Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
June 23, 2011, R64
R. SODERLING/L. Hewitt
6-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You played a tremendous match, a tough one. How many times did you think you wouldn't make it to Wimbledon with all your injuries?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Believe it or not, it didn't enter my mind purely because I thought I was gonna play no matter what. So the whole time I was optimistic about the French Open, but deep down it was always going to be a tough call whether I was going to be able to play the French.
Where I'm at in my career at the moment, this is what I play for, the Grand Slams. Even though the French Open, you know, it's not my favorite Grand Slam, it's not my best surface, I still want to compete there and have a crack at it as well.
I gave every chance to do that and I was probably a couple weeks too early for there. But, yeah, for here, as I said, my preparation, everything I've done, you know, that's the most pleasing thing, I think. I've done absolutely everything I could have.
Q. Fitness wise are you in a position where you're going to have to take a couple of weeks?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't have any idea at the moment. Right now it's the furthest thing from my mind.
Everyone, whether I've spoken to my surgeon, my physios, my doctors, whoever, we've all just been focusing on trying to get through here in sort of one piece and we'll pick up all the pieces after that and put it together.
Q. How much confidence will you get out of this when you reflect on it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard at the moment. But in the end, I feel like I hit the ball pretty well. I hit it a lot better than I did a couple days ago, and I needed to against a guy like Soderling.
Yeah, it's just one of those days. You know, the roof closed I think helped his game, as well. So, you know, it's little things like that you've got to try to put behind you as much as possible.
I felt my ball striking was pretty good out there. My movement was, for the amount of matches I've had, pretty good.
Q. You won your Championship on Centre Court. Is there something special that goes through you playing out there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's probably the best court to play tennis on. It's a fantastic atmosphere. The walk onto the court, you know, you get goosebumps doing it every time.
It's a pleasure to play out there. It's obviously slightly different today playing with the roof for the first time for me.
But, yeah, it's an amazing court. When you have great memories walking, you know, back out there as well, it's fantastic to play out there any time.
Q. Was there a moment in the match, maybe an aspect of your game, that let you down that made the difference today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: There's a few points here and there, yeah, if you could just take those half chances. The obvious is trying to consolidate that break early in the fifth set.
I was 15 Love up, missed the forehand. He sort of half shanked it a drop short. I just missed a regulation forehand. But then the next couple points he smoked a couple of big winners. He's that kind of player. You give him a swing at it, and he's going to take it every time.
I think start of the fourth set, I had Love 40 in his first service game. But he served incredible today. He hit a lot of big serves and especially when he needed to.
Q. Do you almost feel you let him off the hook, two sets to love up, playing quite well in the beginning of that fifth set? Do you feel it's almost the one that got away from you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I hardly broke his serve for the rest of the match, though. I didn't have that many chances to be in a commanding position. I think he picked up his game after the second set. He definitely served a lot better.
Very rarely, apart from early in the fifth set, I didn't have too many chances to get into many of his service games.
Q. Where to from now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The doubles court probably.
Q. Does it surprise you how well you were moving, given what happened at Eastbourne?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it did a little bit. Yeah, I don't know, I guess adrenaline kicks in a little bit, as well. Yeah, I'm used to playing with pain with the hip before the hip surgery, stuff like that.
Yeah, you just try to block it out as much as possible. At least today I felt mentally I was able to concentrate on the match a lot more than my first match. It was going through my mind probably a lot more in that match. You go sort of ebbs and flows concentrating on what you need to do out there. Whereas today I felt like I could pretty much give 100% mentally, which is good.
Q. If the medical advice is you don't need any medical treatment immediately, what kind of schedule do you think you'll have?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The first thing is Davis Cup, obviously, the week following Wimbledon. So that's in China. It's a pretty rough schedule to go to Asia and obviously back to the States after that for the hard court tournaments.
So at this stage, I'll be playing at least four tournaments leading into the US Open, as long as, you know, the foot's all clear to keep going and I'm not going to make things any worse.
Obviously the US Open's the next major you want to be playing well. If I can get through this next Davis Cup tie, we have a bigger Davis Cup tie straight after the US Open. I think everyone's thinking at the moment is, I think they'd want me to be right for that one more so than this one coming up. At this stage I'm still planning to play in China.
Q. How big a deal are the Olympics for you, next year's tournament here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's more exciting for me being played here on grass. You know, something different is special I think more than anything.
I still think tennis, in terms of we have so many big events during the year, so we're slightly different to a lot of the other sports in the Olympics. We're sort of on a par with golf, I guess. But, yeah, anytime to play for your country, it's a great honor.
Q. Obviously you're one of the fan favorites here at Wimbledon. You have the very vocal Australian supporters behind you. Can you sort of explain how that helps you on the court? Do you hear them? Does that spur you on to better tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Playing in a stadium like that, having a packed house out there, it's always adrenaline, whether there's Australian people in the crowd or not.
But it was a great atmosphere out there. The Australian Fanatic supporters, they've been to enough tennis matches now, they know how to behave out there, as well. But they're singing the national anthem during the warmup, and then they get a standing ovation for that. It's good fun out there.
Yeah, it does produce a good atmosphere.
Q. Most observers would view your career with the medals you've got in the cabinet already and be amazed you have the motivation to still go on. Where does that motivation come from?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not a hundred percent sure. Yeah, I love competing. I love competing in these events. You know, you're retired for a long time once you're retired. I hear that from a lot of great athletes.
For me, as long as my body's close to a hundred percent, you know, I want to go out there and compete. I still feel like I can obviously give these top guys as much trouble as anyone out there.
So, you know, I don't know a hundred percent why I'm still motivated. I don't know. But as long as I'm prepared to do the hard work and go through all the pain and mentally up and down after surgeries and still get in the gym and do all the hard slog, then you know something's right, I guess, in going out there and you still want to compete.
Q. Patrick Rafter mentioned a few years after he retired, he felt a little bit well, have you chatted with him about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken to anyone. It's not something that has even entered my mind. Obviously once I made a decision to have the foot surgery and whatever, I've been playing with this problem for at least four, maybe five years, done absolutely everything to get through.
Injections weren't working anymore, so it got to the stage where I had to do something. I wouldn't have gone through all the pain of the rehab if I was going to stop straightaway.
Q. The shot that you played to break in the second set for 5 3, where does that stand in the best shots you've played?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know because I didn't actually see it. Actually when I hit it, I thought it was going to the bottom of the net. I must have been that off balance that I had no idea of the direction, if I made a good contact or whatever.
It was only that the crowd started cheering. I didn't think that would have been for him, for it either hitting the net or him hitting a volley winner on top of the net. I didn't know it was a winner or in until the umpire called the score.
Q. Your ranking is obviously going to take a knock after this. Are you up for qualifying, the hard sort of grind of trying to get back into the main draws?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not, no. But my ranking, for me, it's not an issue. I'll get wild cards into a certain amount of tournaments that I'll want to play anyway.
As I've always said, your ranking takes care of itself. Once you're actually in the tournament, if I can play at that level consistently, then my ranking's the furthest thing from my mind.
Q. You're regarded as someone with a very disciplined game. Do you see the same qualities in how Novak has been playing this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. He's playing the percentages extremely well. He's playing extremely solid from the back of the court.
But, you know, obviously his two biggest strengths are his serve and his forehand this year that he's really tightened up and turned them into not just good shots; now they're great shots. You know, the way he covers the court obviously helps him with that.
Rusty - always # 1 in my heart