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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 20, 2005, SF

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


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

Q. You came real close, but he played a rather different way from the way he usually plays, didn't he?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. He started doing it the last couple of times I've played him. In Indian Wells he definitely played more like he played tonight, so it wasn't -- it didn't come as that great a surprise to me that he, you know, sliced a lot and looped a lot of balls up tonight instead of going for his power, especially off his backhand side. He's tried to do that more and more, I think, in the matches that we've played over probably this year or so - since Houston last year.

Q. Came to the net a lot, too. Serve-volleyed well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he did. Probably did that a lot more than he's done in the past. I felt like I had opportunities out there and didn't quite take them. And, you know, he served well. The three breakpoints I had in the first set, I had three second serves and he came up with very good second serves every time. And he took the chance, you know, getting that first hit and dictating play. I didn't really get in a rally on any of those breakpoints. Then in the second set when I had Love-30 a couple of times, he came up with aces.

Q. I know you don't make excuses, but could you describe that second-serve ace and overrule at the end, please.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I heard a call, but the crowd all went up and I don't think the chair umpire heard anything. And so I just -- I asked the chair umpire, I said, "Did you hear the guy call it out?" He said, "No, I called the score." I said, "Yeah, but the guy called it out." That was it. Then I went back and asked the linesperson, "Did you call it straightaway," because I heard it straightaway, but obviously I'm standing four meters from him. You know, every time Andy hits a big serve, then obviously the crowd all goes up, and the chair umpire didn't hear a call.

Q. Did the line judge answer you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he said yes. It was no doubt the guy called it. You know, he had his arm out. He yelled it in my ear. It's just the chair umpire didn't hear it.

Q. After that were you distracted, or were you focused on the next point right away?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was only one point to go and I didn't get my racquet on the ball, so it was a bit hard to be distracted.

Q. Did you just think there's nothing else you could have done, talk to the umpire about it, keep going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I couldn't keep going. You know, once he's called the score and that, I don't know what else I can do. I called the referee out and he's going to leave it up to the chair umpire. You know, I actually don't know what the proper approach is in that if the linesperson's called it out, because then the chair umpire can always back up and say "Well, I saw it good anyway." So it's sort of a no-win situation even though, you know, I heard the call straightaway.

Q. There was no fist-pumping tonight, "C'mons." Were you feeling a little bit sluggish tonight playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I felt a little bit tired the whole -- obviously, we played a few matches, and I'm backing up after not feeling great last week. So, you know, I can't say I've had the most energy this week.

Q. Did you feel like you were sort of getting more of a read on his second serve as the second set went on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, for sure. I was definitely getting into a lot more of his service games, and I think that's why he had to start coming up with different things. That's when I started getting a few double-faults. He didn't serve a lot of double-faults in the first set, and I got a few more later on in the second set because, you know, he was definitely having a go and change his game a little bit more and mix it up. That's the kind of high-risk tennis he has to play, though. You're going to have days when it pays off, and you're going to have days when it doesn't.

Q. Given your physical condition, are you reasonably satisfied with your performance this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's been pretty good. You know, easily could have lost in the second round to Greg. You know, to come through that and have some tough matches, you know... Tonight, a few points here and there and it could have been a different result. So, yeah, it's still -- it's great preparation for the US Open. You know, he's definitely one of the -- Roger's obviously the favorite, and he's high in the group right behind Roger. So I think I've got better as the week's gone on. If I can keep practicing the next week hard, next Monday hopefully my game will be at an even stronger point.

Q. You have a great record against Andy, and maybe you've got inside his head a little bit in the big matches. Do you think losing a tight match like this will make it more difficult for you next time? Will it help him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't think it will play -- you know, for me personally it won't play a big part. Whether he gets a little bit more confident from it, you know, who knows. But, you know, tonight I can still walk away and know that I had, you know -- there was a couple of points, a breakpoint in the first set at 3-2 to me and he hit the edge of the line, outside of the line on a forehand up the line from the alley. So, you know, a couple of inches in it, and I'm serving to go up 5-2 in the first. There's a few points here and there. You know, it's a game of inches, and a couple went his way tonight.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 31, 2005, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Albert Costa 6-1 6-2 6-1


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was it out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was good. Extremely tough conditions so it was one match that you just wanted to get under your belt and get into the tournament get back into the locker room as quickly as possible. And I felt like I executed exactly how I wanted to out there considering I knew it was going to be extremely windy after the warmup. I had this morning with Roger. Went out with a game plan and executed it perfectly.

Q. Obviously you played pretty much the least amount of tournaments of any of the Top 30, 40 players this year. Is that going to impact your form when it gets into a real tight contest or

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Couldn't have played probably more or less than I played before Wimbledon. As soon as I get in the big matches, the big situations, I know what to do and there was a couple of tight matches obviously at Wimbledon against Dent, tight four-setter. Then against Lopez, as well. I played my best tennis actually under those situations where I was down an early break against Lopez and the bigger the point the better I played. Hope that's going to be the same situation here.

Q. You guys' peril could lay anywhere, even in a first round, Andy obviously experienced that bitterly last night. Looking at first round, a guy who has won a Grand Slam event albeit he's not in top form, did you have any concerns about having Albert in that first round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no more than any other first round, I think. Yeah, there's no doubt I got respect for the guy, winner of the French Open, winner of any Slam. In this day and age, they can play on any surface. Yeah, you know it going to be tough. He's a guy who never gives it away easily either. He's a workhorse out there. Yeah, in a lot of ways it could have been a tough and awkward matchup for me. I think I just handled the situation so much better and the conditions out there than he did today. Yeah, I don't think these kind of conditions suit his game too well.

Q. When you see the likes of Andy go out early round, does that affect your thinking at all? Did you watch the match last night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't watch it. It doesn't affect me. Andy is on the other side of the draw obviously and, yeah, it's just -- always an eye-opener any time to see one of the top guys go out in the first and second round. But, you know, I've been on the other end of it as well. I know as well as any one that you can't take those matches lightly. And I played that Muller block last year in the Washington final after beating Agassi and he can play.

Q. Your part of the draw has opened up considerably. Does that make it easier for you or tougher? You have got a lot of claycourters, maybe Taylor Dent, looks like a relatively easy run.

LLEYTON HEWITT: As you saw last night, everyone was counting Andy to the semis and finals. There's no easy draws in this day and age. This court surface, I think a lot of the claycourters can play exceptionally well on this surface nowadays. Horna, Asacuso in the next rounds not going to be easy, Asacuso beat a lot of good players in Cincinnati to make a quarter there and played pretty well against Federer. And Horna, I beat in the Long Island final last year, but he made the final of a hard court event. So I am going to play the likes of one of those two guys.

Q. Has the "Cashy" headband been put back in the bag?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I just tried that for a couple of weeks.

Q. What was the idea behind that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just something different. That was it.

Q. Is that in respect to him and that sort of thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I loved Cashy growing up. He was one of my favorite players. Love the headband, too. It was a great thing for sport, a great thing for tennis I think. That was his trademark, no doubt about that. Obviously, I just had a thought before I went to Montreal, and obviously it didn't get the greatest stats, got pulled out the first round, but I called him up and asked if he'd mind if I wore a few of his headbands.

Q. They were his?


Q. Shipped them off to you?


Q. Injuries have played a part in your schedule this year. Obviously you are married now, going to have a child. Eight tournaments so far this year. Is that going to be a sort of similar plan for you next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No doubt I'd like to play few more this year, for sure. Next year, I haven't really set out a schedule, but as it's been the last three, four years now be focusing on the four majors and working backward from there. Yeah, leading into the French, I am not sure how much I will play. Obviously, I want to be fresh going into Wimbledon, being away that whole time leading and playing a lot of tournaments before the French. I don't know if that's the best preparation for me before Wimbledon. So I got to look at what holds in best stead for all the four majors and coming into the US. No doubt I'd like to play more tournaments this year as well coming in here. That's not to be, just got to try and do as well as I can with what is put in front of you at the time.

Q. As an expecting father, have you been talking to other guys on Tour that have young kids or babies get some tips what it's going to be like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Tim Henman's made a few jokes here and there. That's about it.

Q. What has he said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably can't repeat it here.

Q. Did he mention the cricket, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's mentioned the cricket a few times.

Q. Any thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at the moment (Laughter). I still think we'll find a way at that win the fifth test blank, hopefully the Tour.

Q. Does it feel any different to come here as a married man to have the extra responsibility of family life?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Once I get out on the court, practice court, match court, it's business as usual and matter of focusing on my job and what I am here to do.

Q. How about the evening sessions here, do you like them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I like the evening sessions, if I get any. I have played well in the evening in the past here, pretty good record, I think. I enjoying playing the evening sessions. It's a real buzz here, much like Australia in the night matches as well.

Q. Expect that you will travel with your wife and kid next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Most of the time, yeah.

Q. How are you expecting that to change your routine and your schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have no idea at this moment. Obviously it's going to change, but 'til it happens, I have no idea.

Q. Just going to wing it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, again.

Q. Forget sleep?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's going to be a change(Laughter).

Q. (Indiscernible) on the weekend?


Q. Sent a message to the guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have spoken to a lot of the guys.

Q. How are you going to monitor these boys, Internet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends, 7 o'clock in Adelaide, I don't know what I'll do. Depends on my matches and that as well. But I have a very keen eye on it.

Q. What's the tip?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We'll win. There's no doubt about that.

Q. How many?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Depends on how many players they have out. They still have a few of their guns still 50/50, I think. And a lot depends on them. I think if we get through this week, it's going to be a huge confidence booster for all the boys.

Q. (Indiscernible) Wednesday start be as opposed to an earlier start?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think now it's going to be no disadvantage. If it got rained out today, could have been a different story. Now that I got through, every second day, as per any Grand Slam, obviously until you get to the Saturday and Sunday back-to-back semi and final, but I am just happy I didn't get rained out today and I could get through.

Q. Did you make a request to play Tuesday, can you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I put in that I preferred to play Tuesday, but my half of the draw was Tuesday or Wednesday, and -- I think when Safin pulled out, as well, it made things a little harder, because there weren't as many key names to play on Wednesday.

Q. And the 11:00 A.M. start, how was that for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's fine. No, it's good to get it over and done with. Probably prefer that to hanging around and waiting - especially not knowing what this whether is going to do.

Q. Spoke to Rod Laver on the weekend. Obviously an opinion worth listening. Rod said while he likes Roger for the tournament, he thinks you have got a shot and he was feeling sort of the best thing for you is to not worry about what Roger is doing, what he's not doing, until such times as you were playing him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's what I do every tournament. I don't worry about Roger until I come up against him because I am obviously doing something pretty well against the other 99 blocks of the Top 100 out there. So it's only a matter of worrying about Roger when you have actually got to face him, but then again, there's been no secret formula for anyone against Roger on any surface really the last couple of years. I'd look forward to hopefully getting that crack at him in the semi.

Q. Having said that, Albert was just in here. He said the difference between playing you now and last time he played you, he thought your serve was a lot bigger. He also thought you were a lot stronger. Is that something that you worked at in terms of looking at Federer or just in terms of being a better player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think in terms of just being a better player. There's no doubt that Roger has taken the game to another level though. Yeah, that might motivate, I think, the rest of the guys out there to keep improving and to keep getting better. One thing that Roger Rasheed and I worked on was strength and trying to add another dimension to my game and trying to become a better player. If there's no small areas of your game to work on, then you might as well hang your rackets up. That keeps you motivated and keeps you hungry out there to keep improving. Yeah, it hasn't just happened overnight. That's been something that we have been working on the last two years, 18 months, two years. I think my result have shown that. Physically, I have been pretty strong in all the majors that I have had to play. Probably the most in the Australian Open, getting through to the final.

Q. Peter Luczak said the other day to me he thought the difference from hitting with you a couple of years ago to now is that he said you might make a few more errors because he thinks you are much more aggressive than sort of to know the ball back to keep it in play. Is that again...

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think over the last couple of years that's happened more and more. Whether that means coming into the net a little bit more to add another dimension, element of surprise to your opponents or not. Yeah, it just gives me another area of my game to improve and work on. That's a lot different doing it in the practice court to going out and doing it in match court in match conditions, under match pressure, under 30-alls and Deuce points out there.

Q. If you sort of take away the Australian Open, and how dominant Roger has been. It has been really been Roger and Rafael from January on. They have would every Master Series event, two other Grand Slams. Can you remember a time when two guys won so many big tournaments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I am sure Agassi and Sampras had it a few times in their careers when they played each other and they dominated. Obviously at the moment you still have to put Federer up there by himself. Yeah, he made a semi of the French Open, it's not his best surface either. He won Hamburg on clay, slow clay court there. I don't think he played Rome. So in everything -- he's lost like three matches for the year and like two of them and two of them I think he had matchpoint in both of them. At the moment I still rate him a lot higher than Nadal. But Rafael has had a great career, great year this year, and obviously more so on clay. But he's breaks in Montreal was obviously impressive.

Q. Did you lose a bit with Roger losing (indiscernible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think there was any black in there. Blue (Laughter).

Q. Lleyton, just with regards to Mark Philippoussis. What do you think? What do you think his prospects are maybe getting back in the Top 100?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mark's always going to be dangerous in any tournament - especially on hard courts or grass, in the Aussie Open, The US Open, or Wimbledon more so. But when your ranking gets outside 150, 200 there's no doubt that it's hard for anyone to come back from that situation and play well week-in and week-out. Because to rely on wildcards or to go back and play qualifying in some of the Master Series isn't easy. Hopefully he can work and put his head down, he's probably got a big opportunity in the Australian summer, I think to hopefully go out there. He missed most of it after in jurying himself after the Hopman Cup, I think if he can sort of bounce back and get the crowd behind him and play some good tennis at the Aussie Open, that could set up a bit of a change in the rankings next year.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 2, 2005, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jose Acasuso 7-6(6) 7-6(3) 6-2


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Tough matches in the last couple years here, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in patches, I guess he's a tough competitor out there. He's got a lot of flashy shots and a lot of weapons out there. I'd never hit a ball against him, so it took me a while to get in and read his game a little bit. You know, he served extremely well, especially the first set and a half. Then he started, you know, missing quite a few first serves, giving me a bit of a look in. But I thought he'd make a lot more errors than he did.

Q. Are you pleased with your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was good. I still feel like I can improve on today's match, but they're the kind of matches you just got to find a way and get through them and put yourself in a position to have another crack at someone in two days' time.

Q. Obviously, that's Taylor Dent. You've played him enough to know what to expect?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I know what I'm going to get. It's just a matter of executing, going out there with a game plan, you know, and executing what I need to do out there on Sunday. You know, it's never easy playing against Taylor, but, you know, he's going to give me a target and I've got to take my chances, you know, when I get them.

Q. Does that make these early rounds actually more nerve-wracking, when you can't come up with a game plan because there's an opponent you've only played once, maybe not only that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's not quite, you know -- not harder than taking on Federer (smiling).

Q. But you get the point.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's tough in its own way purely because they may not be in the same, you know, in the caliber of Federer or Roddick or Nadal or Agassi, but you just haven't seen them play. So sometimes, yeah, it does take you a set, set and a half, to get into the match and find out what their weaknesses are and try and exploit them as much as possible. So in some ways, you know, it is tougher.

Q. Is it also a case where the unknown opponent, because they're playing a named star such as yourself, is really playing their A game at all times? Does that also weigh on your mind, your opponent who you might not have heard of, he knows who you are, you don't know about him, he's all psyched? Is it tougher mentally to take some someone you haven't heard of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's the same situation week in and week out now, for me it's been for the last four or five years. All the top guys, Agassi I've been playing for a number of years now. That's what you got to deal with, and the pressures and expectations of being in the top, you know, three or four in the world. So it's just a matter of handling that and, you know, going out there, not taking any opponent lightly and, you know, even if you're one of the top guys in the world you've got to expect that you're going to get a pretty tough challenge every time you step out there.

Q. Your Wimbledon match against Taylor Dent, it was four sets, but was it a typical four-setter? What sort of lessons do you take out of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was probably one of the more comfortable four-setters I've played against Taylor, I would say. That whole match I felt pretty comfortable. I think I lost the third set in a tiebreak, if I recall correct. It was a tight, tight third set. I bounced back and played well in the fourth again. Yeah, it was a tough match, but I was on his serve early. You know, in the past it's maybe taken me, you know, a little bit of time sometimes to get on his serve. You know, Taylor's got a great serve and volley game. It's a matter of me going out there and making him play tough low volleys and half-volleys and, you know, making him play as many balls as possible.

Q. Will you practice with a serve-volley player the next couple days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. It's more -- tomorrow it will just be another light hit and just try and keep the rhythm going more than anything. You know, I've played enough guys, you know, to know. Obviously grew up playing with Rafter, and a number of serve-volley guys anyway. So I don't think that's going to take me by surprise.

Q. Do you think the ATP screwed up with the doubles changes they're proposing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, I don't know enough about it, to tell you the truth. Obviously, the doubles guys are pretty disappointed. It's a hard situation because tournament directors still have to look at what's the right thing for their tournaments that they're putting so much money into. I can't speak on behalf of them. Me, as a player, I don't play a whole heap of doubles because the singles tour is hard enough as it is. I just pick and choose my weeks to play. You know, there are obviously -- the tournament directors, whoever, the ATP, are obviously in the structure of trying to make it less and less doubles specialists kind of guys; whether that's right or wrong I'm not sure.

Q. These changes, would that change your attitude about playing doubles or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. For me, personally, I pick and choose the weeks that I feel like I need another match or two, and whether it's practicing for Davis Cup doubles or, you know, little things like that. I don't think in a whole heap that would personally change my thinking a whole lot.

Q. Can you tell me whether you're doing anything like donating or raising money for the hurricane victims?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot of the players have actually been asked to donate racquets, shoes, shirts and whatever. So the ATP is trying to -- or the US Open is trying to do as much as possible, so I'll be a part of that.

Q. Taylor stressed you had every right to get in your opponent's faces and stuff, that's the way you pump yourself up. In the nicest possible way, he put you in a group of players that sometimes cross the line on on-court etiquette? Have you heard that so many times it doesn't faze you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't faze me a whole heap. It's still a matter of me going out there Sunday and playing my game and not worrying about who's at the other end too much. So it's sort of water off a duck's back.

Q. Can you talk about the line call in the second set. You were very sort of matter-of-fact, you handled it, you asked for the referee. Similar to how you handled the Roddick match in Cincinnati. Are you trying to be sort of more maybe...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I just wasn't sure what was going on. Obviously, Jose, my opponent, had no idea what was going on either. It was more a matter of trying to clear up what the actual ruling was for that particular line call. It didn't help either of us, both our cases weren't held up. So that's when they decided to play (two/too?).

Q. You've obviously done extremely well here over the last few years and spoken about it at length. Can you just tell us again why you seem to perform so well here. Five losses and 31 victories?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I enjoy the conditions here. I think obviously the heat suits me. I pride myself on being one of the fittest guys out there, so I think that's always helped me a lot here. Yeah, it's a great atmosphere. Obviously, the court surface and the conditions, I think, are probably the main key there. You know, it's a hard court that I feel like I grew up, you know, in Adelaide growing up. Tennis lessons at local clubs are on hard courts similar to this. So I think it's sort of where you grew up and played a lot of your junior tennis on.

Q. On the point of fitness and saying you're one of the fittest guys on the tour, do you think you can get any fitter than you are? If so, in what areas?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I can. I think it's more maybe strength fitness more than anything. My stamina is pretty good. Hasn't let me down on too many occasions. I think there's always room for improvement. Maybe it's only marginal, but it could be something that you need in a big match.

Q. Are you changing anything, the way you play at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I haven't noticed myself slowing down yet, so I'm okay.

Q. How much more suitable for you is this speed of this surface compared to, say, Melbourne Park, the way it's been?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, Melbourne Park had that year, I think, it was 2000 when it was pretty quick. It had gone from one extreme to the other. Since then it's been a lot slower, higher bounce. You know, there's no doubt that it's a fair bit slower than playing here, I think. Whether the balls have had something to do with that in the past or not, you know, who knows? But conditions here in the past have been pretty quick and, you know, the ball seems to fly off your racquet quite a bit.

Q. So it's not quite as quick as in the past here?


Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the balls might not quite be feeling as quick as in the past this year. Yeah, the court surface, I'd struggle to see there's too much different year by year.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 4, 2005, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Taylor Dent 6-3 3-6 6-7(2) 6-2 7-5


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You play against so few serve-and-volleyers. Do you enjoy it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a good challenge. It's obviously a lot different to 90% of the guys out there now. It's pretty much -- you know, even Henman doesn't serve-volley first and second serves anymore. So there's not too many guys that keep coming at you like that. That probably works in Taylor's favor, I guess, a lot of matches - especially on these kind of matches, these courts as well.

Q. Worked for you at the end.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was very close.

Q. Thought you were going to give that fifth set away there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I was -- I played Taylor in '97 in Juniors here. I felt like it was that today.

Q. Two double-faults?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I let him have another chance after I did well to break. Got the first break late in the fifth set, then just didn't close it out at 40-15. That end was the tougher end to play from today, which has been different than the other day when I played Costa on that court, opposite wind direction today. So it was a lot tougher playing from that end. When Taylor chip charged and hits deep balls like that, he's tough to pass. He's a big guy and he's got a lot of reach across the net. He's not the easiest person to pass or lob. Just a matter of trying to hang in there. I felt like I was returning pretty well the whole match. That sort of kept me in it.

Q. The double-faults, obviously, one of the stats was when he broke you there were double-faults. That always gave him momentum. Was it just the wind, you think, the conditions today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't serve great today, there's no doubt about that. But I guess a guy like Taylor, I think if you're going to play well and beat him, you've got to serve well. It was one of those matches I sort of put myself against the 8 ball a little bit, behind the 8 ball, because I went out there, didn't serve well and I had to do other things well to put myself in contention, like my return of serve. I felt like I was able to do that today. He's not the easiest guy to return serve, even on second serves. But I felt like I was really stepping in and dictating any opportunity that I got on the second serve, which that was probably the biggest positive to come out of today's match.

Q. He was in here earlier and said 5-Love, he was thinking, "This is going to be a quick day." What changed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He started serving a lot better. He made a lot more first serves towards the end of the first set, you know, throughout the second set. But he made a lot more hiccups and low-volleys and half-volleys. I actually felt like -- in the second and third set, I felt like I returned pretty well out there and, you know, he just came up with some tough, awkward dinks. With the wind, it was hard to lob, moving forward, playing a chip shot when he's all over the net. So in terms of that, he just made life, you know, difficult in that situation. Yeah, I still felt like I could have been a lot more positive and aggressive out there and taken it to him a lot more from the back of the court, but, you know, the conditions made it a lot tougher to do that.

Q. How many times during the match did you have in your mind maybe your serve-volley point here, it's not quite right, then you played the serve-volley point on the big point there in the last game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he was just bunting, bunting the serve back trying to get into the point, especially from that end with the breeze. He's just chipping it back, waiting for a short ball to pounce on. So, yeah, at deuce there, I just mixed it up. Served out wide to his forehand, expected him to hit a chip shot with his forehand and got the perfect reply that I wanted. You know, as I said, if I served better, then it would have given me more opportunities to serve-volley, mix it up a lot more. But I just didn't have great rhythm out there serving today.

Q. You might not have liked your serve overall today, but you came up with two big serves in the final game. Did you catch him leaning the wrong way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I had to get lucky out there some time. I didn't get a whole lot of cheap points off my serve today.

Q. One was 127.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm getting big now, so (smiling)...

Q. You've got Hrbaty now. What are the challenges he presents coming off a match like this, five sets, serve-volleyer, big guy. Now you go against Hrbaty. Compare, contrast those.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a totally opposite match in tactics and the way the opponents are going to play. Hrbaty, he's one of the fittest guys out there. He's a workhorse. He's going to make you play a lot of balls out there. He's going to run down a lot of shots. But, you know, he doesn't play with a lot of spin. He wants it in, you know, his zone the whole time. It's a matter of, you know, trying to change up, and trying to dictate play as much as possible against him. But, you know, he's a tough player. He's been in the semifinals of the French before and it's not going to be an easy day. I think I'm going to have to improve from today's match.

Q. But more comfortable for you, this kind of an opponent, than a guy like Taylor Dent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It depends on the conditions. Today the conditions made it tougher as well, because, you know, as I said, he's got such reach around the net, and overhead as well, he moves back great for his overhead, which was very hard to pass in the breeze today. If you're slightly off, or a quarter -- slightly a bit late, he was over the net. That made it tougher. It's obviously, depending on the conditions, but as Bud said earlier, it's not too often that you play serve-volleyers first and second serves these days.

Q. More breeze there than usual?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There was more today. It wasn't as bad as the first day I played last Wednesday against Costa. But it's definitely swirling out there. This tournament's always had very few days where you have, you know, great conditions where there's no wind at all. Apart from the wind today, it was a great temperature and whatever to play tennis in.

Q. How do you think you might rebound physically from today, three hours-plus? Going back a few weeks you were sick in Canada?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'll be fine. For me personally, it wasn't that grueling. I was hoping that my fitness is going to be better than Taylor's out there today as well. Once I got into the fifth set, I would have been pretty disappointed if I lost it due to fitness.

Q. Is there a key to your increased serving? Someone pointed out if you look at the Top 10 players, number of aces they hit per match levels the playing field, you're right behind Andy Roddick. Is it just nothing but work, nothing but serving? Is there another key to what you've done with your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It's something that Roger and I have had worked on the last 18 months or so, two years now - pretty much since Roger took over, basically. It was an area of my game that we felt like we can improve and get cheaper points and make life a bit little easier out there rather than just battling away from the back of the court the whole time. Yeah, it's hard work more than anything, just practice and trying to keep that rhythm. You're gonna have days like today where I didn't feel like I served great out there. But my first two matches I felt like I served pretty well in general. You're always going to have days where you still got to find a way to win, even if everything's not going great. But, you know, pretty much at the end of the day, it's just hard work and trying to find that rhythm again.

Q. Did you change your motion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not motion. You know, it's just more placement and working the ball and, you know, picking the right times to go for the big one and, you know, more trying to be smart, I think, about the way that I serve.

Q. Do you think with the year that you've had, you know, just getting -- in terms of your goals here, obviously you want to win every time, but you would have been obviously quite disappointed not getting to the second week of the US Open. Now that you are, I mean, how do you sort of assess the way it's gone for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: So far, so good. I'm still in the tournament. I still feel like there's areas of my game that I can work on and I think I need to work on if I want to make any real in-roads into this tournament and be a serious contender. But, you know, I feel like, you know, I'm still here and, you know, Hrbaty is going to have a challenge in the next match, put up a challenge for me in the next match. But I still like my chances in that one, you know, if I go out there and execute the way that I want to. I can't look too far down the line. Obviously, Federer is going to be waiting there, most likely. But, you know, you can't look too far ahead of yourself. You've seen what happened to Nadal and Roddick. There's no easy matches out here.

Q. Eighth game of the fifth set, you're ahead 40-15, don't put a first serve in and you double-fault twice. Do nerves enter in at that point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. As I said, my rhythm just didn't feel great out there today. That was the tougher end to serve from, into the b breeze. I just felt like my ball toss was not quite as high as it should be, sort of falling back the whole time against the breeze. It was more that, I think, than anything else. Because Taylor wasn't really chip-charging off my serve that much today. He was sort of waiting for his opportunity in the point to come in.

Q. Foot fault call annoy you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. If I've been foot faulted in the past, it's normally on the ad side. It was weird to get a couple on the deuce side.

Q. It's difficult because of the way you turn your foot, hard to see whether you're actually on the line or not. I wonder if the lines people are guessing that your foot is on the line.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's a few in Sydney this year, in the tournament in Sydney I was getting called a lot for foot faults and we were going to tapes and they weren't foot faults. We had to have a meeting with all the lines people to go through them. Obviously, my foot turns, but your foot actually has to touch the line, part of your foot has to touch the line to be called a foot fault.

Q. Did you hear the Fanatics? They're so far away in this stadium.

LLEYTON HEWITT: They don't get close here. No, yeah, they're there the whole time. It's a bit harder to hear them, but I can hear them, and it's good to have that support.

Q. Being relatively new to tennis, how does Bec deal with the big moments like that? Does she get nervous? She seems quite calm.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think she's pretty calm. She's sort of learning the ropes a little bit. She's probably a little bit nervous out there for me. But, yeah, I don't think she -- she can probably see the bigger picture a little bit better than I can, too.

Q. Taylor faulted his own serve. Does Taylor's serve seem any less dangerous to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not right at the moment. I felt like I was on his serve a lot today. I don't think it's any less than it has been in the past. I think the balls are getting a little soft here after -- couple games after they lose their new -- when we play with new balls. Maybe that's got a little bit to do with his serve not coming through as much. But, yeah, every second serve today, I felt like I was seeing it and picking my spots well. Still, he's got a great first serve, no doubt about that.

Q. Is it fun to be in a match like that? The crowd is really in it. Everybody's in it. It could have gone either way. Is there a feeling that, "I'm really glad to be out here"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes (smiling).

Q. Not today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I still felt like there was a lot of areas of my game that weren't quite clicking today. It was more a matter of trying to find a way to win today and get in the locker room and look forward to the next round.

Q. What did you think of the question that CBS asked you on court afterwards? Was it a cheap shot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a strange one. I think when you put people out there that don't have too much idea about tennis...

Q. Was your confidence destroyed and all your weaknesses exposed? Do you feel this way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I'm through to the next round and, you know, he's a tough opponent for anyone to play.

Q. Don't look like a wreck sitting there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm hanging in all right. I think I'll sleep okay tonight (smiling).

Q. How are you physically? Saw you coughing there a little bit. Something in your throat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm fine, mate. Thanks.

Q. Keen for a night match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't bother me either way. You know, it is a great atmosphere to play at night. But I can get out of here at a decent hour, too, playing first match at 11. So whatever comes my way, I guess.

Q. The doubles players were in here a couple days ago announcing that they were suing the ATP. You don't play that much doubles, but you're a tennis player and a lot of your mates are doubles players. Can you offer opinions.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I spoke about it the other day. It's hard for me to comment too much purely because I don't know enough about it. You know, for me, I use the doubles, picking my tournaments, to prepare for singles now. Obviously it was fantastic to win my first Grand Slam in doubles with Max Mirnyi here in the US Open in 2000, but apart from that I've hardly played any Grand Slam doubles and I just pick my weeks here and there. I think you can understand why some of the guys are disappointed, you know, to be changing the scores and whatever. But does it affect me? Not really.

Q. Does it strike you as sort of the wrong thing to do to the game to tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, doubles has been such a big part of our game for so many years, but tournament directors are putting the money up to supply tournaments and get sponsors and whatever. If they feel that that's the way that, you know, is going to help them make more money and support the game -- and they put a lot of money and financial help into our game. So it's very hard to go against what they're suggesting as well in a lot of ways. You've got to try to find a happy medium, I guess. At this stage it looks like they're all trying to get one extreme in 2007, 2008. I think that's what the doubles players are trying to get against.

Q. What do you think of your countryman, Ben Graham, making the Jets as a punter? Ben was more of an AFL star.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he is a good player. I don't know that much about it. But, yeah, he's obviously got a great kick on him, left-foot kick. I know Geelong were very disappointed to lose him.

Q. But they still made the playoffs?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they're still going. They're still in there at the moment.

Q. Your guys have another week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What, just one?

Q. I think so.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You think so? We'll wait and see.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 6, 2005, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Dominik Hrbaty 6-1 6-4 6-2


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Nice match, Lleyton. After a big push by Taylor, it was a different type of match today. You got a player coming up now, who spoke in a press conference earlier, and is playing very, very hot. He said playing you, he's got nothing to lose. Your thoughts about the next step in this journey?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Jarkko is a tough player. We played a couple times before. Yeah, he works the ball around the court well. He doesn't give you a lot of cheap points. Off both sides he's extremely capable of putting you under pressure. I don't think there's probably a weaker side. His backhand is probably a little bit more steady, but he's got a fair bit of firepower on his forehand side. So, you know, obviously a lefty. Just got to go out there and try and execute my game well. Make him play a lot of balls, and stand up in the court and be aggressive when I need to.

Q. You looked completely in control today. Was today the best you played this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I stepped it up today. Totally different matchup. But I got out of the blocks well today and, you know, I just went out there with the game plan that Roger and I had put together, and, you know, just executed it perfectly and did what I needed to do. And, you know, didn't feel that under pressure, you know, on either my service games nor his. Sometimes it actually felt like he was playing better on my service games than his own.

Q. When you read a guy like Dominik who says he's super fit and what he's going to do is try to run you around, is that extra motivation for you, knowing your own fitness levels?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. He's one of the fittest guys as well out there, but I wasn't trying to go out there and make it into a marathon match. You know, I'm very happy to get away with the win that I got and, you know, be in the locker room after a comfortable win as well and not waste a lot of energy. Physically, I felt great out there today. So, you know, he didn't put me under that much pressure.

Q. Did you work a lot on the serve in the day in between? Seemed like it was coming through a little more today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, didn't work on it a whole heap specifically. It was more just trying to get some rhythm yesterday in practice and this morning before I went out. But, you know, it was more just a mental effort to go out there and, you know, play the percentage game again out there against Dominik. You know, put him under as much pressure as possible.

Q. After the match with Taylor, do you feel like you really needed a match like today, something to get through quick, save yourself energy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's always nice to get through in these, especially coming off a match like Taylor which could have gone either way in a lot of ways, only a couple points here and there. Yeah, it's nice to go out there and bounce back like I did today. It's even better after playing a long match and you pull up and your body feels good as well. You don't have any doubts in your mind about your body, that's a huge positive.

Q. When you know there's a possibility you might play Roger down the line, is it doubly important to try to conserve energy along the way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, nine times out of ten I think if you're going to win the tournament, you're going to have to come up against Federer at some stage at the moment. So, yeah, it's just a matter of getting through your matches. It's not something you focus on, you've got to save your energy just for that match. So it's a matter of, you know, going out there against the opponents that you've got to play. And next Nieminen, whether it takes me an hour and a half or four and a half hours, I just want to get the win on the board.

Q. Andre has spoken about how marriage and fatherhood has changed his perspective on the game. Can you talk about that and what your expectations are.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't given a whole heap of thought. You know, marriage hasn't changed things that much just yet. Having a kid, you know, it certainly will. But, you know, I think it's going to be more of a surprise when it happens than, you know, to know actually how it's going to be right at the moment. You know, obviously the travel and everything. But, you know, Bec is the priority at the moment regardless, and, you know, Bec and obviously the baby will be the priority next year as well.

Q. Have you given any thought to dropping the lawsuit against the ATP? I know your manager has mentioned a little bit about that. What are your thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's still going on. There's no need for me to comment right now about it.

Q. You're not going to drop it?


Q. When you see next year, you know, I know it's a long way off, but do you foresee yourself as a guy that wants to keep playing tennis, you know, like an Agassi, into that sort of age span?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, there's too many things around the corner, you know, body and injuries. Yeah, who knows really. It's just a matter of at the moment taking as much care as possible, you know, with your body, and my body and especially my legs are a huge part of my game as well. So, yeah, I'd like to play as long as possible, as long as my body can put up with it. But right at the moment I haven't even thought about that.

Q. In terms of your - I don't want to say love for the game - but in terms of going through the grind of being a professional player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows? Who knows? As soon as you're not motivated, there's not much point being out there.

Q. Six years you've been in the US Open quarters or better. Does it feel as if it's possible for you to have done that? You're only 24. How do you sort of view that achievement?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. I actually didn't even think about it until someone said it in one of the interviews there today. You know, it's a great record to have here. It's not an easy Grand Slam, not an easy tournament to do well at, and to go out successfully every year, you know, it's a huge positive, I think. I love playing in New York. I love the conditions, the court surface, the balls, everything about it. So as a whole, this tournament's been pretty good for me.

Q. Jarkko has never played in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. He said there's a certain exuberance being there the first time. You have experience over him. Is there a special danger in playing a young, hot player in unchartered territory, having that sense of momentum?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's a danger in that kind of aspect, I guess. You know, they've got nothing to lose in a lot of ways. But, yeah, that can work for a positive or a negative, you know, with the nerves of playing in that situation as well. So it's not a whole -- for me, it's more a matter of going out there with the mindset I always have, giving 100%, worrying about my game more than my opponent's. I've played enough guys now that it's been their first time in a quarter, semi, or even a final. David Nalbandian at Wimbledon, first final; it can work on either way. It's not something I dwell on too much.

Q. Roger Federer said being the No. 1 player in the world makes your voice carry. Did you feel a responsibility or burden being at the top?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about a "burden." There's no doubt that I think, you know, the weight of what you say or your comments, you know, carry a lot further down the line than a lot of other people, you know, in the game of tennis. There's no doubt about that. I'm sure any world No. 1 in any chosen sport would be exactly the same. So I'm sure Roger's really feeling that, obviously, at the moment, being clearly the world No. 1.

Q. How have you changed since you were No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap, I don't think. Really not much on or off the court, I think. I still go out there and prepare and put in all the preparation off the court that I need to work on my game, and fitness levels and all that, all the hard yards, yeah. None of that's changed.

Q. John Newcombe obviously says in commentary that he's concerned when you get in a lead, you try and protect it (inaudible). Would you agree with that at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Occasionally, I think. Sometimes -- depends in matches, I think more. Today was a match where the service games, didn't really mean a lot who was serving out there today purely because Hrbaty is such a good returner and he really wants to take that first hit in the point. Whereas sometimes I felt like, you know, it was easier actually on his service games. He played a little bit more negative on his serves games than on mine. So today was probably a little bit different. In some of the matches, I think -- you know, against Dent the other day, I just had a bad service game at 4-3 when I led in the fifth and, you know, it was good to close it out at 6-5.

Q. Why do you play your best tennis when you are behind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if I necessarily play my best tennis when I'm behind. I don't think -- today I went out and played probably my best tennis first set. That's when, you know, I was clearly in the lead. But, you know, felt pretty confident out there.

Q. You obviously enjoy the challenge?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it doesn't worry me either way. I prefer to be leading than coming from behind, though.

Q. Yesterday McEnroe was saying that he thinks that you were getting in people's faces too much or opponents' faces. Do you sense a big deal is being made out of something that's not that much of a big deal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot of people hopped on the wagon, yeah. Yeah, I think, you know, especially with the Davis Cup match in Sydney, I think a lot more people hopped on the wagon. That was probably the more disappointing thing because I actually didn't really know what I did wrong in that match. You know, in terms of that, that was disappointing, you know. Even Coria yesterday was mimicking Massu in his match, but no one really wanted to give him a hard time yesterday, or back in Sydney. So that was disappointing.

Q. Do you feel what you do is more aimed at internal-wise, like a fist pump or a "C'mon" is more about you than the other guy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's always got to do with me. It's a matter of spur-of-the-moment, the emotions out there, whether I want to pump myself up and, you know, just happens out there. It's not something you think about and go out there and do.

Q. Did you happen to notice his shirt?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah (smiling).

Q. Would you be apt to wear a shirt with gaping holes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wouldn't wear it. I wouldn't wear it. But it made it a lot easier for me to beat him today.

Q. You think the wind was blowing in that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that. I just couldn't lose to a bloke wearing a shirt like that (smiling).

Q. There's always a group of Australian fans here supporting you and other Australians. What do you think about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they're great. They come to all the major events - not just tennis, but all the sporting events, whether it's cricket or anything overseas. They're great. Make a lot of noise out there, which I like. It's a good atmosphere to play tennis in, especially in such a big stadium. Two days ago, we had 25,000 watching me play against Dent. Whereas today it wasn't jam-packed, and it's nice to have a bit more emotion out there from some of the crowd.

Q. What do you see as the main improvements in your game from the kid that made the semis here the first year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I got a lot more variety in my game. You know, serve, no doubt when it's clicking, it's a lot better than it was back then as well. You know, in general I think my whole game as a whole, you know, I have more options out there on the court.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 8, 2005, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Jarkko Nieminen 2-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-1


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton.

Q. Lleyton, seems maybe the first four sets, it was a bit up and down, but your energy level didn't quite seem normal, what we're used to from you. In the fifth you certainly kicked it up a gear. What happened in the first four sets?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just felt like, yeah, I was just struggling a little bit with, you know, my movement. Just felt a step slower, a bit sluggish out there. It was just a matter of trying to stay tough mentally out there and put myself on level terms. Late in the third set he stepped his game up against the breeze for one game to get the break. And, you know, after the first set I actually felt like I was on top of him. It was just that one game late in the third set that gave him that set. I had to try to rebound strongly in the fourth. There's no doubt I played my best tennis in the fifth set. It was a huge positive to come out of today and hopefully that, you know, can take it another level or two in my next round.

Q. How would you assess your play today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was patchy out there today. Tough conditions again. It's the same for both players. But, you know, I probably pulled the trigger a little bit more than I normally do out there today. But Nieminen wanted to play, you know, the patient game and wait for his opportunities to attack. And, you know, it was just a matter of hanging in there really. And, you know, sometimes when I was aggressive and came to the net, he actually played some of his better tennis. So that sort of made it a little bit tougher out there because then I get a little bit negative and defensive and, you know, that's not the best way for me to play.

Q. So much has been made of your celebrations on court the last six months particularly. Does that weigh on your mind at all? Does that affect you, the way you conduct yourself out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no.

Q. Nothing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's been made my whole career since I was 15, 16, so it's not going to change now.

Q. How forward are you looking to another crack at Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, you know, if he gets through tonight's match, which, you know, he's obviously the favorite, you know, doesn't get any easier. But, you know, then again, you keep putting yourself in the position and, you know, there's no doubt I've got to go out there and execute what I want to do and play extremely well to go with him. You know, it's a matter of hanging in there with him and trying to put as much pressure as possible. Yeah, there's been no secret formula. No one's been able to find the exact formula to topple him just yet.

Q. Is it hard not to use him as the measuring stick, "I've got to add this to my game," or "work on this," or whatever, to catch him? Do you resist doing that, consciously do that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a tough one because you're obviously doing something extremely well to keep putting yourself in that position, but most of the time you know if you're going to win the majors, you're going to have to beat him somewhere along the line. Obviously probably later in the tournament. But, you know, it's a tough one. You don't want to go out there and try and work on areas of your game to try to upset Roger late in the tournament, you might fall in one of the first hurdles. That's the tough part about it. But the next day and a half my focus will be purely on Roger if he gets through tonight.

Q. If you look at the way he's played you, when he played you early, he seemed more temperamental, he'd go for it. If he wasn't hitting it, his confidence seemed to sag and you became stronger. The last times he's played you, he doesn't seem to make the errors he used to. How difficult is that to deal with?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's made it a lot more difficult for everyone to deal with. That's one of the huge reasons why he just doesn't give you the cheap points that he did four years ago probably. And that's the reason why he's, you know, improved so much and he's the standout No. 1 at the moment, because he doesn't give you cheap points. Probably more so on our service games when we're serving against him, he doesn't give you those cheap points where maybe he did, you'd get some easy service games and cruise through then try and put some pressure on his. That's the reason he's improved so much and, yeah, it makes it a lot tougher. But you still got to try to find a way to get in there. There's not too many weaknesses in his game. You've got to try to break down something.

Q. When you were playing those matches early on, did you think, "He's never going to get that together," or did you think, "Once this guy gets it together, it's going to be real trouble"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, he's always been talented, there's no doubt about that. He's always had all the shots. It was a matter of him putting it together. I think a lot of people probably spoke about him a bit earlier than he was ready to stand up and be one of the greats and win Grand Slams. So it was more probably him coming to terms with that, I think, the pressures and expectations. Once he learnt to handle that, then, you know, his game just went to another level.

Q. But it wasn't a surprise to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. He was always -- you know, Juniors and then coming up on the tour, he was one of the most dangerous guys. And I think, you know, when he beat Sampras at Wimbledon, you know, to stop Pete's run back then, even though he didn't make that next step straightaway to one of the best players, he was always very dangerous.

Q. Just curious, did you stay up to watch the match last night?


Q. This match against Federer, do you think you'll be able to make yourself sort of play those aggressive sort of net-approaching points on big points this time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, in the past when I've had breakpoint opportunities in big points, he's come up with -- he hasn't given me an opportunity to attack or put pressure on him. That's another area of his game that he's been able to work on. When he's down and in trouble, he pulls the trigger at the right times and comes up with the big shots. You know, hopefully I get into a position where I can, you know, can try and put some pressure on.

Q. You have the best winning percentage of any active guy in the draw here at the US Open. What is it about this place that makes you comfortable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I'm not really sure. The court surface, I think, you know, suits my game pretty well. I enjoy it. It's probably medium to fast hard court here. It's the kind of court that I grew up in Adelaide playing on. I'm very used to it. Moving, I feel comfortable. Atmosphere, a lot of things put together, I think. But, you know, for some reason it's all sort of clicked here, and this is where I won my -- my first major in doubles was here with Max Mirnyi. The following year I won my first singles Grand Slam here. It's a pretty special place to come back here.

Q. Federer uses a lot of slice, more than the other guys. Is his slice so different, or is it just so offputting because he changes speed so well? What seems to be so good about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He definitely changes speed so well and so easily, as well, on his backhand. His slice, it's one of the best out there. Whether it's better than Pete's or Rafter's or these guys at their best, it's match for match. But there's no doubt that he can change the pace very well in the middle of a rally.

Q. Is that something very few of the other guys do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, now and then. He just does it a lot better than a lot of other guys when they try to do it.

Q. You said conditions were difficult. Are you referring to the wind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the wind.

Q. Can you speak specifically to Nieminen's game and how he played you today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the wind was tough out there for both of us. Jarkko, he served in patches. He wasn't serving great at the start, I just wasn't able to capitalize on my opportunities early on. He tried to play the more steady role out there and wait for his opportunities to come in or to attack. He loves hitting that flat backhand and attacking it. His backhand is probably more his, you know, more consistent side, but he can hit winners off his forehand as well. Yeah, he's probably very similar on both sides.

Q. In the final set he wrong-footed you. You grabbed your left hip. No damage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, just twinged it a little bit. Bit awkward.

Q. If you were to play Nalbandian, you're back at that Davis Cup match. Have you sort of gone through or reviewed what didn't go right for you that day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. Didn't try and follow it -- you know, think about it too much after it happened. It was obviously very disappointing at the time. If he was to get through, there's no doubt I'll have to have another crack at him and see if I can change the score line, you know. There was no doubt it wasn't my best match I played, and just didn't execute well at all.

Q. On Nalbandian, if he does get through, he's a guy that you've played quite a lot, even at junior level against. Are you more comfortable playing him against let's say somebody like Federer? But are you more comfortable against Nalbandian?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to compare Nalbandian to Federer right at the moment. But, you know, Nalbandian is tough for -- out of any of the top guys. When he's on, he's very capable of beating anyone out there. Yeah, surprising he hasn't probably been more consistent in his results, I think, because I rate his game very highly.

Q. What do you think about it, about his game? What makes him stand out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He moves extremely well. Very rarely -- his fitness, he's very good. He doesn't look like one of the fittest guys, but I've never seen him lose a match due to fitness. He's got a good all-around game. He's got a great backhand, one of the best backhands on tour.

Q. You've been down two sets to one a couple times. Is there a certain trick to playing when your back's against the wall?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. There's no secrets. It's just a matter of hanging in there. Obviously, when you are two sets to one down, you want to try to get up an early break in the fourth, and I've been able to do that both times this week.

Q. The morning of the semifinal, how much of the Crows' game are you going to look at, the score, listen to the radio, call?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know, mate. Not sure.

Q. You obviously lost in straight sets in the final last year, but can you take a little bit out of that second set where it was almost a match within itself? Can you take some confidence out of that in terms of how you played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's a year ago. It's probably not a whole heap I can take out of it. Obviously, wouldn't mind that have been the first set rather than the second, though. Had to try to put a bit of pressure on him early on rather than give him a set start. But that's what he tries to do and that's what he's been so successful at against everyone.

Q. Will we see something different against Federer if you play him? Will you be pulling the trigger more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Don't know. We'll wait and see (smiling).

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 10, 2005, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 3-6 6-7(0) 6-4 3-6


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That must be a harder one to take because you've played so well for so long in that match. Do you feel like the second set might have been the key, if you would have somehow got that one, with all the set point chances, held on to that one, did you feel he was a little under pressure?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, yeah, once you go down two sets to Love against a guy like Roger, it's always going to be a massive uphill battle. But, you know, I would have made it a lot nicer, a lot more comfortable, I feel like, getting myself into the match as well at a set all, and try and put some pressure on him from there. After I was down an early break in the second set and I got back, once I got back in it, I felt like I was actually starting to dictate play a little bit more out there, and I was definitely having a few more opportunities on his service games in the 5-4 and the 6-5 game. I just wasn't quite able to grab them. You know, he played an unbelievable tiebreak, though. You know, there wasn't much I could do about it. He started at the better end and he dictated play right away. That made it tough to come back from there. But, you know, still, I hung in there, weathered the storm early in the third set and was able to hang in there and get a break and get on top. But, you know, it's always going to be tough, you know, after going down two sets to Love for him to play three average sets or, you know, not to play one outstanding one.

Q. In every press conference the past two weeks, I've sat in with opponents of his, heard variations of "He's playing on another planet," "He's not even mortal." You made him look mortal in the third set. What do people need to do to beat this guy? Can you comment on that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's playing extremely well. I felt like out there today, though, the first set I had opportunities early on and just wasn't quite able to dictate and take them when I needed to. If I could have tried to hang with him early in the first set and try and put some pressure on him -- I was sort of beating myself a little bit in the first set I felt. Once I got into the match, I felt like I was able to go toe-to-toe with him, you know, pretty well. But, you know, he's a hell of a shot-maker, the best shot-maker I've ever seen. He can pull the trigger on, you know -- anywhere on the court. So, you know, obviously, over five sets, there's going to be times when he hits them pretty well. So, you know, that's the tough thing, to go out there and actually try and dictate him for three out of five sets.

Q. Roger said you should take confidence out of that match that you can actually beat him. Is that how you feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's obviously a bit disappointing right at the moment. But, you know, it was a lot better effort on, you know, my part of getting myself into the match and having a bit of a tussle with him and trying to put him under pressure out there today. No one's really been able to put him under pressure for the last couple of years, especially on hard court - or grass for that matter. You know, he's definitely been the standout player. Doesn't matter how good you are. Not to lose, you know - what has he lost? Three matches, and two of them he's had matchpoint this year - that's an incredible year.

Q. Do you feel as though you played some of your best tennis today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played okay. I still feel like I could have played better out there. I definitely could have served better today. But, you know, he's a player that, you know, he's going to try and make you play worse out there as well. So it's not easy sometimes to play your best tennis against a guy like Roger.

Q. When you look back at the set points in the second set, do you kind of see that there's not a lot you could have done on those five points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the first two set points I had, he played a dink shot. You know, he hit a good first serve, I got it back. He came in, played a dink backhand, came into the net. Wasn't really much I could do. Next one I played a pretty perfect point, really. And, you know, he hit that forehand pass up the line. You know, when he actually hit it, I nearly thought it was going to go long, but it was against the breeze and he put so much work on the ball as well that it dropped in clearly.

Q. In 2000 Tiger Woods dominated golf in a way that one might say Roger is doing in tennis right now. Ernie Els, who was a runner-up to him, said it was too bloody bad he was playing in the era of Tiger Woods. Ultimately, the players said Tiger raised the level of their game. Do you see an analogy? Would you say the same with Roger? Is this what's going to happen to try to sort of stem his confidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. But, you know, I think everyone, once they get to No. 1, it's always taking the game to a new level, I think. There's no doubt that Roger has taken it to a new level, taking everyone a little while to catch up, to play the tennis that he plays week in and week out, to try to play that, you know, all the time against him. So, you know, in those terms, yeah, it is similar. But, you know, that's what motivates you. That's why a guy like Agassi wants to go out, you know, he's still playing at 35, and wants to improve and, you know, go out there and play against Roger in the final tomorrow. You know, that's what drives the competitive spirit, I think, you know, in a lot of the top players, to try to get to that next level.

Q. Was there a point where you got really got frustrated? You seemed to have a great attitude about it. Have you always seen it as, "This guy's going to make me better somehow and I am going to get him sooner or later"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You get frustrated, you know, but it's a matter of hanging in there and looking at the big picture, I guess. I still feel like I'm a better player than when I was No. 1 a couple of years ago. There's still small areas of my game that, you know, I feel like I can work on and make me a better player week in and week out as well. That's what you sort of cling to, I guess, after you have losses in majors and come so close yet again but not, you know, hold up the winner's trophy. But that's where you go back to the drawing board and, you know, keep working and look forward to the next major.

Q. What do you think we will see tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, you know, it's hard to go past Roger, I think. But Andre, two or three, I think, five-setters in a row. Obviously, you know, I think Roger is going to be the fresher out of the two. Their head-to-head matches the last couple years, you know, hasn't gone with Andre too much.

Q. What was happening with the umpire and the foot faulting? Secondly, did it have a bit of a cumulative effect on your serve in that fourth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I just -- when I actually queried about I was getting called more at one end than the other end, I asked him. Actually, when I was talking to him, they were rotating anyway. So that was about that. No, I was just saying, you know, I had to block it out of my mind and, you know, there wasn't anything I could do out there about it.

Q. You had 12.


Q. He seemed to move you across the court, then got you coming to the net. Did that keep you off stride?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a, you know -- he plays with a lot of different spins and angles out there, a lot more than anyone really on the tour these days. So, you know, that's the hard thing of coming up against a guy like Roger, because he does play so much different, I think, to 90% of the guys out there.

Q. Could you look back at this year Grand Slams' result, are you satisfied with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm, you know, satisfied with it. You know, when you go out there and, you know, compete and give everything you've got, then, you know, I haven't left anything in the locker room in any three of the majors that I've played. You know, I've put pressure on, you know -- it's only been two guys that have beaten me in the three majors this year that I played, and they're not bad players.

Q. I was talking to Newcombe and Mark Woodforde just about your actual North American circuit, how it's a good base for you for the Australian summer. What are your thoughts about trying to win the Australian Open again and what's on for you for the rest of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, the next focus will be about the Australian Open. You know, training, training towards that and getting in as good a shape as possible for that. Yeah, you know, it's a tournament that I love playing and I'm going to really look forward to it again.

Q. In a sense, is this loss harder to take because you played much better than you have your last probably three matches against him? Is it harder to take than even the final last year, that you made the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, they're all hard to take, I think. You know, I look back on them, maybe I'll take a bit more out of -- a few more positives out of today's match than the final last year. You know, who knows, in a few months' time, that might hold me in good stead down in Melbourne hopefully.

Q. Has your view of life and tennis in general changed now that you're becoming a father?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not yet it hasn't. I have to wait and see. I won't know until it happens, I think.

Q. When is your next tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure at this stage.

Q. Are you a certainty to play some more tournaments this year, particularly the Masters Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just we'll wait and see. I'm not sure how many tournaments. I'll see how my body feels and what I feel like doing.

Q. You're not guaranteeing you'll actually be in China if you qualify?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't go chasing points for it, no.

Q. I'll ask you the obligatory Crows question, did you see the score, listen to it on the radio?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I saw the score.

Q. Will you go next weekend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know yet, mate.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 9, 2006, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Vincent Spadea 2-6 7-5 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. What was the problem out there for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just the last couple of days my stomach's been playing up. Today it was the worst that it had been. It was more just my energy levels due to my stomach not feeling right out there. So, you know, I've obviously got some kind of bug, and it's just a matter of, you know -- at 5-2, I actually thought it was getting a bit dangerous out there to try and keep playing on. I was probably only a couple of points away from having to walk off the court. So, yeah, to my credit, I hung in there and tried to get through knowing that I had a day off tomorrow. I think that was a huge factor in the back of my mind.

Q. The feeling, how bad was it at that stage? Were you thinking, "I don't know if I can go on"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was one of the worst I felt on a tennis court. Probably when I played one match in the Hopman Cup when I had chicken pox before they diagnosed it, that was probably a little bit worse. But today was up there. There were stages where I was tossing up, is it really worth it, with Melbourne obviously next week. Having that day off, knowing that I was going to have a day off tomorrow I think definitely helped me out.

Q. Is it one of those 24-hour things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Sort of just wait and see. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. But, you know, last two days or so. Hopefully it's at its worst today. That's what I'm hoping. If it keeps getting better, then, you know, I can put up with it.

Q. How important is it for your preparation for Melbourne to get through today and have some more matches under your belt?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, right at the moment I feel that my health is more important for Melbourne than getting matches under my belt. I feel if I'm healthy and feeling 100%, then my game will come together nicely. Whereas you go out there and you keep battling like today, you know, you don't get a lot of confidence from going out there and playing a match like today.

Q. How is your training compared to last year? Last year you sort of trained and got really, really fit. Have you done the same thing this year, or did you strike some sort of balance?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I trained extremely hard, you know. Ever since I got over -- I had a bit of a groin injury in Bangkok, then had a small toe surgery done at the same time. Ever since those both recovered, I've been training extremely hard with Roger, and put in a lot of time off the court early on, and then worked it in with on-court drills and focusing on stuff on the court as well. But, you know, it was definitely as hard if not harder than what I trained before last summer. So, you know, that's probably just the only thing right at the moment - I'm not feeling 100% out on the court when I know I've done all the hard work.

Q. Is that a worry? Maybe you turn around and say you don't want to risk Melbourne, that you might lose a bit of that hard work you've done, that top-level fitness?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. But I think when anyone's sick, the first and foremost thing is to be feeling 100% again. You're not worried about the stuff that I've done before. Obviously, there's not much I can do about that now. I've put my best foot forward and put everything into my preparation before Adelaide, and hopefully that can still hold me in good stead if this is just a 24-, 48-hour thing. Hopefully, I can get over it and turn around pretty quick.

Q. If you had lost today, given what happened in Adelaide as well, would that have left you seriously unprepared for Melbourne?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I would have liked a few more matches, but I don't think -- you know, once it gets to Melbourne, I don't think -- in an ideal world I would have liked to have had a couple more. But I don't think it would have been a big deal. If I would have gone down today, I would have been focusing all my energy on feeling right next Monday or Tuesday, when I have to play, and I wouldn't have been dwelling on how many matches I played coming in.

Q. Will you play on Wednesday if you wake up feeling like you woke up this morning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'll wait and see. Hopefully, it feels better. We'll just have to wait and see.

Q. What exactly have the doctors said to you about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, basically what I said. Some kind of bug. But that's what, you know, the symptoms seem like. So, you know, it's more the energy feeling that, you know, that's weird and hard to deal with. A bit of an upset stomach I can put up with.

Q. It's only very early days, but has being a father changed playing tennis at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at the moment. Still focused when I get on the practice court or whatever, it's still business as usual and focusing on what I got to do out there right at the moment. Especially such a busy time for me on the tennis court as well.

Q. Are you getting plenty of sleep at home now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'm getting enough (smiling).

Q. How much was today due to the way you were feeling, and how much was due to Vince?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's probably 90% because of the way I was feeling. Yeah, I just wasn't quite dealing with how I was feeling, you know, well out there today. It just made it hard. In the end I just had to, you know -- after I lost the first set, I was just trying to focus on holding my serve every service game. I saved some big breakpoints throughout the second and third set. Vince is the kind of guy, he'll play some great tennis but then he'll give you a couple of loose points like he did at that 4-3 game in the third set. So I just kept telling myself to try and hold serve and hang in there, you know, you never know, you could get a couple of loose points, he hits a double-fault and you get a break.

Q. Nadal and Agassi are already out of the Australian Open. Obviously, Roger is still in the way, but do you feel this is your best chance ever at winning the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I feel like if I get deep in the second week anyway, when you potentially have got to play the name players, you know, I'm playing some of my best tennis anyway. Early on sometimes is the toughest in Grand Slams for me I find, and you've got to find a way. You just can't go out there and lose early in those tournaments. If I put myself in a position late in the second week, I feel like I've got a pretty good chance. Obviously, Roger is the dominant player going around at the moment; everyone knows that. But you've got to keep putting yourself in those kind of positions like I have in my last, you know, seven or eight Grand Slams now and, you know, hopefully the tide will turn.

Q. Have you tweaked anything at all? You've been so close the last couple years. Is there any minor adjustments you've made to your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole lot. You try and add little things here and there. You know, the game's always changing as well. So you're trying to keep up with those best players, and obviously Roger's taken the game to another level the last two or three years now. It's a matter of trying to consolidate your position in the top 3, 4, 5 in the world. Hopefully, you can go out there -- you don't want to worry about Roger Federer too much, though, because you either got to win five or six matches in a Grand Slam to get a crack at him anyway.

Q. Do you see anything in Nalbandian's victory in the Tennis Masters Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, but I think Roger was well below par for that whole tournament. I don't think Coria took a set off him in the Round Robin match. I think Roger was playing probably 80% right and he still should have won in straight sets probably. He was still up two sets to Love. So I wouldn't read a lot into that match.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 11, 2006, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jurgen Melzer 6-1 6-4


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton.

Q. Does that performance indicate the illness is all gone?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, I wouldn't say all gone just yet. It was a big step in the right direction, though. So I'm pretty pleased with the way I was able to go out there and focus on the job at hand and not worry about how I was feeling at all. You know, it's nice to win a first set as well (smiling). You know, it hasn't happened for a couple of months since I've, you know, played last. So it was good to get off to a good start, and I think that was important, you know, with the conditions out there today. The wind was swirling a lot on center court and it was tough for both players up both ends.

Q. How did the stomach feel compared to two days ago, and have you been able to find out exactly what problem it was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was definitely better today. I don't know if it was only my stomach today, but my whole body felt better today. I felt like I had a lot more energy out there today. The other day I just -- you know, apart from the stomach - you can normally put up with a bit of a sore stomach out there playing - it was the fatigue and energy that I just had nothing two days ago, whereas today I had a lot more energy out there and, you know, felt like I could be competitive and be myself out there. You know, who knows exactly what it is, but, you know, hopefully it's on the improve and keeps improving day by day.

Q. With the withdrawal of Safin and Nadal, can you see that the draw for the Aussie Open is quite open for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Still a hell of a lot of good players out there. As I said a couple of days ago, to play against those guys, you just about -- you got to make it to the quarters and the semis anyway. So, you know, I've got to go out there and still take care of the guys I need to in the first week and put myself in a position. You know, anyone that makes quarters or semis of Grand Slams regardless is going to be seeing and hitting the ball well. So even though it's not those guys that obviously have a good record in the big tournaments, you know, there's Nalbandian, Coria, you know, a lot of names out there still.

Q. What do you make of Roger's antics yesterday saying you were the favorite?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it's very surprising, you know. I think Roger's got to go down as one of the biggest favorites of all time this year. So, you know, what did he lose, four matches last year, and at least two, maybe three of them he had matchpoint in.

Q. You've come off a bit of a break. Ivan Ljubicic yesterday said he thought there was enough flexibility in the current scheduling for people to pick and choose their events. You've managed to do that very successfully and still maintain your AFL, golf and charity interests. How important are your extracurricular activities to a balanced lifestyle and performing better on the court as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I was still pretty lucky. I only competed -- I only finished eight tournaments last year and finished No. 4 in the world. I don't know how many times that would have happened, and yet there's no doubt it puts you under more pressure in the big tournaments that you play because, you know, if you don't perform in those, then you'll be back 200, 300 in the world. So you're starting behind the eight ball, but last year for different reasons, you know, I had more breaks. There's a few injuries and then obviously the birth of Mia at the end of the year. So I don't think that would happen every year, but I think, you know, it's getting harder and harder I think to keep your ranking at the top when you're not playing a lot of tournaments.

Q. You're still drawing positives from having the break that you might have had later in the year instead?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, I think living in Australia, I think that's why so many Australians in the past have lived overseas. There's no doubt that it's harder traveling around the world. And, you know, particularly the stretch, the clay court season and finishing at Wimbledon. The whole clay court and grass court season, we've basically got to stay there that whole time whereas a lot of the European players and even some American players can go back for a week or two, back to their home base, whereas Australia it's nearly impossible with jetlag.

Q. What do you make of Roger's form particularly after his loss to Tommy Haas today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wouldn't read a lot into today's match. It's an exhibition.

Q. What are your thoughts on the length of the season? Every year it seems we have the same thing: high-profile players dropping out of the Australian Open because they're carrying over injuries from the previous season. The Masters Cup last year, I mean, the field went away completely. For years and years, players have been asking for people to review the season. What are your thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I think first of all the Masters Cup was a little bit of a once-off. You know, I haven't seen -- the years that I've played in the past, it would be unlucky if one of the top eight guys pull out. So last year was very unlucky for Shanghai for different reasons. In terms of the Australian Open, I think, you know, there's no doubt that it's a lot tougher on a lot of the top players. If you're playing all the year and then expected to -- normally there's going to be pretty good players playing in the Davis Cup final which is a week and a half, two weeks after the Masters Cup as well, and you've got to somehow have a couple of weeks off there, there's no way that your body can always bounce back. We saw it when I had a big year in 2001. I got the chicken pox early in 2002. Juan Carlos Ferrero had exactly the same thing 2004, started 2004. So these are the kind of things that the players and especially the top players I think have been asking for and want a look at for a long time now, but, you know, nothing still seems to be happening.

Q. Last year you fielded a lot of questions about your sleeveless tops, and it was great that you made a joke out of it. This year will be Andy's first Australian Open in Lacoste and your first one in Yonex. How has it been having to wear less Nike street ware, more Abercrombie & Fitch, and having Sydney Confidential spies pretty much photograph your entire T-shirt collection this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'm lost for words. What was the question (smiling)? Uhm...

Q. You spent a lot of time in the society pages this year as well, so pretty much your entire nonsporting street ware has been photographed as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's not a whole heap I can do about that. You know, that I guess comes with all the acting that I've done (smiling).

Q. Adelaide Crows' colors are on your racquet as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, that's not hard. Yonex are always going to change and come up with new designs. That's the design they've come up with this time.

Q. Tomorrow there is the possibility you'll be playing Guccione. Is that good for the tournament for you to play an Australian in the quarterfinals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's good for the tournament, I think it's good for Australian tennis. It's always hard on both the Australian players going out there and playing each other, though. It's something that I haven't had to do in the last couple of years purely because we haven't had that depth. Back when I first started there seemed like a lot of guys that I kept bumping into, a lot of other Australians, and it's never easy playing against those guys. If Chris can get through, it would be great. I'm not sure if he's made a quarterfinal of a tour event before so it would be a big step in the right direction for him and for his career. Yeah, it wouldn't be easy for either of us.

Q. Luczak said he spent a lot of time practicing with you pre Christmas. Do you see it as a role for yourself to help some of these young guys through?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I like Peter a lot. I think he's you know, he's probably never going to be a top 10 player, but he puts himself out there and competes day in, day out, you know, on the match court or the practice court, so I got a lot of time for the guy. It was a pleasure to have him to hit with in December. I thought he was hitting the ball great. And, you know, I saw a bit of his match today and, you know, most of the time I thought he was the better player. So he was a bit stiff. That was one of those small opportunities that sometimes you've got to take to get that breakthrough to the next level.

Q. Federer was beaten today. Do you think that suggests there might be a slight chink in the armor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I wouldn't read a lot into today's match for Roger. Firstly, it's an exhibition. He (dropped?) Tommy Haas last week in the semifinals. I think Roger is probably cruising through right at the moment.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 12, 2006, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Andreas Seppi 6-4 5-7 5-7


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.

Q. What was your summary of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I just played too defensive when I got up, you know. He played a lot better on my service games than his service games, but, you know, I just didn't attack enough and didn't put enough pressure on him early in my service games when I had opportunities. You know, still had two matchpoints, though, and one of them he came up with a great chip backhand when I came into the net. But, you know, it really should have been finished off in straight sets. It shouldn't have even been put in that situation in the third set.

Q. Is it a matter of form or confidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably just matches, I think. You know, finishing off sets and taking that advantage and, you know, staying positive in that situation, I think. So it's definitely something against the best players you've got to do.

Q. How are you physically? Did that have any bearing on the results?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think I was 100% but, you know, I'm not taking anything away from his win. But, you know, I don't think I was probably 100% out there, but you're never going to be a couple of days after probably it was hopefully the worst of the virus earlier in the week. But, you know, still knocks you around a bit. Hopefully, I'm going to be better for it next Monday or Tuesday.

Q. You mentioned matches before. Will you try and do anything between now and the Open, or just full-on practice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I won't play matches. No, it's just a matter of, you know, practicing and, you know, just working on little areas and timing and, you know, going out there and being confident within yourself, I think.

Q. Does this leave you short on preparation for the Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that. You know, I've had different form in the majors when I've done well in the past. You know, there's been times when, you know, I've struggled, haven't won a lot of matches going in, then gone and made a final or won a Grand Slam. Other times when I've had a lot of matches, a lot of wins under my belt. So I think the most important thing is to be mentally ready, ready to go when the Grand Slam starts. And, you know, the last seven or eight Grand Slams I've been able to do that.

Q. You lose a perfect record in this tournament.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well at this site, yeah.

Q. How do you feel about that? Is that something that was on your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. That's not something I hold -- it's obviously been fantastic to win four titles here in Sydney, but I lost a couple of times when it was played at White City and it was still the same tournament then.

Q. Overall, going into Melbourne now, how do you assess where you're at?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, as I said, I think, you know, you just got to sharpen up a few areas there. You know, I felt like today I was able to step it up occasionally when I needed to but then, you know, just wasn't quite able to finish it off. You know, best-of-five-set match, I should have won today's match in all three sets. That's what you've got to be able to do against the best players at the business end of a Grand Slam. Hopefully I can learn from today's match and, you know, turn things around next week.

Q. Just on an entirely different subject, there was an announcement overnight of a Bulgarian player being banned for doping. Is doping a problem in tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There's obviously been a few more cases more recently in the last, you know, five or six years, I guess, than we've heard of in the past. But obviously there's so much more testing these days as well on all athletes, not just tennis players. So, you know, odds are in every sport there's probably been a few people get caught here and there.

Q. Bookmakers think there's only about four or five realistic contenders for the Open. How many would you say have possible chances? Throw a few names out.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, obviously Roger and, you know, Roddick, myself, Nalbandian. Trying to think who else there is. You know, I think we're probably the high favorites, I think, going into it. But then again there's -- you know, as I said the other day, there's so many tough early matches that you never know. Coria is capable of an upset here or there. Ljubicic is playing well. Davydenko. These are the guys probably just the tier below that can cause trouble during a tournament, I'd say.

Q. After last week and this week, do you feel as though you still have the same mental intensity that you've always had?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah, nothing's changed that. It's a little bit harder this week, though, when I wasn't feeling great to go out there. And I probably had to rely on being mentally tough this week more than ever purely because, you know, when you're not feeling great, it's sometimes more of a mental battle than a physical one out there. So, you know, this week I don't think I've lost any of that.

Q. What's your hunger like for the Open? It's been years since an Australian won. How do you feel going into the Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hear that every year, so...

Q. One more year. How do you feel about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I tried my best last year, so... It doesn't bother me too much.

Q. Are you as hungry as ever?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah. Australian Open. It means a hell of a lot to anyone, especially an Australian and especially coming so close last year.

Q. Obviously tomorrow's draw is going to have a bearing on where you're placed in the draw. It's going to be either you or Nalbandian on Roger's side. How much of an impact is that going to have?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot, no.

Q. Given the big changes in your personal circumstances last year, was there any apprehension coming into the new season about whether you'd still have the killer instinct?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. You know, once -- you know, I've been training as hard as I've ever trained, you know, throughout November and December and, yeah, when I get on the court and, you know, the practice court or in the gym or wherever, it's the same as usual. You know, every time I go out there, you know, I focus on what I need to do.

Q. And just what about your bug? You're obviously better than you were yesterday, which was better than the day before. Is it progressing like that? Are you feeling much better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's getting better, you know. Hopefully can take another couple of steps forward in the right direction.

Q. You're still not completely free of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not 100% just yet.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 15, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Fist question, please.

Q. How's the fitness?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I feel a lot better than I did last week, so, you know, at the moment, so far, so good. Last couple of days I've been able to train for a few hours, couple hours. You know, I feel pretty good on the court at the moment so, you know, I've been happy with the way I'm hitting the ball last couple days.

Q. Is it still lingering?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I'm aware of. You don't know until you get out there and play five sets. But right at the moment I feel ready to go.

Q. You had worries about the court speed last year. Are they quicker than last year? Were there efforts to do that that you are aware of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think they're any different. I don't think there's been any efforts either.

Q. Is that still a worry for you? Is that going to be a concern?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's something very similar to last year. You just block it out. The court's the same for everyone. You know, if it's not my favorite surface and doesn't play, I still got to go out there and compete and, you know, do all the right things. You know, there's no doubt in my mind that, you know, it's not the greatest surface for injuries either. I think it causes a lot of friction on your body, and, you know, definitely after my hip injury last year in Sydney, it didn't get any better over the two weeks playing tough matches on this surface here in Melbourne.

Q. Did you talk to Paul or anyone about it after last year's Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We've had a few chats and got nowhere.

Q. Obviously disappointing that nothing's been done?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but, you know, it's disappointing when -- you know, I feel like I've done a lot of right stuff, I think, for tennis in Australia, and, it's disappointing but, you know, there's no point winge-ing about it. I've got to go out there and compete. This is my national title. I get goose bumps just walking out there on center court. Doesn't matter what the surface is.

Q. Even though you got to the final last year, do you think because of the things that happened to you subsequently in 2005 you are actually coming in with perhaps less expectation on your shoulders this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe. I guess in some ways it feels like every time I come into the Australian Open, there's always that added expectation, I think. Until we have more Australians probably in the top 10, top 20 in the world, it's going to continue year after year. Right at the moment I've got to be prepared for that, I think, until my career's over. So, you know, that's something I look forward to and, you know, it's not something that really worries me. You know, obviously last year was a huge positive in not only my result in the Australian Open, but a big step in my career, I think, as well, playing seven extremely tough players in a row.

Q. But in terms of since the US Open, you've hardly had a tournament. The competitive edge might not be quite there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's been other years I had the same, though. The year I took a couple of months off to concentrate on the Davis Cup final, you know. In those big matches, when the time came and my mind was ready, I was ready to go in that situation. Even in the Australian Open, a couple weeks later, after that Davis Cup final. It's something that once the bell rings, I'll be ready to go on Tuesday.

Q. You've managed your own schedule pretty carefully, not playing too much the last few years. Do you think there needs to be an attempt to really institutionalize an off-season that's longer, or are you happy doing it yourself and making your own decisions for where you play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, up till now it's sort of been left to yourself really 'cause nothing's happened. You know, doesn't matter how much the players winge about it or complain, you know, or we have injuries or pullouts or whatever at the start of the next year, you know, nothing's really changed. So, you know, I take it upon myself. Obviously last year was for different reasons though as well. You know, I had a few injuries and obviously the birth of Mia as well. It's a little bit different last year, but I still feel over the last four, five years I've been able to pick my schedules extremely well. When I'm based in Australia, I think that's very important to me.

Q. Should they make the off-season longer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They've got to look at it. There's no way about it. I know it's obviously disappointing for Shanghai not to have all the top players playing last year at the end of the season. You know, it is a big hit. I think for the first Grand Slam for the calendar year not to have guys like Nadal, Safin, Agassi, these kind of guys playing, you know, every big tournament wants to have the best field and the top players playing. You've got to look after the best players. You can't expect them to play week in and week out and be fully fit to play in all the big tournaments.

Q. Without getting too political, do you see change at the ATP? Do you think that you might possibly get on with the new man a little better than you did with the last man?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. It's a massive step in the right direction I think. Yeah, de Villiers I got a lot of time for from what I've spoken to him already on a few issues. I definitely think it's a step in the right direction. It's not going to be easy for him, though. I think he's got the right outlook and he's got the right interests at heart as well.

Q. What about your own form? Hasn't been as impressive as it was in the past.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think once a Grand Slam starts, you've got to be ready to go. And over five sets is different. In the past I've had a lot of matches coming in, so this is going to be slightly different. But come Tuesday, you know, I'm just going to be worrying about my first-round opponent and trying to get that one and trying to get some momentum going into the tournament. If I can look at it, try to get past the first week, see what happens in the second week.

Q. Is the haircut anything to do with Wimbledon 2002? It's slightly similar.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Slightly similar. It's slightly similar to the first-round loss in 2003, too (laughing). You win some, you lose some. No, it's nothing to do with those.

Q. Have you already decided about playing Davis Cup after the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't even thought about Davis Cup just yet. Too much on my mind at the moment.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 17, 2006, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Robin Vik 6-4 2-6 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. 5-6 down in the fourth, did you think you were just about out by then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Funny enough, not really. Definitely helped being up the other end. I always knew that that end was always playing a lot easier to break serve from, and also hold your own serve. So the game at 5-All I felt like if I was able to hold that game, I was in a hell of a position to be able to break that next one. I wasn't able to hold, but then played probably the best game I played all match to break in that next game.

Q. What's the difference in the ends? Is it the sun position? Wind? You're feeling more confident at one end than the other?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the court slopes a little bit further on that end. Also the wind, 90% of the time, comes from that end as well straight down the court. It's always been the case ever since I've played on Rod Laver Arena.

Q. Does that play on your mind at all when you're down the other end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Sometimes it makes you -- yeah, you grit your teeth. If you can hold serve from the other end, sometimes it's a bit of a bonus. It depends a lot on who you're playing, though, as well. Vik, he can come up with some good serves here and there, but he's not the biggest server. Nine times out of ten you're going to get in a rally with him. That's when it sometimes helps being up that other end.

Q. Won a lot of five-setters here in your career. Did you feel you just about had him after taking that fourth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty much. I felt pretty good. But then again, he could have easily gone away when we had that extremely long game to go 3-1. He kept fighting. Played a great game, as I said, from the better end of play to get back to 3-All. Yeah, I really had to try and concentrate hard on that next game to try and cut his momentum back then.

Q. You obviously wanted some match practice. Is that something you needed, a three and a half hour epic?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, nearly four hours. Yeah, that's match practice. Can't get much more time on Rod Laver Arena (smiling).

Q. How much has it taken out of the tank?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually feel not too bad. During the match I, you know, had an energy burst out there come and go a little bit. I didn't feel like I had a lot of energy throughout a lot of the match out there. I was really struggling to get myself up. You know, it was more a mental battle in the end to try and keep telling myself, you know, to hang in there and bide your time and wait for the opportunity. You know, I think in two days' time hopefully every match is going to get better, another step in the right direction hopefully.

Q. Do you have any of the effects of that virus from last week? Are you a hundred percent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Today felt a little bit -- my energy didn't quite feel a hundred percent out there. That's no doubt about that. But, yeah, that's why it was definitely a more mental battle to try and find a way to win.

Q. When you get sort of midway through that kind of a match, do you get frustrated at yourself for getting into this kind of a big ding-dong battle at this point in a tournament or is it you're playing as well as you can and the other guy is really playing some good tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not thinking about at all that this is the first round and this shouldn't be happening, not at all. Whatever the situation out there, you got to still find a way to win and get through the match. Yeah, he was playing some good tennis out there. He's a tough player. He was taking it to me the whole time out there. It was a matter of just hanging in there and waiting for the opportunities. Yeah, I wasn't really thinking about, you know, my next match or who I was going to be playing or whatever. It was just focusing on trying to get this one under the belt.

Q. The things you were talking about before with the wind, the slope. Vik was in before and talked about the shadows on the court. You add all those things together, how much advantage do you get from that wealth of experience of having played out here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. The shadows, yeah, they are a little bit -- yeah, they're hard. Last day match, nine times out of 10 you're going to get it, got to be prepared for it. When the schedule was done, I knew I was going to be third day match, I could pretty much guarantee I was going to be getting some shadows at some stage during the match. Yeah, experience a little bit with the court. I know that he's practiced on it throughout the week. You know, once you get out there, the lines are still the same size as well.

Q. He attacked you relentlessly, moving you from side to side. He seemed to have a rhythm about his game. How did you feel about your own rhythm throughout the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A bit patchy. I didn't feel like I was striking the ball quite the way I would have liked. You know, that's when you got to grit your teeth and hang in there, try and find a way to win when you're not playing well, when you're not playing your best tennis. That's what I can be proud of what I was able to do. Yeah, something I'll definitely take into the next match.

Q. Nadal match last year, thought you weren't quite there, you pulled that off. Seemed to be a similar sort of match today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know if the standard was quite the same. The score line was very similar.

Q. A lot of hype surrounding your next match. What are you expecting from Chela?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it looks like he had a pretty convincing win against Murray. I thought Murray might give him a little bit of -- a few problems out there. He seems like he's handled it pretty well. Last couple weeks, he's had a couple of first-round losses. He obviously hasn't had the most matches under his belt either. For me, it's another match. It's a match -- I've played him quite a few times now. Got to go out there and try and dictate play more than anything. I know what he's going to come out with, that's for sure.

Q. Have you made up since last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wouldn't call him my mate.

Q. Seemed to have a firm and frank exchange with Vik's coach at one stage. Something getting under your skin?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Vik's coach?

Q. Yes.


Q. Turned and let him know what you were thinking at that time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't even know who Vik's coach is.

Q. Was there someone that you were having a go at then that was sitting in the stands?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Actually, I don't know what you're talking about.

Q. How do you feel your play is this year compared to last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Last year I had a bit more momentum coming in, that's for sure, winning Sydney, making the quarters of Adelaide.

Q. Right now after the first round.

LLEYTON HEWITT: First round of any Grand Slam, you just want to get through more than anything. It's never an easy one. Especially probably playing in your home country, as well. Last year, I had a tough opponent in Clement on paper and was able to get through in straight sets. Definitely played a bit better in that first round than today. But still survived and through to the second round.

Q. Did you feel a bit under-done?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I didn't feel like I was striking the ball as well as I would have liked. I haven't played a lot of matches. Probably partly to do with it.

Q. How do you rectify that? Just by practice in the next day or two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Work on small areas that I feel like I need to. But hopefully, you know, in two days' time, come out, got a lot of the cobwebs out of the system as well today. Last year in the second round against James Blake, I didn't hit the ball great. For two, two and a half sets, really wasn't moving and striking the ball quite as I'd like. You know, that was sort of my one small dodgey match out there. From there, I was able to build up. Hopefully I can do the same.

Q. Do you feel like this was a dodgey match or Vik was the guy who came to play and maybe surprised you a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't feel like I striked the ball as well as I would have liked. But, you know, he brought his A game. He played extremely well. He kept coming at me the whole time. Even when I served for the third set to go up two sets to one, he still stuck to it. Speaks a lot of him.

Q. Peter Luczak toughed out a good one today. Nathan Healey through. Happy for those boys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, especially good for Looch. I practiced with him a bit in December. He's a good lad. He works extremely hard. He's from Melbourne, as well. It will be nice -- a couple of years ago, he made the third round. Not sure who he plays next. I think he's moving up in the right direction, that's for sure.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 19, 2006, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Juan Ignacio Chela 4-6 4-6 7-6(8) 2-6


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Any early indication of what the foot problem was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure yet, but I think something jarred or felt like a small bone or something to me. But the trainer felt like -- he said it's got something to do with jarring. I said, "Oh, can we strap it or do anything?" He said there was not a whole heap we could do. He said for precaution, so you just don't roll it anymore, that we'll strap it, but he said that won't take away the pain.

Q. How much did it hinder you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, but I was down two sets to love when it happened. I was up 3-1 in the third and it happened during that game. And, yeah, I basically had to change my whole movement because of it. Every ball I was moving out wide on either side, I had to always (prop up?) my right foot. Whenever I landed on my left foot, I was history.

Q. The whole atmosphere out there seemed a little bit subdued from outside the court. How did you perceive what was going on out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, first two sets, no one had much to cheer about, I guess. So, you know, there didn't feel like a whole heap of emotion out there I guess. And, you know, I guess after I won the third set and, you know, somehow was able to find a way out of that set, then the crowd got into it a little bit more.

Q. How tough is it to swallow that defeat given your run last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment it's a bit disappointing. Probably hurt for a few days, I'd say.

Q. Did the virus you'd brought into the tournament, did that play any role? You seemed a little flat this week. Was that playing a role up till tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe a little bit. Tonight I actually felt like I had more energy out there tonight than I did in my previous -- in my opening match on Tuesday. So, yeah, there's no doubt that, you know, it lingered into the tournament a bit, but I felt like I was getting better and better each day.

Q. What about the court speed? Obviously, you clearly are upset by the slow nature of it. I mean, how much did that play into Juan Ignacio's hands tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, it definitely helped him out, there's no doubt about that. You know, he still played extremely well, and, you know, he didn't give me a lot of opportunities out there. But, you know, the court surface, it's very hard to dictate play out there. You know, and it's slower than last year, there's no doubt about that, whether it's the balls or not. They say changing to Wilson balls is, you know, to make it quicker or whatever for using a US Open ball, but the facts are this is a totally different top surface to a US Open. You can't compare two balls. This ball fluffs up on this court because it's so rough. It leaves a lot of fur out there on the court. Whereas the US Open is a painted surface on a hard court that's a lot slicker out there so the ball's going to get smaller. I don't think there's been a lot of homework done how the balls play on this surface for some reason. It's bouncing a lot higher and playing a lot slower even this year from last year.

Q. Last year you said it was playing like the French Open. Do you stand by that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, it could be slower than French Open.

Q. There were times throughout each set where the crowd was probably expecting you to win, to come back from nowhere. You've done it so many times before. Apart from the ankle and the slowness of the court, was there anything else going on stopping you from doing that tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, you know. I was giving everything I had out there. You know, I just wasn't up to it tonight. You know, I felt like my ball-striking actually got better and better as the match went on. It's probably the best I've stroked the ball throughout the whole Australian summer as well. So, you know, it's a bit disappointing not to have those matches before in Adelaide and Sydney to maybe have been hitting the ball a bit better coming in. But tonight I actually felt like I hit the ball a bit better than in my opening round and also how I was hitting it in the previous tournaments.

Q. How far do you think Chela can go here based on tonight's match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Obviously, the next round I think he plays Vliegen. He's got a good chance of winning that. You know, I don't think he's a contender.

Q. Have you made a call on Davis Cup yet? Is that still to be decided?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, I haven't even thought about it. I had, you know, the last two weeks -- well, last month, I've just been focusing on this tournament.

Q. Does that mean you're considering not playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't even thought about it right now. Not even thinking about it.

Q. When will you make your choice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's something I'll work out in the next day or two. Yeah, you never want to think about when you're going to be out of a Grand Slam, what you're doing next. So, you know, I'll sit down and think about it with my coach and work it out in the next day or two.

Q. Is there a bit of a balancing act there, just your own scheduling priorities and getting things organized in your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, we're -- for me, at the moment, you know, my priorities were definitely the Australian Open. Yeah, I've -- I've just got to sit down and work out what I want to play next. That's for sure.

Q. You plan to play a little bit more this year than last year or about the same?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe a little bit more. Obviously last year the injuries, the ribs kept me out for the whole clay court season basically. So, you know, I look forward to going back to the French Open, even though it's not -- it's not the easiest Grand Slam for me or the easiest tournament. I look forward to the challenge of going back there again after not playing it last year. Yeah, so I'll play obviously a few lead-in tournaments before that, which I didn't play last year.

Q. The struggles you've had with sort of the surface here and the sort of questions that's raised, does it take away the fun or the challenge you have here? Does it sort of make it -- I know you look forward to coming here, but does it detract from that a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a bit disappointing purely because I feel like I'm fighting with -- you know, fighting with people that, you know, we should be working together to try to make Australian tennis better. I know Flip feels exactly the same way. I know Wayne feels the same way. Yeah, I really don't know when some of these people are going to wake up to themselves.

Q. Now that the game is over, do you think it's fair the way the whole reminding of the incident of last year, the way it was treated in the last few days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, I don't know how it was treated. I don't think -- I don't know. From what I've seen, couldn't get treated probably, you know, more fairly I'd say in any country in the world.

Q. Like calling Chela Public Enemy No. 1?


Q. Like calling Chela, Public enemy No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who said that?

Q. I read it in the paper.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You obviously read papers I don't. I don't read too many. I don't know. I think he'd get a lot worse reception in nearly every other country than Australia, I'd say.

Q. Chela said at the end of the game he was cramping. Did you realize and try to take advantage of it somehow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I could tell, obviously, when he had the trainer out that something was going on. The next -- the two games before that and the next couple of games, you know, I couldn't tell anything, though. He was still running to dropshots. I'm not sure how bad it was.

Q. You look at some of the players that have progressed easily through their first-round matches, namely Roddick and Federer for fairly obvious reasons. Is there something about your game that has slipped from where it was, or something about the guys you're coming up against, that they're tougher to beat than they ever were? What do you think it is about it? You've got these massive battles on your hand to get through early round matches that you used to feel your way through methodically.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think this tournament is a little bit different because I wasn't striking the ball as well as I would have liked to have been. The other Grand Slams, the last couple, US Open and Wimbledon, I got through my matches pretty easily until it got to the second week and the business end of the tournaments.

Q. Can you see anyone beating Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I can't. You know, it's -- yeah. It's very hard to back against him, I think. I haven't seen him hit a ball here, though. Obviously, his score lines are pretty convincing and, you know, when he's playing with that much confidence, you know, it's a huge boost to have on your side as well, I think. So he's -- yeah, I can't see anyone beating him, but, you know, someone's going to have to play extremely well and he's going to have to be a little bit off, I think.

Q. How tough is it for you to make the Australian Open the top priority? I mean, you play against opponents, there's a lot of expectations as no Australian has won in 30 years, the surface, stuff like that. Is that something you consider in the off-season? Maybe you should make another tournament more your priority, or is it still

LLEYTON HEWITT: All the Grand Slams are, you know, as big as each other. You know, I love going. You know, Wimbledon is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I love going there and playing. You can't take away -- it's like Henman playing at Wimbledon: you can't move away from the expectation of playing in your home Grand Slam when you're a top four or five player in the world. There's always going to be that weight of expectation and that extra pressure. That's what comes with being a top five player in the world. Somehow you've got to be able to handle it. I think for the most part I've handled it pretty well. All the majors are very important to me, and trying to prepare as well as possible. You know, obviously playing in Australia or anyone playing in their home Grand Slam is, you know, more important in some ways. But, you know, they're all equally important to everyone, I think.

Q. Your willingness to play Davis Cup, when you sit down and make that decision, is it at all linked to the issues that you're frustrated about with Australian tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not right at the moment, no.

Q. You can't expand on that? Sort of an unclear answer.


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post #194 of 372 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 01:12 AM
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

Why are you putting up these old irrelevant interviews and articles?
2006!!! - get a grip.
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post #195 of 372 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 03:53 AM
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

Nothing wrong with what he's doing mate. I'm enjoying reading them and it's bringing back the memories.

If you don't like it, don't enter the thread

Life is an orange and you're just a little pip.

Ol' Rusty Hewitt - Keeping me moist since 1998.


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