressed you that you started to play so well so soon after the break, winning San Jose, the way you're playing here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it's a bit of a surprise. Yeah, if I go back to, you know, how I was feeling, you know, the end of the Hopman Cup, that whole week leading into the Australian Open, pretty ordinary, lying on the couch, on your bed, in the hotel room, not being able to get out of the hotel room because you're a danger to everyone. You know, I was feeling pretty ordinary at the time. You know, I've come a long way, I think, the last couple of months. I've put in a lot of hours on the practice court when I was able to, you know, go out and start practicing again. You know, Jason and I have worked a lot in the gym, on the practice court, as I said, just on little areas of my game. Trying to get that fitness level back up to where it was, was tough, but I felt like I was able to do it pretty soon afterwards. It definitely held me in good stead in the Agassi match last week in San Jose. If I wasn't close to a hundred percent fit in that match, then I wouldn't have won. It's as simple as that.
Q. Can you talk about playing Enqvist tomorrow?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I lost to him the first time. I wasn't sure it was 4-1. Lost to him the first time. I got him the last four, apparently. You know, he's a tough player to play. He's a little bit similar to Jan-Michael in a lot of ways. He's got an extremely big serve, got big groundies. He struggled with injuries the last, you know, couple of years. But I think he's back. You know, he's had a pretty tough draw here, playing Johansson first round, Federer today. He's come through it pretty comfortably. He won a tournament I think in France a few weeks ago. Also chopped up the two Pommies in the Davis Cup tie to win it for Sweden. You know, he's had some good results. He's going to be extremely tough tomorrow.
Q. You were saying the other day about the fact that you like to play a lot. When you look at what's happened the last couple of months, you took a week or two off before the US Open, produced the goods over there. You had the time off earlier this year, produced the goods in the first two tournaments back. How do you explain that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think when you take -- in some ways it's good. For me, especially, when I take that week off, you know, especially in this case, the first couple of matches I find the toughest. The first couple of matches in San Jose was, you know, extremely tough, trying to get back in the match. You can play a lot of practice sets, as I did going into San Jose. I thought I was hitting the ball great. But, you know, just getting in that match situation with a little bit of pressure out there on the line, it was -- you know, that feeling was starting to come back. It was tough the first couple of matches. But as soon as I got on a roll, you know, as soon as it really hit the quarterfinals, it was business time of the tournament, I just got better and better. So I think, you know, the break definitely helps in some ways. You know, maybe you're a bit sharper towards the end of the tournament. But I think it's maybe a little bit tougher at the start of the event.