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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 19, 2012, R64

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/A. Roddick
3‑6, 6‑3, 6‑4 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. Did you sense anything before the extended injury time halfway through the second set that there was something wrong with your opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I wasn't sure. After I broke serve in the second set, the next game I hit a pretty good shot to get up 3015. Sort of went back in behind him. He sort of pulled up a little bit lame after that.

So after we went on, I didn't notice anything. I didn't hear him call for the trainer straightaway while the game was still going. Obviously he called for the trainer at the change of ends.

But it's hard playing. Mentally, it was one of my better performances tonight throughout my career. To keep your mind ticking over the whole time isn't easy. It would have been a lot easier if you weren't playing a big server, he could keep holding his serve out there because there was obviously nothing wrong with his shoulder.

Yeah, that was hard. That's probably the biggest positive to take out of tonight.

Q. Other players when they have shortened matches will get on the treadmill. Are you likely to do anything tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just do all the rehab and everything that I'd normally do. We still played twoandahalf hours or whatever it was anyway. There were a lot of long rallies out there.

But physically I was really happy with how my body pulled up today after playing four hours, a long four setter a couple nights ago. Just because I haven't played a lot of tennis, you're never sure how it's going to pull up. But I was pretty happy tonight.

Q. Is the doubles complementing your fitness at this stage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not playing it for fitness. It's just a bit of fun to go out there. I was pretty stoked to get the win with Pete yesterday. Yeah, we'll look forward to tomorrow's match.

Q. Can you talk about what it's mentally like when you know your opponent is hurt, trying to have the killer instinct to finish him off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Kind of like what I just said there. It's hard. It's a tough situation for anyone. It's more of a mental game than physical.

Even tacticswise, it's not easy as well because you start thinking  you're in two minds with what you're going to do out there. As I said with my interview with Courier after the match, at one end it was against the breeze, uphill a little bit. It was harder to dictate Andy from the back of the court at that end. From the end with the breeze, I felt like obviously I could move him around and put him under a bit more pressure.

As I said before, playing Andy with such a big serve, he's still able to go out there and swing at the hips, hold his serve and put pressure on you.

Q. Did you notice him doing anything to change his tactics, make points shorter when he was hurt?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole lot. You know, he obviously a couple times went for slightly bigger forehands and stuff on the run.

It was frustrating obviously that last game. I was 54 up, I had opportunities. He sort of went all or nothing at 1540, at 53, and then at 54 he played three good points and put me Love40 down. I had to dig deep and serve extremely well to get out of that game and close out that set.

As I said, it's more a mental battle than physical ones.

Q. It seems your emotions are a lot more raw.


Q. You celebrated strongly with your firstround win. Your emotions seem different.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm always pretty excited to win any match at the Australian Open. Yeah, might be more purely because, you know, a few months ago, I come back from foot surgery, you know, wasn't even 100 percent sure I would be able to play maybe.

Obviously, come here, do all the right things, just excited to be out there.

Q. You seem to be freer with your emotions. You're enjoying it, by the looks.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about freer. I'm just as tight on breakpoints, big points as I've ever been. It's still the same nerves out there.

Q. How do you feel your game is coming along?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was pretty happy with the way I hit the ball tonight. Even the first set, it was only that couple of points. I was up in that game 4015. I actually hit a great forehand, hit the tape, didn't go quite over. Had him beaten there and would have held serve.

I felt like from that point I played a pretty clean match overall. When he broke me back early in the third set, I didn't do a whole lot wrong. He sort of stepped up, swung at the hips a little bit on some of the early points to get ahead in that game.

But, yeah, I thought I hit the ball pretty clean.

Q. Your serve? Obviously you had the problem. You served more aces against him first time in your career.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served well in patches tonight. A couple of times I didn't quite make enough first serves, especially at the end against the breeze. That gave him the opportunity to step in on the second serve and dictate. I would have liked a little bit higher percentage of first serves.

In terms of hitting the target when I needed to, I served pretty well. The reason he didn't get quite as many first serves, I think I returned pretty well. I was reading his serve quite well out there tonight.

Q. You said a few times you would have liked a few more games in the summer. Do you feel like you're getting better at hitting it cleaner?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. I think the more matches you get, the better. It's no secret, I didn't play many matches last year. To expect to come out and play against these guys, they played right through the end until some of them early December, you know, it's totally different on the practice court to the match court. So, yeah, so far everything has gone okay.

Q. Milos, you haven't played him before, but you would have seen him during the year. What does he bring to the table for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've only seen him a little bit. Early on obviously the Australian Open last year I saw a little bit. He played very well in San Jose and Memphis early on in the year, winning his first title in San Jose. He's a dangerous player. He's similar in some regards to Andy, same as tonight.

I haven't even thought about the match. Tomorrow I'll start focusing obviously on it after the doubles and get ready. But, yeah, I'll be more focusing on my game, obviously trying to take away some of his power.

Q. Is there a special degree of sympathy you have with Roddick in this situation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah. Andy's a great competitor. He always has been. He's similar to me. He plays with his heart on his sleeve out there on the court. He has that neversaydie attitude as well. It's never easy to play injured or to pull out of a match. It's not a good feeling.

Rusty - always # 1 in my heart
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