Lleyton's Press Conference - Page 12 - MensTennisForums.com
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 20, 2005, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 2-6 4-6 4-6


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

Q. Bad luck. At least you won the point of the match. Can you talk about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually can't remember.

Q. Do you remember the rally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I remember how it finished.

Q. Third game, second set. You were rolling on the carpet.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I remember, you know, we both should have won it a few times, I think. It kept sort of -- the lobs just didn't quite go over his head far enough. He kept always getting a swing on his forehand. Yeah, at least I won something.

Q. When was the last time you received a minute-long-standing ovation? Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe after you win a Davis Cup, Davis Cup final or something, in five sets. That's about it. Not normally after a point. Especially when neither of you are from America either.

Q. When you see him play the way he did today, do you walk off the court and just say too good?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he played well. That's sort of the standard that he's put himself week in and week out now. It's not like he's doing something freaky out of the blue. He really is playing like that pretty much every week now. So that's why you've got to try and keep working on things to take your game to the next level to be able to compete against him. Because if you want to be the best player in the world, you've got to look at where the benchmark is. And he's set it pretty high right at the moment.

Q. At least you've overtaken Marat in the race.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Have I? I don't know (smiling).

Q. Some consolation.


Q. So what do you do? You look at the kind of game he has, what does a Lleyton Hewitt do when he goes back to the drawing board?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I think there's a few areas I see. I didn't move great today, but I actually felt -- ball-striking, I felt like I hit the ball pretty well. Yeah, Roger's a tough guy. I felt like I went -- you know, probably went for a little bit more than you probably need to, as well. But against a guy like Roger, as I spoke about last night, his moving is superior. I don't think people give him enough credit for his moving around the court. He makes you go for that little bit extra every time because he really does cut off the angles extremely well, as well. You know, it's a tough decision to make, how much to go for it and how much to pull back sometimes out there.

Q. Did you hurt your foot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I hurt my toes last night.

Q. Playing Andy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: (Nodding head.)

Q. You said you weren't moving well today. Was that a result of last night?


Q. How much do you think it was a factor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a factor to me. I probably wouldn't have won anyway, but, you know, it was definite -- I wasn't moving a hundred percent.

Q. Did you treat it last night with ice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah, I did.

Q. How did it feel this morning when you woke up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty ordinary (smiling).

Q. We're talking about one of the top events in the world here. You had to play a long semifinal, then back to back a best-of-five set final. Do you think that's right, that a Masters Series should have a situation like that, where you have to play a semi, come back in less than 24 hours, play a best-of-five final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a hard thing to do. I can understand, when you only have -- they had the women's doubles final afterwards, not a women's final as well on the same day, then I can understand, you know, the positive of having a five-set men's final purely because it gives the crowd more value and TV time and stuff. I think we have to try and make a decision. I don't know what changed this year compared to the last years at this particular event. I know Miami's always had a five-set final there. But there's no doubt that if you play the last match of the day, the day before, you have a long match, you're definitely going to be a little bit more disadvantaged. But then again, it would be better if we had one thing for the whole way through all the Masters Series events, I think, and we stuck to one particular rule.

Q. Do you think with 24 hours extra, you might have been 100% fit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about with this, but yeah.

Q. More chance of being --

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, there's no doubt. The more time, you're always going to be better. But, then again, you can't just have a whole day off of Sunday, nothing on Sunday.

Q. Men's semifinal on Friday, men's final on a Sunday.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, maybe you can do that. Yeah. If they're going to decide to play the women's final the day before the men's final, then maybe that's an idea.

Q. Because this is an important issue, can you quantify what you would say percentage-wise, how close you were to being a hundred percent because of the fact you had to bounce back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For tomorrow, if I was playing tomorrow?

Q. In light of the fact that you had to bounce back so quickly, what percentage of your hundred percent game were you at today?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Actually, physically I felt fine. It was just my toe was struggling today. Apart from that, my body bounced back. That was the frustrating thing.

Q. You talked about Safin's deadly backhand. Obviously, he prevailed in Australian Open. What is the weakest point that you might see in Federer's game, if there is any?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, his backhand's definitely weaker than his forehand. There's no doubt about that. It's a lot better backhand than most guys around, though. When you have to look at the whole picture of his whole game, his backhand is definitely weaker than his forehand. He's got a great slice backhand, as well. If there's one shot that's going to go off, nine times out of ten, it's going to be the backhand instead of the forehand.

Q. When you were No. 1 for two years, you played at a high level. Now Roger is playing at that high level. Can you talk how tough it is to maintain that level? How long do you see Roger being able to maintain this level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's tough to play week in and week out. He's done it as well as anyone I've seen in the past. He's purely just playing on confidence I think a lot at the moment, as well. He goes out there and he believes on the big points and the big shots are going to come off for him. The last year and a half, they have. He knows when to pull the trigger. He's sort of playing on autopilot a lot out there, I think. He just has a lot of self-belief in himself under the big situations right at the moment.

Q. How long do you think he can maintain this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows. But right at the moment, he's handling it all pretty well.

Q. Do you think he has a chance to maintain it as long as Pete did for six years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He could. A lot of things change, as well. Whether it's niggling injuries, there could be a lot of variables pop into the situation. Some young guy might pop out. You don't know. Right at the moment, he's doing as well as he can.

Q. Given the fact that Roger has come on to play so strongly, how do you feel you're playing compared to the best you ever played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm playing pretty good at the moment, I think. The Australian summer, I think I played pretty well in most of the big matches, even the Masters Cup at the end of the year and US Open. I'm probably playing as well as I've ever played, even when I was No. 1. But the game keeps getting better and better. It just jumps. And Roger's taken it to another level. Even though I'm No. 2 in the world, not No. 1, doesn't mean I'm playing worse than when I was No. 1. But you've got to keep working on areas of your game and try and become a better player. That's where you look at a guy like Agassi, to see that he's been in the Top 5, Top 10 for so many years, when the game keeps getting better and better. He just seems to drag something extra out of his body every time, which is pretty amazing to do it for that long.

Q. Despite the loss, what positives do you take away today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Today, not a whole heap. The week's been good, though. I always like coming here and playing in this event. Yeah, it's been a good week. Obviously getting to another final, beating Andy in the semis, after only just overtaking him in the last, I don't know, two or three months for the No. 2 position. Consolidating that spot, you know, it's something I can take away this week.

Q. Not a bad payday either?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not bad. A bit stronger than the Aussie dollar (smiling).

Q. Will you have time to get the toes right before Miami?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Got to have a look at it probably this afternoon. We'll see what happens.

Q. At what point in the match did you hurt it yesterday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: About halfway through the third set.

Q. Does that mean there's a chance you will not play in Miami?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, there's a chance.

Q. What have you actually done to it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not exactly sure at the moment.

Q. Battered and bruised?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's all inflamed. Nail is going left, right and center. It's happened a fair few times in the past, but this is probably as bad as it's been. Did a lot of running last night against Andy. A couple of times I just pulled up and it was pretty sore last night. Didn't get any better overnight.

Q. Which toe?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're both a little sore. Right at the moment the right one is a bit worse than the left.

Q. Are you wearing the same sort of tennis shoes as Andre?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Andre? I don't know. I think so. We're both Nike. But I don't know if it's the exact -- I can't actually think what he's wearing.


LLEYTON HEWITT: There you go. I'm wearing the same as Federer, and he doesn't have a problem.

Q. You looked pretty relaxed. You're very tense on the court. Is that sign of maturing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Always when I'm on the court, you know, I'm intense out there. I think you have to be, especially I have to be I think to play my best tennis. Off the court, though, I feel relaxed at the moment. I felt relaxed for a while now. I'm enjoying my tennis. I'm enjoying training. I'm enjoying life off the court as well, which is a good thing.

Q. Can you talk about Roger's incredible record in finals at 17.

LLEYTON HEWITT: 17 in a row, yeah, that is incredible. To think that you don't have one slip-up. I think Ljubicic pushed him in at least one final earlier in the year. But to think every time in close matches and that, he's obviously doing something right on the big points, which gets back to self-belief and confidence within yourself, going out there. That's why he's No. 1.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 7, 2005, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Xavier Malisse 6-7(3) 7-5 7-5


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First workout?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For a while (smiling). Yeah, it's good. It's hard to emulate match conditions in practice no matter how hard you try. So, you know, I knew it was gonna be a tough match going into it. Xavier played extremely well yesterday in the parts that I saw, and, you know, he's a lot better player when his mind's on the job than his ranking suggests. So, you know, it was pretty slow out there as well today, so it was hard to hit a lot of winners against him. But I was pretty happy to get a lot of rhythm out there today at least.

Q. Do you feel at all rusty?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At times. I actually felt like I -- you know, I only lost my serve once for the whole match. You know, and Xavier returns, you know, he's one of the better returners out there as well. He makes you play a lot of balls on your service game. So, yeah, it was just a couple of forehands here and there and, you know, 15-30 points in the first set where I just didn't quite take advantage of it. You know, especially early on in the first set I felt like I was the better player and I wasn't able to show it on the scoreboard. So it was a matter of just hanging in there and waiting for my opportunities. But there's no doubt it got better and better as the match went on.

Q. Is it hard to switch in your mind from what's an eventful time at home to getting back into that sort of playing mode?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I've been looking forward to, you know, the grass court season, I think, for a while anyway, even when I was thinking that I was still going to Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Paris. I was still looking forward to Queen's and Wimbledon. It's one of my favorite times of the year. So, you know, as soon as I got here, I've been pretty focused on what I've had to do, trying to get my body in as good a shape as possible to be able to compete, you know, day in, day out, and hopefully get some matches this week.

Q. When you've been out of the game for a break, in terms of the surfaces to come back on, how tough is grass as a first tournament back, even though you've been so successful on it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a little bit tougher. You know, I only hit probably for a couple of days in Sydney before I actually came over to London. So if I'd hit a little bit more, I wouldn't have been that worried, I don't think, about coming on to it straightaway only because of, you know, more so the rhythm, I guess, of playing on grass, with shorter points. You know, if you haven't played for a while, you know, to go out there and you get a breakpoint on second serve, it's so vital on grass to be able to play the big points well, I think, because there's really only, as we saw today, a couple of points in matches against most guys on this surface. So in that terms, you know, today's a huge bonus, you know. I played for two and a half hours, played a lot of tight points out there in big situations, and came through and get another match.

Q. How good are you an injured player? I imagine you get pretty frustrated when you can't get out. How frustrating has it been over the last couple of months not being able to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's been frustrating. I think, you know, the French Open was probably, you know, the most frustrating only because, you know, recently my Grand Slam record has been pretty good. And, you know, even though I would have been going there, you know, underprepared a little bit because, you know, if the ribs did heal in time, which was highly unlikely anyway, you know, not having any matches on clay was going to be a tough ask anyway. So, you know, that, you know, was a little bit frustrating, I guess, to sit back. But then again, not a lot I can do about it. And, you know, that was sort of the mindset that I had when I was back home and, you know, started hitting on grass. I started really enjoying it, knowing that, you know, another Grand Slam's not too far away.

Q. Feeling like you got some catching up to do with people like maybe Nadal starting to speed away, make a name for himself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. We're on grass now, so, you know, the game changes a little bit. So, you know, he's obviously a hell of a player and, you know, his clay court record, you know, it's amazing; there's no doubt about that. But, you know, now on the grass court, he's going to be competitive, but he's definitely not one of the favorites.

Q. How much fitter can you get in the next two weeks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if my fitness will be a worry.

Q. Will you rate your fitness now as pretty good then, compared to previous years going into Wimbledon?


Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, my fitness is never something that's going to let me down. Getting matches under my belt, maybe, and, you know, getting that rhythm and playing in match conditions and stuff like that, but my fitness will never let me down.

Q. So you're pretty confident for going into Wimbledon as long as you can still get a few games in here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, Wimbledon's different, you know, regardless of how well I go here. It will always be a bonus if I can get some matches under my belt. But if I bombed out today, I still, you know, would still think that I've got a pretty good chance of getting through to the second week of Wimbledon, and then anything can happen. You know, I think the key at Wimbledon is trying to survive the first week and put yourself in a position there, you know, late in the tournament.

Q. How content are you with life at the moment? Everything seems to be going pretty well in all respects.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. I'm very happy with everything off the court, so, you know, it makes it a lot easier for me to go out there and train and play well and, you know, enjoy my tennis in a lot of ways as well.

Q. When you had those two injuries, did you have to reduce practice time or type of practice to compensate?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With the injuries?

Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the first injury I couldn't do anything for... well, I couldn't get on the tennis court for about three weeks. I was on crutches for two weeks. And then the rib injury, I couldn't get on the tennis court for two weeks. So, yeah, obviously, then I couldn't hit a lot of balls in that time. But in the middle there I was actually training and training pretty hard on clay courts in Sydney. So that was a little bit frustrating, that I put so much time into practice and actually put my clay court shoes away for another nine months or so now.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 9, 2005, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Max Mirnyi 6-3 1-6 6-1


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How difficult were the conditions out there for you in the end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they weren't easy at all the whole match, really. The court actually felt really slippery out there as well, you know, behind the baseline a bit today. Slipped over, you know, a few times. And, you know, the light, obviously, you know, wasn't easy. And then when Henman's match was finishing, I lost concentration just a little bit, I think. It was hard to hear a lot out there, you know, purely with the crowd leaving and obviously being pretty happy that Tim got through. So, you know, that's when I lost my serve early in the second set and had to really regather my thoughts and concentrations early in the third.

Q. How big a match was that for you, a win for you, considering that he's given you some really tough times in the past?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Max is always a tough competitor and gives 100%. He's got a different style of game to most guys out there. And, you know, I felt like I actually returned really well out there for probably 80% of the match. There was just -- the end of the second set, he started getting on a bit of a roll with his serve. Apart from that, I actually felt like I was on top of his serve first and second, and he had to stop mixing it up, serve-volleying, staying back off both first and second serves, which was unusual for him. I felt like I was winning that little battle out there. But we've had a lot of tough matches in the past, and I knew today was gonna be no different, especially on a grass court.

Q. You play Karlovic next. Have you had nightmares about him over the last couple of years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, you know. Obviously, it's disappointing when I lost to him, but, you know, I've won some big matches since then. So not too many.

Q. With this still being early days on your return, the fact that Mirnyi has a big serve, now coming up against Karlovic, how important will that be for you going into the Karlovic match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's definitely going to help. They play similar games, I guess. Obviously, they rely a lot on their serve. It's pretty similar. They mix it up from the back of the court, little bit hit-and-miss. So, you know, I've got to try and take care of my service games as well as possible. You know there's going to be games out there, doesn't matter how good a returner you are, that they're going to have big service games and win them to Love and 15. You've just got to be patient and wait for your opportunities. Today was another example of that, and tomorrow is going to have to be exactly the same.

Q. Where do you see your game at the moment, second match in after a long break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm pretty happy with my ball-striking, I think, at the moment. You know, it's just a matter of got another week, week and a half, week and a bit, I guess, week and a bit before you actually got to go out there and play some of your best tennis and, you know, find a way to win in all those matches, especially in the first week of Wimby. So, yeah, at the moment I'm pretty happy and relaxed the way my game is, but, you know, still feel there's a couple of areas of my game that I can work on, and I've got the time to do that. Hopefully, it can get better by next week, the end of next week.

Q. Guccione had a good match today. His confidence seems to be coming up with the matches he's had...

LLEYTON HEWITT: On grass or...

Q. On grass. Do you see him as being someone who can really do some damage on this surface in a couple years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. I only saw his first set before I had to go on, and he played a great first set. He's a copy book of Wayne Arthurs, really. He's pretty similar even, you know, the way he goes about it, his personality is very similar to Wayne. So he's -- I think this is always going to be his best surface and his most dangerous surface purely because it's so hard to break his serve on a grass court. Yeah, to play a guy like Henman, that's just great experience for him, even to win the first set and lose in three. But to be out there and have all the crowd against you and playing a big match, now hopefully he can get through quallies next week and have a good crack at Wimbledon as well. But I think what was probably more encouraging was his results on clay, you know. There's no doubt that, you know, at the moment he's the guy that he's standing up with a few results, which is good.

Q. Are you surprised both of your matches have gone to three sets, or were you happy to see it that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I would have preferred them in two, but, you know, probably would have preferred today's in two more than the other day's purely because it was getting so late. But the other day was more of a match where I could get a lot more rhythm out there playing Xavier. Hit a lot more balls and a lot longer rallies and obviously a longer match, whereas today was a little bit hit-and-miss with Max. Against a guy like Max, it's really important to play the big points well and try to get through it as quickly as possible.

Q. Any soreness the other day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, pretty good. I feel good. No, just, you know, obviously, you know, I was maybe a little stiff after a couple of tough practice sessions as soon as I got here off the plane, but after that I've been feeling pretty good.

Q. Just following up from the question earlier about where you are in this return, how much more do you think, percentage-wise, you need to improve or pick up on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure. You know, I'd like to get a little bit better I think by the time Wimbledon starts, but then I think the longer I stay in the tournament, the better I'll get throughout the tournament. I've got no doubt about that. So, as I keep saying, I think the first week's very important, just to find your way into the tournament, get a feel of it, and, you know, try and survive that first week and put yourself in a position to play some of your best tennis in the second week.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 10, 2005, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Ivo Karlovic 6-7(4) 3-6


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's that man again, Karlovic.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was one of the most exciting matches I've been a part of.

Q. Got lucky with those net cords, didn't he?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it's like walking in here and having a lucky door prize. You know, that's what happened in the tiebreak. There was one mini-break and, you know, instead of getting a net cord and popping it over his racquet, it sat up for him and he was able to twist back and play an angle dropshot. You know, then even to break me he got a dead net cord. So not a whole heap I can do about those two.

Q. Is this a setback for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't think you can take a lot of form off of a match like that. You know, I felt like I probably served as well as I've ever served today. I felt like I was the better player in the first set. You know, if there was any fif-30s, I was the one that had them every time. That's what happens sometimes on this surface. So, you know, sure, I would have liked to have had another match against, you know, a guy like Johansson in the semifinals; it would have been great. It would have been a totally different match again, similar to my first round against Malisse. So, you know, it's not to be. You know, my actual ball-striking and, you know, what I was in control of today was, you know, pretty good, so...

Q. Fair to say you would have liked to have some more competition going into Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In a perfect world I would have liked to have won today and won my next two matches as well and won the tournament. But, you know, I don't think that's going to hold a huge key whether I succeed at Wimbledon or play well at Wimbledon. You know, come Monday, Monday or Tuesday, a week, I'll be ready to go, and it's a different ballgame.

Q. How are you assessing Wimbledon? Who are the dangers, people to watch out for, apart from the usual people?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, Roger's the favorite, and so he should be. You know, Roddick, Henman, you know, they're probably the next tier, I'd say, behind Federer. You know, then you got dangerous guys like Karlovic, Wayne Arthurs, Philippoussis. There's more; off the top of my head I can't think of them all. But, yeah, they're obviously the stand-outs, I think.

Q. You obviously include yourself in that group, don't you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, for sure. You know, I think there's only, maximum, a handful of guys that can actually hold up the trophy.

Q. How many would you say, half a dozen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You tell me. I don't think there's too many.

Q. You've been there and done it. What does it take to be a Wimbledon Champion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think, you know, the first week's just a survival week really. You can't win the tournament in the first week of a Slam, but you can definitely lose it. So you've got to go out there and get through your matches. Even if you're not hitting the ball well, you still got to find a way to win. The second week's where it gets to the business end, and that's where you want to play your best tennis because you're going to be coming up against the likes of Federer, Henman, Roddick, you know, obviously Nalbandian, these kind of guys.

Q. How will you get the match practice you need next week? Will you play a few sets, an exhibition?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Not sure.

Q. You're not fazed by these young guys coming through: Gasquet, Nadal? Everyone seems to be quite excited about them.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, obviously, Nadal's what he's done, won a Slam. He handles the big situations extremely well. But in terms of Wimbledon, it's not going to be his favorite Slam just for the way he plays and what he's grown up on. Gasquet is exactly the same. You know, Gasquet has got extremely big swings. He's got one of the nicest backhands going around. But on a quick grass court, you know, there's elements of danger, and Stepanek knocked him off today. So, yeah, they're definitely exciting players to watch, but I think they're not going to play their best tennis at Wimbledon probably for a few more years.

Q. Last year there seemed to be a huge gap between Roger and the rest. Has that narrowed this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably coming in, you know, it's hard to say. But probably doubt it right at the moment. He obviously, you know -- even though he lost in the semis of the French, everything on hard court, he's been in pretty good form. You know, Marat is basically the only guy who's beaten him on hard court this year. You know, even that, Roger had a matchpoint in that match, and we know Marat's not, you know, that comfortable on a grass court. So, you know, obviously, Roger's a big favorite. But, you know, Andy gave him a good run for his money last year in the final as well, so that's obviously got to give Roddick some confidence, I think.

Q. How much of a factor today was what happened at Wimbledon a couple of years ago? Was it on your mind at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not in my mind, I don't think. You know, it still would have played out exactly the same.

Q. Did it remind you of that at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, 'cause I didn't win a set this time.

Q. Just a quick word on Andrew Murray. He's a guy who's done well here. Have you had a chance to look at him, see what he's like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I haven't, you know, I haven't seen him live. I've seen, you know, some points on TV at times. You know, he looks like a talented player. You know, he looks like he moves well for a big guy. And, you know, obviously to go out there and handle the situation against guys like Johansson and Dent and these kind of players, you know, that's one quality I don't think you can -- you know, you got to be born with sometimes, I think, at that age. So, you know, he's definitely got that in his corner.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 20, 2005, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Christophe Rochus 6-3 6-3 6-1


THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. A dumb question here. Is the grass fast or slow? We keep hearing different things from different people.

LLEYTON HEWITT: All grass is different. But today it was pretty slow, very slow. It felt very soft out there today. I've got no doubt, though, it's going to quicken up over the next two weeks, you know, the more play it gets on it, I think because the show courts just don't have any play at all. So, you know, today they're very green out there. Both of us playing from the back of the court, where both of us were serving, we were leaving imprints into the court it was that soft. You know, I've never seen that before.

Q. Did you play one serve-and-volley point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I tried to, but it was part of my 19 aces, I think (smiling).

Q. Did you feel more and more comfortable as the game went on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. First round of any Grand Slam's tough. It's a match you just really want to get under your belt, go out there and get through it as quickly as possible. You know, today was no different. I had some good rallies out there. I felt like, you know, footing-wise, moving my feet, I got better as the match went on. It was a good hit out without wasting a lot of energy either.

Q. Coming from cracked ribs, did you think the serve would be as much as anything you'd gauge your recovery by, you must be delighted given your service game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Apart from a couple of doubles here and there today, I thought I served extremely well. My first serve felt on song. You know, it's not a matter of always hitting as hard as possible; it's finding the angles and the lines and court position and setting myself up for the point. I felt like I did that well at Queen's. It's just a played a guy that out-served me. You know, I didn't -- that was probably one of my best serving matches I had against Karlovic at Queen's. At that point, it really hasn't -- the ribs haven't affected my serve too much.

Q. Physically, where do you feel you're at?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, I'm happy with where I'm at at the moment. But every match you're going to have to get better. There's no doubt that I'm going to play a lot better opponents throughout the tournament. I've got to take my game to another level. But I was happy with the matches that I got at Queen's and the way I've been practicing all last week. I've been hitting the ball sweetly. If I can just take that into this tournament, hopefully I'll have a good showing.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you describe your preparation or focus for this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, preparation-wise I've done, you know, everything I guess that was in my control. You know, when you're injured, you only play one tournament beforehand, then that's out of my control. There's not a whole heap I can do with that. But at Queen's I felt like I got three tough matches. I played totally different style of games, big servers, Xavier Malisse who plays from the back of the court. Last week I practiced as hard as I ever had, hit a lot of balls in a lot of practice sets. Physically I feel like I'm in pretty good shape and mentally I'd say as well.

Q. Are you relaxed into this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I guess everyone's a little anxious to get the tournament underway when you've been practicing here for just over a week. You sort of want to get it started. I think in some ways the first round's a bit of a steppingstone.

Q. You unfortunately missed quite a lot of tennis this year because of your injuries. Is there any sort of pent-up frustration or aggression inside you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap. Obviously, missing the French Open was disappointing. But as I say, it was out of my control. You know, once it's out of your control, then there's no point worrying on it or dwelling on it. It was something I had to get out of my mind as quickly as possible. I was practicing back in Australia on clay, the one clay court that we have there. I was trying to work on my game, training extremely hard getting ready for that. But, yeah, I had to make that decision that I wasn't able to play, which basically was from the doctors, then it was pretty much just have to focus on the grass and getting ready for that.

Q. How disappointed were you to be demoted to 3 in the seedings when your ranking is 2?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not going to talk about it right here. There's seven matches to win the tournament. You know, there's no point dwelling on it.

Q. Is it one you've got tucked away?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, I'm not going to talk about it.

Q. The allergies you used to have, are they under control now? Is it place by place?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Place by place a little bit. I still sneeze now and then, get a bit of hayfever and stuff. Yeah, it's pretty good. I can control it.

Q. Is this one of the places where it's pretty good, under control here usually?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends on the weather here in London. I found over the years, some days are worse than others. The hot weather sometimes brings it out a little bit more. But, yeah, it doesn't worry me when I get on the court, though.

Q. Your thoughts on possibly playing James Blake next round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's another step up, at least a step up from today's match, if not a few. You know, James has got a lot of firepower out there, and you've really got to try and exploit that, you know, put him on the back foot as much as possible. In a lot of ways, I've got to play the consistent game out there, make him play a lot of extra shots. But he's a talented player that can play an all-court game. In that respect it's not going to be easy because you've got to mix it up. But it's a good test to have early in the tournament, that's for sure.

Q. Has the layoff been a bit of a blessing, you can come in here fresh and ready to go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows. Yeah, I feel ready to play. I think when I made my run at the Australian Open and at the US Open last year, I played a lot of matches going into both those slaps. So in some way it's different preparation, but it doesn't bother me either way. I feel fresh at the moment, I feel physically in good shape. If you can get the first week under your belt, get into the second week, I don't think it's going to play a big part in the tournament for me.

Q. Men from Australia and the US have dominated this tournament. Now you see countries like Spain, France and Germany have more players than the US, like Belgium have more players than Australia. Do you see a power shift going on geographically in the sport, something cyclical?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely something's changed or gone wrong for Australia and the US, I guess. But on Australia's part, we don't have enough players. What have we got? We've got four guys in the main draw, the men's. One is a wildcard, one is a protected ranking who is going to retire soon, then we've got Wayne and myself. It's really not good enough for our country. We've got to try and find a way of producing, you know, young kids to come up. This tournament is a huge tournament back in Australia. The tradition of talking about Wimbledon, even people that don't understand tennis, they know what Wimbledon is about. That's why I think it's held such a rich tradition in Australia and the top Australian players over the last 10, 20 years, or longer, because we've had so many great champions here.

Q. Have you spoken at all, a new development with a new guy being appointed in Australia, have you spoken to him at all or are you aware of his background?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken to him. I don't know what he looks like to tell you the truth. I think he's South African. Yeah, I'd be interested to talk to him. But now is not the right time. Obviously, you know, maybe around Davis Cup time when I get back home, I'd definitely like to sit down and talk to him. I think we've got to try and use a lot more of the top guys that have just come off the tour, there's no doubt about that, as coaching around Australia and to help the younger guys. We've got so many guys that are capable, Jason Stoltenberg is the perfect example of that, someone that can be based in Australia and work with the top Juniors. Whenever Todd Woodbridge stops, they're the first people that should pick up on him.

Q. You're still young yourself, but after your career...

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't even thought about me at that stage. I'm just worrying about hopefully getting -- hopefully I'll be playing long enough to play with some of these next-tier guys that come through. At the moment it's more looking at the guys that can help and change that.

Q. Have you spoken to the cricketers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I had a message from Gilchrist.

Q. What have you been thinking watching them over the last week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm thinking that England, we'll come back to bite 'em. That's what I'm thinking.

Q. How do you rate the Ashes chances?

LLEYTON HEWITT: England talk themselves up every time. I don't know. Obviously they've got a bit better unit this year. Our side, it's proven. We've had some better wins I think over the last couple years than England have.

Q. You mentioned the US. What do you think of the factors to their blip?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The US is definitely ahead of Australia at the moment. They've got a group of guys that came up just behind Andy Roddick: Dent, Fish, Ginepri, Morrison, these kind of guys, right now they're not the world beaters, not the Top 5, Top 10 in the world, but they're playing tournaments week in and week out on the tour. Australia doesn't even have that at the moment. Obviously you need someone like a Roddick to carry the flag for America, especially the power of the United States, tennis needs, the sport needs a top player from that country, there's no doubt about it. Hopefully Roddick is going to stay up there for a while. I don't know what their program is like, but they've been able to produce -- they've been very fortunate to have guys like Sampras, Courier, Agassi, Chang, these guys coming up all the time. You get a little bit spoiled I think.

Q. There's only one American ranked in the top 16 for the first time this 37 years. What do you attribute that to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Wouldn't have a clue. What is Agassi ranked?

Q. That are playing here now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Thanks (smiling).

Q. Are you in any discomfort at all from the ribs now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's pretty good at the moment. I felt a couple of little twinges around maybe early Queen's when I was practicing, that was about it. Since then I haven't felt a thing. It's been great. I've been able to get in the gym and do pretty much as I normally would, which is good.

Q. What was the nature of the injury? Did you fall somehow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I slipped down -- I was going to practice, and I slipped down some stairs in my house in Sydney. I just fell on my back and cracked two of my ribs in my back. It was pretty painful at the time.

Q. Slippery stairs?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was wearing socks. Had my shoes at the bottom of the stairs. I was carrying my change of clothes.

Q. How would you rate your serve now compared to three years ago when you won the title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Week in and week out I think it's better now. I've got more variety now. The only thing -- those two weeks I served extremely well when I needed to, when I went on to win the tournament here. It's hard to sort of rate it because it was one tournament and I served as well as I've ever served for those two weeks.

Q. Do you see that as a key to your progress?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure, for sure. I think that's definitely helped me over the last 18 months or so. It's an area we've been working on. I'm a good enough returner that I'm going to get opportunities to break if I can clean up my service games.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 22, 2005, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jan Hernych 6-2 7-5 3-6 6-3



Q. Were you happy with the way you played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad in patches. You know, for me it's just nice to get through it and into the third round now.

Q. What are your thoughts on Justin Gimelstob?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously he's come through quallies and then had especially a good win today against Massu. I know it's not Massu's favorite surface, but he's a tough competitor on any surface. You know, he's hungry out there. He leaves everything out on the court. So Justin obviously had to play extremely well to beat him in a tight four-set match. I look forward to the challenge in the next round.

Q. Did you get a chance to catch up with Mark yet about his injury?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't, no.

Q. From a Davis Cup point of view, does it encourage you that Mark is getting back to something like his old form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's great to see Mark playing like we all know he can, and that he has for so many years. He had a lot of chances from what I saw and heard out there today against Marat. Marat's a tough player on any surface. He's got so much firepower. Two tiebreaks could have gone either way. Could have been a different story.

Q. Personally, physically having had that break, coming in now second round at Wimbledon, are you back A-Okay? Will you even feel fresher for having that time off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about "fresher," but I feel pretty good. I can't complain right at the moment. The body feels good. Obviously, to get a tough four-set match today under my belt, that's just going to hold me in better stead for the longer I go in the tournament. Yeah, you've got to get out of, you know, some tough matches in the first week of all Grand Slams. Today it was nice to get out there. I got off to a good start, you know, had a couple of lapses throughout the second and third set, but I was able to concentrate when I needed to and play the bigger points well.

Q. After a long layoff, what do you think the easiest surface is to come back on for a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably hard court.

Q. Why would that be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for most guys, unless you're Argentinian or Spaniard, obviously clay. A lot of guys -- for me, personally, because I grew up on hard court, so movement-wise, ball striking, it gives you a lot of rhythm I think on a hard court. But then again, the clay court specialists, clay is probably the easiest for them to come back purely because they're sliding. For them, that gives them a lot of rhythm, you know, going out there and hitting hundred-ball rallies.

Q. During the BBC coverage, the cameras were on your girlfriend and your family. Pat Cash was heard to remark, "I beat she's up the duff." I just wonder if you mind your girlfriend being talked about like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What did he say?

Q. Pat Cash was commenting on the game. The camera came across your girlfriend. He remarked, thinking his microphone was off, "I bet she's up the duff." The BBC apologized for that. I wonder if you mind her being talked about like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, Pat's -- Pat always comes out with some loose comments now and then. Yeah, I was talking to Pat in the locker room just before. He obviously didn't bring that up (laughter). We're obviously pretty good mates. You know, I've got a lot of respect for him as a person.

Q. No offense taken?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not from me.

Q. Do you feel like you're trying to restore a bit of lost Aussie sporting pride the way the cricketers started off at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Is that the only thing you guys have won?

Q. Early days.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very early days, mate.

Q. Are you a cricket fan?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think any Australian likes cricket. We love winning.

Q. Do you think they'll come back and win the Ashes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no doubt.

Q. No doubt?


Q. How long have you had it over here, the Monaro? Do you get it to take it for burns much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's not mine. My coach's fiancee actually has a dealership with Holden. Her father has a dealership with Holden in Adelaide. Roger got the car to drive around for a couple of weeks.

Q. Does it turn heads when you're driving it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't driven it.

Q. Going back a fair way against Gimelstob, but anything -- you were a young bloke when you played him. Can you remember anything of those matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, his serve's obviously his biggest weapon. He's going to serve-volley a hell of a lot. He plays with a lot of passion out there, as well. He's a guy that's always going to leave everything on the court. I'm going to have to return well and pass well and be very sharp out there. It's not going to be a long rallies against Justin.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 24, 2005, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Justin Gimelstob 7-6(5) 6-4 7-5



Q. What did you think of Gimelstob's diving?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Spent more time on the ground than he did standing up, didn't he? Yeah, some of them, you know, I guess were pretty spectacular, but there were others he probably dived a little bit when he could have stood up and made a volley, I guess. Gets the crowd involved. That's the kind of tennis that Justin likes to play. He likes to play high-energy tennis and get the crowd involved. In those situations, you know, you got to take your hat off to the guy who is throwing himself all around the place.

Q. How do you (indiscernible) this match with the next match against Dent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, very similar. Taylor's going to be the same sort of player. You know, Justin served extremely well today. That at least gave me a look at what I'm going to face on Monday. You know, I've just got to get mentally right to return well and go out there and believe in my passing shots and play a solid match from the back of the court, as well.

Q. How pleased are you so far with your form? Is it coming along nicely?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I can definitely still play. It's nice to be in the fourth round now. Especially the last two matches, there's been a lot of tight points out there, which is what I need when I haven't played a lot of matches. In that respect, it's been good that I've had to come up and play some big points, especially against Justin in the first-set tiebreak today. When it really counted I was able to lift another notch. That's what you're going to have to need when you have to face guys like Federer, Taylor Dent, these kind of guys in the next round. That preparation's definitely been good so far.

Q. What do you got on for the weekend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Just practice and, you know, keep the timing up. It's a little bit strange having two days off in the middle of a Slam. But, yeah, it's just a matter of keeping your focus there, you know, keep the timing going, you know. I can have a good hit out tomorrow.

Q. Is there a part of you that would rather get the Monaro and go for a drive and forget about tennis for a while?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, I'm not here to do that.

Q. Does the weather have anything to do with the way you played? Would you say you adjust to it better than other players or not? The warm weather here, does it make conditions that much different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really that much, I don't think. The courts -- Centre Court was definitely playing a lot quicker and harder today than Court 1 in my first two matches. But that's always going to happen. Obviously, with the weather, it's definitely helped. Yeah, it's always going to happen the more that play gets played on these match courts, especially the show courts. It's going to get roughed up a bit, quicker, the ball's going to be shooting through a lot more.

Q. You said the first week is a survival week. You pick it up in the second week. How much do you think you'll need to pick your game up next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, at the moment, I'm just worrying about Taylor Dent. I'm not looking any further than that. I still feel like I got to play better to guarantee myself a win against Taylor. I've got to play better again because he's capable of playing very good tennis, and he can sustain it over five sets, especially on a grass court. Yeah, I feel like I can definitely go up a notch or two, though.

Q. The British media put heaps of pressure on players like Henman, Rusedski. They're out. They're also making Murray the new king of Wimbledon. Do you feel you get similar pressure now that you've won a few slams? Do you think the Australian media put the same sort of pressure on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about pressure. I think you're in the spotlight the whole time. I think what Henman's had over the last, you know, eight years or so now, it's been pretty amazing. The whole country really stops for him every time he steps on the court here at Wimbledon. It's amazing. It's like the British people forget that there's another three majors out there, as well, that Tim made a semi in two of them last year as well. I reckon Tim's a great guy and I think he's done a hell of a job handling the situation. I think his record speaks for itself here, to be that consistent. But obviously in Australia, I feel, especially now that we don't have so many guys like the Rafters, Philippoussises up there in the Top 10 any more, then obviously the eyes, especially this year, were all on me. I felt like I handled it pretty well.

Q. What about the Dent name in Australian tennis? What does it mean there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, not a whole heap when he's got USA written at the end of his name. Not a whole heap.

Q. What about Phil?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I don't know enough about Phil as a player. I know all the -- he's very good mates with JA, a lot of the older guys who have played Davis Cup for Australia. But for me, he's been in America for such a long time, I've had nothing to do with him.

Q. Is somebody like Taylor Dent the perfect next match for you in the sense that he's a dangerous player, probably not Federer, but he's the next rung up the ladder for you in your development in the course over the next two weeks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways, yeah. But I've had a lot of tough matches with Taylor in the past. I'm going to be, you know, ready to go mentally as soon as I get out on the court against him. Yeah, he's a tough competitor. He's not going to give me too many cheap points out there. He's obviously got a great serve-and-volley game. He's going to keep coming at me all day. A few years ago we played a tight five-setter here, which, you know, was a pretty memorable match. I'm going to have to work just as hard as I did that day if I'm going to get over the line.

Q. Do you have a look during the tournament at how the others are playing? Have you looked at Federer's games, taken account of his form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't watched any of the Rodge.

Q. You lost to Taylor at the very start of the year at Adelaide. Can you take anything out of that in terms of his style, anything he may have had up his sleeve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I won't take a whole heap out of that. Yeah, obviously he played extremely well that whole week, you know, made the final there. I had a lot of opportunities in that match and wasn't able to take them. Lead a break early in the second set, I think. Just wasn't quite timing the ball as well as I did the next three weeks in Sydney and the Australian Open. That's obviously where I wanted to be, you know, hitting my strokes a bit more in Melbourne. Yeah, this is a Grand Slam. This is over five sets. So, you know, it will be a little bit different.

Q. Having won here before, do you ever get in a situation where you feel as if it's on, the title is on this year, or is it literally you never know till you've won the next match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's so many dangerous players out there, you can't look -- everyone has a go at all the players or athletes for saying "One match at a time." You literally have to look at it that way. Yeah, and I've been on the hand of upsets. Lost some upsets when I've been the favored player before. You can't just look too far ahead in these tournaments. Yeah, that's something that I think you learn, to really pace yourself over five sets, especially when you're playing Grand Slams and you're experienced at that.

Q. When you see people like Safin losing, potential winner, Henman is out, does that mean anything to you or do you just have to concentrate on your opponents?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, there's not a whole heap I can worry about, especially guys like Henman or Roddick. They're on the other half. There's no point in me even worrying about it right at the moment. Obviously, Safin was in my quarter. But Feliciano Lopez, I knew that was going to be an extremely tough match for Marat on this surface. Big left-handed serve, he's probably going to play Ancic in the next round. Yeah, there's a reason. Every match that you get to, there's a reason why you're playing that opponent. They've obviously done something right to get that far. That's the way you've got to look at it.

Q. How does your form compare to 2002 when you won here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think I played a lot of matches before I won it in 2002. Obviously, I was on autopilot a little bit, I think especially throughout the first week. Yeah, it's hard to say. The match-ups have been probably a little bit different, as well, in terms of the guys that I've played against early in the tournament. Yeah, I can't -- I won't look at it in the same pattern, I guess.

Q. How did the number of dives by Gimelstob in this match compare with other opponents you've ever faced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never seen someone dive more, yeah.

Q. Did you watch the cricket at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yesterday, I saw a little bit yesterday.

Q. Inspiring?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, is funny, no one brings it today, do they? All the POMs have gone back in their shells.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 27, 2005, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Taylor Dent 6-4 6-4 6-7(7) 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. The first set, first four games, was that as good as you've played in a while?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. He started out a little tentative, though. First game, he hit two double-faults for me to break serve. But, you know, you don't get that many opportunities to break his serve, so when you get those half chances, you really have to take them. So in that sense, I was happy with the way I started. But, you know, I didn't -- it was only going to be the first set. I felt playing Taylor, you know, a guy like Taylor, the first set was going to be pretty big out there today. You know, it was good to get that one under my belt. From then on, I felt like I was in control of the match, you know, getting my opportunities now and then as well.

Q. How much will you take out of the US Open last year against Lopez?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit, I guess. A big court. You know, I played really well, especially at the start of the match. I came out of the blocks firing. You know, I was seeing the ball like a football that night. In a big situation. He's obviously playing well, though. And he's dangerous, you know, especially on a quicker hard court or a grass court, you know, with that big left-handed serve. He's had two very good wins in his last two matches. He's no easy beat.

Q. You're in a string of winning matches against the Spaniards. You beat the Spaniards maybe 11 times in a row.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Lucky I missed the clay court season (smiling).

Q. What can you expect with Lopez? He's not the typical Spanish player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he's not. He's very different, and that's why one reason he's succeeded so well on a grass court. You know, I didn't have a clue of that. I won't be thinking about that going into playing another Spaniard. I'll just be looking at Lopez' game, how that matches up with mine, areas of his game that maybe I can exploit a little bit more. Obviously his serve and his forehand are his two big weapons. He's got a good slice backhand as well and he moves pretty well for a big guy. So, you know, he can mix it up, serve-volley, stay back. In terms of that, he is a lot different to the traditional Spanish players.

Q. How is your form in comparison to when you won the title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, a lot depends on the opponents that you play. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I think I went up another notch or two today, which I needed to. So in terms of that, you know, Taylor Dent's a dangerous player. I knew it was going to be a dangerous match out there today. Felt like I went up a notch or two when I needed to.

Q. There were a lot of overrules out there today. Is that something that puts you off? Do you lose faith and confidence in the linesmen when there's so many overrules?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a fair bit. They're been a few, though, all last week as well. You know, I can only speak in my matches.

Q. Is that an issue? Is there something wrong with the level of umpiring and linesmen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, everyone's human. You know, you're going to make mistakes. Some matches you go through a match without an overrule, and then there's others where you'll go through a tournament where you'll have two or three in every match. I think sometimes, depending on the chair umpire that you have, occasionally there's a few chair umpires out there that overrule a lot more than some other guys and are probably open to overrule a little bit more. You know, it's very hard if -- anything on the far side of the court, you know, especially serves or whatever going so fast, it's very hard for any chair umpire to overrule those.

Q. Taylor suggested you put pressure on them, even intimidate umpires, even if you're not doing it deliberately. Do you think that's a factor?

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

Q. You're so emotional and intense out there. Could you reflect on there are so few others at your level in terms of outward emotion like the old days when there were so many.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's probably more now, I guess. A lot of the younger guys out there. You look at guys like Nadal coming up.

Q. Excuse me for interrupting. Nadal is very emotional about the points, but less so about lines calls and the like. That's what I was referring to more than just getting pumped up about a winner.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, well, only questioned couple line calls today.

Q. Do you think the way you question the calls can put pressure on umpires or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, Taylor questioned calls as well out there today, so it's the same for both ends. There's a lot of calls out there you don't question either.

Q. Are you getting sneakily confident about your chances here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Is that funny?

Q. I thought it was funny.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Good (smiling). I still feel -- obviously, it was a little bit of a question mark purely because I hadn't played that many matches coming into this tournament - and in such a big tournament. But, you know, the first week was especially, you know, important for me to get through and just find a way to get through those matches. Now you come up against the name players, the real chances -- challengers for the title. That's when you've got to play your best tennis. I felt like I went up a notch today. But, you know, I'm still a long way from holding up the trophy.

Q. Going into the fourth round, you're ninth in aces. How important do you think that is or how telling a statistic is that to success on grass or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it is telling I think for my game purely because I'm going to get so many opportunities to break serve now and then on grass, even as good as some of the servers are out there - a Taylor Dent or Justin Gimelstob. I'm going to get opportunities. If I can hold my service games a little bit more comfortably and go out there and clean up my service games, then obviously that's going to help me, especially on this surface.

Q. Is it aces that tells you you're holding your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't go out there and try to hit a lot of aces. It's a lot about setting up the point for my game.

Q. If you're hitting a lot of aces, do you feel like you're playing well? You don't look at that as a statistic?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't look at that as a statistic, for me in particularly. It's more about trying to get as many cheap points off my first serve, first-serve percentage, those kinds of things for me.

Q. Do you think London would be a good place to stage the Olympics? Do you think Wimbledon in particular would be a good place? How would you feel about playing in a tennis tournament, an Olympic tennis tournament, here at Wimbledon? Do you think the British people warm to international players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'm sure they would. A big city like London, I'm sure it would stage an awesome Olympics. Then again, I haven't seen all the facilities. A bit hard for me to comment apart from just the tennis facilities. And we all know how popular Wimbledon is, what an arena it is, as well. There's a lot of traditions with Wimbledon and the tournament itself. Whether they want to even cross over that bridge into the Olympics, I don't know.

Q. Do you think the courts are really slowing down, like many players have said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the start the tournament I think they were quite slow for a grass court. They've quickened up. Obviously, you know, you have good days. Weather like we've had throughout this tournament, we've been fortunate. You know, they're quickening up every day.

Q. Would you consider anything but winning The Championships here a successful fortnight for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that?

Q. Would you consider anything but winning The Championships a successful run here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, of course. You know, you can go out there and every match is a tough one to win. I go out there and I expect to win. I go out there and I play to win. But you know that any opponent's tough to play out there. So obviously I'd love to hold the trophy up. But there's still three matches before I can do that. The names get tougher and tougher, you know, the further you go in the tournament. So, "succeed," you know, it's a tough word. What is success and failure, where do you draw the line? If you go out there and give a hundred percent, leave it all out on the court, for me, that's a success.

Q. Given that Lopez hasn't been through this situation, hasn't come through in these types of matches, what are the ways in which you can exploit that difference in experience?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think there's ways of me exploiting that. You know, it's more him holding his nerve, I think, in terms of the big situation and being on a big show court and playing big matches. He's come through and beaten two of the big danger men in the tournament in Safin and Ancic - both in straight sets. So he's obviously hardened his nerve pretty well at the moment. For me, it's purely -- I'm not worrying about his inexperience in big matches. He's played Davis Cup enough to know situations in the big time. I've basically got to play him on my game against his out there and work on the weaknesses of his game and try and exploit that.

Q. Another thing Taylor said about the dispute in the line calls was that a lot of the members of public actually warm to that, actually like players to show a bit more emotion. Do you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about crowds warming to it. Yeah, in the heat of the battle, obviously if we disagree with an overrule or want to question something, then obviously the crowd's going to get involved a little bit with that. Whether all crowds warm to players challenging umpires all the time, I don't know if that's the case in every tournament, every situation.

Q. Does it ever inspire you to play better or affect your game negatively or positively?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it can over time. Sure, there's matches where it's worked a positive and sometimes it's worked a negative. But today I felt like I was able to block it out extremely well and concentrate on the job at hand, what I had to do, didn't let it affect me at all. I knew that, obviously, I was a set and a break up, trying to consolidate that break in the second set. You know, I just really didn't want to let anything interrupt me.

Q. You've got a strong support group around you. I notice Kieran Perkins. Do you sit back and inspire each other before you go out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I heard he was coming today, but I haven't seen him or spoken to him.

Q. Is he a close friend of yours?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't know Kieran that well. I've only met him a couple of times. Obviously, he's a huge hero of mine, though, for what he's done in the pool and over the years in big situations. But I don't know about me for him.

Q. The foot-faults today, have you had any in previous matches leading into this? I think you had seven.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a couple in one of my previous matches. Yeah, today was more weird timing than anything. It was all happening up one end and not up the other. That's what my question was to the umpire at one stage.

Q. Can you explain what you're saying making sure the red mist doesn't affect your game. Are you talking about that or is it automatically that it doesn't affect you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, today I was actually conscious of trying to not let anything affect me basically, and just think, "All right, well, that's out of the way. It's out of my control now. Why dwell on it?" I think I handled that situation pretty well today.

Q. There was a specific moment in the fourth set, an overrule, Taylor said he felt that you intimidated the official there, the official backed down.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. The overrule came and Taylor actually walked to the other side of the court. It was sort of Taylor's fault.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 29, 2005, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Feliciano Lopez 7-5 6-4 7-6(2)



Q. Do you feel you went up a few notches today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I did. I felt like I played pretty well all around today. My whole game came together well. You know, I needed it to. He's a dangerous opponent, especially on this surface with a big lefty serve. Yeah, I had to try to dictate play as much as possible and I was able to do that.

Q. John McEnroe is full of praise for your performance, said it was the best he's ever seen you play. Would you agree with that? How would you react to that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I didn't put too many feet wrong today. I went out there with a game plan and I stuck to it the whole time. The guy's got a great serve. There's going to be games when you're not going to get a racquet on the ball. Yeah, you've just got to accept that and move on. I felt like when I got broken, early in the first set I played a couple loose points early, but from then on I played a good game and he got a net cord to break me. I didn't let that affect me. I felt like I still kept hanging in there and waiting for my opportunities. Yeah, in the end I started seeing the ball really well and I was on his serve pretty much every game.

Q. How much did your greater experience help you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure it helped a little bit. Yeah, he came out and didn't look nervous from the way he played and the way he started. Maybe end of sets, he didn't get enough first serves in on the key points. But, you know, I thought he handled the situation pretty well. You know, at the start he was aggressive. He was serving big right from the word "go."

Q. What is the key to beating Roger Federer? What has turned the series around against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure what the key is. I haven't won the last few. Have to try and find something in the next couple of days. Yeah, he's obviously the best player in the world for a reason. Yeah, he's really taken his game to another level in the last couple of years. Obviously I've lost to him the last couple of years, last six or seven times, but it's all been in the last two years or so when he's really dominated pretty much everyone. You know, obviously he's got to be very confident against anyone, and especially in Centre Court here where the last two years he's pretty much made his own.

Q. To what degree is there the feeling that he needs to be off his regular game or his best game for somebody to have a chance to beat him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. I think when he plays -- you know, he's played some of his best tennis, he's nearly been unbeatable in certain matches. You still got to go out there and try and make him not play his best tennis. You know, you've got to look for it. He doesn't have a lot of big weaknesses out there, but you've got to try and pin something down. Even then, he can still find ways to win when he's not hitting the ball great either. It's an (indiscernible). You got to go out there, clean your service games up, wait for your opportunities. You're not going to get a whole heap. That's where he's really gone up the last couple years, I think he's playing the big points really well.

Q. The last time you beat him was in the Davis Cup match. Have you noticed since then he's been more confident or intense against you? Anything that changed after that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think he in general as a player is a lot more confident than he was. He just won Wimbledon before we played that tie for the first time. Yeah, next time we played was in the Australian Open Round of 16. I won the first set and had an opportunity to go up a set and a break in that match. Since then, he's been pretty dominant against everyone. Yeah, he has been the supreme player, especially on this surface.

Q. When you stand across the net from somebody like that, somebody who is nearly unbeatable, where do you get your confidence from?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, from the way I'm hitting the ball. You know, little areas that I think I might have a slight advantage. And you've got to believe in yourself. And I think, you know, I believe I'm capable of winning the match. It's not going to be easy, and I've got to play one of my best matches that I've got. But, you know, I believe that I can do it.

Q. Where do you feel like you have those advantages?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I won't be telling you.

Q. You believe in yourself. You pump yourself up. Are there times during a match against Roger those doubts come into your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, if he's serving for the match and stuff sometimes, when he's winning pretty comfortably. Apart from that, I've had small opportunities in my match here 12 months ago. I had a lot of small chances and wasn't just quite able to take them. Even late in the fourth set, I was up a break to take it into a fifth set, and I just didn't quite play the big points as well as he did on the day. That's the reason he's won here the last two years, though.

Q. If you play your best tennis, in your own mind you can beat him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, it all depends on the match-up out there. You can't go out there -- you only can play as well as your opponent lets you, as well. There's a lot of different scenarios out there, tactics and stuff that come into play. You can't say him at his best, him at his best. There's different weaknesses and different areas of the game that you're going to try to exploit.

Q. What are the challenges to playing him on grass?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, he can just mix it up so well. You know, he's got a great slice, great forehand, a great serve, and he moves extremely well, which is a key on this surface. But he's got a lot of variety to his game, as well: he can serve-volley, he can stay back. I think that's why he's had such a good record on grass.

Q. Are you any more angry about the seeding at these championships?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. It's a bit strange playing in a semifinal, the No. 1 and 2 player in the world.

Q. Of all the people you've ever faced, when it comes to the biggest points in a match, how would you compare Roger with all those other players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When I've played him in big matches, he's been as good as anyone. Andre Agassi's been great at that, as well, playing the big points well. And obviously Pete Sampras at his peak was, you know, unbelievable at doing that. He's definitely up there in that category, though.

Q. Roger, now he's basically a baseliner. Which way would you rather play him, coming in or staying back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me either way. I think his serve, he doesn't have such a big serve as a Sampras or an Ivanisevic, these kind of guys. He uses his serve extremely well for his game, though. He gets a high percentage in. He works the angles and makes you hit back where he wants that first hit to go. Then he feels more comfortable a lot of the time coming in on his terms after the first hit rather than coming in, serve-volleying. It just all depends on I guess where he's confident and what he's doing. He's a great serve and volleyer if he did that the whole times a well. It's hard to say which is better for it.

Q. As a rule, would you rather play a baseliner or a serve and volleyer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't bother me. Everyone's different.

Q. Do you think this is what most tennis fans would want to be the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I would definitely like it to have been the final, obviously. But, you know, for me it would be like playing a final, going out there. If you knock the best player off out there, then you've obviously got to be pretty confident going into the final Sunday. But, you know, it's a strange situation. I don't know how many times it would have happened that the top two ranked players would be playing in a semifinal in a Slam.

Q. Would have been worthy of a final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, yeah, I've been playing pretty well at the moment. Obviously, coming off a layoff, there were a few question marks. I didn't have too many doubts in my mind.

Q. When you come here, do you relish a shot at Roger? Do you look forward to meeting him, whether it's in the semis, finals, and a chance at knocking him off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not something that I've thought about up till now. Obviously now it's a huge opportunity, though. I do like playing the big matches when there's a lot of emotion out there, a great atmosphere. Come Friday, it's going to be no different.

Q. Lopez was saying he was surprised at how well you served. If you go on to win, how important has your improved serve been to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served extremely well today. It's been a little bit patchy. I didn't serve that great against Dent I didn't feel for the whole match. It was probably one of my worst serving days. I knew it was something I had to pick up today against López, and I was able to do that. But, you know, it's something that over the last 18 months or so I've really served pretty well in general. You know, just makes the game that much easier if you're getting some cheap points off your first serve.

Q. How do you improve your serve over the last 18 months? If you're the No. 1 player in the world, how do you make a stroke like that better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me it was more Rash and I sat down looking at percentages, trying to get cheap points off my first serve. Obviously, when we get in a rally, I'm feeling pretty confident against most players, regardless. Over five sets, it makes it a lot easier to go out there. You're getting a high percentage of first serves in and also going out there and getting some cheaper points. It just makes it that much easier to sustain that through seven best-of-five set matches.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


July 1, 2005, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 3-6 4-6 6-7(4)


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. What was the key point for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You know -- you know, the longer the match went, the better I felt I hit the ball and got into the match. Yeah, in the first set, I just lost my serve obviously early, but then broke back. I had a couple of Love-15 chances, and I just didn't quite go after it maybe enough on those small opportunities that you get. But, yeah, he served so well into the corners and gets a lot of lines out there on his first serve that, you know, it always makes it tough. So, yeah, he was able to break pretty early in the second set and get that set-and-a-break lead, and I didn't really have a look in on any of his service games in the second set.

Q. Did he out-psych you or out-play you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean "out-psych"?

Q. He seemed to be playing so well, it must be intimidating to play against someone who plays that well. Even when he makes a mistake, he just appears so cool and relaxed. Was it a psychological loss do you think or you just didn't make the shots you wanted to make?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's no doubt he was a better player. I don't think psychologically it had much to do with the match. You know, he served better than me today. He dictated play better than me. That's basically where he got the win.

Q. Did you sense improvement in your game? You came up to the net more than we've seen you do. You've done well there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I hit the ball pretty well today. I didn't serve maybe as well as I would have liked. But he puts a lot of pressure on your service games, as well. He gives you have he few points. I think that's been the biggest turnaround in his game over the last couple of years. That's why he's really gone up a couple of notches because he used to give you a lot more cheap points on your service games, and you just don't get those any more. On his service games, he can rely on getting out of trouble if he's 15-30 down or Love-30 with big first serves. That's why he's the best player going around.

Q. Is it sort of hard being one of the best players in the world when like a freak like Roger comes along?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a little bit, but you've just got to bide your time, keep grinding away, you know, try and look for answers, I guess. But it's not easy. I felt like I've lifted my game the last 18 months or so. I've got no doubt that I feel like I'm the second best player going around right at the moment. It's just that the best player going around is pretty bloody good.

Q. You play a match against him, then you go back and come up with another plan, that plan doesn't work? Is it hard to keep trying find ways to beat him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not like I've gone out there with absolute extreme game plans against him. At the end of the day I've still got to play my strengths. And I've got to back my serves and my strengths. There's very small changes that you try and make out there. But it's not something that I'm capable of going and serve-volleying every point out there. You know, it would be stupid. For me, there's slight opportunities out there that you've got to take advantage of it. Yeah, he's got very few weaknesses out there.

Q. Is there anything more you can add to your game to match him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You're always looking for ways to improve. I've got no doubt that I can improve -- keep improving my game, otherwise there's no point in keep playing. You know, as long as I've got small areas there that I can work on, it's got to be a positive. But, you know, obviously I don't know what he's got to really work on.

Q. You don't get into many semis, a lot of players don't. How disappointing is it to lose?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always disappointing to lose, first round or semifinal.

Q. You've seen and played a lot of the great players over time. Is he the best you've seen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, when Pete was probably at his best, it was probably just before I got on the Tour and was competitive against those top guys, so it's hard to say. Because when I'm playing at my best now, obviously Roger is one of the best players that I've ever seen. Andre Agassi at his best, he was great as well. Totally different players, though. You know, obviously since Roger's been playing his best tennis the last couple of years, Andre hasn't quite been what he was maybe five years ago. It's hard to pinpoint, but there's no doubt he's in the top few with the greats.

Q. I know you're going to fight to the end no matter what it is. When you're two sets down against this guy, is there a sense of inevitability?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I actually felt like I had more opportunities in the third set. It's not like if you sit back now and you think, "Shit, I was two-sets-to-love down," it does seem like a long way to come back. But when you're actually out there and just focusing on trying to somehow get that third set. I came close at 6-5. I saved breakpoints throughout the third set. At 6-5 I had Love-30, that was my biggest chance of the match. If I could have squeezed out the third set, then you start fresh for the fourth set again. That's the way I was looking at it right now. Obviously anyone on the outside, yeah, sure, it's a long way to come back against anyone.

Q. Is it demoralizing coming up against that or do you see it as a challenge, looking for those extras that you can improve to try and beat him the next time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely a challenge. In some ways, it's a huge positive that I can keep putting myself in these positions. I can't really remember the last time in the last 18 months or so that I've lost a bad match to an average player. So in that way, that's a huge positive. But, of course, when you get to a semifinal, final of Slams, you want to try and take that next step and hold up the trophy. Anyone does. I'm obviously doing something right. But, you know, to come awfully close so many times now...

Q. I'm not sure if you watched last year's final or not, but what would you make of a Federer/Roddick rematch?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to go past Rodge. He's the best player in the world. Yeah, it would be very hard to go against him.

Q. Do you think your match with Federer should have been the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: On paper it should have been.

Q. Looking ahead to the Davis Cup, with Todd's retirement the other day, injury to Mark, Australia up against it now against Argentina?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always going to be a tough tie, no matter who is in the team, I think, just because it's on grass. They've got obviously Nalbandian, Coria. He's won matches here, made the fourth round. You know, it's not going to be easy at all for any of our guys. It's going to be another challenge.

Q. Looks like perhaps it will be you and Wayne in the doubles, playing the whole tie yourself.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't even thought about it so far. That's something I'm not going to dwell on till I get there, see how I'm feeling, play it by ear.

Q. How do you stay so relentlessly positive? A lot of times if they lost to Federer eight times in a row, they might be a lot more disconsolate than you are right now. Where does that come from?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. That's probably why I'm sitting here and you're sitting there.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 9, 2005, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Florent Serra 3-4 Ret.


Q. In your words, Lleyton, what were you feeling out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I've just been -- had some kind of virus, stomach virus, last three or four days or so. Just got worse and worse. Yeah, obviously out in the heat today, you know, just felt like I had nothing out there.

Q. This morning when you did come in, I know there was talk you were thinking of not playing. You decided to give it a go. I'm sure the fans here in Montreal really appreciated your effort. Was that ever a thought for you not to actually go out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was, up till about 15, 20 minutes before. 11:00 this morning, I was still 50/50. I was talking it over with the doctors, whatever. Yeah, it's just seeing what the case was. Obviously, I haven't been able to eat anything the last three or four days, as well, which, yeah, just really hit me up because I've got no energy whatsoever right at the moment.

Q. Looking forward, what does the next two or three days look like for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doing nothing. You know, just trying to find out why I'm feeling so average the last few days. You know, obviously a long flight, as well, coming over from Australia didn't help. That's just made things a lot tougher.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 16, 2005, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Igor Andreev 6-3 6-4


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Questions, please

Q. How serious was your stomach virus last week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Serious enough to pull out of a match when I'm on court for the first time in my career. So, you know, I got it just before we left Sydney last -- the end of last week. So it wasn't a pleasant flight over. Didn't eat for about four or five days anything. So, yeah, it hit me pretty bad.

Q. You still feeling any of the effects of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt a little bit awkward the last few days just training, getting back into the routine of things again. And, you know, I'm definitely a lot better than I was a week ago.

Q. How was your timing out there? How did you feel playing today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not too bad. Got better as the match went on. Having a lot heavier conditions today than what we've been practicing in as well, so, for the last four or five days. So it was totally different. It was amazing how much difference the conditions, you know -- it's so heavy out there, whereas --

Q. Balls were heavy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The balls were very heavy out there. It was hard to hit a lot of winners. And he works the ball well from the back of the court as well; he hits it extremely heavy. So that made life a little bit tougher out there.

Q. How did you like the weather?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The weather?

Q. Yeah, it was raining and your play was suspended.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you always prefer a bit better weather than we've had today. But this isn't really what, you know, we're all used to I don't think playing in Cincinnati.

Q. Is it tough to get into a flow like that when you play one game and all of a sudden you've got to go sit down again and wait?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. It was probably better only playing one game than getting to 4-All or something in the first set. So in terms of that, it wasn't too bad. It was just refocusing on starting the match again basically. But, you know, it was still important to try and get that first set under my belt. I felt like I played the big points when I needed to towards the end of the first set a lot better than he did.

Q. How much do you need just to get some matches in? With your marriage, the sickness, you haven't had a lot of court time since Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played two Davis Cup matches as well straight after Wimbledon. So, yeah, it's important, there's no doubt about that. But right at the moment, you know, try and get as many matches this week as possible. And I always feel pretty comfortable when I get to Flushing Meadows. I really like the atmosphere and the court surface there. I think the whole tournament really suits my game and my attitude as well. So, you know, I always look forward to getting there, and hopefully I can, you know, make a few steps in the right direction this week.

Q. Are you planning to go to New Haven?


Q. You come in here with any thoughts of last year being the defending finalist? Does that make a difference when you come to a tournament like this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, not in terms of defending what I did last year at all. More so I like coming back here because I've played well here in the past. Apart from my first-round loss two years ago, I've made two finals and at least one semi here. All the players that I've lost to have been pretty good players that have won this tournament in certain years. So, you know, I always feel it's nice to come back here. I like the atmosphere here in Cincinnati. I like the court surface as well. It's great preparation for the US Open.

Q. Are you back to full strength now after the stomach thing, or are you still working on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When you have, you know, four or five days where you don't hit a ball and you don't eat much, you got to try and get -- it's just a gradual buildup more than anything. So the first couple of days that I started hitting again, it was a little bit of a culture shock, especially it was pretty hot here the first couple days that I started hitting. So it took a couple of days to get back into it. I feel a lot better than I did when I first started hitting. I feel fully over the virus or the infection. But, you know, it's just a matter of, you know, getting matches and getting that practice and getting in that routine again.

Q. Was it just something you ate? Was it stress-related?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not 100% sure. I thought it might have been food poisoning first off. It was just my stomach basically that was playing up so I just couldn't keep any food down. And, you know, they did blood tests and whatever and couldn't find a whole heap. It was just some kind of virus that was in my system for about a week or so.

Q. Did you lose a couple pounds?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm sure I did, you know. When you're not eating, there's not a whole heap going in.

Q. It seems like you take a lot of pride in the fact that when you show up for a match the fans know you're going to be there until the end. You're not one of those players that will drop out for a minor reason. Is that the case, you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. I think it shows with, you know, last week. You play with niggling injuries and little stuff the majority of tournaments most weeks. But last week was a case where, you know, I was sitting in the doctor's office 10 minutes before walking out on court still tossing out whether I was going to actually be able to go out there or not. You know, it's never a great feeling when you have to pull out of a tournament. I thought maybe once I got out there, you know, something miraculous might happen, but it just got worse and worse for the first five or seven games that I ended up playing. So, you know, there was no point doing any more damage, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about the Open being a tournament that also suits your attitude. You've always been a fiery and emotional type of player. Do you use that to get yourself going? Is that just something that you do that out of habit, when you show a lot of emotion on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it just comes naturally for me. It's not something that, you know, I definitely don't have to work on, that's for sure. Yeah, it just comes naturally. In New York there's a great atmosphere there out at Flushing Meadows, whether you're playing in the afternoon or some great night matches that I've played there in the past as well. So, you know, I really enjoy going back there. And, you know, I've been fortunate the last four or five years to have pretty good success there as well.

Q. Yourself, Federer, Safin, a lot of players are going into the Open with a limited amount of match practice. Do you think that will open things up a little bit; you won't know what to expect because people aren't match tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I still doubt it with those top guys. Federer is in a class of his own. I don't think limited matches are going to affect him too much whatsoever. He's played enough big matches and his record in finals against Top 10 players over the last two years really speaks for itself. I don't think it's really going to cause him a lot of havoc. Even the guys -- pretty much everyone's here fully fit apart from obviously Andre, but he's obviously hitting the ball well going on last week. So guys are going to get matches, a lot of practice in hopefully hot conditions the rest of this week, and then everyone's going to be training pretty hard next week at Flushing Meadows. Come Monday a fortnight from now I think everyone will be ready to go.

Q. Has your life changed at all being married?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Not a whole heap, no.

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post #178 of 372 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 17, 2005, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Greg Rusedski 1-6 7-5 6-4


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Questions, please.

Q. You did really well to get out of that. Are you feeling any better? Are you feeling you might still be a bit rough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the way I played the first set I was a bit rough. He served extremely well, though. He played well. You know, he didn't give as many cheap points as maybe he normally does, especially from the back of the court and on my service games as well. So, yeah, it was more just a matter of feeling my way into the match and, you know, trying to get some games under my belt and hold serve as much as possible there in the second set and just try and get it at least a tight situation. And that's when I got a couple of errors out of him and hit a couple of good returns.

Q. Would you say you're physically better but not 100%?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Right at the moment I'd say, yeah, I get better and better every day I think. But today's matchup was just totally different conditions, different opponent, style of game and everything to the guy I played yesterday in Andreev. So you couldn't have had two more opposite guys.

Q. Did you have a feeling if you'd not saved those breakpoints in the second set you would have been a goner then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the way he was serving at that time, he was serving extremely well. Apart from an early breakpoint in the second set, he was holding serve pretty comfortably there. He had good rhythm on his serve and, you know, who knows. But, you know, would have made life a bit tougher.

Q. Do you feel even more pressure when it's just -- when you maybe only have one or two chances in a whole match and you know you have to take them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sometimes. You know, it was obviously -- in the third set there, you know, fought extremely hard to get breakpoint at 4-3 and then he comes up with an ace right on the edge of the line at 141. There's nothing you can do about it, though, so you sort of just go put your head down and keep working. Hit a couple more aces to finish that game off. You sort of just have to put it behind you as much as possible.

Q. What do you attribute his success in the first set to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I wasn't playing great. I didn't serve well at all, especially in the first set. I didn't serve great for the whole match compared to how I served yesterday. But he didn't make a lot of errors either. He didn't give me too many cheap points. He served extremely well, especially in the first set and a half and, you know, really didn't give me that many opportunities to get into his service game.

Q. Health-wise, did you feel okay today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt not too bad. Yeah, I felt all right.

Q. What changed with his service game in the last half of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely missed some first serves, I think, you know, at crucial times. You know, I just made him play a lot more, I think, as the match went on. It was just a matter of me seeing his serve and getting into that rhythm. As I said, it was just totally different kind of player to what I played yesterday. So it just took me a little bit of time to adjust and get in the flow of playing that big lefty that's coming at you the whole time.

Q. What's with the two changes in appearance? There was the Pat Cash headband, then nothing at all. Looked quite different out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Just really not a huge -- I don't know. I had a haircut and a bit of a change.

Q. Why did you take it off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That one was sweaty and I actually forgot to put it back on. Started serving a bit better, so I kept it off.

Q. Given what happened last week, is every match this week a bonus for you? Are your expectations lower this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Every match is definitely a bonus. I think any time going into Grand Slams - especially now, you know, after not feeling great last week and having to pull out - every match I can get under my belt. And that's probably the most pleasing thing out of today's match, is I get another crack at someone tomorrow. Yeah, I think every match that I play I'm hopefully going to get better and better.

Q. You've played a lot going into the US Open and you've had a lot of success. This time it's different. Do you think it will make a difference when it comes to Flushing Meadows?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap, I don't think. You never know until you get there really, but next week I'll be having a good practice week in New York and hitting a lot of balls, playing a lot of practice sets. Years that I won the US Open I didn't have a great leadup and didn't play that many matches actually before and in 2001. So I've had both extremes. I think if your mind's set and ready to go come Monday fortnight, then hopefully I'll be okay.

Q. Do you prefer one or the other, do you prefer playing a lot in the runup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends how you're feeling, you know, your body sort of at the time I think more than anything. Last year I felt comfortable and didn't take a lot of energy out of me, especially playing Long Island and getting those extra matches. So, you know, every year's different I think.

Q. Any comments on the cricket?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tight (smiling).

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 18, 2005, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Mario Ancic 6-1 6-4


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Questions, please.

Q. You started a lot better today. What may have been the reasons for that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just getting another match under my belt, I think. You know, just went out there, served a lot better today the whole match. Against Andreev I served a bit patchy in the first round, and against Rusedski I served ordinary the whole match. So that was definitely something I felt like I needed to do a lot better today. You know, Ancic takes a lot of cuts on second serves, so I felt like I had to get a high percentage in. You know, I served great for most of the match.

Q. It was just getting the matches under your belt; it wasn't continuing recovery from the virus that made you play better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, I think maybe I'm feeling a little bit better. It's hard to tell when you're out there. I felt pretty good out there today. I was happy the way I hit the ball. I think I moved a lot better as well, you know. Not playing a lot of matches the last couple of weeks, I think that's the biggest thing in my game, is the movement side of it.

Q. Did you feel like you needed to get off to a fast start considering what happened yesterday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I'd rather be on the side of getting that first set 6-1 than losing it. But, you know, it wasn't something that I deliberately planned on, you know, doing any different today. I planned on doing it yesterday as well; it just didn't quite work.

Q. Has the virus made you second-guess how you feel every day; you don't know whether it's the virus or just the way you wake up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit probably a few days ago. I'd say not so much now. You know, I feel pretty good when I've woken up the last two or three days now. So, you know, hopefully the virus is fully out of the system.

Q. Between matches are you watching carefully what you're eating this week, or is it like back to normal for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not -- no, now it's a lot easier to eat, you know, whatever I feel like basically.

Q. How do the conditions compare here as compared to New York?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, pretty similar, I think. You know, humid conditions. You know, my first round against Andreev it was really heavy conditions out there, and I think that played a totally different part. Whereas I haven't quite felt that in New York quite as much, you know. Even if it's overcast or whatever, it doesn't quite get as heavy as it did here in my first match. Normally the ball, you know -- it's a different ball, the Wilson ball compared to the Penn. Normally, the Wilson ball at the US Open flies a fair bit through the air as well and can be sometimes a lot tougher to control.

Q. Are you a better player than when you won the US Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I mean, in a whole week in and week out, I think so, yeah.

Q. In what ways? You've got more of an all-court game, more variety?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I've probably got a little bit more weight behind most of my shots as well now. My movement's still -- you know, I don't think there was too much wrong with my movement back then, and, you know, it's not a whole different now. You know, it's probably a bit more weight, probably a little bit more variety as well, and I'm probably definitely serving a lot better.

Q. That gives you more tactical options?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it does. I guess when you're out there, you know, a lot of the guys these days are pretty one-dimensional. There's not a whole heap of guys like Greg Rusedski or Tim Henman, these guys that are capable of chip-charging, serve-volleying. So, you know, if I can throw in a little bit different tactic now and then, you know, you never know; that element of surprise can sometimes help.

Q. Roger Federer said the other day that one of the things that's changed for him over the years is he could change in the middle of a game. If something wasn't working, he could go to something else. Is that something that's happened with you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I've always probably got my stock standard, you know, not a lot of unforced errors out there, move extremely well, make my opponents hit a lot of balls. And, you know, I think that's definitely an area of my game that I've tried to work on the last couple of years, to try and dictate a little bit more and be aggressive when I need to and step up on the court. You know, I think it's definitely helped my game overall on every surface.

Q. They say a quarter of the body's heat goes out through the head. On humid days like this, does it make it cooler to play without a hat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It actually felt pretty cool out there with a hat on today.

Q. It doesn't have any sort of physical advantages for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Yeah, it was a little bit strange not wearing a hat in hot conditions because I've just -- I've always been, especially with white, I think, reflecting the sun as well. So who knows what I'll do in the future.

Q. Every year we talk about how the tour becomes tougher and how there are more players that can win. Now we have almost as many wildcards and qualifiers left in the draw as there are seeded players. What does that tell you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just men's depth, I think. You know, we've said it for a number of years now that, you know, it's hard for any top player to go out; that you don't get given easy first-round or second-round wins. You've got to go out there and earn it every time you step on the court. You know, we see that whether it's Roddick last week, you know, losing in the first round in Montreal; Nadal this week. There's never any easy matches and, you know, you've got to bring your A game every time you step on to the court. I think that's making it tougher and tougher. You know, there are no easy matches. I think that's on all surfaces as well.

Q. There is a big effort to try to get the top players to play more doubles. Do you think the tour's too difficult now to play singles and doubles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: More doubles?

Q. Yeah. Is it too difficult for a top player, he's tested all the time in singles, can he cope with both?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say. I think in these kind of tournaments where you got to win six matches in seven days against Top 50 opponents in this kind of heat, I wouldn't really want to be doing it. Yeah, I think your recovery time you need, especially leading into a Grand Slam as well. So, you know, every week is different. Some of the smaller tournaments, you know, maybe it can help out. I play, you know -- when I pick and choose when I play doubles is more preparation when I haven't played a lot of matches and felt like I want to get a match before a singles. So a lot depends on the timing. But, you know, with so many tough matches, it does make it hard to ask the top singles players to play week-in and week-out doubles.

Q. As close as everybody is, what's the difference between you and everyone else in the Top 10 and then guys that aren't quite in the Top 10? You go out there and you're playing Federer or Roddick or any of those guys, what's the difference playing them as opposed to playing the guy you played today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They've probably got something, you know, a little bit extra, something a bit special, I guess, you know, that sets them apart from, you know, the big group that everyone can hit a tennis ball over the net and move pretty well on the tour these days. You know, a guy like Federer's got every shot in the game. You know, he moves extremely well. He's got a great serve. You know, everything. A guy like Roddick, obviously, his power serve and forehand. Yeah, I think everyone's different in certain ways. I think everyone outside of, you know, 20 to 50 to 100 in the world, you know, they're great tennis players, but maybe they don't have quite that something special that a guy like Roger Federer does.

Q. If you could say one thing that you have that's special, what would it be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know if there is anything (smiling).

Q. It doesn't have to be a stroke, it could be...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I think mentally I'm pretty good in pretty much any situation so...

Q. How did you get that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Grew up with it, I guess.

Q. Did you inherit it, or was it just through your parents or environment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Wouldn't have a clue. Don't know.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 19, 2005, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Questions, please.

Q. Must be good to go out and get a quick one like that while Andy struggles a little bit and has to be out there a little longer. Is it nice to go in and be done quickly?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's nice to finish before midnight. I didn't really care when Andy finished, it was more trying to get in bed at a decent hour.

Q. You and Andy have had some pretty interesting matches over the years. Is there one match that sticks out in your mind as the definitive match between you two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, the first couple of matches we played I was probably, yeah, I was one of the top guys in the world and he was on his way up. So first time we played in Miami - I think it was - that was one of his first tour events; he beat Sampras earlier in the tournament. The last couple of times, last three or four times we've played, we've both been at the top of the game and we've had some extremely tight matches. The biggest one was probably the Aussie Open semifinal I'd say this year.

Q. What is it about the matchup between you two that has given you the edge?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, as I said, the first couple were, yeah, he was on the way up and I was at the top. So, you know, that was probably a little unfair advantage. But, you know, the last few, the one he got me at was on grass at Queen's Club and he played extremely well that day. I probably didn't play my best tennis in that period. But, you know, still, he's a tough player to play any time.

Q. You've cruised the last couple matches. Do you feel like you're starting to get into a groove?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it got better and better. Yeah, tonight's the best that I've played all week, so that's a huge positive. And, yeah, it's good to play a guy like Davydenko who's ranked, you know, six or seven in the world now. He's not easy, but you've got to play well to beat him. He's not going to give you the match. It's good to come through those matches, especially in preparation for the US Open in just over a week's time. Now step it up and play I guess a better player, better all-around player than Davydenko is Andy Roddick now. So it's good to see where your game's at and, you know, really test yourself a week before the Open.

Q. What's been your toughest match so far in the tournament from your perspective?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, well, score-wise maybe the Rusedski match in the second round, but I didn't nearly play my best tennis in that match so I made it a lot tougher on myself than it probably should have been. But he played extremely well and there was a lot of tight, crucial points in that match. The last two rounds I've really stepped it up when I needed to against both Ancic and Davydenko, who are two worthy opponents.

Q. Does a player with a big serve bother you very much other than -- is that a challenge for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always a challenge, but a lot of guys out there now got pretty big serves. Obviously, Andy's one of the biggest - if not the biggest out there. But you go out there with the mindset that he's going to hit a lot of aces, he's going to hit a lot of unreturnable serves, and you got to really focus on your game and take your opportunities when they come because against guys like that you're not going to get as many opportunities as maybe playing some other top stars or players out there. So you really got to take your chances.

Q. That serve is so much more effective on grass. How much does moving to the hard court take away some of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, I don't know. When I played him in Queen's, I didn't find a huge difference on grass than grass and hard court. I think he comes off pretty well on hard court as well (smiling). You know, he still gets a fair few aces and cheap points on hard court. I don't think there's a huge difference. I think clay, there's a lot bigger difference.

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