Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 13, 2003, 3rd Round
Lleyton Hewitt - Guillermo Coria 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
MODERATOR: Lleyton improves to 12-1 on the season and advances to the quarterfinals here for the third straight year. Questions for Lleyton.
Q. Are you just trying to tease us or do you enjoy these wonderful long matches? Very high-quality one again.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a tough match. I like my opponents to play a lot worse. He played extremely well out there. You know, he didn't give me any real chances. I had a couple of chances at 4-All and 5-All in the first set. I feel like I was a lot better players in the first set. He ended up playing too good a tiebreak. Really wasn't much I could do about it. Then I went down an early break, kept fighting. It was a little bit like the El Aynaoui match, even though their serves are a lot different. Even though I broke him once, I thought the doors would open to a few more breaks. That's exactly what happened.
Q. You won more points than he did in the first set.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I felt like I was pretty much cruising on my service games. I was always the one -- there weren't too many games that I can't remember being at least 30-All on his service games. Obviously at 4-All and 5-All, I had probably between those two games maybe five breakpoints, I reckon. I wasn't able to take them. You know, it was a bit disappointing to have lost that first set.
Q. Frustrating, as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. Because I think I could have opened the match up a lot easier if I got off. If I was able to break a bit earlier and win that first set, it could have been a convincing straight-sets win instead of a grind in three.
Q. Second set was strange with all the service breaks, yet the quality of tennis got better probably.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think we both played maybe a little bit more aggressive on each other's serves. We took a few chances and it paid off for both of us. Then in the third set, I served a lot better. I felt like I got my rhythm back. I won a lot of my service games very comfortably, got up early in my service games. I knew I just had to put pressure on him in one game, try to make him crack a little bit, and it happened.
Q. When you shanked that overhead in the sun, then came back tough, what message do you have for young players who are trying to get on the tour when that happens? We see they don't come back after something like that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a tough one. I couldn't do much about it. You know, I still knew I was serving for the match. I was up a break. Even though it was his ad, I knew I'm still in the driver's seat here. He's got to come up with a hell of a point to beat me. I put in a big first serve. Yeah, you just got to try and forget about it as quickly as possible. Sometimes it's very tough to do.
Q. Is he as quick as anyone else out there at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. He moves extremely well, both across the court and also coming forward, as well. He's very quick. There's a lot more balls today that he got back that a lot of other guys wouldn't.
Q. You come into this event obviously knowing what the ranking situation was, you survived the three match points, does it get harder and harder knowing that so much is on the line?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't really care about it too much. You know, whatever happens.
Q. Doesn't seem that way.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I play to win at the end of the day. If I make the semis or whatever, you know, I'm still going to go out there and give as much as I've got. You know, I think everyone knows me well enough, every time I step out there I give a hundred percent, no matter whether I'm playing to crack the Top 100 or get to No. 1.
Q. You're listed at 150, he's listed at 145. Your heights are pretty much similar. You seem to play similar games. Do you ever get the feeling you're playing against yourself when you're playing against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we both -- yeah, I guess we both play similar in a lot of ways. We obviously move very well around the court. You know, I think probably the turning factor, I got a few more cheaper points off my first serve than he did. Especially in the third set, when it counted, on the big points in the third set, I was able to come up with big first serves. That's probably a little bit the difference. Sometimes he just rolled his first serve in to get the point started.
Q. What player that you've ever played most reminds you of yourself?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'm not sure. You know, he's got the kind of game that's very similar to mine. There's a lot of players out there who are very quick and play well and return well, obviously pass very well, as well.
Q. The No. 1 aspect, you just said it doesn't really matter, but is it also an attitude of wins come, the titles come, that will take care of itself then?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but it just hasn't been my focus at all this year. You know, after I defended at the end of last year, that's pretty much where I sort of started forgetting about the No. 1. You know, I really wanted to obviously work towards the Australian Open. The four majors, for me this year Davis Cup is probably the No. 1 priority. You know, we survived one round, we've got three to go. You know, I know to a lot of people it may not mean that much, but to me it means an awful lot.
Q. Brian Vahaly has gone to the quarterfinals. Do you have any thoughts about him? Are you aware of him as a player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen him play that much. Obviously, he's had a huge run, qualifying, then winning a few rounds. You know, it's good for him. Obviously to get the points and that up, to be through the quarterfinals of a Masters Series event.
Q. You had a good percentage going into the net today on key points. Are you going in more than normal?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't think so. I still I can come in a bit more. I probably just came in today on the right points I think more than anything. I still think it's an area of my game that I can work on.
Q. If you could change one thing in the sport of tennis, what would that be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know at the moment. I'll have to sit down and think about it.
Q. Can I ask you next time then?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I still may have to think about it.
Q. Can you comment on what Mark Woodforde has meant for Australian tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Mark's been huge. He's put back a lot into tennis in Australia. I know there's a small tournament, he's from Adelaide where I grew up, still live, and there's a small local tournament for all the sort of pennant players around Adelaide, South Australia. He actually donates the money to the winner of that every year. I lost in the final one year and also I won it the following year. Woody actually presented me with the check. Two weeks later, I got a wildcard in Adelaide and I beat him (smiling). It wasn't the way to repay him, but he's been fantastic. He's really helped me out, especially when I came into the Davis Cup squad at such a young age. He was sort of the veteran of the team.
Q. Did he ask for his check back?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he wasn't too happy (smiling).
Q. Just with these matches that are so tight, having to really fight to get out of them, is there any element of concern with so many going so close?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For what? Concern for what?
Q. Well, that you really are having to dig deep.
LLEYTON HEWITT: That I'll get tired this week or next week?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I take every day at a time. You know, there's not a lot I can do about it. If my opponents are playing that well, there's really not that much that separates me or whoever from a lot of the other guys in the Top 50, top hundred in the world. You know, I just got to get out there, dig deep, play my game, and hopefully I'll pull up well. If I don't, then there's really not much I can do about it. You know, I try and be in the best physical shape that I can be in, you know, hopefully it's going to put me in good stead.
Q. You said we know you're going to give a hundred percent any time you play. Do 10:00 starts present any different situations for you? Are you an early riser anyway? Do you find it easy or not?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't mind it. I really don't mind it. You know, it's nice sometimes to get your match out of the way, then you've got the whole rest of the day to recover, as well, chill out and do nothing. You know, I probably prefer to play a little bit later, I guess. You get to sleep in a little bit longer. Sometimes it's tough with the atmosphere, the first hour or so, it's not quite there in such a big stadium when it's not quite full, not that many people in there. You know, you really got to get yourself up and keep that intensity right from the start.
Q. What time did you practice this morning?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I practiced at 8:30.