Lleyton's Press Conference - Page 18 - MensTennisForums.com
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 25, 2008, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/A. Montanes
7-6, 6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.

Q. Given how tough it was the other day, how much of a bonus was it for you today to get through so quickly?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good to get through in straight sets. You know, first set was difficult, though, because it was such a different opponent to the other day. He was serving well. It was hard to get into his service games.
When I did get 15-30 or Love-30 a couple of times in the first set he came out with some good first serves. You know, he's got a very underrated serve. It's not the best serve, it's not the biggest out there, but it's very hard to do anything with.
As the match went on, though, I felt more and more comfortable with how I was playing.

Q. How is the hip feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, same as it's been the last couple of months.

Q. Did it pull up all right from your first match? You said it all depended on how it pulled up.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it pulled up like I expected, so...

Q. Would you be surprised if Bolelli gets through here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wouldn't be surprised. I think it could go either way. González is hit-and-miss sometimes, as well. You're just not a hundred percent sure what you got.
I played Bolelli here in the second round last year. Even the score line says it was a lot easier than the match was, though. He's improved a lot over the last probably six, eight months, especially on clay.
You know, whichever guy I come up against I have to go up a notch or two on today.

Q. After the first set, what was the switch? You won nine games in a row from there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for the most part I felt pretty comfortable on my service games. But I started, you know, just giving myself a little bit more time on his serve, like standing back a little bit further, just getting myself into the point.
I felt like through the first set I just wasn't picking his serve up enough. When I did get it back, I was giving him the chance to dictate straightaway. I wanted to try to get myself into the point a lot more, and I did that really well in the tiebreak, especially the end of the tiebreak, to win that.
He was a little bit more despondent, I guess, as well at the start of the second set after losing the close tiebreak.

Q. If it came down to it, do you think your body would have seven matches in it over these two weeks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd like to think so, yeah. I've played with pain before. As long as it doesn't get too much worse, you know, I can handle it.

Q. What do you do to block it out of your mind? Obviously it's always there. You've got to do something to get through it. What do you do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I feel it most of the time when I'm out there. It's just a matter of blocking it out, not dwelling on it too much, I guess, not worrying about it. Unless it got to the stage where I actually couldn't walk out there, you know, I'm gonna keep trying.

Q. Just to try to get an understanding of what you are feeling, can you rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard. Yeah, sometimes it's worse than others. It's hard to put a finger on it.

Q. You're a guy who had a lot of success when you were young, like Novak. When you start to go consistently deep at majors and then have a setback, what do you do to regroup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I didn't see a point of the match, so it's hard to tell. Yeah, of course he'd be disappointed because he's been playing unbelievable tennis all this year.
When Marat's on, he's on, as well. I assume he must have played pretty good out there today. He's a tough player to come up against on any surface when he's on.
Yeah, I guess it will make him more hungry to come back here next year. You got to take some positives out of it. The way he played at Queen's was pretty positive, I think, on a grass court.

Q. You and Marat are sort of the same generation. Older guys still making a little bit of noise here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm really happy for Marat. I get along really well with him. I've practiced a lot with him the last couple of years, but probably more so this year, as well.
I played him in Las Vegas earlier this year. I kind of felt sorry for him on the court. He was terrible. So for him to come out and be able to turn it around and play like this in a big tournament, yeah, it's fantastic for him, really is.

Q. One of your old coaches, Stolz, has had a bit to say about Tennis Australia, what is and isn't being done at the moment. Do you have any thoughts on the current state of development in Australia, and is there something that's not being done that you'd like to see done or vice versa?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard. You know, Stolz, I respect Stolz a hell of a lot. I think he's very switched on. Yeah, you've got to listen to some of his comments. I think purely the fact that Stolz, he doesn't make comments that often. He's a very reserved guy. So, obviously, yeah, there's something there that he's not too happy with.
Yeah, Stolz is the kind of guy that wants the best for Australian tennis. He came up in a system where we had a lot of guys doing well. For me, there's no doubt that more guys like Stolz have to be in the system to produce better players. We've got so many great players in the past in Australian tennis. We've got to use 'em.
Apart from that, I haven't had a lot to do with the day-to-day running of it, though.

Q. If we could go back to your hip. You're obviously sore now having come off the court. How do you feel compared to where you thought you'd be or were hoping to be at this stage of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel fine. I feel like I was expecting to be around the mark where I am at the moment. Yeah, it's not gonna go away overnight. It wasn't going to go away between the French Open and Wimbledon.
Yeah, for me, there hasn't been a whole lot of difference in the last couple weeks, which that's a good thing right at the moment.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 27, 2008

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/S. Bolelli
6-1, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. We'll take the first question, please.

Q. Is it intimidating having to play Roger Federer, or do you treat him differently to any other player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, you treat him a little bit different. You know, you got to work out tactics. Last five years no one's been able to get it right here. Rafa's come close the last couple.
But, yeah, no one else has really got that close to him. So, yeah, you got to treat it a little bit differently.

Q. Do you go to bed thinking, I've got to play my best tennis? Is that what you have to aim for?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm going to have to play extremely well, yeah. Whether my absolute best, I don't know. A lot depends on how he plays, as well.

Q. What will you need to do well to beat him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not sure. Obviously, you know, serve and return on grass are, you know, two huge keys. Yeah, if I can serve well and take care of my service games, you know, I'll get some opportunities. I won't get a lot obviously, you know, because of the caliber of player that he is.
But, you know, I'll probably get some chances. Against a guy like Roger, you really have to take those half chances when you get them, because you're not going to get a lot of them.

Q. Coming into this tournament there's a lot of talk about Roger going more susceptible or vulnerable. Do you buy into that at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think, you know, he feels very comfortable. He's played all his matches on Centre Court so far again this year. He feels right at home on that stage.
You know, we're probably going to be out there Monday. Yeah, he's won 60 something matches now on grass, on this surface. So, I think -- you know, whether if he plays Rafa on grass, you know, because of what Rafa did to him at the French Open.
But in terms of him playing anyone else, I think he's gonna, you know, still have that aura and that self-confidence, I guess, behind him.

Q. You've played through injuries here, of course. Did you see what Tiger Woods did recently at the U.S. Open, and what are your thoughts on what he did? Any parallels?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I love watching Tiger play. He's one of my favorite sportsmen. What he did was incredible. I don't really know if anyone else would have been able to do it. Yeah, not only to play four rounds and then go out and play a fifth day.
Yeah, that's the kind of stage that was set up perfectly for him. It really was. Yeah, no one else on this planet, I don't think, could have got through with the win, coming down the 18th in regulation like he did.

Q. Through the years, how has your approach to injuries changed in regards to letting on to opponents, not letting on, complaining about them or not complaining about them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't complain about injuries too much. Yeah, I think that comes from a football background. You don't show when you're hurt. It's the same out on the court. Very rarely do I give away signs if I'm hurting at all.

Q. How come?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Signs of weakness.

Q. Does the extra day help?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't matter either way, I don't think, for either of us. Yeah, after three straight sets against Montanes I felt comfortable out there today on the court. Felt like it's the best I've moved since I've been on grass today.
So, yeah, an extra day, it doesn't really matter.

Q. How would you compare your feeling about divulging information about injuries and the way you handle it with other people you've observed on the tour?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not too sure. You know, I don't think a lot of people talk about injuries too much. You know, they sort of try to keep it to themselves.
Yeah, obviously there's not a lot I can do about my situation at the moment, because it's well-documented. After every match you're asked questions about it and you got to answer questions. Yeah, I try play the cards pretty close to my chest, though.

Q. Tactic-wise, how much of a difference can it make to have Roger's former coach on your side now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Rochey's obviously going to know a lot. There's no doubt about that. But, yeah, you've still got to go out there and execute it as well, and, you know, not play into Roger's hands too much.
Yeah, it can only help. Yeah, for sure. But it's not the absolute, you know, key to success. You've still got to go out there and do it.

Q. Concerning today's match, what do you think about Bolelli? Did you see any difference from last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's definitely improved. Like I said the other day, I think the last six to eight months he's really improved. He's had a lot more consistent results, week in and week out, on the tour.
He played really well at the French Open. Probably didn't quite grab the opportunity that was handed to him, though. I think he ended up losing to Llodra in a very winnable match.
So, you know, for him to take that next step he really has to take those chances. Yeah, I felt comfortable in the tactics that Rochey and I came up with. I executed perfectly out there today. I didn't do too much wrong.

Q. Both you and Roger are so experienced on grass. How do you think that's going to influence your match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. We both know our strengths and weaknesses, I think, of each other. We've played enough times. We've played a couple of times here at Wimbledon, as well, in quarters and semis of this tournament.
So, yeah, not a lot. We both feel comfortable playing, you know, on the big stage here at Wimbledon.

Q. In terms of a mindset against him, do you go into the match thinking that this is the type of challenge you play for, or do you try and treat it like you would any other match mentally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, no, this is what you play for. There's no doubt about it. Especially in my situation, you know, these are the matches I enjoy. Yeah, it's good to get out there and play on Centre Court, play against the best player in the world.

Q. Do you think that helps you to find something more to bring to the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I hope so. We won't know until Monday. But, yeah, I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Specifically, other than Roger just improving immensely since when you were getting over on him consistently, what parts of his game do you think really, really improved?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the last five years or so he's been consistently at such a high level. His whole game's improved. But, you know, obviously his movement probably doesn't get a lot of credit really. He's a great mover on the court. He cuts down angles extremely well out there.
Yeah, we all know about his shot-making. But, you know, he changes pace extremely well, especially off his backhand, just to mix it up, which is probably better than anyone else on the tour.
And he serves to -- he serves well on big points, but he serves well to his game, you know, to set up the point in his favor, which he probably does better than anyone else.

Q. Do you feel like you have to play a little bit outside of yourself in the match, or is that sort of a risk, because you don't want to get out of your own comfort zone, too?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, to a degree maybe, yeah, play a little bit differently, or change it up against Roger. If you're just playing in his comfort zone then he's going to enjoy that. Yeah, he does enjoy dictating play, you know, playing off when the ball is in his court and he can dictate, have you going side to side and changing pace and changing direction and all that different stuff. That's when he's at his best.

Q. He remembers your first match at 15-year-olds. Do you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we played in Switzerland actually. Yeah, that was a long time ago, on clay.

Q. Do you remember who won?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He won, yeah, in three sets, I think.

Q. You've played him since Tony Roche has been your coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him. Rochey wasn't there. We just started working together end of last year.

Q. Of all the streaks that you're aware of in sport, and tennis specifically, how do you rate 62 straight wins on grass, five straight Wimbledon crowns?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's up there. It's hard to compare I guess with Rafa's run on clay there for a while. He got to 80 odd wins on clay, and now he's won nearly every Masters Series and four French Opens.
Yeah, they're both unbelievable feats. There's so many good players out there, not to have one bad day in those five years of big matches on grass going out there, especially when, yeah, everyone is trying to knock you off, as well.
So, you know, not to have a slip up over five sets is a lot harder, I guess. In those smaller matches where you have a couple of tiebreak sets, in Halle and that where Roger has played in the past, it's pretty impressive.

Q. When you watch Federer and Nadal, what strikes you the most in the way of differences and similarities?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, in similarity, probably the only similar thing between those two is they know how to win. Apart from that, their personalties, their games, everything is completely different. Yeah, that's good for tennis.

Q. A while back you had some really nice wins over Roger. At that time, if someone said that this guy was going to step it up and take it to you 11 straight times, what would you have said to them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he obviously had the potential to be a great player. Yeah, I don't think anyone could predict how good he was going to be, how many Grand Slams he'd win. Yeah, the last time I beat him was in Davis Cup, and that was after he'd won Wimbledon that year.
Last time I beat him I knew how good a player he was already then. He'd already won a Grand Slam, and won it quite convincingly.
Yeah, it was hard to sort of put a mark on how many he was going to win back then.

Q. In terms of greatest player of all time, how would you compare him and Pete?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard. You know, in different eras obviously between he and Pete -- you know, if he wins the French it's so many variables in it, I guess. Right at the moment, they're very similar with the Grand Slams that they've won, as well.

Q. You've been one of the best return of servers of your era. Facing Roger, he's not serving bombs like Sampras, but holds easily. What makes his serve so tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said before, he hits the spots extremely well. It's more setting up for the next shot, as well, where he doesn't sort of let you dictate play on his service games. You know, so that's something you've got to try to get on top of somehow.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 30, 2008, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt


R. FEDERER/L. Hewitt
7-6, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. Do you feel that was one that got away, especially after the first set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know about "got away." I lost in straight sets.
You know, the first set could have gone either way. The tiebreak I had chances. I had a second serve, sort of went after it. He put a little bit more kick on it. I just didn't quite time it. That was a big point in the tiebreak.
Yeah, then I came in on a ball, and he hit a pretty good pass. I came in on a pretty good slice. He hit a good backhand up-the-line passing shot to get up a mini break, and then hit a big ace to finish it off.
Then I just played a couple of, you know -- a loose double-fault at deuce first game of the second set, and that opened it up for him.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about his serving, what he does?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He served extremely well today. Yeah, any quarter chances that I did get, you know, I didn't have them for long. Yeah, he hit every line out there with his serve today. That's why he's the best player going around, especially on this surface. Serve is so important. He hit the target every time.
I had a few breakpoint chances there late in the second set and early in the third set. I didn't do too much wrong with them.

Q. Is the daunting thing about playing him that he obviously gets the shots in so well, or is there also a psychological barrier for everyone that he has such a great record? Is that something you have to try to overcome as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you don't focus too much on that. Once you go out there to play it's about what you can do to try to, yeah, upset his rhythm, not play into his comfort zone too much.
But, yeah, when he's serving like that it's not easy on this surface purely because, as I said the other day, his serve sets up the point for him to play in his comfort zone. It's very hard to take him out of that zone.

Q. Must get very disspiriting. Seems like every time you get a bit close, he's able to step up another level. Does that get you down when you're playing like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about "another level." He stayed pretty similar the whole way through.
But, yeah, it was just the last five years or so he's played the big points extremely well. That's where the difference is.

Q. You did 14 aces against Bolelli. Today I think three or four. What does that mean? Does that mean you served worse or that Federer is much quicker in returning and moving and getting your serves?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit of both. I didn't serve probably as well today. Roger's never gonna hit you off the court with his return of serve, though. He gets it back to start the point, whereas a guy like Bolelli is probably going after it a little bit more and swinging.
So you can probably -- yeah, with Roger, you can probably go for your serve a little bit more on your first serve, because even on the second serve he's not going to hurt you with that first hit like a lot of other returners. Quite often he just blocks it back into play with a slice backhand.
So I'm not sure. I didn't hit probably as many targets as I would have liked on the serve. But, you know, he handles Andy Roddick and Karlovic and all the big servers pretty well. You know, actually getting the ball back in play, he does extremely well from the return of serve.
An actual attacking returner, he's not one of those.

Q. How far away do you feel you are from the best two or three guys at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, it's hard to say. Out there today I didn't feel like I was that far away. But then the big points, he played, you know, a lot better than I did. Yeah, even the first game I had Love-30, and then he hit four big first serves to win that game.
Any time I tried to take a step I couldn't really, you know, put any momentum together, I guess, or put any pressure on his service games.
Obviously he, Djokovic and Nadal are the three stand-outs at the moment, especially on a week-in, week-out basis. Yeah, I don't feel like I'm that far away.

Q. Do you feel you can get back into the top four, to get to the point where you're not drawing Roger in the first Monday of the second week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I've got to play a lot more matches to get the ranking back up there. That comes with, you know, being healthy and staying injury-free, too.

Q. Are you committed to doing that, playing that many matches, if you can?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If the body does, yeah. If the body holds up.

Q. What are your plans now? Are you going to look at Olympics and US Open, or are you going to have to assess the hip injury and possibly consider missing those for surgery?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure yet. I've tried to not focus on it too much. But, yeah, this was the tournament that I wanted to play in. Now I'll probably try and focus more on, you know, career-wise, you know, trying to get the hip right because, you know, right at the moment it's not just getting any better.
So I'm just gonna have to speak to more people and see what my best options are.

Q. Does it get worse through matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. As the match goes on it gets a little bit worse.

Q. So losing the first set was even more crucial to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Against a guy like Roger it is. He's a pretty good frontrunner, too.

Q. Do you go back to Sydney straightaway?

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

Q. How does it feel becoming a dad for the second time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, good. Thanks.

Q. Is the baby due in January?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure.

Q. Just given the hip and whatever you might do, as long as the body holds out, you'd be trying to come back next year to Wimbledon, that's the plan?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To where, sorry?

Q. Here next year.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. This is one of the major tournament, so I hope to be back here.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 11, 2008, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Bjorkman
7-5, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's been a while since you've been on the court. Good workout for you? How did the hit come through?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always going to be a little bit different playing back on hard court. That's where I first got the injury, so probably been more worried since Wimbledon, whether it was going to be right. You know, it wasn't too bad. You know, there's still times I can feel it now and then.
But, you know, it was good to get out of that second set and, you know, win that in straight sets, you know, especially with so many matches banking up most days now.

Q. Obviously extra motivation playing for your country. Playing Nadal, does that add sort of a spur when you're out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, I always look forward to the big tournaments. You know, Wimbledon, you know, able to play Roger, probably a little earlier than I would have liked. It's always nice to play the big names, I think, especially when, you know, you pride yourself on playing well in the big tournaments.
You know, second round's extremely early to play, you know, probably the best player going around at the moment. But it's a good time to knock him off, too.

Q. Physically what capacity are you playing at at the moment? Is that going to be good enough against Rafa, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to know. You know, I've only been hitting probably a week and a half or so, I guess, on hard court. So, yeah, obviously it's not the best preparation. I would have liked to have, obviously been playing in Toronto and Cincinnati where, you know, I've played well the last few years. It's not the best preparation.
But, you know, I can only play the hand that's dealt to me. You know, this is it. You know, I'm here. I got a shot at him anyway.

Q. You're 3-0 against Nadal on hard court but is that too much ancient history to have any impact this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that was, you know, a few years ago. But two of them were best-of-five-set matches in a Grand Slam at the Australian Open. You know, one of them probably when he was playing pretty well; the second one in 2005. So, yeah, there's not a lot you can read into it.
But even the matches I've had with him at the French Open and Hamburg on clay, even though I've lost those, you know, Hamburg, I easily could have won. I was one or two points away from beating him. He'd won 80-odd matches on that surface in a row.
I've had small chances against him. But there's no doubt that he's improved since then.

Q. I know you're going to fight hard to prevent this from happening, but with big-name matches like Rafa and Federer, would that pique interest in tennis in the Olympics? I know it's probably not one of the most popular events at the Olympics. Would a couple big-name matches help to that end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think any time those guys have been playing in finals, you know, they've been playing some pretty good tennis. So, you know, it would obviously raise the profile probably of the final if those two were to meet in the final.
You know, because they've had such a unique rivalry over the last, you know, two or three years now, as well, and probably more so right at the moment, because Rafa started to get on top of Roger.
Yeah, I think obviously a lot of people know who the both of those two are, even if you're not that big a tennis fan.

Q. Is there a difference playing somebody like Nadal in a second or third round compared to playing him semis or finals? If so, what would those differences be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's probably not a huge difference purely because, especially a guy like Rafa who, you know, he's pumped up any time he walks on the court, whether it's practice matches, whatever, whether he's playing golf, you know. That's his personality. So nothing's really going to change, I don't think, between a first round for him or a final.
You know, obviously he handles finals and semifinals extremely well - as well as anyone going around. And that's why he plays so well in those big matches.

Q. Which is the best part to be an Olympic athlete?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think for us, it feels more like a teams event than anything. When you're playing 11 months of the year, it's a very individual sport tennis. It's basically you and your small entourage that travels with you.
So for me to be able to hang around a guy like Chris Guccione, I think I can teach him a lot, because he's a lot younger than me. He's the next best prospect for Australia. I enjoy hanging around some of the other younger Aussie guys and being a team.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 12, 2008, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt


R. NADAL/L. Hewitt
6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess you didn't need to play him to know he's a tough customer.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, he's all class. He doesn't give you a lot of cheap points out there and makes you work extremely hard. You know, I felt a lot closer than the score line. I had a lot of game points on my serve and just couldn't make the first serves and hit the spots when I needed to.
Against a guy like Rafa, you know, that returns so well and gets so many balls back, you have to hit your spots, especially on the big points.

Q. How much did yesterday, particularly last night, take its toll?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It wasn't easy. I put a lot of effort into last night's match. Probably didn't get to bed until about 3:00. So, yeah, it wasn't the best preparation for today. Rafa, he's a tough enough player to play when you're feeling a hundred percent and fully fit and rested up.
So, yeah, he was still going to be too good, though, the way he played today. He hit the ball extremely well. Yeah, it was good for Gooch and I to win last night, though.

Q. You have him again in the doubles tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah (smiling). It's gonna be a tough match. He plays a little bit of doubles, but not a lot. But he won a Masters Series tournament earlier in the year, but it was on clay with Tommy Robredo. Gooch and I got a lot of confidence out of last night's match, though. There are still areas of our game we can work on when we play together. But, you know, it's a work in progress, I guess.
You know, it was one of the most enjoyable matches I've been a part of last night, and I've played in some pretty big matches.

Q. If you had to choose one single thing about his game or mentality, why is he so tough, what would that be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say one. He hits the ball extremely heavy from both sides, but especially his forehand - a lot heavier than anyone else on tour. It's hard to say one because, you know, he's so competitive on the court, as well, which is a huge positive for him. And also, you know, his movement's incredible. So they're probably the three key aspects.

Q. You've played him before on several occasions, but not for a while. How do you assess his game at the moment? How well is he playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's playing probably a lot better on hard court than he's played in the past, I'd say. His clay court game, you know, speaks for itself. And obviously he made a couple of Wimbledon finals and then won Wimbledon this year. He's done well on grass. But he hasn't been really able to make that transition to hard courts against the best guys week in and week out. And this year, especially the last couple of months, he's really been able to do that.
So, yeah, he's obviously extremely confident. He's still gonna have matches -- tonight I felt like he played, you know, pretty flawless tennis out there, whereas yesterday he probably didn't play his best tennis.

Q. About last night, did it feel more like a Masters or Grand Slam or more like a Davis Cup match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me it was, in terms of doubles match, it probably felt more like a Davis Cup match. I don't play that much doubles. And I can't say I get, you know, real fired up about playing small tournament doubles, you know, week in and week out.
So for me, last night I was really into the match. You know, I really wanted to win for Gooch, as well. He's a young Australian on the rise. And for him to win a match at the Olympics is a big deal. I'm not sure how we saved those match points, but we did.

Q. How did you find the crowd out there? It wasn't a full house. Were they suitably neutral?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it was a good crowd. Made a fair bit of noise. They were very knowledgeable about tennis, I think. You know, it was a very fair crowd. I think they just wanted to see good tennis out there. The longer the point went, you know, the happier they were.

Q. Have you already decided if you're going to play Davis Cup in September?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at this stage. I can't say I've been really worrying about it at the moment. You know, since Wimbledon, I've been hoping to be able to make the Olympics and the US Open. If I'm anything close to a hundred percent fit, then I'll be playing.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 13, 2009, R32

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Benneteau
5-7, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty good work out.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. You know, it was always going to be tough in the first sort of tournament match back for a while.
Yeah, trying to get into the routine for a while of getting out there again and on the big points being able to do what you want and what you're used to doing, I guess. I obviously got better as the match went on.
Plus, it was really tough conditions out there for both players. It was swirling a lot out there. Probably one of the windier days that I've actually had on that center court where I sort of couldn't tell where the breeze was coming from the whole time.

Q. You seem to be more attacking. Has that been something you've been working on with Rochey?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. You always want to do as much as possible. A lot depends on the opponent you're playing and how much they let you do it too. Felt like there was quite a few short balls out there, especially in the first set, that I probably didn't attack and step up to the line as much as I probably could have.
I missed a couple of those opportunities in the first set. Probably the second and third set I tried to do it a little bit more and put more pressure on him. Felt like with the breeze today as well it was important to try and take the ascendency of the point and dictate as much as possible.
If you came in on a pretty good approach shot out there, doesn't matter how good a passer you are out there, it was going to be tough to hit a good pass with someone sitting on the net.
I tried to take my chances out there a couple times. A lot of the time it worked really well for me. I came up with some really good volleys.
Yeah, I missed a couple, but that's always going to happen, too.

Q. How's your hip feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Felt good today. Obviously tested out another three-setter, and played a couple tough three-setters last week and pulled up pretty well. Hopefully will pull up well again tomorrow.

Q. Next you've got Janko Tipsarevic. Your thoughts on him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We've had some tough matches in the past. I've at least beaten him a couple times. Lost to him once. Last time we played I reckon it was Davis Cup on an extremely slow clay court in Serbia. Going to be a lot different conditions to that match.
Yeah, he's a great ball-striker. One of the best ball-strikers going around. Very similar to Djokovic in that sense. He moves extremely well, but you got to hang in there with him and make him play that extra shot.
Hopefully I can sort of weather the storm enough against him out there.

Q. Speaking of hanging in there, the two matches in Perth and here, dropping the first set, that might not have been a bad thing for you. Is that the way you look at it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I would have liked to have won in straight today. For sure that's probably the No. 1 positive to come out of winning a three-set match. Gives the body a tougher time.
You're going to have to win at least three sets to win any match in Melbourne. You got to be prepared to do that, and fit and strong enough to do that, so...

Q. When will the questions about your hip stop?


Q. Are you prepared for that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You tell me.

Q. If you had to rate it at one to ten at the moment, how do you see your body and form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard to say at the moment. You know, in practice I'm hitting the ball really well. It's a matter of taking that into the match court though. You can't expect miracles when haven't played for nearly four and a half, five months on the tour.
It's not easy to come out in match situations and just pick it up straightaway. Doesn't matter how good you are. It's a matter of getting that confidence. The more matches, yeah, that will come back.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 14, 2009, R16

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Tipsarevic
7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was it out there?


Q. It looks it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. No, it was yeah, I think it works into my favor though, conditions like that. You know, that's what I try and train in as much as possible and get used to it, even though, you know, it doesn't always feel that comfortable for anyone out there.
Yeah, you know your opponent is hurting as much if not worse than I am, so that's the positive you got to try and think about when you're out there.

Q. You probably sensed that he was getting a bit heat-affected.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, he's a tough player to play against because he's such a great shot maker, and then he just sprays balls out of nowhere as well. He serves in patches as well.
Like the start of the match today he was serving extremely well and hitting a lot of lines on his first serve and I really couldn't get into any of his service games.
He played a couple good points on my service games and I played a couple loose ones and I'm down a break straightaway. I really had to fight hard to get myself back in that first set.
Once I got the break back I felt like the momentum really changed out there and things were starting to go my way, which made life a lot easier. Once I was able to win that first set 7-5 instead of even going to a close tiebreak, then I felt like I could really try to put pressure on him early in the second set.

Q. How are you going with your autopilot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I didn't come out and play my best tennis at the start today, which sort of put me behind the eight ball a little bit.
Mind you, he didn't give me the opportunity to do that either. As I said, he was hitting a lot lines out there early. Any half short ball he was really trying to step up and attack it and put it away, which put a lot of pressure on me. I had to keep good depth. I sort of wanted to get my teeth into the match by making a lot of balls out there and making him play a lot balls. Sort of turn it into a bit of a grinding match in some ways, and I was able to do that sort of three quarters of the way through that first set.

Q. Did the crowd bother you at all, the chanting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that just fires me up more. It's not the smartest thing to do.

Q. So the first serves, do you feel like you need to do that better tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I served well when I needed to today. Though. Yeah, first serve percentage, yeah, definitely got to try and work on that and get a little higher out there. You know, especially every round it's going to get tougher and tougher against better players, and also next week in Melbourne.
It's something I definitely got to work on. He was a good returner out there today. When I needed to, I hit the spots pretty well.

Q. Speaking of firing you up, Nalbandian next round.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we haven't played for a while. Yeah, it's another step up in class, though. He's a top 10 player, just outside of top 10 at the moment. Yeah, he got through, you know, with ease today against Llodra who is a dangerous opponent as well, so he's obviously playing pretty well at the moment. Going to have to step it up another notch.

Q. How much do you look forward to those kind of matches where you and he have had a bit to say to each other in the past?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not something I'll be focusing on going into the match tomorrow. For me, it's more another -- a good step to see where I'm at going into Melbourne. For me, obviously the big picture is next week, and I want to get in as good a shape as possible before Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Yeah, having an opportunity to play a guy like Nalbandian is a good opportunity for me.

Q. He likes to bait you, but he's gone off that strategy. Do you think he realized that's not very effective against you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We actually haven't played that much really. We've only played three times, I think. We really haven't played much at all.
Obviously I killed him in the Wimbledon final, and then we had a cliff-hanger at the Australian Open in Melbourne, and he took me down pretty comfortably in the Davis Cup here in the semifinal I think a couple years ago, quarterfinal maybe.
So, yeah, it's always a tough matchup. Nalbandian plays extremely well some days and he has average loses out of blue others. He's a tough player to get a read on, but when he's at his best he's definitely in the top 10 players.

Q. What do you find most difficult about him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a good all-court game, I think. He's got good feel around the court. Yeah, he moves well and can play well from both forehand and backhand. He defends well, but he can also be very aggressive as well.

Q. You had the chance to serve first, but you chose to let him serve. Do you think that backfired when you lost the first game to him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Yeah, I just sort of feel depends on how I feel on the day, I guess, if I win the toss what I do, and today I felt like receiving first.

Q. Where would you like to see your ranking at the end of the summer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Couldn't care less, to tell you the truth. It's not something that I'm focused on for two weeks' time. At the end of the year I'll probably look at it. Right at the moment I just want to get through and focus on the Australian Open. One tournament more than anything, not purely just a ranking for two weeks' time.
You know, rankings are on a 12-month basis, so it's really hard to says in three weeks what you'll be.

Q. How does your body pull up after each match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Felt really good today. Felt really good considering I had a 6-4 in the third match in the late afternoon yesterday. Don't have that much time to recover.
Yeah, in the heat today I felt quite comfortable.

Q. When you do your pre-season stuff, obviously you practice a lot. Do you do anything else to try and prepare for the heat, sand hills or anything like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I do some sand hills and a lot of cross-training stuff. Probably the first three weeks or so before I actually got on the court when I was able to start running and doing stuff, I was doing -- yeah, it was all fitness work. Nothing to do with the racquet at the start.
I was fortunate that the whole month of December there was no tennis anyway, so I didn't really have rush to get back in tennis shape. I felt like I could be able to get a good base to start this year.

Q. Has the break helped you? Could it extend your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows. Depends how it holds up, I guess.


LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess it freshens you up when you play a lot of tournaments and you're looking at results and thinking about the next tournament, where your going to be playing and stuff like that and preparing.
To have three or four months where you didn't really focus on tennis at all, you know, it's probably a good thing in some ways after so many years of actually on the tour grinding it out. Yeah, I still miss not being out there, though.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 15, 2009, QF

Lleyton Hewitt


7-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That looked like another step up for you in difficult conditions out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was really tough conditions. I thought Tuesday was gusty out there. It was a lot worse today even.
It's the same for both players, but, yeah, you to try and find a way to hang in a lot points out there. It was tough for both of us to serve. The ball was swirling a lot.
I probably didn't get a high enough first serve percentage in, especially against a good returner like Nalbandian. That put me under a little bit of pressure, you know, especially in windy conditions.

Q. How do you assess your form against David today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. There's a lot of positives, I think, to take out of today. He's a step up, you know, in class to the two other guys that I played this week.
You know, it was a point away from taking the first set there and didn't quite get enough on the return. Just set up a little bit too much for him. He was getting tight in that situation. He obviously served for the first set and wasn't able to do it.
Then I felt like things were starting to turn my way. Yeah, he played a pretty good tiebreak, especially early on in breaker to get in is better position, I guess.

Q. You're pleased that managed to stick in there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, felt like I had a lot opportunities out there, a lot of Love-30s out there. Yeah, he served better than I did, especially on the big points today.
Yeah, in the tiebreak he served well. I didn't really get too many opportunities to get onto his serve. The set point I had in the first set he came up with a big first serve. Yeah, if I could have got my teeth into that point, then right at the time I thought I was starting to get on top a little bit.
So, yeah, it was frustrating that I wasn't able to quite take any chances when they popped up.

Q. Three days in row you're played off the back of Perth, so probably nice to have a break now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll just keep practicing the next couple of days. Yeah, obviously you won't have that intensity of getting ready and preparing for a match.
Yeah, can be a good thing, I guess, going into a major as well. You got to save your energy. Grand Slams are a totally different situation.
Yeah, you got to be ready to play five sets. That's a long time out there to grind out there for five sets as well. In the past I've probably had my best tennis over five sets.

Q. Do you see yourself as now being ready for five sets?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I'm as ready as I think I thought I'd ever be coming into this situation. Yeah, I never really knew what to expect, especially before the Hopman Cup, going in there after so many months out.
Yeah, this is where it starts, now and the next week.

Q. The draw tomorrow, it's the first time in a real long time you haven't been seeded in a Grand Slam. What are your thoughts about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Can't do much about it, can I? Just see what happens. You know, it's in the hands of the gods. You know, just whoever comes up, then I'll be ready on Monday or Tuesday.

Q. What does it tell you about your form when you get so close to beating a bloke that's ranked 11th in the world?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think I'm that far away from it. You know, especially, yeah, he's a good player and one of the best players in the world and probably capable of beating nearly anyone on any surface on any given day.
I had chances in both sets out there today. I had breakpoint in the first game of the second set as well. Yeah, it's probably just not having those tough matches against the best players this probably let me down today.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 18, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Probably not the first-round draw you would have hoped for?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably not. Probably a lot tougher ones as well, though. So, yeah, when you're unseeded, you're thrown in that territory where you don't really know what to expect.
Yeah, it's going to be a tough matchup. But the whole time I've been preparing the last couple of months to be ready for whoever I came up against. It was going to be fairly tough anyway.
Hopefully I can knock him out and take his draw.

Q. (Question regarding the draw.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that doesn't worry me what they think too much. Obviously, you know, I think for anyone, I'm probably one of the more dangerous unseeded players in the draw. Yeah, puts a little bit more pressure on him, I guess.

Q. Have you had enough matches to get through seven matches in a Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Just take the first one, see how we go after that. Right now I'm focusing on González, worrying about the matchup, what I need to do with my game to be in as good a nick as possible.

Q. Have you got any expectations of how far you think you can last into the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't. Not worrying about anyone apart from Fernando at the moment.

Q. There's been a lot of talk amongst the players about this Open should be moved into February. What are your thoughts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think as an Australian, I think it's probably the ideal team for Australian sport. This is the time that I've always known it as the Australian Open, the dates that I've always come to, around these dates, late January, since I was coming here as a young kid to come and watch.
For an Australian, it fits in so well with obviously the school holidays and getting kids out there. And I think for the sport of tennis in this country, that really helps as well, you know, that the young kids can come out and watch a lot of it, even on the back courts, get a good atmosphere out here.
You know, I think sport-wise there's not a lot on at this time of the year either, so it sort of stands out by itself as well, which is probably a good thing for our Grand Slam. Yeah, so it's a tough call. It's obviously early in the year. A lot of overseas players have prepared well enough to win it in the past (smiling).

Q. Do you ever feel tempted to say what you just said to Roger, Novak, Andy about the viewpoint of an Australian, the way it fits into the summer here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I definitely know Roger knows it. Yeah, I haven't actually spoken to any of those guys about it, what their thoughts are about it. I'm sure Roger knows. He's had a lot of success here in the past. It hasn't really changed his performance, I guess. He's lucky that he's been able to come out after only one or two weeks' preparation and still play extremely well.
But obviously there's a lot more to it than just worrying about the players for a couple weeks, I guess. You know, the tournament has to worry about obviously ticket sales, kids being around the place, a whole lot of other things.

Q. Do the players enjoy coming here as the first tournament of the year, since a lot are coming from the northern hemisphere where it's pretty cold?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I hope so. I think they put on a great event here. It's in an awesome stadium, great arena. You know, obviously I love playing here. But I think, you know, everyone really enjoys it here. We get looked after really well, which is good.

Q. You've been playing the sport a long time now. You've had quite a few family changes in the last year or so. What about your level of ambition now with all that experience behind you, do ambitions shift, attitudes change, or are you still as driven as you always were?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, right at the moment I'm still as driven and motivated as I think I've always been. You know, probably more so after having the injury, having to put in all the hard yards to try and get back, just to get back on the court, you know, doing a whole heap of rehab, fitness stuff, just to be able to play here.
So, yeah, if the motivation wasn't there, then I wouldn't be playing. So for me, you know, I still feel that I've got things to do in the sport. I still feel I can get back into the top 10 and push those better guys at the top of the rankings.
I've obviously got to play a lot more matches, get in that rhythm of, you know, hopefully being a hundred percent fit on the court and playing week in and week out as well.

Q. Roger Federer is on the brink of joining Pete Sampras. You've been one of their closest rivals. His achievements, where he sits now, can you believe it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Right at the start of his career, you didn't really put anyone in the same category as Sampras. That seemed like an awfully long way away before anyone got close to Pete's record.
Obviously when Roger got on that run for four years or so there, he was nearly unbeatable, especially in three of the majors. So, yeah, he's had an unbelievable run. Yeah, obviously he won the last slam, the US Open of last year, as well, so he's gonna be one of the favorites coming in here. If he does it, good on him. It's a hell of an effort.

Q. Is there still a rush coming into an Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. Australian Open and Wimbledon are probably two of my favorite tournaments, I think. Yeah, for me to always come back and play here, it is a big thrill always. Yeah, I love playing on Rod Laver Arena. It's going to be a lot of fun on Tuesday, as well.

Q. How is the court surface this year? Are you happy with it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's all right. I wouldn't say it's any different to last year. It's probably on the medium to fast pace, I'd say. It's a fairly rough court surface, though. The balls fluff up quite a bit after a couple of games. But that's very similar to last year, as well.

Q. The prospects for the locals don't seem to be overly high. Is it frustrating that stories about what's wrong with Australian tennis are being written before a ball is even hit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We don't have that many guys or players in the main draw. Yeah, it's always going to be written if you don't have the players out there. We were fortunate for a number of years, though, even before probably Pat Rafter was, you know, getting up to the top, we still had a lot of great players out there competing in the main draws, being able to make the odd semifinal, quarterfinal, consistent Round of 16s at any of the slams. That's probably what we miss, you know, at the moment. We just don't have the numbers there to be able to do that.
Until we get more guys in the top 90, top hundred in the world that get direct acceptance into the Grand Slams, it's gonna to fall back on guys like myself and Guccione.

Q. Tony Roche has indicated he's going to speak about the state of tennis in Australia after the Open. Have you had lengthy discussions with him about it yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, we talk about little things now and then. Yeah, obviously there's issues behind the scenes to try and get more players to be able to come through.
Rochey, I can't speak for him, but he obviously knows more than anyone about how to make kids into players. He's been around the traps that many years and he's worked with so many great players, I think people really should be listening to a lot that Rochey has to say.

Q. Almost 40 years since Laver completed the Grand Slam. There's a lot of emphasis on Roger and his beating Sampras or equalling it here, then the next step is another Grand Slam attempt. Where do you think Laver's position in tennis history is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It hard to say. Over time it changes so much. But obviously he's always going to be one of the greats. To win a Grand Slam twice is remarkable. But, yeah, it's hard to compare generations. It's like in golf, comparing Woods to all the older guys that won so many slams as well. When does he get put in that category the same as them?
It's a lot easier to sort of look at Sampras and Federer and try and compare the two of them than it is throwing Laver in. This day and age, there's so many different countries playing as well now. The surface of all four majors are all different as well now. There's a lot of variables.

Q. Can you remember being made the favorite for a tournament, a Grand Slam, before you'd actually won a Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wouldn't have been, no.

Q. Do you think it's common sense to make someone a favorite before they've actually won a Grand Slam, going into a Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's probably not the done thing. Who knows who's favorite. Yeah, that's one person's opinion (smiling).
I guess the rivalry of Nadal and Federer in the majors the last, you know, three or four years... They're both at the moment 1 and 2 in the world. You're a brave man to look outside those two as a favorite going into any slam at the moment.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 20, 2009, R128

Lleyton Hewitt


5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Midway through the fifth set, a switch in momentum. What do you attribute that to in Fernando lifting his game a bit, yours going off a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Big point was probably 1-All in the fifth, I had fif-40. I had another breakpoint. I couldn't get that break. I felt at that stage I was starting to get back on top. From the second and third sets, he was dominating the match. I had to try to find a way to get back into it. I was able to do that through the fourth, broke a couple of times. Early in that fifth set, it would have been nice to go up an early break.
Yeah, he came up with a couple of big forehands on those points. Yeah, but if I could have got that early break, it could have been a little bit different.

Q. Is this the toughest loss in your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not the toughest, no.

Q. Was your recent lack of match play a factor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows. Obviously, the more matches you have, the more matches against the better players in the Masters Series, big tournaments, it's obviously going to help in the tight situations on the big points.
Yeah, there was still only a couple of points in it there in the fifth set, if I could have broken there, then consolidated early in the fifth set, you know, he was ready to go as well a little bit.
Yeah, even with that set, I still had my chance out there.

Q. Did Fernando's injury break throw you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe a little bit, I guess. I wasn't quite serving as well as I had early in the match, though. Even though I won the fourth set, I didn't feel like I had my best serving set that set at all. Then the fifth set, I didn't serve great. I gave him too many chances to dictate with his forehand. Yeah, that was probably the telling point.

Q. You pushed him pretty close. He's a very good player. Is this discouraging for you with your comeback or encouraging? Does it give you hope you can get back to where you were?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know right at the moment. Haven't really thought about it too much. You go out there and you try and beat whoever you're up against.
I'll probably look back at it in a couple of days' time, yeah, look at where I could have improved and whatever. But, yeah, in hindsight, when you haven't had the matches, haven't played five sets for quite a while, yeah, you're always going to be fighting it, I guess, a little bit.
In terms of that then, you know, I think it's a good springboard for the rest of the year. I would have still liked to have gone a bit further in the tournament.

Q. Where do you go now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Play San Jose and Memphis in a couple weeks' time.

Q. No matter what happens from here, do you feel you've written yourself into the history of this tournament by having so many great matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I guess I wrote myself into the tournament when I lost in the final a couple years ago.
Yeah, I'm not sure. This is my 13th Australian Open. I've been coming here for a while now.

Q. Any sense that it's your last Australian Open?

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

Q. Where do you feel you are at the moment as far as getting back into the top 10?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Right there. The guys that I've lost to, especially the last two weeks, yeah, they're both top 15 at the moment. But when they're at their best, you know, Nalbandian is possibly top-five, top-seven player and González is a top-10 player. The two losses haven't been the worst losses on paper. I probably could have easily won both those matches, as well.
In the next couple days, I'll get to assess how it went, how the body's pulled up. I'll probably go through it with Rochey and see what maybe I could have done a little bit better.

Q. How did your body hold up? Your first five-set match in months.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty good. Just wasn't quite getting enough push-off in my legs, my left leg, just due to playing five sets, especially as the match went on with my serve. It probably cost me a little bit. Especially late in the fourth and fifth sets, I just wasn't getting a high enough percentage in first serves. That probably comes with the strength of pushing off my left leg a lot more than I've done in quite a long time.

Q. You said during the week that it would be nice to have someone else take a bit of the burden of expectation off you that you've had for a long time. Bernard Tomic in the last 24 hours is all over the front pages. Do you think that might help you as you come back, not having as much pressure on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a great win by Bernard yesterday, but he's still got a long way to go before he's in the top hundred and playing in the other slams, the other Masters Series week in and week out. I could be retired by the time he gets to top hundred. Who knows how long that will take, so...

Q. Do you see similarities in the expectations that are on him now and were on you at a similar age?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. When I was coming up, though, Pat was already up there. We had a good stock of players, I guess. There was quite a lot of, you know, not exceptional top-10 players, but a great group. Stoltenberg, the Woodies, Sandon Stolle, Richard Fromberg. There were so many of them that were competitive week in and week out on the tour. It probably made it easier for me to hang around with guys, hit with guys, learn from them as well a lot, whereas Bernard right at the moment, there's probably really only myself and Gooch that are on the tour week in and week out in the actual ATP tournaments.
The more Aussies we can get there, the better off it is for everyone coming through.

Q. (Question regarding the surgery and thoughts of retirement.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I really didn't have that much time to think about the surgery, to tell you the truth. As soon as I flew back from Beijing, I landed that morning, then that afternoon I was under the knife. If I was going to retire, then I wouldn't have had the surgery done.
It wasn't something that was going to affect me in everyday life for the rest of my life. It was something that, you know, if I want to still play tennis, then it had to be done.

Q. Did you have any input as to whether this was a day or night match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I would have preferred to play during the day today, so...

Q. Will you take Bernard under your wing if he approaches you to hit with him on tour?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. I haven't really seen a lot of him. He came to the Davis Cup tie in Townsville. He rolled up a little bit later than everyone else, so I didn't get a chance to hit with him at all there.
I really haven't seen him play a lot. Yeah, obviously to win a tour match is obviously a huge bonus. It wasn't just him yesterday. You know, Brydan Klein, who I've hit with a lot, had I thought a really good win against a really good player yesterday as well. They're boys that have to take the next step. When you get wild cards into these tournaments, you have to take them, you have to take your chance.

Q. How would you rate Fernando's chance in the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough player to play against for anyone, even the best guys like Roger, Rafa, those guys, purely because he wants to play on his terms. He's always gonna be the guy trying to dictate play. If he's able to dictate play, then he's extremely tough to beat. He's obviously in a section with Gasquet and Nadal after that. He's going to have his work cut out. But he's a dangerous floater.

Q. (Question about his left leg.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it would keep improving probably six months since the surgery and rehab till it gets actually to its strongest and when hopefully you don't have any issues.

Q. How tough are the next few months going to be now? Your ranking is going to drop a bit. You won't have the protection of the seeding any more.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It won't be that tough. I'm only playing a couple of small tournaments. Got Davis Cup, a couple of Masters Series in America. Yeah, I really don't have any points to defend, apart from a fourth round at Wimbledon, for the whole year. I can't say I'm too worried about points and rankings right at the moment.

Q. Will we see you in the doubles here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no. I think the double's draw is done already. Probably won't go and play.

Q. This is a close match. You've had a lot of dramatic matches here. What are some of the most memorable ones for you looking back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nearly all seven matches that I played in 2005, I think. Yeah, every match was a bit of a rollercoaster out there. That was probably the year that I had a lot of -- a couple of five-setters, a couple of close four-setters nearly every match. That and probably obviously the Baghdatis match last year.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


April 14, 2009, R64

Lleyton Hewitt


M. SAFIN/L. Hewitt
6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was that one of your toughest ever turnarounds, between travel and the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it was the toughest, yeah. Yeah, it was sort of just like one thing after another really. Yeah, it was not the best preparation, that's for sure.

Q. Can you go through your trip? I know you left on Monday, I think.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. The final was in Houston. It was delayed a few hours because of rain and the court got flooded so we had to wait for that. So I couldn't get out Sunday night. And then, yeah, Monday, with the time change and everything, it just sort of put it even further behind. Then our flights got delayed about three and a half hours, as well, out of Dallas.

Q. BA or AA?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, American Airlines. Yeah, so it was just frustrating. Yeah, nothing sort of went right.

Q. Did you come in with any expectations or you just want to give it a go and see?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. Not a lot of expectations really. Yeah, for me it's all about still going out there and competing. I actually felt like I hit the ball pretty well today. Actually ball striking, I was actually pretty happy with. So, especially just coming off the plane, I probably wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to have been or normally would try to be. But apart from that I actually felt like the ball striking, I was pretty happy with.

Q. How is your right leg? You had your treatment.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just strained it in the final the other day. So it wasn't the best thing hopping straight on a plane and coming over here. Yeah, just got worse as the match went on.

Q. How is it now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a bit sore at the moment, so...

Q. What made you decide to play in it last minute?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I was always going to play here. I'd been offered a wild card. It's a big tournament. So, yeah, for me, my clay court preparation is sort of up in the air as well, with Davis Cup and that as well. You know, it was always going to be an opportunity. But going into Houston, I knew it was always gonna be tough if I went well there.
Yeah, you take that, I guess. The start of Houston, though, my goal was to win the tournament. If that meant that it was gonna make it tougher for me to come here, then so be it.

Q. How did you feel having to play Marat Safin in the first round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We've played first rounds the last couple of years a couple of times, as well. Yeah, obviously our rankings both aren't in the top 10 anymore, so you're not getting the protection of not playing each other early on.
But, yeah, he's obviously still a class player when he's on.

Q. It was almost a strange thing waking up Monday morning and seeing that you and Ferrero had won a tournament. Has it given you renewed faith, hope in your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess after the surgery and that, to come back. Last week I played extremely well. Not to drop a set through the tournament gave me a lot of confidence. I still got to build on that, though.
But, yeah, as I said, my ball striking was good today. I'm happy with the way I'm hitting the ball at the moment. There are small areas of my game I still feel like I can work on to get to the next step before the French Open and Wimbledon. That's the goal now.

Q. What is it about over the last few years you seem to be almost improving on clay.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. Yeah, the last probably two years, two and a half years I've actually played some of my best tennis on clay. I keep saying, yeah, we don't grow up on it in Australia, so it's hard for any of us straightaway to come out and play well against the Spaniards and the South American guys straight up.
But I've been able to learn and adapt to the best way for me to play on clay for my game and I feel comfortable on it.

Q. Has it come to the point now where you if you were to have one more Grand Slam victory or a chance at a Grand Slam, it could be the French Open above others? Have you gone that far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know about that. Rafa's still pretty tough to beat (smiling). Out of our four slams, he's probably holding that one tighter than anyone, I'd say.

Q. Your own sort of ability...

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I can knock good players off on clay, yeah, the French Open. In the past, it's sort of been the French Open that I've probably played my best clay court tennis, as well, that court surface.
I feel comfortable playing at Roland Garros. We'll see happens.

Q. You say you didn't grow up playing on clay. What is the hardest thing you had to learn over the last few years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's more the movement and the tactics playing on clay I think. When you first come on tour, you grow up playing on hard courts. It's a totally different mindset when you go onto a clay court. I think it's a lot easier to go from growing up on clay to learn to play on hard court than it is the other way.
So, yeah, it just takes time I think more than anything.

Q. What is your clay program going to be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure at the moment. Yeah, I got no idea because we got Davis Cup, as well. It's up in the air at the moment.

Q. A lot of players who come from big injury setbacks like you've had, they come back and they say they actually enjoy their tennis more. Have you found that? Do you feel it's actually more of a buzz just being out there and being able to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, right at the moment I don't know if I feel it. Yeah, I think when you get back out there, all the hard work that I did towards the end of November and December, for it to pay off, to be able to play the Australian summer, at one stage I wasn't sure if I'd be able to play that. So for me that was a huge bonus to be able to compete there.
Obviously you still want -- sometimes it's frustrating when the body's not quite at a hundred percent and you have had the surgery and that and you're still doing a lot of rehab to get it back. It's a long process. You have to be patient with it, keep working at it, stay positive.

Q. Where do you think you are in that process?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. My hip has actually been feeling really good on the clay, which is probably a little bit easier for my hip as well, than playing on the hard court.
But, yeah, it was probably going to take 9 to 12 months after the surgery until you actually get back to a hundred percent movement-wise and get that confidence back in the hip as well. So, yeah, last week I've moved as well as I've ever moved, so I was pretty happy with it.

Q. I know it's a long way away, but how important to you these days is Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: One of the most important tournaments if not the most important tournament. Yeah, for me I don't think there's that many guys that have an absolute huge chance of winning Wimbledon. There's obviously the handful that we all know. But it's not like you're going to see a whole lot of outsiders come through and really do a lot of damage there.
I still give myself a good chance on grass. When you've won there, you walk into those gates, it's an amazing feeling as well.

Q. What does that feel like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You get goosebumps walking in. The tradition sort of builds more so after you've done well there, I think. You go there as a youngster, you've seen all the greats win there before. But I think when you go back after you've done well, it's even more special.

Q. Your ranking, given where it is at the moment, it does offer you the opportunity of knocking off a seed and taking their path

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the last few years I even when I've been ranked sort of that 16 to 30 odd spot, I've come up against Rafa in the French Open and Roger at Wimbledon in the Round of 16 anyway. So, yeah, you need a better sometimes getting a bit lower seed, knocking them off, taking their draw, especially at Wimbledon, that's sometimes where it opens up a lot more.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 8, 2009, R64

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/E. Schwank
6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Couldn't be a better way to start, could it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was good. Never exactly sure, you know, how you're going to play, and your footing and everything, how confident you're going to be.
First match on grass, it's always a bit hard. I came out of the blocks really well, was seeing the ball well, returned extremely well from start to finish.
He didn't serve that poorly but I made him play a lot of balls.

Q. You've got a great record at Queen's. What's so special about playing here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure what I actually do, you know, why I have such a great record, but yeah, for me, it's always nice to get on the grass after playing on the clay for a few months.
I just go out there with a positive attitude. You know, these are some of the best grass courts if not "the" best grass courts in the world. You know, to come out here and play on this surface, it's awesome for all the players.

Q. In terms of the courts, do you prefer playing here to Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Ah, no, not too much. I feel comfortable on both grass courts. You're not going to get too many rough bounces on either of these.

Q. Does it ever take you a few days to adjust to grass, or do you get straight back into it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, I feel like I always hit the ball pretty well as soon as I come onto the grass. It's more just a little bit confidence with the footing more than anything and just forgetting the sliding and what you've been doing.
Obviously there's different, slightly different styles of playing on grass as well to playing on clay. We serve and return and those little things, but you know, I've been doing it for that many years now. I sort of know all those things. It's a matter of just feeling comfortable with the footing out there.
That's the biggest bonus of not having a bye here I guess this year, as well, to get a match like this today under those -- you know, the pressure of actually playing a competitive match, as well. You know, more court time.

Q. Six months into the year since you came back from surgery. How would you assess yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the hip is holding up really well at the moment. I'm pretty happy with how it's pulled up.
The first few months was tough. You just have some rough days with the hip, as well. But at the moment it's feeling pretty good. On the clay, I didn't have any issues whatsoever, so that was a good sign.

Q. How soon did you leave Paris? And when you got to London, did you get on the grass that day or the next day? And when you do get on the grass, do you go full bore straightaway or gradually work in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a couple days off after Paris. Yeah, then when I got here, it was probably a day or so before I started hitting on grass.
Yeah, I took it lightly the first day or so, first couple of days. There weren't that many players here really to hit with, either. Once I could start playing practice sets and that against guys, that's when I tried to step it up a notch or two.

Q. What do you think of Roger's achievement in Paris, what he's done?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's an amazing achievement. Yeah, his record speaks for itself.
Yeah, from what I saw of the match yesterday, he played his best tennis in the final, ball striking-wise. He probably didn't play his best tennis that he's ever played to get through to the final in all of his matches, but, yeah, he just he knows how to win over five sets, as well, knows what it takes to last Grand Slams.
Yeah, yesterday when -- yeah, there was a lot of pressure and expectation on him. He came out and played one of his best matches.

Q. Did you ever think that Sampras' 14 would be matched?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Ah, it's hard to say. When Pete won that many, yeah, I think everyone thought that it's an unbelievable achievement and it's going to take someone a long time to do it.
Yeah, Roger's obviously an exception, though. To do it as quickly as he has, as well, and obviously at all four majors, yeah, if it wasn't for Rafa he'd probably have quite a few more, as well.

Q. As a fellow player, how do you think Roger will react to this? Obviously he had history on his shoulders and now that's been lifted. Some may say he might sort of take his foot off the gas or he could be relaxed and really go for it and, you know, dispense of all before him. How do you see him reacting to this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think coming to Wimbledon is probably his favorite tournament of the year, so he's going to be feeling pretty confident, I'd say. He may be a bit drunk and confident. (Laughter.)
But he's going to be -- yeah, he just won the French Open. He's got to be feeling pretty good.

Q. In terms of Grand Slams and records, do you see him getting stronger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got an opportunity at every major. That's the thing about his game, and he's yeah, as I said, he's been the second-best clay-court player over the last four or five years now. There's only one guy who's really stopped him.
Yeah, every major he goes into right at the moment, he still has as good a chance as anyone to win it.

Q. What did the locker room feel when people were saying his career is on a slide? Surely you...

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think anyone spoke about it. I didn't talk to anyone about it. We know what you journalists are like. (Laughter.)

Q. But you knew the quality despite what...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate. Yeah, as I said, he made the last two or three French Open finals, a semi before that.
Yeah, the only Grand Slams he's lost in the last, since I can remember, those three or four guys have gone on to win the Grand Slam; otherwise he would have captured them all. So, yeah, it's an incredible run.

Q. Who do you think is favored for Wimbledon now after the French?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Still gotta be Roger, I think, is the favorite right at the moment. He hasn't done too much wrong.
Even though last year he lost, he only just lost. He was probably only point or two away from winning against and Rafa probably played his best grass court match he could ever play.
Yeah, Roger's going he's going to be the one to beat. You throw -- those top four guys there, they're obviously the main four at the moment.

Q. Do you feel you can win it again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think with a bit of luck and a door opening up. I think if, you know, you can last into the second week, anything can happen.
This is one Grand Slam probably where there's probably only a few guys who really believe they can win it, as well.
Yeah, the French Open, obviously Rafa was a red-hot favorite, but behind that there's a lot of guys who can cause upsets. Whereas on grass, there's really only a few guys I think deep down who believe they can win it.

Q. You've been practicing with Andy Murray and playing doubles. How did that come about? Do you think the British public have to be patient with their expectations with him for Queen's and Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, I just I was looking for someone to play to obviously get a few more matches. Yeah, Andy was free to play doubles. That's how that happened.
It's not a real big deal either way. Yeah, he's got a good chance, no doubt about that, here and Wimbledon, the No. 1 seed here and at Wimbledon -- he's No. 3 in the in the world at the moment, and plays extremely well on this surface.
He's got his -- as I said, Roger's probably just the favorite, and then you throw Andy in that next mix, for sure.

Q. London has their Masters Cup this year for the first time. You played, I think I'm right, Houston, Shanghai, Sydney, Lisbon?


Q. What do you think of coming to London? And can you sort of remember a few of your highlights from those places, obviously Houston being the big one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, Sydney and Shanghai were a bit better.

Q. Sydney and Shanghai.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Houston I lost in the final, but it was okay.
Well, The Masters Cup is sort of the pinnacle that everyone tries to get into at the end of the year. It's a special event, unique event, round-robin system.
But, yeah, every match is extremely tough, as you know. You go in there with the best eight guys in the world. Yeah, it's good it's being shared around I think in different places.
For me -- Andy is going to have that same feeling as I had when I played in Sydney, and I was able to come through and win that and get No. 1 for the first time ever. That was an amazing week.

Q. Another question on Roger and Rafa. As someone that played Rafa in Paris and you've played Roger throughout your career, how do they differ from an opponent's point of view?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, the way they play is totally different, obviously. Roger's a lot more all-court player, relies on his serve and his forehand, a lot more than Rafa does. Roger can mix it up so well, as well, and obviously comes in and can serve/volley and stay back.
Rafa, on the other hand, hits the ball different to anyone. No one hits the ball like Rafa. The work he gets off any court -- grass probably not quite as much. The spin that he hits with doesn't quite bite as much on grass.
But he's becoming a better all-court player these days, Rafa. You see him coming to the net. His serve has picked up. When I played him in Paris, he's serving a lot bigger than he used to.
They're both unique in their ways. That's why it's been such a good rivalry.

Q. Do you find one more difficult than the other to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're both difficult. Not easy matches against those two.

Q. Why do you choose to play here instead of Halle?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I've been coming here for 11 or 12 years, so what's one more? No, I've never played Halle, and I've always enjoyed this tournament and had great success here.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 10, 2009, R32

Lleyton Hewitt


3-6, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did he just sort of take you unawares at the beginning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I never actually seen him play before. I didn't know what to expect.
I didn't play my best set of tennis at the start. You know, I just didn't serve well and didn't execute what I needed to do.
Yeah, it took me the first set to really understand how he goes about it, as well. After that, the first set the end of the first set I started feeling more and more comfortable, you know, what to do and what his strengths and weaknesses were.

Q. Next up is Andy Roddick. How do you see your chances?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's a good test a week or so before a big major like Wimbledon. Roddick is yeah, he's always going to be one of the favorites under Nadal and Federer on grass at Wimbledon.
He's made a couple of finals there in the past and lost to Roger, so yeah, we both got good records here at Queen's. Hopefully it's a good match tomorrow.

Q. When you say it's a good test, what are you actually meaning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just a good challenge against one of the best grass court players in the world. He's obviously got, you know, a big weapon with his serve. He's got a big forehand. He moves well for his size.
Yeah, just playing grass court tennis, to come up against a guy like that is going to be a big step up from my first two matches here.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 11, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


A. RODDICK/L. Hewitt
7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Bit of a late start. What were you told?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We weren't told anything. They just said that we had to wait, there was something going on. There obviously was a bit of a commotion out on the court. We weren't 100% what was going on, Andy and I.

Q. Have any bearing at all on either of you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so, no. We both yeah, I think we're professional enough now and experienced enough to go out there as soon as we had to.
We had another warmup. Strange. During Memphis this year, Blake and I were in the same situation. Someone had a heart attack in the crowd. It was very similar. To have it happen twice within six months is a bit weird.

Q. Pretty tough to lose a match without even facing a break point.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a bit frustrating, but it's tough. You know, playing Andy you always know that's going to be the case and some chances you're not going to have a lot of chances out there.
It's a matter of taking those when you get those small opportunities. In terms of the actual service games, I felt like I was having the better of him. I didn't feel under pressure that much on my service games.
I played pretty clean service games, and, you know, I had one break point late in the second set there and I had two or three Love-30s in the first set and second sets. Against a guy like Andy, you have to take those half chances when you get them. That's grass court tennis, as well.

Q. Yesterday you were talking about it being a good test for you. What do you take away from the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I take a lot away. Yeah, not many guys, you know, are going to beat him on this surface. There's only a handful of guys that have the opportunity probably if he's serving that well.
But, you know, I felt like I mixed it with him. It could have gone either way. There was only a couple points here and there. I was an early mini break up in both tiebreaks and couldn't just quite close it out when I needed to.
But still, yeah, overall it's been a good week. Hopefully I can get a good draw at Wimbledon and see what happens.

Q. Is he a real contender now for the big one? I mean, people tend to not look beyond the big two these days. Is that wrong? Is Andy still right in it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's definitely up there. I don't know if he's probably got, you know, at the start of the tournament as good a chance to put away three or four, or two or three of those guys, I guess, you know, right up towards the end of the tournament, whereas a couple of years ago he was sort of No. 2, No. 3 in the world. He was probably more so just worrying about Roger; whereas these days those top four guys are going to be tough for him.
Yeah, he's capable of beating them. Whether he can do them all in a row at the end of the tournament if they're all there, that's another question.

Q. You obviously know what it takes to win Wimbledon. What's your kind of assessment of the kind of batting order in terms of favorites for this? Would you say Roger is well out in front?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's not well out in front. He's in front. You have to put Rafa second very close behind. He's the defending champ, and, yeah, what he did there last year, as well. That's got to be in the back of your mind, back of Roger's mind, as well.
Nadal's the only guy who's beaten Roger on grass for five or six years now. Those two out in front and then the next couple, you know, Andy Murray and Djokovic and Roddick and a few others.

Q. What are your plans between now and Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At this stage, just practice, you know. Just getting more used to the grass. I feel like this week's been a positive week for me. I'm happy the way that I've hit the ball. Yeah, now it's just a matter of fine-tuning a few things and being fresh and mentally ready more than anything.

Q. Do you hope to be back here next year for a chance at a fifth title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, hopefully. I always enjoy playing this tournament. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year.
Yeah, the tournament director, everyone looks after me extremely well. Yeah, I try and look after them with results and winning matches out there.

Q. Back on Roger, how much of an effect do you think becoming a father might have on him in the future? And also, the fact that he's now equaled Sampras' record, if he were to go on and beat it and being a father, do you think that would lessen his drive at all, his ambition?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to speak for someone that's won so many Grand Slams. I would doubt it, though. I think he's when you're that good a player, you've got to be self-motivated to be that good and to win that many matches. And to be able to do it, he's got to be extremely mentally tough. You don't lose that. He's not going to lose that. I'm sure every time he gets on the court for the rest of his career he's going to be very hard to beat.

Q. Did it change your focus at all when you became a father?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not in terms of tennis, no. Yeah, travel-wise, stuff like that maybe a little bit more, but in terms of actual tennis and being in the gym and practice matches yeah, actually getting in the gym and practicing, I'm still 100% committed to what I'm trying to do and trying to become a better tennis player.

Q. Has he asked you for any advice? Have you offered any advice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't spoken to him about it.

Q. Having seen Andy Murray's development over the last few months and a couple of pretty comfortable wins here, do you fancy his chances as a real contender at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. At the moment yeah, you'll probably see how this week pans out, but at the moment, yeah, I'd say he's favored to win this tournament.
You'd probably expect him and Roddick to be in the final now, I'd say. Yeah, at this stage, he's got to be third favorite going into Wimbledon.

Q. After your team's excellent performance in the Twenty 20, any thoughts about the Ashes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm still feeling very confident. Very confident. Could be a blessing in disguise.

Q. Do you think it improves Murray's chances at Wimbledon, Nadal and Federer aren't playing at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think it makes any difference. Roger's won Wimbledon when he hasn't played a grass court match before going into Wimbledon before, and Nadal is that competitive. He's not going to play one of the seeded players until the third round, anyway, those guys. Yeah, I don't think it's a big deal.

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post #270 of 372 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 23, 2009, R128

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/R. Ginepri
6-4, 6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. We'll take the first question, please.

Q. Maybe just take us through your match. You had a bit of a shaky start, but you never looked troubled after those wobbly first couple of games.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always tough, any tournament I think, the first few games. Yeah, just get the nerves out of the way. Yeah, he's a different opponent, as well, because he can serve in patches where he hit some good first serves, goes for his second serve.
But, yeah, he normally steps on your second serve, makes you play a lot of balls on your service games. First game of the match I had 15-40 and wasn't able to consolidate. The second game I was up 40-15 and got broken.
So, you know, apart from that small hiccup, it was pretty smooth sailing after that. I was able to dictate when I wanted to. My serve picked up. I felt like I was in all of his service games, which was good.

Q. The serve definitely picked up. You went sort of from losing the first serve to 13 aces.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, my rhythm's been good in practice. It's a matter of just keeping that going. It was a little bit swirly out on that Court 3 as well today, which just took a few games to get used to.
Once I sort of had that under my belt, I felt like I was capable to use the wind to my advantage.

Q. How do you feel about Del Potro in the next round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's gonna be a tough match. He's a class player. Yeah, he was only a couple of points from maybe winning the French Open a couple of weeks ago.
You know, it's a different surface. He hasn't had the best success. But, as I said, he is a class player. He's an all-court player. He's got a big game. It's going to be a good challenge.

Q. What is it like for you playing guys of that stature, like a Del Potro?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's going to make a lot of aces out there, and he's gonna hit a lot of winners. It's a matter of really trying to, you know, stay in my game as much as possible and not worry about his and what he's doing.
Over five sets on grass, a lot of things can happen as well. There's a lot of up and down. When I get those small opportunities, yeah, it's like playing Roddick, I guess, a little bit at Queen's a couple of weeks ago. When you get those small opportunities, you've really got to try and take them.

Q. Do you really feel that's a size difference? I know you've had a problems with a Karlovic or a guy like that. Do you notice how big they are compared to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. Not so much Del Potro. Karlovic, he's big for anyone. Yeah, Del Potro is big, but I've practiced a lot with Cilic and those guys and Soderling.
There's a lot more of those guys, you know, 6'4" to 6'6", I guess, that have big all-court games and move pretty well for their size.

Q. Has it ever felt a bit sort of like Land of the Giants, or you've been used to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just been used to it, I guess. Doesn't worry me too much. I think on this surface, yeah, you can take advantage as well of people's movement sometimes as well. I feel like I move pretty well on this surface, so...

Q. Have you had to fix your game for next time? Is there anything you picked up from this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the next step up's gonna be a lot different match. It's gonna be a lot tougher match. I'm gonna have to step it up, yeah, to hang with him.
Yeah, I'm gonna have to try and play a clean match. I think a lot's gonna be on the serve and the return of serve in the match, and hopefully I can get into enough of his service games to put pressure on him and keep making that one extra ball.

Q. You probably share with Nadal that at a young age you played a lot of matches, and you're both pretty labor-intensive players. With your hip and his knees, do you ascribe the five-set format in majors as contributing to injuries of that kind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think the five-set format at slams. More so the schedule I think more than anything, and the amount of matches that you've got to play, especially if you are top five in the world.
Yeah, he, as I was, the way he moves around the court and hustles for everything, it's gonna take wear and tear on your body over years. I think everyone realized, you know, it was going to happen at some point. It just depends when it was gonna happen I guess for him.
But over five sets for Grand Slams, I don't think it's a big deal.

Q. Nothing you'd ever think about reducing to a best-of-three format?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think for Grand Slams. I think it's good how it is.

Q. How arduous is it for you sort of getting through a Grand Slam to, say, five or eight years ago when you were on fresh legs?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My recovery's still not too bad. It's obviously important always, you know, especially the first week, to try and get a clean week and not waste a whole lot of energy and not put your body through too much travel.
But, again, you've got too be able to survive that first week and put yourself in a spot to do some damage the second week. Yeah, probably a little more time spent recovering.
And with the hip now, that's just an ongoing rehab, a lot of physio work, whether it's a big tournament or a small tournament now, so...

Q. We saw you have a little bit of a stumble the other day practicing. Is that sort of a regular thing now with the hip?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that was nothing to do with the hip. That was just unlucky. I just got wrong footed and slipped over. I was more worried about my groin than my hip. My hip was fine.

Q. Just going back to the five-set thing, you've been involved in thrilling five-set matches. Do you think that the women's game could benefit from going up to a five-set format?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. It's hard to say. I don't think a lot of them would last five sets. So, yeah, the training you have to do to last five sets, especially seven best-of-five-set matches, it's a lot more than three-set matches.
Yeah, there would obviously be question marks a lot of them could last that much.

Q. Is there still a big advantage here for people who are experienced, like yourself, on grass, to sort of a Del Potro, who is a clay courter, or has that narrowed a lot because of the conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it has narrowed. I've noticed in my time, the last nine or ten years on the tour, from when I first came on.
Because there was -- it seemed a lot quicker with the balls and the courts were playing a lot quicker. Whether that was because, you know, a lot more guys were serve-volleying and that as well.
Whereas now, majority of guys, even Federer, as good as he is, he plays most of the game on grass from the back of the court as well.
So, yeah, it has changed a little bit, I think. But there's still areas where grass, compared with any other surface, you can get a slight edge I think from knowing how to move and how to play and the craft of playing on this surface.

Q. What's changed, the balls?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the balls are a little bit heavier. Whether it's the actual grass or the ball, I'm not sure. Yeah, I think Tim Henman has also spoken over the years. It's definitely played slower in the time that I've played here.

Q. So the actual grass might be different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure if the grass. It's a little bit cut. I have no idea. But it's definitely playing a bit slower.

Q. You've always been a big one for representing Australia in Davis Cup. You're the only Australian here for the first time ever at Wimbledon. Is that something you're aware of? Does it sort of put any extra pressure on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm absolutely aware of it. And it doesn't put any more pressure on me because, you know, it's been a couple of years now where I've sort of been the main focus since Flip and Pat haven't been at the majors.
Most of the majority of the focus has been on me anyway. So that doesn't worry me. It worries me that we don't have players, absolutely.

Q. No one in the change room.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. Not a lot of guys that speak English anymore (smiling).
It's frustrating. Obviously we want Tomic to improve. We can't throw all our eggs in one basket either. Back ten years ago when I first came on the tour, there was a good group of guys. Maybe some of those weren't going to win majors or be in the final, but they were going to be competitive and they were going to go close to making second weeks of Grand Slams. Somehow we've got to get back to that.

Q. Back to the best-of-five set question. Why doesn't that take a toll on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think because we prepare. All our preparation is built around the four majors. I think any of the top players who have been to the pinnacle of the sport, all their preparation is built around these tournaments.
And, yeah, this is obviously the toughest one, coming off the French, for Rafa or Roger, whoever has done well at the French. To be able to back it up a couple of weeks later, that's slightly a different story.
Yeah, leading into the US Open or the Australian Open, you get a pretty long break beforehand, and you're able to do the preparation work that's needed to last those two weeks.

Q. What do you think can be done to get more young Australian guys coming through at the top level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I'm not, you know, I guess in it enough to actually know what's happening back home in terms of, you know, development, squads and all that.
But, yeah, I think we still have to try and identify the right kids, as well. We're fortunate in Australia to have sport for choice with a lot of different sports. We've got to try and somehow get the best athletes.

Q. You were just talking about how you do recover now during Grand Slams. Is that some advice you would like to give Rafa, as well? You had a lot of injuries as well. Is there something you can tell him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Rafa, he knows what to do in Grand Slams. You know, he's -- yeah, this is obviously disappointing for him to miss this Grand Slam.
But the way that he prepares and goes about his business in the majors is second to none. You know, he's as professional as anyone. So, yeah, he would have been taking doing an enormous amount of training and recovery work.
Yeah, at the Australian Open earlier this year, the way that he bounced back from his five-setter against Verdasco, to come out and beat Roger in another five-setter, there's not too many guys that can do that.

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