Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
SHANGHAI ATP MASTERS 1000
October 13, 2009, R64
L. HEWITT/J. Isner
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. He obviously poses a different threat than a lot of players. You must have been well pleased with the way you coped with it and imposed your own game today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. You just look at his results against a lot of top guys, especially on the U.S. hardcourts where he's had a lot of success earlier in the year and obviously leading into the US Open and at New York, beating guys like Roddick over five sets. So I knew it was going to be a tough match. I knew I was going to have to try and get a lot of balls back.
The biggest difference with he Karlovic's serve, just the bounce, it takes you a few games to get into it and just get a read on that serve.
Q. I was going to ask you, do you play him the same way you play Karlovic? We might group them the same just because of height, but they're different, are they?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, both their serves come through at a different height to anyone else on the tour purely just because where they're serving from. You know, the bounce that they get is incredible, so obviously their angle serves are more hard angle hit rather than a swinging angle hit.
So if they're serving well, it's obviously tough to get into games against them, but it's a matter of just taking your chances when you get into it against those guys, and, you know, I did that exceptionally well today, especially in the first set.
Q. You've never been a player who sort of struggled for motivation, but when you come to the end of another kind of long and arduous year on the tour, what are your ambitions and desires looking ahead?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, it's more about this whole Asian swing, just working on little areas of my game to try and make me as good a player for January as possible.
You know, I haven't really focused on, you know, a whole lot on the tournaments that I'm playing. It's more a focus on what I, yeah, little things I want to work on out there and improve on my game and try and become a better player for January and then, you know, have a real crack next year.
Q. In February, I think it was, you dropped outside the top 100. Since then it's been a strong upward curve. You must be pretty proud of where you are just outside the top 20 now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, this year was always going to be tough purely because I didn't exactly know how the hip was going to bounce back. And I always wanted to play the Australian Open, but it was probably and I was probably always going to play the Australian Open after the surgery, but I was never going to be close to 100% going in there and obviously not having the matches under my belt.
And from then on I played extremely well. This time of year obviously I've got no points to defend, and then, yeah, in January I've basically got hardly any points to defend, as well.
So, yeah, I've got better as the year has gone on. My hip's got a lot stronger and better as well, and that makes life a lot easier on the court.
Q. What are you doing schedule-wise? Are you going back to Europe?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know what I'm doing after here yet, just take it a week at a time at this stage.
Q. What would be a realistic target for next year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure yet. Yeah, right at the moment, I'm only really focusing until the Aussie Open and then take it from there, but yeah, I'm obviously going to be seeded at the Aussie Open, which is going make life a lot easier for me hopefully.
I feel like I can do some damage in that tournament if the draw opens up, as well. Yeah, I haven't really looked past that, but I think in the Majors this year, that's when I've played my best tennis this year, and it's taken the best guys in the world to beat me in all four Majors this year.
Yeah, there was no shame losing to González obviously at the Aussie after what I'd been through, and since then, to lose to Nadal, Roddick, and then Federer at the US Open.
Yeah, if I keep putting myself in that position, yeah, hopefully I can, you know, get through against those big guys.
Q. But you very much think you have another Grand Slam in you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, absolutely. I think if things fall the right way, and yeah, I played -- Wimbledon this year I played exceptional tennis. US Open I played pretty good tennis, as well, for the three matches I was there.
Yeah, I just have to take those small chances against those guys, against Roddick in the quarters at Wimbledon and obviously Federer in the third round of the US.
Q. Can you remember this time last year what stage your rehab was, whether you're even running by now? And secondly, how are you going to build up for the Oz? What are you going to play leading up to the Oz?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, this stage I wasn't running at all. I would have been on a bike but not doing a lot.
And swimming but not allowed to use my legs in the pool, so... (laughter.) Basically it was with a little floaty thing between your legs, and trying to get my upper body, be able to do something at least; otherwise you go crazy.
In terms of leading into the Aussie, I'll be playing the Hopman Cup in Sydney. I feel comfortable with those two events.
Q. I'm from New Zealand. I'd just like to get your thoughts on the current state of Australasian tennis, and can it get back to the glory days?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, it's always going to be a little bit tougher nowadays just with the amount of countries and so many countries with great players out there these days.
It's getting tougher and tougher to be able to produce, especially the amount of players, you know, that Australia had at the top of their game, but obviously we can definitely do better than what we're at at the moment. That wouldn't be hard.
Q. You always play against taller and bigger opponents, but do you feel the altitude of men's tennis getting even higher, to a new high in these recent few years, especially when we have a new Grand Slam champion around two meters now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's a lot of big boys out there and can hit the ball extremely hard from, you know, obviously not only the serve, from both sides these days.
These guys don't have a lot of, you know, huge weaknesses out there really. You know, you look at the big guys and a guy like Del Potro who moves extremely well for his size. Even Roddick, as big a guy and strong a guy as he is, he moves exceptionally well.
Yeah, that's why the game is always getting tougher. It's always going to another level and you have to work extremely hard and stay hungry and motivated to be able to keep up with the best players.
Q. You played a match today with it's not a lot of rhythm in a match against a big guy like that. Your next match, no matter what, will have a lot of rhythm whether it's Monfils or Mathieu. How do you work on the transition like that? Because it's really two completely different matches. How are you going to prepare that and who would you prefer to play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, both guys are similar kind of players, I guess. Monfils and Mathieu, they're both big hitters from the back of the court. Obviously both have got big forehands, able to both move extremely well.
Um, Monfils probably has got a little bit better serve I think than Mathieu, but Mathieu, yeah, probably stands in a little bit more aggressive on the return of serve.
Either match is going to be, as you said, a totally different match to today. Last week I played four tough matches against different kinds of opponents, as well. It's just something you go out there and handle on the day, but yeah, it's going to be a step up from today.
Q. Andy Roddick was very outspoken in his opinion that the top players are playing too much tennis. Is that something you agree with? And do you think your career might have panned out differently had you not had to play as much tennis as you have?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah. You know, I've always thought the season is extremely long, yeah, especially if you're going into the Masters Cup and you've qualified for the Masters Cup. And then, you know, those years that I was No. 1 or in the top few in the world, I had Davis Cup finals to play, as well. Yeah, I've always argued that, and I never really got anywhere.
So, yeah, it's obviously, yeah, frustrating, and not to have guys like Federer and Murray at these tournaments. But yeah, they have qualified for the Masters Cup. That's the pinnacle of our sport behind the four Grand Slams, and that's what you want to play for.
And obviously, you know, you play the whole year to get to that stage, so yeah, you can't blame them for obviously looking after their bodies and trying to get in as good a shape as possible for not only that tournament, but obviously the Australian Open is the next Major. And in terms of, you know, with a guy like Nadal now sort of in the situation that I was in back years ago playing, there's a good chance that he's in the Davis Cup semis and finals most years, it's not easy.
Yeah, I think something's got to be done at some stage, because you want to have the best guys playing in a lot of the big tournaments.