Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
January 23, 2012, R16
N. DJOKOVIC/L. Hewitt
6‑1, 6‑3, 4‑6, 6‑3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was a huge fight after the first two sets. How were you feeling on the court? Do you think maybe you were this close to winning?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the first two sets, I went down an early break in the third, he was playing too well. He wasn't making any unforced errors and he was hitting the ball aggressively from the baseline. His depth was exceptional.
Yeah, I just tried to hang in there and, you know, press a little bit more, take my chances. I was able to, you know, turn that third set around and got a couple of errors out of him at a couple of crucial times to get the break late in the third set.
Then, you know, it would have been nice to break to go 2‑1 up in the fourth set because I started to have a bit more momentum going at that stage. And he went through a slightly flat period. But then he picked his game up again towards the end of the fourth set.
Q. How much did winning that third set mean to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, it was obviously satisfying because, yeah, he was playing exceptional tennis. I was still able to find a way to get, you know, back in the match in some regards, at least put some pressure on him.
Yeah, his moving, his ball striking, his serving was fantastic for two‑and‑a‑half sets.
Q. Could you sense what has improved in his game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him Hopman Cup, last time I played him last year, and he played sensational in that match as well. I said at the time it's going to take a helluva performance for someone to beat him at the Australian Open a couple weeks after that.
I was pretty spot on, because no one could really go with him here last year. Obviously the year he had was exceptional. Right at the moment, the way he started this year, I think that exhibition wherever he played before coming here is the only thing he played in the Middle East. He's hitting the ball awfully well so far.
Q. You've been No. 1. You've defended Grand Slam titles. Can you talk about what that pressure is like, what that feels like? It's kind of new for him.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think there's a lot of added pressure. It's always a fantastic feeling to walk back somewhere where you've won before. Going back there, it brings back all the great memories from the year before.
I'd prefer to be in that situation than not have it.
Q. You had that situation in Wimbledon where that didn't turn out well.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but you'd still take it. It's better going back as the defending champion than losing in the final the year before.
Q. With the fourth set, do you feel you could have done anything different in hindsight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. The start of the fourth set I had a small opportunity, but he came up with a big first serve. I got actually into the point, but I couldn't get on top of that point. He sort of had me running, so I was defending for that point. He hit the ball too deep for me to get the break there, so...
Q. After such a tournament, what are your expectations for the upcoming tournaments?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know yet. Last few months, I've just really been focusing on trying to get as much out of myself as possible this Australian summer, more so here in Melbourne.
Yeah, now I'll focus on that. But right at the moment, I don't know.
Q. Overall would you say you're happy with how far you've come?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Considering where I was a few months ago, three or four months ago, yeah, it's a pretty good effort.
Q. What were your feelings when you left the court tonight with this atmosphere?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a great atmosphere. Towards the end of the third set and the whole fourth set, the crowd got involved in it. It's great. They're the moments you play tennis for, to be out there in those situations.
So it's obviously disappointing anytime you lose. But I left it all on the court. That's all I could ask.
Q. Are you switching over to do TV work again this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I will do some at some stage, yeah.
Q. Did you take any extra time when you left the court tonight? Did you feel like that's probably it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't take any extra time.