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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


November 17, 2004, RR

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 3-6 4-6


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. I suppose it's no great surprise, the day you've had, that it took a little bit of time to get going, get into the match today. Did you feel that just at the outset, it was tough to get going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. But I actually felt I had a lot of chances early. I had breakpoints. I was the one that had the first breakpoints and wasn't quite able to take. I was in a rally, ended up missing a backhand in a long rally. Yeah, then next game around, you know, I lost serve after having a game point there as well. So I felt like there were two huge games. And then the next game I had another two breakpoints and wasn't able to capitalize. Sort of been the story against Roger in the last few matches that I've played. I've had a lot of opportunities and haven't been able to take them at the right time. Even in the last game there tonight, you know, I had 15-30, had an opportunity; you know, 30-All, had another opportunity. You know, against the best players in the world, especially "the" best player in the world right at the moment, you got to take those.

Q. I mean, the last game, when you came off, you wanted to try to get the match done tonight as best you could. You played two superb games right at the end there. Probably the best tennis of the tournament so far. It's hard to raise yourself to the level to get the one shot you need against him, isn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough. Especially when you come out after a rain delay and you're down a set and a break against such a great player. He's tough enough, I guess, to break his serve at, you know -- when you're even sometimes, let alone when you're down a set and a break coming out after a rain delay and you don't have that many opportunities. So the first one, he won to love, I think. First service game after the rain delay. Then the next one I had opportunities. I wasn't quite able to take them. But, you know, against the best players, as I said, you got to take those chances.

Q. One of those breakpoints he faced in the first set, he hit the line with an amazing, ambitious forehand. Is that the sort of shot which sets him apart really?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but, you know, it set him apart all year, I guess. Only so many lines you can hit. And, you know, he's obviously, you know, probably found a lot more than a lot of other guys this year, but that's why he's No. 1 in the world. And, yeah, he's got a sort of belief there at the moment to pull the trigger on the big points. That probably stands out more than anything else, I think, from being the best player in the world to, you know, the next five or six guys, is he really believes that, you know, he can go for it on those big points. And at the moment, in a lot of big matches, it's paying off.

Q. How do you feel now about the way the group is set up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I know what I've got to do (smiling). So, yeah... Obviously, you know, I think it's -- probably the ball's in my court. Obviously, you'd think Carlos is going to have an extremely tough time against Roger, but, you know, you never know.

Q. When he's playing like this, serving as well as he is, does it cause you to alter your strategy or thinking, or do you just keep approaching it like you would any other opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, at the start of the match, I guess you approach it like the same as you would. After having breakpoints and that, you start getting a feeling of where maybe he's going to go and that. But he's got such great variety on all his shots, not just his serve. His forehand can go all the way. He's got a great topspin backhand, a great slice backhand as well, and he can come to the net. He volleys well. So you've always got that in the back of your mind, I guess, because he's got so many options out there.

Q. With all the running around that you do in a match, do you find that with Roger, that he makes you move and run a lot more than any other opponent you've come up against in the last couple of years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. I think Andre has been probably the best that I've seen, especially since I came on tour. You know, Roger may be taking over a little bit of that but, you know, Andre is still a master of dictating play and working the angles and making your opponents, you know, even if he ends up losing the point, he sometimes gets four or five cheap points after that. Roger might be getting to that stage but, you know, still, Andre is one of the greatest that I've seen at that.

Q. Do you feel you just have to hit the ball much deeper than you would against other players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Yeah, Roger moves extremely well, you know. For a bigger guy and, you know -- he really moves, you know, smoothly around the court. Doesn't look like he's running that fast, but he gets to a lot of balls, and gives himself plenty of time on all shots. I think that's one thing that really stands out when you're playing against a guy like that. That sometimes makes you go for a little bit more than you would against other players. But, you know, he doesn't have that many weaknesses either. His forehand is obviously his stand-out shot from the back of the court. I got passed a couple of times tonight when I came in on his backhand as well. Sometimes you got to hit it a little bit deeper or work the angles a little bit more against a guy like Roger.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


November 19, 2004, RR

Lleyton Hewitt - Gaston Gaudio 6-2 6-1


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton.

Q. Not a bad point there...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good point. I'm not quite sure what happened, but I was a bit knackered at the end of it. Took me about six points to get my breath back (smiling). It was good.

Q. If you had to compare your game now and the game when you were No. 1 in the world, what would be the difference? What are you lacking maybe in your game to regain that spot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think there's definitely been patches this year where I've played as well as I was when I was No. 1. I think the game just keeps improving. You know, whoever is No. 1 at the time tries to take it to a new level, and obviously that's what Roger has been doing for the last year and a half. That's what drives you, that's what motivates you to try and keep improving and be able to compete with the best players in the world. You know, Roger has obviously done it at the moment. Guys like Andy, myself, Marat have got to try to keep up with him and try to overtake him somehow. But I feel there's definitely been times this year when I played as well as I did in 2001, 2002.

Q. What do you need to improve if you want to keep up with Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. If you're just focusing on Roger, then it's just a matchup more thing, I guess. But, you know, you got to pretty much make the semi or final right at the moment if you're No. 1 and 3 in the world to actually have a crack at Roger. I feel personally for my own game, against no matter who it is, I try to be a bit more aggressive, come to the net a little bit more. I think I've done that really well this week. I think I've really stepped it up this week. And obviously at the US Open and right through the US summer I think I did that extremely well. You know, if I serve well, you know, that helps it out as well.

Q. Talk a bit about playing Andy and how that matchup compares to other ones at the top of the game for you, how you see that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, obviously he's got a lot of firepower out there. He's got a massive serve and a huge forehand. He runs down a lot of balls for a big guy. He moves well for a big guy. He tries to come into the net a little bit more, I think. But, you know, you just got to try to make him play it one extra ball as well, I guess, and really make him move around as much as possible and obviously try and get as many of his big shots back as possible.

Q. You guys started a pretty good rivalry a couple years ago. You haven't played much really since then.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, we only played once this year in Queen's where he got me. I felt like I was definitely the better player through the first set of that match. You know, served for the first set. Wasn't quite able to take it. Had set points in the breaker. You just got to take your chances. That's much like playing Roger the other night. You have your opportunities. And against the best players in the world, you're only going to get one or two chances, and you got to take them straightaway.

Q. You always seem to be incredibly pumped up when you're playing. How do you maintain that level of focus?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think I'm motivated at the moment, I think. Obviously, when you're motivated out there and you're driven, especially with my style of game and I like to play with a lot of emotion out there, so it's pretty easy, just sort of happens naturally right at the moment. There's obviously times when you have a little bit of a downer. But right at the moment, I feel up for this event and I feel pretty motivated out there right at the moment. Obviously, if you play points like you did in the second-to-last game there, it's pretty easy to get pumped up.

Q. Over the course of the week, you sort of indicated that possibly the Australian Open was out there on the horizon and this could just be a step to it. Have you changed your attitude a bit as you've won matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I was obviously motivated. I knew that the first match against Moya was a huge match, you know, when I looked at the groups. I knew I had to go out there and compete as hard as possible and, you know, put it all on the line for that match, I felt. I was able to do that. And, you know, I'm still very motivated here. Obviously, for me, though, the Australian Open in a couple of months' time, that's the big picture.

Q. Does the fact that it's 370 US on the line, does that make any kind of a little more spice to it?


Q. Don't ever think about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not for me. I'm not going out there and playing for the money. You know, it's obviously a great event. I'm fortunate enough to be playing for this kind of money. But it's not even in the back of your mind. You come here for the Masters Cup to play against the best players in the world, and to try to play for that trophy at the end of the week.

Q. Does the fact that it's the 100th Australian Championship have a nice bearing on it for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, if you're able to win it, I guess, in that year, it would be fantastic. But I'll take the Australian Open any year I can get it. It's obviously 100 years. There's going to be a lot of celebration about it, I think. For me, it's just another Australian Open and a matter of going out there and trying to get past the Round of 16.

Q. After winning this cat-and-mouse point, you couldn't resist to go to your coach and exchange High 5s.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was just trying to get a bit of extra time (laughing). I would have ran out to the bathroom if I could have.

Q. You have a good record on hard court - US Open, Masters Cup. But it's not the Australian Open. What's the difference? Do you have extra pressure on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's obviously extra pressure and extra expectation out there. But, you know, I don't think that's why. I do too much in Davis Cup ties in the past when there's probably more pressure. I think the last few years, when I've been playing well, obviously, when I was No. 1 that stage there, I got the chicken pox and that pretty much put an end to my hopes. I lost to Federer last year in the Round of 16, who was a standout player. Apart from that, I felt like I maybe could have been in the semis and final. Again, Roger was obviously the best player. The year before that I lost to El Aynaoui, I didn't break serve for a whole match, you know, five sets. That doesn't happen too often for me. There's been a few weird matches, I think, over the years. But I feel like this year I'm going to have a good crack at it.

Q. You talked about earlier how you've had stretches where you played like the No. 1 player in the world. Is this one of those stretches for you right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think definitely during the US hard court season there were matches there that I played as well as I've ever played. I haven't played a lot of tennis since then. I only played a Davis Cup tie against someone ranked five or 600 in the world, I think. Then played Tokyo, played a couple of matches in Paris. I haven't really played a lot of tennis, I think. But to come out here and know you have to play your best tennis straight-up against every opponent because you're playing the best guys in the world, I think I've handled that situation pretty well.

Q. That extraordinary point, golfers seem to remember every shot they ever hit. Tennis players, do you let that go into your memory book, that point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'll probably remember it, but, I don't know. I can't even remember a couple of shots I played in it right at the moment. I can obviously remember the last shot, that was about it.

Q. You and Roger and Roddick and Marat are in the top four at the end of the year. Is that the way you would have figured it when the year started? What does that do for the game, to have all the former No. 1s at the top like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there was probably always a chance, I think. I don't know right at the start of year. Obviously, guys like Andre and Ferrero and Moya, Coria, Nalbandian are probably the other guys I think who obviously had a chance, Henman. So, yeah, to actually say that, you know, you're going to be the four guys, I think it's great for tennis, though. Obviously, Marat had a fantastic start to the year and an unbelievable finish to the year. He's tough to beat on any surface as well. I think it's good going into 2005 to have us four guys at the top.

Q. Could you elaborate. Why is it great for tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think, you know, it's four guys from totally different countries. I think it's four guys that are obviously very young, who have won Grand Slams and have all been No. 1 in the world. I think that probably image-wise as well, we're all totally different characters.

Q. And how would you sort of define the way you guys all kind of interact and get along compared to other groups at the top in your time at the tour?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't been around that long.

Q. You've been around.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but I've only seen sort of Agassi, Sampras. I think we all get along pretty well. We all, I think, more so respect each other, you know, both on and off the court.

Q. Every player is impressed by Federer on court at the moment. Are you also impressed by the way he behaves off of the court? Can he give you some ideas, too?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about giving me ideas, you know, we're all different people. But he's a great bloke. I get along really well with Roger. He's very down to Earth. I think that's probably the best quality he has. He's very easy to get along with. I always say G'day to him, have a chat. He's a really nice guy.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


November 20, 2004, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Andy Roddick 6-3 6-2


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. I think it's fair to say that pretty much you played in the zone today. Only six unforced errors for the entire match. Do you feel that you are playing as well now as when you were dominating as World No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Like every press conference I get asked that, I keep saying there's days when I do and days when I don't. Today was definitely one that I played as well. You know, I was ready to go out there today. Obviously, it's an awkward situation, not quite knowing if we're going to be on on time or whatever. As soon as the bell rang, I was up for it and ready to play my best tennis. I felt like I was moving extremely well out there. I felt like I was able to dictate play. I was just seeing the ball well. It makes it a lot easier playing against a guy, if you're in a zone like that, playing such a big hitter as Andy.

Q. How much was working on his new tactic and attacking the volley part of your game plan? Andy this week has set about attacking the net more, coming in more, volleying more. You seemed to expose that every opportunity you got. How much was that part of your game plan?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much. You know, I just played my game and, you know, I think it matched up pretty well today. But, you know, he pulled the trigger a couple of times, I think more under pressure, desperate times more than anything. (Inaudible) second serve that I got a look at on breakpoint. He serve-volleyed. I made him come up with a half-volley (inaudible). Next couple times, when he was down Love-30, he came into the net a little bit in the next set, and I just made him play. If he's good enough, then he'll come up with volleying winners. But I feel like my passing shots can stand up with the best of the guys out there.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I can't remember. I was just trying to play.

Q. Did you get the sense you kind of broke his spirit a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I think he just hadn't had that many opportunities on my service games. Even through the first set it could have been 6-1. I had opportunities to break and to go up 3-1, and he came up with three or four aces in a row. You know, I just felt like I was really on his serve right from the start today. Every time we got into a baseline rally, I was dictating play. I felt like I was really working the ball around the court well. You know, just made it hard for him to dictate play, obviously, with his big forehand, once we got in a rally as well.

Q. You must be very pleased with the way your serve has held up all week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't probably make as many first serves today as I would have liked, but I think my second serve held up extremely well. I'm not sure how many double-faults, maybe one or something, double-faults. But apart from that, I think my second serve, for a guy that Andy wants to hit, run around, and crack big forehands, I can really only remember one that he was able to do and that was still a freak shot, what he did from there. I felt like that held up well. I didn't give him too many chances on my service games.

Q. So much has been said and written about possibly Roger and Andy being 1 and 2, and having another rivalry up there. Is this a kind of "remember me" week? "Don't forget I'm still a decent player as well"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I heard Cliff Drysdale talking, he sounded like there was only two players playing the game. I know there's been one stand-out, you know, for the last year and a half. But if you look at the points, I think there's a couple of us right up Andy's butt at the moment. There's definitely been one stand-out.

Q. What is it about this week that sort of motivates you so much? Clearly, your record in the Masters Cup has been terrific - two victories, now another final. Is it putting yourself up against the best, is that something that really gets you going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. Obviously, Sydney and Shanghai were different situations for me, knowing that No. 1 was on the line both years. This year I can probably come here and look at the big picture a little bit more and see how awesome it is for all eight guys to just get to the Masters Cup, and, you know, it's a very prestigious event. Whereas in the past, I probably focused more on the No. 1 than the actual Masters Cup. This year has been good in that sense. Obviously, I enjoy playing the best players in the world, though, too. You've got to be up for every match. It's very much like a Davis Cup tie. You don't get to play yourself into form too much out here. You've got to be ready to go right when the bell rings against every one of your opponents.

Q. If it's Roger in the final, on reflection after the group match you played here, is there one thing you take out of that match that would assist you in the final if you play him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure, but I won't tell you guys anyway (laughter). No, it's not going to be easy, you know. Obviously, Roger is playing extremely well. You know, as I said after my loss against him the other night, I had a couple of chances out there. Wasn't quite able to take them. Against especially Roger - the best players in the world, but especially Roger - you have to be able to take him right at the moment. I wasn't able to do that. I haven't been able to do that all year. So I'll just wait for my opportunities and sooner or later hopefully I'll take them.

Q. What if it's Marat getting through? What are your thoughts there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still not that much easier than if it was Roger, I think. Marat's obviously the form player over the last few months. I think he's looking extremely confident. In my mind he probably should have beaten Andy the other day. He looks ready at the moment, I think. And, yeah, it'll be a tough match playing Marat. Obviously, he played extremely well against me in Paris, in the quarters there a few weeks ago. But I felt like if I got that second set there where I had a couple of set points, the whole match could have changed. So, yeah, it's two totally different players. Roger is obviously a lot more crafty out there on the court, with an all-court game, whereas Marat is going to try and hit through you a lot more.

Q. You won the US Open, Pat Rafter won it twice. He used to say there was quite a big difference between these courts and the ones in Melbourne for the Australian Open.


Q. Yes, the court surface.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think there's a massive difference. I think the US Open is a lot quicker. Ball stays a lot lower, obviously. Yeah, I think it's a huge difference. Obviously, there was one year back in 2000 where the Australian Open court played a lot quicker than it has in the past. But the last few years it's played more closer to clay than the US Open court.

Q. So, obviously, you prefer this type of speed of court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think the US Open court is even quicker than this. This is medium to slow, I'd say, on the slower side. Whereas the US Open, that's medium to fast.

Q. Talking about court surfaces, will you be saying anything to Paul McNamee and Peter Bellinger about what you might like to see when you get to Melbourne?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know just yet. You know, I've got my thoughts (smiling).

Q. When you're finishing the last 20 points, I know you're not counting them and saying, "Oh, that's 14 straight," but is there a feeling that, "My God, I'm on a cloud"? That you're just playing not out of your mind because you're a good player, but you've never quite experienced anything like this against a good player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. For me, it was more just about -- you know, I was just taking it, as the saying goes, one point at a time. I was really just focusing. Got Love-15 on his serve, I was just focusing on getting to Love-30 and obviously getting two points closer to getting especially a double-break there at 4-2. I was really just taking it one point at a time, just trying to make him play. Obviously, you don't expect to win that many points in a row, especially on a guy like Andy's serve as well. He's obviously going to get a lot of cheap points off his serve.

Q. Was there any down period after the US Open final, two bagels and so on, being beaten pretty badly - although you didn't play badly...

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't -- well, I didn't have a lot of time to have a down period. You know, I went back and, you know, it wasn't the easiest Davis Cup tie to play purely because on paper we're such big favorites. But against Morocco, I knew what I had to go out there and do and get us back in the World Group for next year and I was able to do that. Davis Cup is not easy at any stage. It takes a lot of mental effort out of you. You know, after that I was able to have a couple weeks off and just play in Tokyo and Paris. I haven't really been thinking about tennis too much.

Q. Lleyton, (inaudible). Are you afraid maybe you can make some dents in the surface?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not hitting the ground, mate (smiling).

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


November 21, 2004, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 3-6 2-6


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. Almost the same question as Bud on the court today, what is most difficult when you play against him? What makes him so difficult to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, he just doesn't give you that many cheap points. You know, I think he served extremely well tonight. You know, he just mixes his serve up so well. He doesn't have as big a serve as a Roddick or, you know, those guys, Safin out there. But he's just got such good variety on his serve and he's able to work it around. He hits a lot of lines out there and he makes a high percentage of first serves. But he sets the point up so well on his serve, so you don't get that many opportunities -- I didn't have that many opportunities to get into his service games. But, you know, he's such an aggressive player that he's always going to get his opportunities on his opponent's service game. So, you know, that's when he really steps up there and plays his best tennis.

Q. Roger is playing at such a high level now. He hasn't lost to a Top 10 player all year. I mean, you were saying at the end there that you're going to be working extremely hard to get ready for the Australian Open, which is obviously the title that you probably want to win more than any other now. What do you think now you need to do in order to maybe come back with a game plan to beat Roger Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. I think, first of all, you know, Grand Slam, you've got to win seven matches. Going into the Australian Open, I won't be thinking about Roger that much. At the moment, you know, I'll either have to play him in a semi or a final, if I can get that far. But there's a hell of a lot of good players to get through to get to that stage. So tennis is a tough sport, it's not like boxing or something, where you know your opponent, who you're going to be challenging, and their strengths and weaknesses and you can work on that. You've got to work on your game. For a long time now, my game's matched up pretty well. Obviously, even this week, it's been good enough to beat nearly everyone but one guy. You know, the last two big tournaments, the US Open and here, the only guy I've run into who's been better has been Roger Federer. It's an awkward situation because you can't just go and work on your game, something to beat Roger, but then you'll screw up against someone in the first or second round. That's the great thing about tennis, though.

Q. You were talking about his serve and the qualities of it. How difficult is it actually to pick when you're out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's very tough. He's got great rhythm. He doesn't put a lot of effort into his serve. He's got a very easy motion out there. He can hit all the serves as well - you know, he hits a great kick serve, he hits a great slice serve out there, a good body serve. He can generate pace on his serve when he wants to. It's never going to be in the same range as Roddick, but, you know, he doesn't need to. Yeah, it's not the easiest serve to return out there.

Q. So what's the plan now? I mean, just sort of even tonight or the next couple days, what do you do?


Q. What are your plans? Do you relax, go out and see Houston? What do you do the next few days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know what I'll be doing.

Q. Museums?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Museums? I'm not really into museums right at the moment (smiling). Yeah, I don't know. I'm going back to Australia and I'll put the feet up for a bit and then start training pretty hard.

Q. Towards the end of the first set, in one game you attacked your return and came in behind the return. Is that something you can work on to beat him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll get a few points like that, but not all the time. You know, it's maybe another opportunity, like another dimension that you may need, you know, to pull that trigger on a big point maybe. I think Roddick tried that a bit at Wimbledon, especially had a bit of success early in the match, I think. But, yeah, Roger came up -- a couple of times I came in on him. One opportunity where I pushed, 40-30 game, and I pushed the ball up his line after a dropshot. You know, I thought it was a pretty good shot. He hit a half-volley backhand winner across court. Every other player in the world wouldn't make that shot, especially under the circumstances. So, you know, I think sometimes you can maybe put a little bit of pressure on him coming in, but I think a lot of times I came in tonight, he was still good enough to handle it.

Q. You set yourself up nicely for the Australian Open, the form that you've shown this season. You must be feeling confident in yourself, confident in your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel good at the moment. I feel really good. You know, I think I can take a lot of positives away not only from the whole year, but especially the last two big tournaments that I played - obviously, the US Open and here at the Masters Cup against the best players in the world. I feel like in all my matches, even the Moya match I dropped the first set, but I felt like I was the better player for the whole match. Right through the US Open, I felt I was the better player, didn't drop a set right through. It's only really been Roger that I've ended up losing to in the two finals. I could have had a lot better results, I think, in the other Slams if I didn't bump into Roger in the Round of 16s.

Q. Andre Agassi has said "Federer is a cut above the rest of us." Would you agree?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure at the moment. There's no doubt about that, you know, the last year and a half he's taken it to another level. You know, that's what drives especially I'm sure a guy like Andre, you know, and I know myself, and I'm sure Safin and Roddick and these guys as well. Because you want to keep -- we've been at the top for a period of time; Andre has obviously been there for an extremely long time. He still believes that he's good enough to stay up there and compete with the best guys in the world, and I think we all do. That's what drives you, the motivation to keep getting on the practice court and working on areas of your game.

Q. I've got to ask you about yesterday. You had a bit of an altercation with Andy. He said something to you, he was complaining about you saying, "C'mon" or something, and you said, "Have a crack at it, mate." What was going on there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Did I? I can't remember that.

Q. Apparently, it was picked up by the television.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah? Can't remember.

Q. Did Roger play any different tonight than he did in the US Open final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think he probably played better at the US Open final. You know, it was pretty hard to fault the way he played in the US Open, especially at the start of the match. I don't think I've ever seen a guy play that well in my life. So tonight he definitely had patches. But, yeah, as I've said, if you're holding your serve that convincingly all the time, you're always going to be able to go out there and play a few loose shots on your opponent's serve, but also step it up when you need to. He's that good a player that he can do that.

Q. Having played the likes of Agassis, Rafters, Samprases and company, where would you place Federer as far as your opponents are considered? Is he the best player that you've faced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think there's been Agassi on his day and Sampras on their day are pretty awesome players. I think Roger is definitely up there. It's hard to say because, you know, Andre plays -- Pete and Roger play a lot more similar than Andre to any of those two guys. Andre plays a totally different style of game where you can probably get a little more rhythm off him, whereas Pete and Roger play a different style of tennis, I guess. You know, they're able to hold serve a lot easier and then can really take advantage of their opponent's serves. But he's definitely up there with, you know, the two of those guys.

Q. When you found out it would be best-of-three instead of best-of-five, did you have any thoughts that that would favor you or him, or was it just irrelevant?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, we just got told probably 45 minutes before we went on, I think, half an hour, 45 minutes before we went on. At the end of the day we just said -- both of us said what was best for the tournament was what we're prepared to do. Obviously, the forecast for tomorrow, they told us that there might be a two-and-a-half-hour to three-hour break that they could see on the radars. They said tomorrow and Tuesday were meant to be pretty ordinary as well. So I don't think we had a great deal of choice.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 16, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. Roger was in just before. He nominated you as his greatest potential rival for this tournament. How do you take that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still two weeks away from possibly playing him. So right at the moment, you know, I'm not thinking about Roger too much. You know, if it comes to that opportunity, I know that I'll be playing for the title if I have to play him anyway, which would be a great, great thing for me, I think. But, you know, he's obviously going to be the favorite going in. But there's no point in me worrying about just Roger right at the moment. You know, I've got enough tough guys in my path. You know, I've just got to try to take it one match at a time and not look too far ahead into the tournament.

Q. He nominated you perhaps because he said that you're Australian, you're in form. Do you feel like you're in form going into the tournament, at your peak?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel like I'm hitting the ball well at the moment. Grand Slams are different, I think, to, you know, other tournaments that you play week in and week out. You know, it's a matter of trying to get through that first week and put yourself in a position to really have a crack at it in the second week. Right at the moment, I'm happy with where my game's at. Both physically and mentally I feel good, feel fresh coming into the tournament. But you've still got to go out there and get the job done. Yeah, under the circumstances, playing best-of-five sets, as well, which is a totally different thing to, you know, playing in Adelaide or Sydney the last two weeks.

Q. How much under pressure do you feel being Australian going into this tournament, compared to the other Slams?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much added pressure. You know, obviously there's a lot more talk probably about me I think, you know, in this tournament than anywhere else, the other three Slams. But, you know, I just try and prepare myself as well as possible for all four of the majors. I feel like, you know, all four of them, I have a good chance. Probably, you know, the French maybe not so much as the other three every time I go into the tournament. So I just try and prepare as well as possible and get myself in the right frame of mind, you know, going into the tournament. And then, you know, just try and take it one match at a time. None of them are easy, though. I think when I've won the US and Wimbledon, I've had probably two totally different preparations going into those two tournaments. You know, before Wimbledon I could hardly lose a match on grass. But before the US Open, before I won that, you know, I wasn't actually, you know, setting the world on fire before that. But you've got to go out there in Grand Slams and find a way to get through some of those tough matches early on.

Q. Do you think you've ever come into the Australian Open so well-prepared?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's been other years I think where I've been hitting the ball well and winning a lot of matches. All last year, though, I hit the ball extremely well on every surface, I think. And the guys, you know, took -- most tournaments that I played, if I didn't win the title, then I ended up losing to the winner pretty much nearly every week. You can take confidence away from that, I guess, that it's taken the best players to beat you week in and week out, and it was probably as consistent a year as I've ever had, even when I was No. 1. It's been a long period that I've been able to, you know, keep my game at a high level. So, you know, I take that confidence into it. And obviously the last, you know, all four majors last year, I lost to the eventual winner in all four of them. I wasn't that far away from having a pretty successful year last year.

Q. When it comes to the start of the tennis year, do you wipe the slate on what's happened here previously at the Australian Open, or do you feel there's things you have learned along the way about surviving that first week, and every year you come back you're a little bit closer to getting where you want to in this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, even though I haven't passed the Round of 16, I think, you know, I actually haven't played that badly. Last year it took -- you know, if I didn't play Roger, I could have made the semi or final, and played and ended up losing to the eventual champion. So I didn't think I was that far away from actually being the second or third best player in the tournament last year. Before that, I lost to El Aynaoui in a weird match where I actually didn't feel like I played that badly here. He had a day out that day, played incredible tennis. The year before that I had chickenpox. You know, I actually don't feel like I've prepared that badly coming into any of the Australian Open campaigns, especially the last few years when I've really been in the top, you know, two or three players in the world coming into this tournament. But, you know, this year I obviously feel pretty confident about where my game's been at. Apart from Roger, I feel like I've, you know, been as good as anyone else out there in the last year or so.

Q. Since you've been here, have you taken the opportunity to catch up with Paul McNamee at all?


Q. Do you plan to?


Q. Is that issue for you rested, like you're not -- still not an issue for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm here to play the tournament. Nothing's going to change. So, you know, for me it's all about focusing on, you know, what I got to go out there and do, you know, to beat my opponents. You know, I won't be worrying about whether it's the media or whoever, no outside influences. I'm just worried about -- you know, it takes seven -- I've got to look at seven opponents in the next two weeks. That's all I'm focusing on, one at a time.

Q. It's pretty well-documented coming in you haven't been happy with the surface as it stands. You wouldn't want that to happen again next year. Are you going to be addressing it at all at some stage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know right at the moment. It's not in my thoughts at all coming in through this tournament. The whole time I'll be having positive thoughts. And I feel like I'm good enough to go out there and do well on any surface right at the moment. It won't even be in the back of my mind right at the moment.

Q. The work you did in the off-season, was that focused on increased power?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. There was a lot of power and strength training. But it hasn't just been, you know, the off-season or the couple weeks that we had off after Houston. It's been a buildup of 12, 18 months Roger and I have really been working hard in the gym, training hard, trying to work on areas that are not only going to make me a better player for the Australian Open this year, but also in the years to come on every surface. I think that's really maybe starting to pay off the last six months or so. You know, I'm sure it helped during that whole US Open -- lead-up to the US Open this year or end of last year and through Houston where I played some of my best tennis.

Q. What constitutes success for you in the tournament? Is it only winning the tournament that makes it a successful tournament for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. You know, tennis is a game where there's only -- you know, there's two players out there. A lot depends on your opponent and how well they play, as well. All you can do is go out there and give your best, give a hundred percent. You know, hopefully everything goes right out there. But when you're playing the best players in the world, it's only one or two points sometimes in a match that can change the outcome. Sure, if you lose here at the Australian Open, you're going to be disappointed. But if you look back on it and you know you've done all the hard work leading into it, and you put everything on the line, which I plan to do every time I step out there in practice or matches, you know, then I can look back and have no regrets.

Q. Is it a case of perhaps trying to get to the quarters first, then anything on top of that is a bonus?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment I'm just trying to get to the second round, worry about Clement, then see who I come up against then. But, you know, I'm not even thinking about trying to get to the quarters or getting my best result at the Australian Open. You know, if I put myself in a position to be there late in the second week, then I've got as good a chance as anyone.

Q. Do you ever get sick of playing the same player it seems week in and week out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It happens a lot. I prefer to be me than him, though (smiling).

Q. In past years it's been you and Mark Philippoussis as Australian players. Do you feel a lot lonely being the only sort of realistic chance from an Australian point of view?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean, Todd Reid is not going to win it (smiling)?

Q. He could. He's 150.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, yeah, you know, obviously Mark, I think no matter what his ranking is, because of his firepower, the potential that he has, he's always going -- people are always going to have high expectations of him. And obviously him not being here this year, you know, a bit more focus will be on me. But every time I go out to play a Davis Cup match in Australia or wherever I am around the world, a lot of focus is on me anyway, going out there and playing for your nation. It's nothing that's, you know, going to worry me or, you know, affect my chances of doing well here.

Q. You say you don't worry about external influences. Sometimes in a two-week tournament, being an Australian player playing in the Australian Open, you might have reason to call on the local organizers whether it might be scheduling a match, whether it be a night match, that sort of thing.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't really matter, I don't think. You know, going out there at the end of the day, I think Channel 7 is going to have the most pull about when I play, purely for ratings, you know, what's going to help -- you know, what people want to see. Obviously I'm going to play a lot of night matches. I'm happy playing with that. That's the prime time to be playing, especially in your own home Grand Slam. It's always a great atmosphere playing at night. I plan on probably playing quite a few night matches the longer I keep going in the tournament. But, you know, it doesn't bother me whether I play, you know, late afternoon or night matches. You know, it doesn't bother me either way.

Q. You've actually done your part with raising money for the tsunami relief, public service announcements, the racquets. How does it affect the tour? Are guys talking about it? What is your feeling on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I haven't spoken to the other players really about it. But I know the ATP has done a lot of stuff to try and help, you know, the disaster that happened across Asia. I think especially a lot of the top players have tried to help out as much as possible as well. It's not an easy time to be trying to help out either for a lot of the top players that are coming down to try and concentrate on playing one of the four majors as well. But, you know, I know Roger and Andy and myself and a lot of the top guys are donating racquets, trying to raise as much money as possible. But, you know, as I said, it's not probably the best timing for us either, you know, the week or so before a Grand Slam starts.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 18, 2005, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Arnaud Clement 6-3 6-4 6-1


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. What did you think of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not too bad. It's always tough playing your first match at the Aussie Open I think any time. Great atmosphere out there, though, tonight. To come away with a straight-sets win against a tough opponent, I think he'd be awkward for most guys out there. He doesn't give you too many cheap points and he makes you work extremely hard. He makes you go out there and earn it. He's a name player, so it's a match you really have to get up for.

Q. Was that the maximum of your enthusiastic level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Wasn't that much, was it? Yeah, I don't know.

Q. What about tactically, you must have been happy from the word go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty good. Just sort of feeling each other out, I think, at the start more than anything. Felt like he served extremely well at the start. I just couldn't get into his service games. He was serving a lot harder and making a lot more first serves than he had in Adelaide and Sydney when I played him the LAST two times. It just took me a little while to get on his serve. Then he started out the 4-3 game with a double-fault and I really just tried to step on it from there and get up that break and try and get the momentum, which really turned around at the end of the first set, start of the second.

Q. Have you improved your own serve in the off-season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think -- I just tried -- I think I was serving extremely well, you know, at the end of last year. In the Masters Cup I felt like I served really well in most of my matches there. Even at the whole US Open Series leading into the US Open I served well. And it was more just trying to keep that going, I think, over the off-season more than actually working on anything in particular with my serve.

Q. Two hours on court tonight. Did it confirm your initial worries about the court or has your mind changed at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, it's pretty slow out there, I think. I think, you know, Wayne Arthurs summed it up pretty well earlier today.

Q. Your thoughts on James Blake?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a tough second-round match at any Slam I think, on any surface. He's very flashy and he's got a lot of firepower out there. So he's a lot better player than what his ranking is at the moment, coming back from injury and illness last year. It's not going to be an easy match at all. I've got to go out there and, you know, play my game and worry about my game more than anything, though. If I play well, then, you know, hopefully I'll be able to come away with the win.

Q. You seem more driven with each passing match in your career. Do you get more driven as your career goes along? And, if so, why is that or how is that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if I get more driven. You know, I think I'm, you know, motivated most of the time. And, you know, something that, you know, you sort of set yourself goals or standards, I guess, as your career goes on. You know, you try and work towards those things. You know, what motivates you is obviously for me Grand Slams and Davis Cup and playing in the big tournaments. You know, that's why you want to try and improve your game and prepare as well as possible, I think, for those tournaments. You know, I think that motivates me more than anything right at the moment.

Q. What about the pressure, how you handle the pressure concerning the expectations of a whole country here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think there's two of us, two men in the second round. I'm sure Nathan Healey and I will split it 50/50 (smiling).

Q. But was that the answer of the question?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, you know, I handle it pretty well, I think, most times I play in Australia.

Q. Do you think you could beat Roger Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not really worried about Roger Federer right at the moment.

Q. Last weekend in Sydney and now here I couldn't help but notice your voice sounds a bit husky. Do you mind if I ask whether that's okay, or is it just a cold?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's fine. I had a bit of a sore throat the start of Sydney. No, I feel fine. Just my voice. You know, all the screaming on court probably doesn't help that either.

Q. Have you been to the beauty bar here or do you think you want to go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To the what?

Q. There's a beauty bar here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I didn't know. I don't even know what that is, so... (laughing). Cheers.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 20, 2005, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - James Blake 4-6 7-6(8) 6-0 6-3


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Gave you a hell of a fright?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a dangerous player. He always is. Yeah, had not a lot to lose out there when he went out there. You know, he's got as good a forehand, you know, as anyone out there when it's on. You know, had opportunities. I had the first opportunities in both the first and second sets and wasn't able to get those breaks. You know, he played -- he came up with some big serves on all the breakpoint opportunities that I had. Just had to, you know, hang in there and wait for my opportunities. I felt like I was starting to get, throughout the second set, I was starting to get in most of his service games. I just had to take my chances when I got them.

Q. Come out of a match like that, almost one point away from being two sets to love down and get through.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good because I felt like fitness-wise I was always going to have the upper hand as well. So, yeah, it's always nice to get through. You just sort of look at it as, you know, it's a dangerous match. As I've said all the time, you can't take anyone lightly. But I think my first two opponents, Clement and also Blake now, they're two tough players. You look at the guys in the whole draw who aren't seeded, they're a couple of the toughest because they're big-match players. Clement has obviously made a Grand Slam final, been in the Top 10, 15 in the world. Blake has been in the Top 25 or so in the world and has beaten a lot of the best players. So it's never going to be easy.

Q. Tell us about the emotions out there with the roller coaster of that tiebreak.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a lot of momentum swings out there. Just kept trying to hang in there more than anything. You know, I don't know. You just give 100% and, you know, things fell my way towards the end of that tiebreaker. At the start of the tiebreaker he served extremely well. I just couldn't get into his serves at all. You know, as soon as I got some second serve opportunities, then I really capitalized on those late in the tiebreaker. Played a great point to end up winning it. It was a huge momentum swing.

Q. You bounced your way over to the chair. You were obviously pretty pumped up at that stage. Did you expect the third to go the way it did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that, but I felt pretty confident going in there after winning that second set. I just felt like there had been a huge momentum swing, and obviously after he served for the second set at 6-5 as well. You know, just felt like I was starting to get on top of him at that stage and just really had to put the foot down. I was able to do that at the start of the third set. He obviously went away a little bit towards the end of the third set once he was down a double break, but then I knew I had to regroup the start of the fourth because he was going to come out and try to jump me a little bit there. It was good I was able to get up an early break in the fourth as well.

Q. What did you think when he sort of mocked you there in that tiebreaker?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually didn't see it. A few people told me they'd seen it. I didn't see it.

Q. What do you think now that you've been told about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they can keep doing it if they want. I took it off of Wilander, so....

Q. Didn't see it like an insult or anything like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Seems like I'm sort of the only bloke doing it at the moment so, yeah -- yeah, doesn't bother me too much.

Q. How difficult or otherwise do you find it when you get here on a day, you know you're playing last in the day session, then today there was a long five-setter, there's a couple hours you have to fill in somehow. Take us through how you go. Do you find it a bit hard when you're waiting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a long day. You get here quarter past 11 or so, warm up at 12 o'clock, then sitting around until, I don't know what time we ended up getting out there, must have been close to 5 o'clock, just before 5 maybe. There's a lot of empty time there. You're just sitting around, listen to music. You know, watched a little bit of Nadal-Youzhny match just because it was starting to get a bit interesting there for a bit. That was pretty much it. Then just do the same routine, you know. Obviously thought that Venus was going to -- as soon as that match went on, I thought that would go over pretty quickly, obviously. Pretty much as soon as that men's match finished, then I started getting myself geared up, ready to go.

Q. The extra wait and the conditions when you got out there, the wind looked like it was gusting around. Overcast, a bit cool. Were there a few things that combined to make you feel flat at the start of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really flat. I didn't feel flat going out there. I felt ready to go right from the start. I felt like I was the one early on that had the opportunities. You know, I had the first breakpoint in the first set. It was weird, though, because, you know, you play that last match during the day, and the shadows start coming across the court as well. So it's a lot easier to play once you get that whole -- the shadows come, you know, the whole way across the court rather than half and half and you're serving either out of the sun into the shadow or vice versa. Yeah, it was definitely -- one end was a lot easier. You know, the end that we walk out on to court was a lot easier to play with the breeze today than the other end. Really felt like you were hitting uphill the other end, so...

Q. During the tiebreak, when you hit that lob over James, he stood at the net for a long time clapping. Did you see him there at all? Or had you already turned around to the cheer squad?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't see it. What point was that? I can't even remember.

Q. 7-all.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Okay, yeah. No, I can't even remember. No, didn't see it all.

Q. Little bit of animosity between you guys before. Could you describe the state of your relationship now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we get along well. Practiced together in the past. He's a pretty down-to-earth guy as well. He's very easy to get along with.

Q. Can you talk about next round.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Juan Ignacio Chela. Get ready for a long match, I'd say - about as long as his name (smiling). We've had tough matches in the past. We played twice last year, both on hard court. He won the first one in three sets in Indian Wells, and I won the next one in three sets in Long Island right before the US Open. So he's a tough competitor. He obviously beat Wayne Arthurs in the first round. But it's going to be a little bit different matchup, him playing Wayne compared to playing me. There's going to be a lot of long rallies. It's going to be a real battle out there. But if I stay mentally tough, you know, hopefully I can come through.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the cheer squad, the Fanatics, what they bring to a match and what they bring to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're awesome. Wazzo and the boys are fantastic. Something that I've grown up playing the Davis Cup with them there, you know, every time. You know, there's been a lot of away ties, I think, where if it wasn't for them, then I probably wouldn't have got over the line on a lot of occasions. They've really helped me out a lot. I try and help them out and get a good feeling here at the Australian Open as well by getting them some tickets. You know, I really enjoy their support. I think they get the crowd going, singing the National Anthem, stuff like that out there. I know I've got to be concentrating, but it's pretty funny.

Q. What do you say about Joachim Johansson's achievements last year?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He had a great last year. Obviously at the start of the year, he, you know, lost in qualifying in Adelaide. Then he's gone on to finish 11 or 12 in the world, so he's had an amazing year. He's always had the potential, though. He's got amazing firepower. It was pretty much just a matter of time before he matured as a player, I think. He's dangerous on all surfaces and, you know, as we saw at the US Open, beating Andy Roddick in five sets in a quarterfinal at the US Open is not an easy thing to do. You know, he'll be around for a while.

Q. Do you think you had any impact on him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably copying me with a few things, but I don't know (smiling).

Q. Did you see the Federer-Suzuki match last night?


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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 22, 2005, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Juan Ignasio Chela 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-4


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. The right kind of a workout for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Tough match. Makes a lot of balls. On a slow court, as well, it's hard to dictate play against a guy like that. Yeah, he's a lanky kind of guy out there, but he moves a lot better than I think people give him credit for. He makes a lot of balls back. Yeah, it's not easy, you know, in heavy conditions out there to penetrate and hit a lot of winners against him. I went out there with the mindset tonight to try and stay aggressive and try and keep that going throughout the whole match.

Q. That seemed to upset him a little bit. Can you tell us about your little exchange there in the fourth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it wasn't much. You know, I didn't have much to do in the exchange.

Q. What did he have to do? He looked pretty fired up.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know. I didn't really notice too much.

Q. Really?


Q. He didn't spit on you, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He spat in my direction.

Q. You didn't get wet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No (smiling).

Q. After that incident, you appeared to approach the chair umpire. What did you say then?


Q. Did you approach the umpire to comment on it?


Q. Did you see him after the match and have a word with him?


Q. Juan Ignacio Chela after the match.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He apologized at the net after the match, and I accepted his apology.

Q. As far as you're concerned, it's left on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate, you know, I don't think it's the right thing, no. But, yeah, it's unfortunate because we're having, you know, a good dogfight match out there. You know, we're both competitive blokes out there. We were going for it. Yeah, it's sad that something like that happens. But, you know, at the end of the day, you know, he apologized to me at the net when we shook hands. You know, I said, "Just forget about it, mate."

Q. So you won't be taking it any further than that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I won't be.

Q. You seem to have upped the ante on your aggression stakes in this tournament. Is that a deliberate thing to put some of your rivals off, or is that just you being you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know if I've upped the ante. Maybe you weren't in Houston or the US Open and other tournaments.

Q. Your thoughts on your next match, Nadal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, doesn't get any easier. Just another step up, I guess. Yeah, he was obviously a little bit fortunate a couple of days ago to get out of that match against Youzhny. But then tonight, from all accounts, you know, he's destroyed a guy that, you know, he probably should destroy, as well. It's going to be a tough match. He's a worthy opponent, playing Round of 16 in a Grand Slam, on any surface, I think. And he's hungry, he really is. You know, he loves going out there, playing big matches. That's something that I really respect in, you know, a young guy like him, you know, the way that he handles the situation. He played Roddick at the US Open in a night match, and I thought he handled himself really well in that situation. Davis Cup final in Spain, that's not an easy thing to do, to play in a final at such a young age. He handled it incredibly well. I don't think the situation is going to worry him too much. Plus, we also had a tough match here last year in the third round so...

Q. What is his potential? Is he going to be up there with you top guys pretty soon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. He's been -- at least last year, I think the year before, he might have been injured for the French Open or a lot of the clay court season. He's a lot better player than whatever his ranking is, to not be seeded. He's good on all surfaces. As I said, he's hungry, he's intense, he's competitive, he's all of that, and he's good for the game. I'll be very surprised if he didn't win the French Open one day.

Q. How important is it for a country to identify and develop tennis talent at an early age?

LLEYTON HEWITT: How important is it?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's very important. But, you know, in Australia, it's tough I think because we've got so many -- we're such a great sporting nation, and we've got so many options for kids that are talented, I guess, at a young age: Cricket, Australian Rules Football, swimming, we've got so many world champions that they can look up and go follow in that path. I think a lot of the kids that turn in are great AFL footballers, they would have been great tennis players, as well, if they'd gone in that direction. It's a little bit awkward. That's why you need guys to look up to. You know, at the moment I know we don't have the greatest depth going at the moment in Australian tennis on the men's side. We've got to try and build that up so we get the Juniors wanting to play, you know, tennis as well.

Q. How has the Australian Institute of Sport helped in developing athletes in and out of tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I can only speak for myself. I haven't had much to do with the Australian Institute of Sport for a few years now. I was always only a non-residential scholarship holder anyway. So I always preferred to stay at home and get my coaching from my private coach, Peter Smith, back in Adelaide, and still live with my family and be based in Adelaide. For me, obviously that support and the funding was huge. It was fantastic for me to get that overseas experience and travel on that. On the coaching side of it, I really can't comment.

Q. When you were in Miami last year, did you see any of the Nadal/Federer match?


Q. Does it concern you at all that that night he sort of rose to the occasion, floodlight match? Will you be wary of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I know Federer was sick that match, though. Yeah, it didn't surprise me that Nadal won that night purely because I knew Federer was sick going into it. Nadal, I've looked at a lot of Nadal's matches over the last couple years. The big matches don't worry him. He's that kind of kid. He's like me when I was 16, 17, playing Andre Agassi in front of your home crowd. That was awesome for me. Very similar to him. He didn't take a step back against Roddick at the US Open, maybe the second round they played. He took it to him. Obviously, Andy was too good and too powerful at the time. But, yeah, he doesn't step back for anyone.

Q. What about Roddick at the Davis Cup final? Did you see any of him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I only saw some highlights, a few points. Not enough. But to look at the result, you know, it speaks for itself. Andy's a tough player. I know clay is not his best surface. From what I saw, it was one of the slowest clay courts I've ever seen.

Q. A lot of Spaniards about, as well, 27,000 of them.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a good situation I think for him to play in. But still, to handle yourself in that way in a Davis Cup final is not easy. He's still very young.

Q. So how has his game changed since the first time you faced him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I faced him a year ago in the third round here. I don't know. I thought he played pretty well here a year ago against me. Even though I won in straight sets, we had an extremely tough match - and I'll expect no different in a couple days' time. He's obviously heavy from the baseline. He's got a great forehand. He moves extremely well for a big kid. Yeah, there's areas of his game, though, which I think I can exploit. You know, you've got to go out there and make it happen, though.

Q. Back to Chela. You say you don't want to take it any further. If the authorities want to take it further, do you think that would be the right thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's not good for the game, no. So, you know, I don't know. I think Santoro, maybe something happened a year ago with Santoro here. You hear about it the next day, then it sort of blows over I guess anyway. Yeah, I got no idea whether I'd get involved or asked about it anyway.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 24, 2005, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Rafael Nadal 7-5 3-6 1-6 7-6(3) 6-2


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.

Q. How is the injury?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's maintainable, I guess. You know, it's obviously something I did in Sydney last week, and I've just been, you know, getting treatment on it every day, working through it, just taking it one match at a time, just making sure that it's fine for that match and not looking too far ahead.

Q. Is it the same sort of injury or exactly the same injury you had at the US Open a couple years ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's a little bit different, I think. It's similar. Similar spot, but a little bit different.

Q. What is it, Lleyton? Is it a strain to the hip flexor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, somewhere around there. It's a strain. I think it's pretty deep, though.

Q. Do you feel it's any worse now than it was when you started your campaign? Do you kind of feel like it's maintaining some sort of status quo?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sort of just it's come and gone. There's been times the last couple of matches it's been pretty sore. Just had to put up with it.

Q. In those terms, where does this victory rank among the many you've had?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's up there for having to forget everything about my body out there, you know, and just tough it out more than anything, you know, refuse to give in again. You know, it's amazing how many matches I've been able to win throughout my career by, you know, giving a hundred percent out there, that never-say-die attitude. Yet again today, it gets me through another big match.

Q. Do you prefer Coria or Nalbandian?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Whoever. You know, it doesn't really bother me. Nalbandian is probably a little bit heavier than Coria. But Coria, you know, doesn't make a lot of mistakes and works the ball around extremely well. Whichever one, it's going to be an extremely tough match.

Q. There wasn't any stage tonight when you felt as though it was an unequal struggle, that perhaps you would have to say, "I can't carry on"? There was never a stage tonight where you felt you might have to stop?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. No. I just -- even if my leg would have fell off, I would have kept playing. So, you know, I don't think I'd ever, you know, going to forfeit out there - with this injury anyway.

Q. Given your stamina, how long can you play at an effective level in a given match, in terms of hours? Have you ever figured out what that would be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wouldn't have a clue. But, you know, you don't play too many matches over four hours, I don't think. I've played very few, I think. Only one or two probably. Yeah, you have ups and downs during a four-hour match anyway. It's not like you're at your peak or playing your best tennis right through. You know, that's important, but you've got to have, you know, your down moments at the right times, I guess, throughout a long match.

Q. Quarterfinal for the first time. Is that any consolation for the way you're feeling physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. Feels like I made the quarters of the French Open this year, so it's good (smiling).

Q. Just to achieve that here, everyone keeps saying "fourth round." Here you are in the last eight. It's a nice sensation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. I love the Australian Open. I love coming, playing here. You know, it's funny, I think this is like my ninth Australian Open now in a row. You know, when you first start, you know, qualified at 15 here in '97. Yeah, it's one of my favorite tournaments. To get through, you know, deep in the second week, it's a good feeling. But, you know, the job's not done yet. It's going to get harder and harder, you know, as the next few matches go on.

Q. When you say it's one of your favorite tournaments, which one is really your favorite tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably this one and Wimbledon, I think. They're my two favorites.

Q. When you're suffering a bit, and the crowd's going, "We're going to stay here for five sets in the sun till you get the job done," is that an inspiration?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is a little bit. I heard the boys up in the crowd saying that. A lot of people probably would have been laughing at them after the third set, 6-1. Yeah, I knew they were always going to be prepared to hang out there for a little bit longer, you know, want to support me, try and get me over the line. You know, they're fantastic, they really are.

Q. Do you think your behavior is different overseas when you play? How do you behave in the court, the c'mons, these kind of things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. No.

Q. Rafael was very attacking. What do you think made the difference in the end? Experience? Determination? Or both?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Yeah, he's got an amazing game, I think, especially on this court surface, it's very hard to hit the ball through him. You know, he moves extremely well for a big kid, as well.

Q. Sent everything back.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, that just tells you about the court pace, doesn't it? You know, he moves extremely well. He's got a massive forehand - as big as anyone out there. Yeah, he can use his forehand from each side. His backhand's definitely not a weakness, but it's just not quite as strong as his forehand out there. But, you know, he's going to be a tough player to play on any surface, but especially on clay. You know, there's no doubt about that.

Q. When did you sense the match turned back in your favor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, obviously when I was able to pull out of the -- you know, get the fourth set under my belt. You're back two sets all. You know, hopefully I could try and carry a little bit of momentum into the fifth set. But, yeah, I was never -- I don't think in my favor starting the fifth set. It was still going to be a dogfight out there. You know, getting up that early break, it was the first time that he actually probably played a bit of a slack game on his service game. I just kept making him play, put a lot of balls in the court in that first game in the fifth set. That's when I really sensed that, you know, I had the opportunity then. Put my foot down.

Q. Did you feed a bit off of him getting tired, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I did. That obviously made me feel a little bit better, too. You know, as sore as I was, I just, you know, tried to block it out. You know, had a look at him. His movement was nothing compared to the way he'd been moving for, you know, the first three sets or three and a half sets or so. So, you know, I tried to use that as much of a positive as I could out there.

Q. The crowd here doesn't like when they call you a foot-fault. What is your reaction inside?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't really like it either (smiling).

Q. Especially on match point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, when you hit it in. If you hit a fault anyway, it doesn't really matter. But when you hit it in. You just got to try to block it out, though.

Q. You mentioned the court surface a couple times tonight. When you're out there playing, is it actually something that you're thinking about from time to time during a match in terms of the court not being as you think they should be here at this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, at the end of the day, you know, I know a lot of people have written it up and whatever. But the Australian players aren't looking for an unfair advantage with the court surface at all. You know, we just don't feel like there should be a disadvantage to Australian players. At the moment, it is. It's as simple as that. It's not just me. You know, everyone keeps, you know, wanting to have a crack at me about it because I'm on the front foot. But I'm the one that's got to speak because I'm No. 3 in the world. Wayne Arthurs, Alicia Molik, Mark Philippoussis, Todd Woodbridge, Pat Rafter back years ago. Everyone, it doesn't suit Australian players. To make it slower - this is slower than it was last year. So, you know, for me it just doesn't make a lot of sense.

Q. Obviously, the court surface isn't going to change now.


Q. So what's the benefit for you keeping this issue in the forefront of your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not in my mind. Once I get out there, I'm professional enough to block everything out. You know, I think everyone knows how much -- yeah, how mentally tough I can be out on the court. You know, nothing off the court's ever going to affect me when I get out there. When I've got a job to do, I'm going to go out there and focus a hundred percent on that. You know, I'm not going to let it interfere me. But you've just got to look at my last two matches. If balls keep coming back from five meters behind the baseline, I think I've got a fair case.

Q. Still you were able to serve 15 or 16 aces. Sometimes if you hit the right corner, it's good. It's quick enough or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nadal was guessing a lot tonight - a lot. I was actually quite amazed at how often he guesses on the return of serve. So, you know, I don't think he's a great return of server because, you know, if you look at a guy like Agassi, it's totally different to Nadal. Whereas Nadal quite often tonight, he was just guessing one way or the other.

Q. Are you physically in pain and spent at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm all right. I'll go for a 10K run tonight. So I'll be sweet.

Q. Injury aside, how are your sort of physical reserves feeling given the amount of work you have to do at the tournament still?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, just try and -- basically every day I've just been trying to take one day at a time. You know, getting my body ready for that one match, then, you know, just trying to maintain it in the day off and do everything possible to keep my body ready for that next day. That's all I'm focusing on. I'm not looking towards a semi or a final at this point. You know, I've got a quarterfinal against a tough opponent, no matter who, it's Coria or Nalbandian. I'll just be trying to get my body in as good a shape as possible for that particular match. Hopefully I can get through that match. You know, hopefully I can build on something for the semi.

Q. You already talked a little bit about the similarities of Rafael and yourself at the age of 18. How were you actually approaching that kind of big matches when you were 18? How thrilling was it for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. It's obviously -- I think he handles it extremely well. I think while we're both able to succeed at a very young age, it's because, you know, we're hungry out there, we're competitive, we look forward to the big matches. I think, you know, he's very similar to the way I was when I was 15, 16, 17 years old. You know, he's not shy of going out there and putting his best foot forward every time he steps on the court. You know, he's got a great attitude, there's no doubt about that. Yeah, there's been a lot of matches over his time, whether he's on a big court or an outside court, where he shows his emotion, as well, and I think that's good for tennis. You know, what he's done at a very young age and the way he handled himself in the Davis Cup final, you know, it's a credit to himself.

Q. And the way he greeted you at the end there, as well, does that speak highly of him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a good kid, he really is. You know, we don't talk that much obviously. I don't know how good his English is. But we say hi to each other. You know, he's a nice guy, he really is. Yeah, he's got a big future in the game.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 26, 2005, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - David Nalbandian 6-3 6-2 1-6 3-6 10-8


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. What sort of treatment did you require after such a long battle like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: After the match?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, just stretching, a little bit of massage, you know, just to get the lactic acid out more than anything. You know, just ice, more recovery.

Q. How much petrol have you got in the tank?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably as much as my Ferrari at home. I'll keep going (smiling).

Q. Is it full?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I'll be sweet.

Q. You seemed determined to make the most of this event. If you're going to win it, you're going to win it the hard way.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I spent about 15 hours on court. I'm definitely giving the crowds their money's worth and getting the TV ratings up for Channel 7, doing all that. I'm doing all the right things for the tournament.

Q. Very strange match today, how it fluctuated. How did you read it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was weird. I played pretty faultless first two sets. You know, I spent a bit of energy, though, after being down a break early in the second set, trying to fight back and get up two sets to love. I just had a down period, you know, throughout the third set, then just couldn't really get it going in the fourth. His game picked up, he cut out a lot of his cheap errors. He started really moving the ball around well. His serve picked up a lot, too. Made a lot more first serves, didn't give me any opportunity on the second. You know, the final set then, you know, it was just a battle. You know, I had to hang out there. You know, it wasn't easy always being always down in the fifth set. Yeah, it was more a mental battle than anything, you know, serving to stay in the tournament there a couple of times. You know, when you're down, you're always down 4-3 or 5-4. Even though it was on serve, it still felt like a long way before you were actually going to be able to serve for the match. Yeah, couldn't have come quick enough. Yeah, I was going to be out there as long as it took, though.

Q. How much were you hampered by the injury tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The injury wasn't too bad tonight. Yeah, you know, it was just a little bit of stiffness out there more than anything. You know, more it was just I think my energy levels just dropped off after the second set when I went up two sets to love and I just wasn't quite able to maintain it. Then I just had to dig deep in the fifth set, and yet again the never-say-die attitude came out.

Q. When was the last time you were involved in a match with such consequence, so many overrules, bad calls, people changing their minds and all sorts of things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There was shit going on everywhere, wasn't there? Yeah, I don't know. It was weird, you know. A couple of times, you felt like you hit good shots. And, you know, nine times out of ten when you actually hit it off the bat, you've got a good feeling whether it's going to be in or not. Especially, you know, on the baseline when you're hitting. There was quite a few shots, I know for myself and I'm sure David had the same, that off the bat I felt they were good, and, you know, they got called out or overruled or corrections, late calls as well. But there's not a whole heap you can do. It's the same for both players. You know, I know you always say it probably evens out. Probably doesn't. But, you know, you've got to try and block it out as much as possible.

Q. But also at the same time keep your concentration as well as can you in the circumstances? Coming right down to the wire.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. In a match like that, when you have such a tough fifth set, no breaks of serve for so long in the fifth set then, you know, it's only going to be one or two points that can change an outcome. You don't want to get too flustered or worry about it too much because then, you know, it could change the whole momentum of the match.

Q. Do you ever surprise yourself at how well you go? You often talk about the never-say-die attitude. Do you ever walk off the court surprised by yourself, at how well you do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, not really. You know, I walk off the court. If I lose and I know I've given a hundred percent, there's not a whole heap I can do about it. You know, we're playing a sport that there's two guys out there, it's a two-horse race. You know, every time I step on the court, I give a hundred percent so I can at least walk off with my head held high. Even if I went down tonight, I gave everything I had out there. Yet again I was able to come through in the clutch situations, you know, such as the match against Nadal the other day. You know, Nalbandian has played enough big matches that I don't think there's a huge difference in experience between the two of us. We're the same age. I know obviously I've won probably a few more bigger matches than him. But he's a Top 10 player. He's a classy opponent. You know, I think it was -- yeah, in the end I just played some of the bigger points a little bit better.

Q. You talked about the fifth set being a mental battle. Do you think when it comes to that, you've got the mental edge over most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think I'm as mentally tough as anyone out there, yes. And I think I've won a lot of matches in the past because of that. But, you know, whether I'm the best at that, I don't know. I'm sure there's a few other guys. But, you know, I think mentally I go out there with, you know, a pretty good attitude. And, you know, it's won me a lot of tight matches in the past.

Q. As a boy, have you ever dreamt of being in the tournament the second week serving at 9-8 in front of 15,000 people?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never thought about it. Maybe a final instead of a quarterfinal. I'll take the quarterfinal (smiling). But, yeah, I don't know. You know, you always -- you know, you remember -- I remember Wilander playing, you know, I think it was 8-6 in the fifth against Cash here in the final the first year it was here at Melbourne Park. That's what you dream of, playing those matches. The atmosphere out there was electric once again. I've been fortunate that I've -- well, fortunate in some ways that I put myself in a position that we've had great atmosphere in nearly every one of my matches the last two weeks. Every match has been tight in situations during the match. Yeah, the crowd atmosphere out there's been fantastic.

Q. Roddick has played eight hours less than you. Would you concede he's got an advantage over you going into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's got an advantage he's in bed already tonight, too. Yeah, he's got an advantage in that point. But, you know, come Friday at 7:30, I'll be ready to go.

Q. Could it be an advantage to the fact you've been out there in tight matches, whereas he's sort of had this armchair ride through the semifinals, might not be match tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't think -- I don't think that's going to worry Andy too much. You know, with his game, I think he's played in enough big matches, enough tight matches, that I don't think it will really worry him. You know, I think you're always going to prefer to have spent less energy I guess out on the court leading into a semifinal when it gets really down to the business end of the tournament. Yeah, when you start playing, you know, it's the Top 4 players in the world playing the semifinals here now, as well. So, yeah, you're going to have to play your best tennis and you're going to have to have enough petrol in the tank, as well.

Q. When you played a match like this, you don't finish till midnight, come in here at half 1, at your hotel at half 2, how easy do you find it to chill out, calm down, get back into any kind of normal activity?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not easy to switch off, I guess, after you've been out there in such an atmosphere like that for, you know, four hours, just over four hours, and then to do your preparation and maintenance to get your body ready for the next match, as well. It's never easy. But I'm sure I'll have a good night's sleep eventually when I get to sleep. I think I deserve it tonight.

Q. Do you wind down with a few beers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, probably my coach and trainer and that will have a couple. But I'll wait till next week.

Q. How important is the support you're getting from the crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's awesome. You know, I love playing, you know, in Australia. I think my record in obviously Davis Cup matches in Australia, even the smaller tournaments, Adelaide and Sydney, I think speaks for itself in the past. And I've played big matches here in Melbourne. Yeah, the crowd's been awesome. I think Melbourne as a sporting crowd, as I said the other night, is second to none. The way they support any sporting event and the Australians, it's pretty amazing.

Q. What about the Argentinian players, a bit of bad blood out there tonight again with Nalbandian?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't notice anything.

Q. It seemed like you may have touched him, turned around, was a bit upset.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think he brought it on himself a little bit, that.

Q. How?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He walked a little -- he sort of propped and waited for a bit of a shoulder, I think.

Q. What about after the match, were there words exchanged?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. He said, "Well done." I said, "Good tournament." That was about it.

Q. Can you explain how come you (inaudible) about the surface hit the fastest serve of your life?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, technically the ball actually doesn't radar when it hits the court, does it? It goes through the air. So you tell me why that happens. It's got nothing to do with the court, mate. And if you knew anything about tennis, you'd realize that.

Q. Last time you played with Andy Roddick, you beat him badly. How are you going to approach this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that, sorry?

Q. Last time you played Roddick, you beat him big time. How are you going to approach this match? How are you going to prepare it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, I just prepare as any other match, I guess. But obviously that's in the back of my mind. I'm sure it's going to be in the back of his mind, as well, that, you know, I played a pretty good match against him in the Masters Cup in the semi there. It's not easy playing Andy in America. He loves the hype of playing in his home country. I played a pretty good match that time, so I'll be trying to emulate a very similar, you know, situation, I guess. But, you know, I'm sure he's going to learn a lot from that match and he's going to come out and want revenge.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 28, 2005, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Andy Roddick 3-6 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 6-1


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How important was the seventh game in the third set, do you think, when you finally started really nailing your returns, got into his head a little bit? Was that a crucial game for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was to, yeah, step it up. I felt like I had a lot of opportunities out there to break serve. He came up with some massive second serves, you know, 30-All, fif-30 points. You know, throughout the second set, I felt like I was the better player and had a lot more opportunities out there, and I just really couldn't get that breakthrough. You know, I played that second-set tiebreak especially well, extremely well. Got off to a good start and, you know, kept it going from there. I returned a lot better in that tiebreak. Yeah, but then the third-set tiebreak was pretty telling as well. He had a mini break there, and I was able to get that back. When we changed ends at 3-All, I was able to really turn it around from there.

Q. How is the hip?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the hip's good. Felt good out there tonight.

Q. Can you put into words the occasion here, hundredth year, your first final here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, this is -- it's awesome, it really is. You know, it's a little bit hard to believe right at the moment. But, you know, I know all the preparation that Rash and I have done for a long time to come into this tournament. I would have given anything to be in this position, to have an opportunity to play one match for the title here in Melbourne. Yeah, now part of that dream's come true. I get an opportunity Sunday night. You know, I know as well as anyone that I'm going to have to go out there and play one of my best matches to get up against Marat. But, you know, at least so far I haven't put too many feet wrong. I've put myself in a position to have a crack at it.

Q. Some players seem to buckle under the expectation. But you seem to be feeding off it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think expectation has ever worried me too much. You know, I got thrown into the spotlight at a pretty young age and I think I've been able to handle it pretty well. I've played enough big matches in, you know, Davis Cup ties for your country. I think probably the expectation doesn't come much bigger than that. You know, I think my Davis Cup record speaks for itself.

Q. You've made no bones about what you wanted to do, and you talked about this preparation. Does that date back to the moment you walked off court in the US Open final? Was it even before that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably even before that. Probably more so Wimbledon time, I think. Yeah, the US Open, you know, obviously I felt like I had a pretty good opportunity there. I was hitting the ball extremely well going into that tournament. I was on fire obviously with the results that I'd had in the North American swing. Yeah, but the Australian Open obviously meant, you know, a lot to me. I think everyone knows how much I love playing here in Melbourne. I think that's why, you know, Roger and I set our seeing on really trying to -- at The Masters Cup we didn't really focus much on the Masters Cup, it was more playing against those top guys and getting good preparation for a couple months' time down here in Melbourne. You know, so far so good.

Q. How do you go about preparing for a tournament that far out? Can you give us some idea of what format preparation has taken over six months? Continual training?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's training. The Masters Cup, I went there more to enjoy myself. You know, the other Masters Cups that I'd been to in Shanghai and Sydney, I was playing for that No. 1 position both times, whereas this year obviously Roger had it wrapped up. I was going there pretty much to enjoy the company of being there with the best players in the world and to enjoy that achievement that, you know, you put in for that whole year to make the Masters Cup. Didn't put a lot of pressure on myself going into it. And also, you know, just tried to focus on more getting my game right to a level that, you know, where you got to play your best tennis against the best players in the world day in, day out in Houston. And, you know, if you're going to win a Grand Slam a couple of months later, you've really got to focus on that, as well: beating the best players under pressure. I think that was good preparation and I played extremely well in Houston.

Q. You talked about the hard yards over Christmas. How unfestive was Christmas?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I only had a few days off after Houston really when I came back. You know, I'm taking a month off after this next match on Sunday. So I'm not playing until the Davis Cup in Sydney. I've known that the whole time. That's why I decided to do all my hard work leading into the Australian summer, and basically through December and through the hot period and get used to the conditions and everything, and get my body in as good a shape as possible, that I was going to give myself the best possible chance, knowing that I was going to have a rest straight afterwards. I tried to focus on getting through the four weeks of hard tournaments in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and then get my break afterwards.

Q. Did you actually work on Christmas Day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I went for a run, yeah.

Q. Having said that about Houston, how important psychologically do you think was the way you finished against Andy in that match, then subsequently today? Did it have any lasting effect or lingering effect, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure it was in the back of both our minds going into the match. You know, it was only a couple of months ago. But, yeah, he started a lot better today than he did in Houston. In Houston I pretty much had the run of the match from the word "go." Today he was obviously the better player throughout the first set. Even though, you know, at the end of the first set, I was starting to get -- you know, had a couple of 15-40s his last two service games. Wasn't able to quite get that break through. Then the match, I felt, started swinging my way, you know, with the momentum a little bit, you know, throughout the second set. But, yeah, I think it was definitely in both our minds probably going out there.

Q. He said at the end of the third set when he went off to change his clothes, the referee was almost tying one shoe on for him to try to get him back out on the court. Have you ever sat there that long waiting for an opponent to come out after a break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. That's one of the longest, yeah.

Q. Obviously the momentum is on your side. You have to start the fourth in the best way you possibly can.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's awkward. Obviously, I was serving first, as well. I don't even know how long I was sitting down. It must have been close to 10 minutes. Yeah, it's a long time just to be sitting down. You're not sure whether to stretch, get up. After you've had that excitement and the adrenaline buzz of playing a tiebreak third set, you go up two sets to one, then to switch it off for a 10-minute break, try and get your breath back and your thoughts back, you know, gather yourself again, it's not the easiest thing to do. You know, that's why I was happy to get that first game out of the way in the fourth set. Obviously, he was able to break straightaway.

Q. You observed Marat's journey throughout the tournament. Do you sense, as everybody else has here, there's a greater maturity, that his temperament is no longer as fragile as perhaps it might have been in previous years, he's actually maturing and he's going to be harder mentally to overcome?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's no doubt. I think he had an awesome end to last year, you know, the way that he played in Madrid and Paris. Even in the Masters Cup, he was close to beating Roger in the semi there, as well. Yeah, he's playing extremely well. Yeah, he loses it a bit out there now and then, screams at himself. But he's a guy, like myself, we can switch it on and off very quickly. You can get your mind back on the job and I don't think he loses concentration because of that. You know, that's part of Marat. That's why people like, you know, enjoy watching him play, as well.

Q. Did you watch the match last night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I only watched part of it.

Q. How much did you watch? Just a set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I think it finished too late for me to see it all. It was only about a few games here and there, I saw.

Q. The fact that Roger is not waiting for you in the final, how does that change your outlook coming into a match like today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It didn't change anything, today's match. You know, at the end of the day, I just had to try to put myself in a position to be there, you know, in the final. You know, I wasn't even looking to who I had to play if I got through. Today I was just worrying about Andy and working out ways of, you know, trying to get on top of him today. Obviously, now, you know, I'll start thinking about Marat.

Q. Can you just talk about your first memories of coming to Melbourne Park when you were a kid. How old were you, what you saw, the feeling it instilled in you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know, I must have been seven or eight, I reckon. Yeah, I remember watching, you know, some memories of, you know, going out to Court 1 out there and watching Lendl and Rochey train early mornings out there. You know, I used to go to a lot of Pat Cash's matches, Mats Wilander, they were my favorite players. I went out to a lot of their matches. Yeah, saw a lot of tennis here.

Q. Did you walk away really wanting to win the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I love this place. You know, every time I walked in here, you know, I wanted to come back in and watch more.

Q. Do you and Eddo ever talk?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot, no. I haven't spoken to him a lot.

Q. Doesn't offer you good luck or say "About time"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, nothing like that, no.

Q. Do you have recollections of Cash's final, second final here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The final here, against Wilander. I've watched it a bit since, as well. I've seen highlights since. Obviously, I remember that a bit better.

Q. Do you remember watching it as a kid?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I watched that one on TV. I was back at home then, yeah.

Q. Is it good news for you and all the players to know that Federer is beatable now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, I guess in some ways. You know, he's obviously had a tremendous run there, you know, not losing, not losing big matches either, to Top 10 players. But still it's taken a hell of a player to play a hell of a match to beat him. You know, I don't think he should be ashamed of that. Marat's a top player, and he's got a lot of firepower and a lot of weapons out there. You know, Federer still could have easily won the match in four sets and we all would have been saying, you know, that he'd done it pretty routine, and once again he's one of the great players. In the end, a couple of points here and there, the match is turned.

Q. Do you regret being the guy who could not beat Federer here in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, doesn't bother me.

Q. What's the most dangerous thing about Marat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, he's got all the shots. You know, he's got a massive serve, he's got a big forehand, backhand, he moves well for a big guy. Yeah, he's very talented. He's got everything. I just got to keep making him play out there.

Q. Footballers always talk about when they were kids, they used to dream about kicking the goal after the siren to win the Grand Final. When you were a kid, how did you win the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. I probably won it a few thousand times. Probably a lot of ways. I'd like just a nice little straight-sets win, but I don't know if I'll get that.

Q. The way Andy handled the match, the end of it in Houston, tonight how you got to him pretty fast, do you feel like he has maybe some more maturing to do in the way he handles his play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, in Houston I felt like I played a pretty faultless match the whole way around. He was just frustrated I think in Houston. To lose the last 20 points or whatever it was, with his kind of game, you know, it's pretty amazing. But here it's a little bit different situation. I felt like I just wore him down tonight more than anything. You know, he got off to a good start and I just had to weather the storm and hang with him and wait for my opportunities.

Q. How long did you run for on Christmas Day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure. Went for a while.

Q. What will you do tomorrow? What will your plans be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a 10K run, gym session. It's what footballers do, isn't it (smiling)?

Q. How will you relax?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I won't be watching the women's final, that's for sure.

Q. Why?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not into women's tennis any more (smiling).

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 30, 2005, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Marat Safin 6-1 3-6 4-6 4-6


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. How important was that foot fault call when you were leading 3-1, something like that, in the third set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think the actual foot fault was that important.

Q. That game.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That game was important, but the foot fault had nothing to do with it in the end because I ended up winning that point anyway. That game, though, you know, I was 30-Love up that game. So it was obviously a big difference, whether I was up 5-2, still a break. You know, that's the tougher end to play from as well. Always the breeze, and the court slopes a little bit that way. If I could have held that one and had an opportunity at 5-3 to try and serve out the third set then, you know, it was -- the momentum, you know, could have still been in my court. But to his credit, though, he definitely raised his game from that point on.

Q. Did you sense he was losing it a little bit mentally, throwing his racquet down the game before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit, I think. But, you know, he's a good enough player. As I said a couple of days ago, he doesn't let it affect him too much. I think, you know, through the whole tournament, he loses it now and then but it doesn't really worry his actual play. He really stepped it up from that point onwards. I didn't lose the match; he had to win it.

Q. He said to you at the end that you are a great fighter. Has he knocked that fighting spirit out of you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably a stupid question.

Q. What were you thinking in the first set? Did you think he was nervous or whatever? It was so totally your way.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I got out of the blocks and played well, but he hadn't hit his strides yet just either. He's a tough player to play. He can have service games where absolutely he hits three or four aces in a service game, and he comes out and lashes and puts you under pressure on a couple of your service games. He's an awesome player. You know, even when I was a set up, at no stage did I start thinking about, you know, this is just going to carry along, you know, the way it went at the start of the match. You know, and his game really picked up. Sort of got that momentum back the start of the third set. Once again, he stepped it again to another notch. As I said, I didn't feel like I played that badly out there, you know, he was just too good.

Q. Did you feel that you had him? You were running from here to Perth for some points and hitting winners, do you feel that threw him off for a long time at the end of the third set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the start of the third set I played a good game to break, to go up 2-Love. I ran down a lot of balls. You know, kept making him play, making him play those extra shots. You know, I definitely put myself in a position in the match there. But he stepped it up. Some of his hitting from the back of the court, you know, late in the third set and then the whole fourth set was, you know, pretty incredible. The amount of power he can generate from -- you know, whether it's a hard ball to him or a slower ball, you know, he's got amazing strength.

Q. There's an old adage in footy that when it comes to finals, you have to lose one to win one. Do you see tonight as a step forward to that ultimate goal or more just an opportunity lost?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if that's a good question to answer right at the moment. I'm sure in a couple of days I'll look back and think that, you know, it's been a great achievement. I'll have no regrets, and I've put absolutely everything into this tournament. You know, I'll be able to walk out with my head held high that I've given everything. But right at the moment, I'm human and I'm disappointed. You know, to come that close, train so hard to put yourself in a position, you know, it's hard to take at the moment. But, you know, my game's definitely better than where it was 18 months ago. You know what I mean? You know, making a US Open final, a Masters Cup final, and now an Australian Open final, I'm obviously doing something right. But would have been nice to get one of them.

Q. How is the pressure in your hometown final? We haven't had a winner since '76, first final since Cash. Did you feel the pressure more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't feel the pressure any more, I don't think. The whole tournament there's obviously been high expectations and every match has been like a final, I guess. You know, I think I've handled it bloody well. You know, it hasn't worried me the whole time. I've gone out there, done my thing. You know, as I said, I think I can walk away with my head held high knowing that -- You know, it's an awesome feeling to have the whole country behind you. There's no doubt about that. Obviously I'd like a few more Australian players to be in the second week of the tournament to take a little bit of that load. But the feeling that I've had and the adrenaline buzz I've had out on the court, even on my days off and that, the public's been incredible. You know, it has felt like a Davis Cup the last two weeks.

Q. When you were out on the court you said to them if it hadn't been for the crowd you don't think your body would have held up. If this hadn't been the Australian Open, when would it have all ended, do you think? When would your body have given up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I can't pinpoint an exact time. But the crowd, obviously, and the adrenaline and playing in your home Grand Slam, in a tournament that is my favorite tournament of the year, that all combines to going out there and pushing yourself, I think, just that little bit further. You know, I was obviously maybe two points away from losing to Nalbandian, I think, at some stages. Against Nadal, a tiebreak away from losing in the fourth set there. There's a lot of tough matches. Against Roddick, second- and third-set tiebreaks, that's when the crowd got into it. The adrenaline was there and I played some of my best tennis. It's hard to actually pinpoint a time that I might have lost, but I think it just drew the best out of me the last two weeks.

Q. What are your immediate plans, apart from rest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, rest. No, I'm not going to play till the Davis Cup. So that was always my plan and, you know, that's why I put in all the hard yards in, you know, December, knowing that I was -- had the last four weeks of tough competition - Adelaide, Sydney and then the Australian Open for two weeks. Just get my body through that and now I can have my sort of break for the next three or four weeks. I don't even know when I'll pick up a racquet.

Q. Did fatigue play any factor in tonight's match or was Safin just too good?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My legs were a little sore out there. But, you know, I've been playing through pain the last week or so. He's such a powerful guy out there. He can get you two, three meters behind the baseline and you're just scrambling to get stuff back as well. He doesn't make it easy for you when you're feeling a little bit tired as well out there. But, you know, he played an awesome match.

Q. Seemed a little bit quieter on court tonight. Any particular reason for that? I mean not as many clench-fisting c'mons.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's not a whole heap you can do when you're down a break in the fourth set and a guy is hitting three aces every service game.

Q. Do you think maybe you have to reconsider playing two events before this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's got nothing to do with that.

Q. This is your eleventh time. Was this the best he's played against you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Against Marat?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think it's the best he's played against me, no. I've played other matches against him where, you know, twice that I've lost to him in Paris indoors, probably a couple years ago in the finals, he was pretty awesome that day. And he always plays well, I think, indoors. Tonight, the first set, he didn't play his best tennis. In the end we started -- it was pretty good tennis out there, I think. He was probably more patchy tonight than, you know. When I played him in Paris he was awesome for three sets.

Q. Do you walk away thinking the surface beat you or Safin beat you? The controversy of the two weeks.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, Marat obviously beat me. He was too good.

Q. Just on the fatigue, did he having an extra day help or hurt at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think it would have worried him either way, his body. He's extremely fit as well. You know, he didn't quite play as much, you know, as many hours as me leading into, you know, the final. But, you know, he's a good athlete. I've never seen him lose a match because of fitness anyway. Even though he had a tough match against Federer, I expected him to bounce back as well.

Q. You didn't feel sufficiently disadvantaged by playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all.

Q. Can you talk about Marat as a person. You have connection over the years.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good guy. Yeah, I get along really well with him. He's very laid-back. He's a funny guy in the locker room. What you see is what you get, pretty much. What the public see, him on the court and, you know, even his speech and stuff like that, that's Marat in the locker room, you know. I think everyone gets along with him pretty well. But, yeah, he's a really nice guy.

Q. Have you done more damage to the hip by playing through, by playing on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My hip's actually not too bad. It's a lot of other parts of my body that's hurting more now.

Q. Greg Norman was in your camp tonight. Did you speak to him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I spoke to Greg before. I saw him quickly after the match. I haven't really spoken to him fully. But it was obviously great to have him here and, you know, he flew down for it. So, yeah, it means a lot. He's a good guy.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 15, 2005, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Michael Llodra 6-2 7-6(3)


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Most of us haven't seen you since Melbourne. How have you been? What have you been working on in that period of time? I know you played Davis Cup.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, didn't do a whole heap.

Q. No?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just tried to get my body right more than anything. I just took probably nearly three weeks off I reckon afterwards and slowly built it up in the gym, fitness work first before getting on the court. You know, obviously starting on grass, as well, for the Davis Cup tie in Sydney. That was always going to take, you know, a week and a half to get used to that, I guess. It was more just trying to get the motivation back as well, I guess. You know, two nights ago when I played here, it was totally different with, you know, not quite the same atmosphere and crowd that I was playing in front of throughout the Australian Open and in the Davis Cup tie, as well.

Q. You sort of kept yourself amused by doing other things, like getting engaged. But how bad was the kickback after the Aussie Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean? Disappointment?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, any time you lose a tournament, it's disappointing, especially to lose, you know -- or to come so close, to be in that final match. But, you know, I can look in the mirror and know I gave absolutely everything I had. So from that point of view, I got no regrets whatsoever. I know throughout December I trained as hard as I could ever train for it. You know, my body kept pulling out something special every match. You know, it took Marat to play a hell of a match and a hell of a few games there late in the third set to really turn the match on its head. From that standpoint, I wasn't that disappointed. It's only the fact that you realize that you got through six tough matches and you only had one to go more than anything.

Q. How beat up was the body after all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I couldn't walk for a few days.

Q. Seriously?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was struggling.

Q. There were a number of stories comparing you to Jimmy Connors in Australia. What do you make of that, comparing you as the next Jimmy Connors, as a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think ever since I came on tour, people have always, you know, said I'm similar to Connors in the way that I use the crowd to my advantage and get fired up on the court and play with a lot of emotion, you know, that never-say-die attitude that I guess Jimmy had. I don't know Jimmy that well anyway. But, you know, in that standpoint, if you're to be put in the same category as a guy like Jimmy Connors, you know, tennis-wise, you know, something to be pretty proud of, I think.

Q. How well do you know him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know him that well, yeah. Only from an outsider.

Q. I'm from Argentina. What do you think of the next match between Argentina and Australia for the Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It will be a tough match. Argentina's one of the strongest nations going around. But we look forward to the challenge. You know, Australia has a rich tradition in Davis Cup. Yeah, we played in Australia, as well. We'll be waiting for it in July.

Q. How do you think the players are doing right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're not doing too much wrong.

Q. Do you have a favorite player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: None of them are easy to play. You know, they're all top players. I think Coria on clay is as good as anyone going around. Gaudio, I get on probably best with Gaudio I think off the court. Nalbandian, he's just got a great game on any surface.

Q. Where is it going to be played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In Australia, but I'm not sure where yet.

Q. That's right in the middle of your winter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. We'll probably put a clay court down, real slow (smiling).

Q. Would it be a gamble to play on grass that time of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I'm pretty sure it will be happening.

Q. Has what happened to you in Melbourne intensified your desire to do better, to win things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know right at the moment. You know, I think you come from playing, you know, big matches day in, day out throughout those two weeks. The expectation and the pressure building up, you know, a month and a half or something leading into it. And then you come here and it just feels awfully relaxed. I don't know, it doesn't quite feel the same as playing in the Australian Open for me right at the moment.

Q. You're having to motivate yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a little bit more at the moment than I definitely have to in Australia. Yeah, obviously the adrenaline and motivation's there the whole time in Australia. I think, yeah, after having such a big run during January, you know, it's probably going to take a little bit to build it up again, I think.

Q. In the first set today you got up 40-15, then you won the set, then the second set in the tiebreaker you got up 6-3, closed it out. Are you pleased with the way you're playing on big points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the first set I wasn't -- you know, I was in total control so there wasn't a whole heap of pressure, you know, serving out the first set. The second set, obviously I played a good tiebreak. I got off to a good start and didn't really look back from there. You know, he's a flashy kind of player. He's awkward to play because you really don't know what's coming. It's more just trying to, yeah, get some rhythm out there, make him play a lot of balls. Yeah, he definitely picked up his game, though, in the second set.

Q. Conditions were far better today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, nice out there. Nearly perfect day to play tennis out there today.

Q. You only had 12 errors. That's a pretty commendable effort against him, isn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, he's the one trying to pull the trigger all the time, though. As I said, you know, he's a very flashy player. He comes up with some great winners and then he's going to make, you know, a lot of unforced errors as well. You just got to try to weather the storm out there against a guy like Llodra.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 16, 2005, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1 6-0


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Surprisingly easy for you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. You know, I played him once before on clay at the French Open. We had a tough four-set match. You know, I know he had a long match yesterday. But, you know, I just tried to get off to a good start out there today and tried to dictate play. Yeah, we had a few tight games especially early on in the match that could have gone either way. You know, I just seemed to play the big points better than him early.

Q. Do you pay attention to scores? Do you know if someone had a tough match the night before, does that change your strategy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Especially a best-of-three set match. It shouldn't really worry you. All these guys, he's an extremely fit player anyway. He's been brought up on clay. He won the Davis Cup tie for them last week in France. You know, he's a gutsy competitor. He just made a lot of errors out there today. I felt like I was dictating play well from the back of the court.

Q. Any thoughts about the next match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It gets tougher every match. That one's going to be tough no matter who it's against, Agassi or Coria. Both great players from the baseline, but different kind of baseline players. You know, whoever comes through that match is obviously hitting the ball well to beat the other guy. It's not going to be an easy match-up.

Q. Will you go from here and watch any of that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My coach will watch most of it. I won't. I've played against both of them enough times and seen them play enough that, you know, you know what to expect most of the time. But I don't really have to worry about it.

Q. Are matches against Andre still kind of special for you or is it just another match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I probably look at it as another match more than anything. You know you're playing one of the greats down the other end. But, you know, the end of day, it's still just another match and you got to go out there and focus on your game more than anything. You know going out there to play Andre, it's going to be a battle every time you step out on the court. I know that.

Q. A few years since you and Darren parted company, but when you play Andre, do you sense Killer's input when you're lining up against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Me personally, I don't notice a huge difference in Andre's game, you know, from when he was with Gilbert. I played him here back in 2000, 2001 maybe, in the semis, I think. I lost to him in three sets there. Andre's just been such a great ball striker. He knows what he's doing pretty much out there on the court. You know, there could be little stuff, but it's not like Darren can change Andre to become a serve-volleyer like he played. You know, there may be times during a match that we don't realize that he might have helped Andre in certain areas, and I'm sure he has. But, you know, overall Andre's just a great player with his own game. I don't think he worries too much -- he really doesn't have to change a whole heap.

Q. When you get to the very top of the game like yourself or Andre or Roger, how much of an input does the coach have in the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, when you get out on the court, there's not a whole heap the coach can do. You're out there. You're doing it. But, you know, obviously off the court, little areas, probably more so in practice weeks and stuff like that, that is probably the most important for me I think. But, you know, a coach on the tour I think has to be a good mate, as well, not just a tennis coach purely because you're so one-on-one. It's not like a football team where they're looking after 40-odd guys. It's one-on-one. You've got to travel and be able to put up with that person's company the whole time.

Q. What is your take on Roger and Rochey?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't actually know what the plan is. I don't know.

Q. It's different, isn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is different. If Rochey is not going to see that much of Roger and then just come in for the Slams, you know, that's different. Whether he feels more comfortable having a guy like Tony Roche, who he respects so much, in the stands, you know, helping him out on his side, if that's going to make him play better, then so be it. You know, it's definitely different.

Q. If you could go back in tennis history and watch one player play a match in terms of it being lively and entertaining, which player would you pick to see?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I've got no idea. I'd like to see some of the older matches with Laver and Rosewall and those kind of guys purely because I haven't seen that much of their tennis. But lively-wise, entertaining-wise, it's probably more so the guys like Agassi and Connors and McEnroe and these guys. But the generation's change, obviously.

Q. Have you taken note on what Kiefer has done in this tournament? He's taken apart two good players in Nalbandian and Gaudio?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, but, no, he's a good player. He fell off the planet there for a year or two. No one really knew why. But he's a good player. I've always had a lot of respect for his game. He's always a dangerous player I think for any top guy to play against.

Q. Are you surprised the ease he's had?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nalbandian, I wouldn't, I didn't know he played Gaudio. I wasn't paying a lot of attention to him.

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post #165 of 372 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 19, 2005, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Andy Roddick 7-6(2) 6-7(3) 7-6(4)


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Open the floor for questions.

Q. It comes down to the third set breaker, then halfway through you really kind of stepped it up and took it from him. Talk about that, and the match overall.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Any time you play a third-set tiebreaker, it's a lucky door prize a little bit. You have to go out there, try to get off to a pretty good start. We were both able to do that. I just felt like I dictated play, you know, when I needed to; I hustled when I needed to; I got those extra balls back when I needed to. You know, under the circumstances I played a pretty good tiebreak, I think. The match as it was, he served extremely well. Had a lot of opportunities to break out there tonight. I think the first four or five early in the third set, he hit aces on every one of them. He really didn't give me too many opportunities on second serves. I don't know what the stats were, but I felt like on most of his second serves, I was, you know, winning the majority of the points out there tonight. So, you know, I was waiting for my opportunities on the big points, and to his credit he came up with some big serves.

Q. He also talked about your general improvement over all, the last couple years. When you slipped a little bit, you went back and worked on your game. Your forehand, serve and volley are better. Do you feel that way, that you're an improved player from two years ago to now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think I'm definitely playing a lot better. I think the game's probably changed. You know, it always changes. You know, I think especially Roger has taken it to a new level. That's the motivation to try to stay up in the top few guys in the world. You know, I felt like with Roger Rasheed and myself, we worked extremely hard, you know, especially probably the end of - what is it now - 2003, I think. Yeah, 2003. I've worked extremely hard to try to get back in 2004. I was able to do that. I had probably as consistent a year as I've ever had last year. You know, I'm happy with where my game's at right at the moment. Taking the best players to play their best tennis to beat me, I think, nearly every week now. That's all I can really put on the table.

Q. You played well in a lot of big events, reached the finals. How important is it for you to get over the top and get this title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's always nice to win titles. But, yeah, I'd swap it for the Aussie Open (smiling). Yeah, it's big matches. The guys that I've lost to in the last few finals, obviously Roger has been in most of them, and Marat in the Aussie Open, you know, they've had to play some scary tennis to beat me. If I go out there and put myself on the line every time, then your chances are going to come. But, you know, I can go out there, in all those matches I've played good tennis. It's not like I've played poorly. It's taken a hell of a player to beat me every time.

Q. You're a great competitor, yet you lose a match like the Australian Open. Seems to be a heartbreaker. What was it like a couple days after that? Did you really feel dropped in a hole or did you keep rolling along, get back to practice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just had no adrenaline left in my body basically. I just felt like I'd hit a wall. Yeah, it happens after a lot of big tournaments for me, or Davis Cup ties, stuff like that, where it takes a lot out of me both mentally and physically. That was probably -- my body's probably never been through something like that, I don't think, those four weeks. It was more, you know, I didn't really want to see a tennis court for a few weeks, and I didn't need to, which was good. So, you know, I basically just had to wait until my body recovered. And also, you know, my mind, you know, I had that motivation or that hunger back to want to get out there and practice. It was good I had a Davis Cup tie as my first comeback match after the Australian Open, because it really gave me something to focus on, you know, playing for my nation.

Q. Did the match haunt you at all? Did you dwell on the match at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no. There wasn't a whole heap I could do. From 4-1 up in the third set, you know, I know Federer played extremely well all of last year, but Marat's played some scary tennis, he really did. The break at 4-2 to break me back to go to 4-3 was a really long game in the third set. Some of the backhands he hit, it was incredible. You know, I got no regrets, that it is for sure.

Q. Talk about Roger a little more. Last year, played him tough a few times. The last few times, he's gotten you pretty good. What type of tennis are you going to have to bring to the court? Are you going to have to switch up a little bit? Is he going to have to be down a little bit? I'm sure you talked about it with Roger Rasheed a number of times, how you're going to get over Roger Federer if he's playing at his top level.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's always going to be a tough player to beat. His serve, he sets up the points so well for his game. He gets a high percentage of first serves in and sets it up so he can dictate play with his forehand. He's a great all-court player. He's moving exceptionally well the last year and a half, as well as anyone, I think. Yeah, you got to try to dictate play as much as possible. Obviously his backhand, you know, is his weaker wing. But then again, that's improved out of sight in the last two years, as well. I've got to go out there and play my game and try and make him play a lot of balls. But, you know, it's never going to be easy against Rog.

Q. Early in this tournament there was commotion about your off-court business. How does that impact your tennis, or does it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Does it look like it does (smiling)?

Q. I don't know.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There you go.

Q. Does it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'm in the final.

Q. I will be the village idiot. Did you talk to Kim at all? Did you say hi to Kim here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I spoke to her.

Q. How was that? Okay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was fine.

Q. Can you talk about the format, best-of-five, after playing best-of-three the whole way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a bit different. Yeah, it's a different from any time I've made the finals here in the past, it's always been best-of-three. I'm not sure why it's changed this year.

Q. Do you think that's right, that it should be changed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure. I know in Miami they've always did it, always best-of-five. I assume it's still best-of-five there. You know, Cincinnati I think used to be, now it's changed back to best-of-three. You know, Montreal, Toronto last year was best-of-three as well. It's probably better to try to keep it all one thing I think for all, but then you have the Paris Indoors, that's best-of-five. Madrid, I don't know what that is. I guess best-of-five. Yeah, it would be nice I think to have the same thing for all of them. You know, it doesn't really worry me one way or the other too much.

Q. Concerned about how lively your legs will be tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Hopefully they'll be fine. See what happens.

Q. There's consistency and there's consistency. Guys like Rogers and Andys of this world, sometime go for a bonehead shot. You never seem to make a bad decision on the tennis court.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that (smiling). Oh, I make a few. Maybe they're just not quite as obvious as those guys'. But, yeah.

Q. Is that a function of concentration or discipline? Was that something drilled into you, or it's there innately and you follow it with your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. It's probably part of my game, I think, and just my mental outlook on not only tennis but sport, playing the percentages probably more than anything. It's something that I think I've always done, you know, no matter when I first picked up a racquet and now that I'm playing on the tour.

Q. Is it something you pride yourself on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'd like to think that I'm -- probably, you know, mentally know the game as well as anyone going out there. You know, in big situations, tough situations, I think mentally I don't choose a wrong option that many times.

Q. Could you remember the last time you "beat yourself" out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't remember the last time. I'm sure there's a few, but...

Q. We can't either.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure there's a few.

Q. That's something you don't want to remember?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, probably 'raced it straightaway.

Q. Can you talk about Roger's (Rasheed) impact? He seems to be able to think outside the box, has an athletic background.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he does -- he's been awesome not only with me on-court, but off-court thinking, as well, for me. Physically, you know, we come both from an Australian Rules football background. That's a lot more of the training we do rather than, you know, tennis training - or the typical tennis training, I guess, which I prefer a lot more. I think it suits me a lot more. But mindset-wise he's put a lot of hours into watching a lot of the game I think over the last year and a half. He knows it as well as anyone.

Q. What are some of the things that Australian Rules does that are a little different from tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We just pound weights (smiling).

Q. You speak about erasing things in your mind.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was joking.

Q. Is that one of the keys to your success; you hit a bad shot, you forget about it, don't remember it after the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sometimes I guess. But, you know, there's always times when you're out there and you realize you've hit a bad shot, sometimes you want to keep it in your mind because next time you get that opportunity, you won't do it again. So it works both ways, I guess.

Q. How much difference does it make in your everyday life that you're back to where you were a couple years ago? Are you overall happier? Does it make life easier for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Not really. You know, tennis-wise it doesn't change a whole heap, I don't think, in my private life and off the court too much. Sure, you're happier when you win a few more matches than when you lose them. But, yeah, even when my ranking dropped to 17, a lot of people were writing about how bad I was playing. I only played probably half as many tournaments as anyone else, and still was able to beat Federer, Ferrero in Davis Cup matches at the end of the year. You know, I wasn't struggling that much.

Q. You were talking about playing the percentages, how you approach sport. When you play someone like Roger, do you have to change your thinking a little bit because the percentages, take a few more risks there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you probably do a little bit more than probably other guys, for sure, only because Roger's a stand-out player. Yeah, he takes his opportunities when he gets them. He can dictate play as well as anyone, but he can also defend as well as anyone out there, as well. You probably have to try and dictate play a little bit more against a guy like Rog.

Q. When you're on court playing him, are you pushing against your own psyche, saying you have to dictate more, you can't play a normal style?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. It's more the spur of the moment a little bit once you're out there, how the match is panning out, you know, the situation, playing the big points. A lot of is really the heat of the moment. If you get a breakpoint, do you sit back and play the percentages a bit more or do you stand up and go for it? You can only tell that once you're out there. It's very hard to say what you've got to do tomorrow in that situation.

Q. You played Pete Sampras here in some big matches. You prevailed. What are the similarities in the game between Pete and Roger that you see?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, they're both awesome athletes, I think both of them. You know, both got great serves. Pete was probably a little bit bigger serve. But Roger's is more placement for his game. Different kind of forehands from the back of the court. Roger's has got a lot more spin, probably a lot heavier, whereas Pete's is a more flat kind of forehand. Slice backhand, match and match. Topspin backhand, I'd probably give the edge to Federer. But both great movers around the court. I think both of them didn't get enough credit for their movement.

Q. Andy thinks that he has improved even since Australia. You played him in the semis. Could you see that tonight? Were there obvious improvements he made?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know, for three sets in Australia, he played pretty well. It was only in the fourth set that he sort of fell away a bit. Up till then, he served big. Couple of tiebreaks in the second and third set that, you know, he was going for ridiculous second serves. You know, I was just playing the percentages once again, waiting for it to fall off. Here tonight, yeah, he definitely served his first serve a lot better. But, then again, yeah, it's hard to say because his strength is still his serve and his big forehand. But then again, he didn't break my serve once. He broke it once for the whole match, for three long sets. Depends which area you're pinpointing.

Q. Are you baiting him to come in more or is he coming in more to net? Are you comfortable when he's charging the net?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think he's definitely coming in more off his own terms, a lot more, what I've seen, probably in the last couple months.

Q. You're still not having that many problems passing if you get a good look at the ball?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Now and then. He's a big guy. He came up with some good volleys tonight. He's definitely not a Roger Federer or Pete Sampras or Pat Rafter coming in.

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