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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 27, 2002, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Gregory Carraz 6-4 7-6(5) 6-2


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Bit of a slow start today compared to your first match. Was that him playing really well or you just being a little slow to get going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was , yeah, a little bit slow, but I was still able to hold onto my serve. I didn't lose a service game all day. Even though I wasn't, you know, as sharp as probably normal, as I could have been, I was still able to, you know, get my service games under my belt, then, you know, have a go at his service game. In that way it was lucky. The way that he served, he's obviously a big server, and I didn't go down an early break because that would have given him a lot more confidence.

Q. Were you surprised by his form? He played really well in those first two sets, but seemed to lose it after the tiebreak.

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit surprised, but he's obviously got a lot of confidence going. He's won three matches in quallies, then won his first round here in four sets. You know, he served big. I asked around before the match and I knew his main weapon was his serve. You know, I really couldn't get on it that much today - his first serve. Every time he got a second serve, I felt like I would win 90% of the points. On his first serve, he served really well. Obviously, you know, he was a little bit disappointed he couldn't have won that second set tiebreaker, then he was probably on a bit of a high, then just came down, and that's when I tried to step it up another gear, you know, try and finish it off in straight sets.

Q. There were a couple of crucial calls in that tiebreak, one that went your way where there was an overrule, then another one that went your way. Do you think that affected him mentally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know if you're calling the one I served, an ace down the T, but that was inside the line. I wouldn't say it was a huge turning point. He was actually walking before the late call came. I don't know about that one. I can't really remember his serve that he may have argued that much. He didn't make a big scene anyway. You know, I felt like the calls in the tiebreak weren't that bad.

Q. In the tiebreak you were a mini-break down, he was about to smash his way to a couple set points. Were you surprised to be given the chance to get the ball back into play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, his first serve was huge. He didn't miss a serve in the tiebreak until 5-4. Then, you know, he didn't play the best point at 5-4. He gave me a chance. Then he missed another serve at 5-All. I was going to take it every time after that. I was going to make him play as many balls as it took in that next point. I came up with a good passing shot at 5-All. To his credit, though, he didn't give me a cheap point at 6-5. He made me work extremely hard. You know, I felt like that was a huge turn around within two or three points.

Q. The difference in the courts, between Centre and Court 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a strange court. Yeah, it had cracks in it. It looks like, you know, there's all squares out there. It was strange.

Q. Was it slow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that slow. His serve was definitely coming through (smiling).

Q. Was it an even balance if there were cracks in the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was more sort of towards the end of the baseline area, just beyond the baseline. But you could actually see where it looked like it had just been like a jigsaw . They put blocks out. Whereas I didn't notice that the other day, two days ago, on Centre Court. I don't know if the weather, a bit of heat, it's starting to crack a little bit more than normal. Maybe Centre is doing that now, a couple days on as well. I'm not sure.

Q. What was your take on yesterday with Pete and Andre and Marat going out? What do you think it does to the tournament overall?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Still a lot of good players left in the tournament, you know. What is it, I've won two matches, so there's five to go. For me, I just look at the five opponents that I have to play. You know, you can't get -- in Grand Slams, you can't get too far ahead of yourself. It was an extraordinary day to lose three of the biggest names around. But, you know, I'm not that surprised. The depth in men's tennis is incredible. You know, you have a slightly off day, you know, it won't be good enough.

Q. You said something very interesting the other day where you said that everyone learns from experience. It's now been close to a year since all that happened at the US Open, which was controversial, confusing. Could you take a moment and tell us what are the things you've learned from that experience?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just block out as many things as possible. I wasn't going to let anything, you know, ruin the way that I was playing throughout that second week, and nothing did. I got better and better with every match that I played. You know, I learned how to block out everything, apart from going out there and playing, you know, the tennis that I felt like I was capable of doing.

Q. Is that easy for you to have that focus?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd say I'm pretty mentally tough. I'm probably one of the most mentally tough guys around. You know, it wasn't that hard for me. You know, I concentrate on my tennis every time I step on the court. You know, it wasn't that hard, I don't think, for me to go out there and do it. Just concentrate on the tennis and nothing else.

Q. When you talk about blocking out things, today were you able to block out Kim's score?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I saw it. You know, can't do much about it. I didn't see a ball hit. You know, no use in me worrying about it when I'm out there. You know, just concentrate on my game.

Q. Appeared to be a little bit more aggression in your game today compared to the first one. You played the little dink across the court. Have you been working on that with anybody?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. You know, just felt like obviously Jonas probably passes a lot better than that guy today would. So I just tried to add a little bit more, another dimension, just to keep the guy on his toes a little bit, to be not as predictable out there. I felt like when I came in, I volleyed well.

Q. Was it difficult to get yourself up for this game against a fairly low-ranked opponent maybe not too many people have heard of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, if you can't get up for Wimbledon, you can't get up for much. You know, I feel if you don't get up for matches, you'll have results like some of the big guys did yesterday, and Federer had a couple of days ago. You know, you've got to be prepared to play your best tennis and put your A game on the line every time you step out there.

Q. A British government minister today has said that the women's champion at Wimbledon should receive the same prize money as the men. Do you think that's fair? Do you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. I don't have a huge -- if they're putting -- bringing as many people into the game, then I think that's the main thing. You know, we're still playing best-of-five sets, though, and lasting a long time. But I think at the end of the day if people want to come in and watch women's tennis more than men's tennis, they deserve the same. Until that happens, I don't know.

Q. I don't know if you've seen any of this fuss about John McEnroe and steroid. I wondered whether steroid abuse is anything you've come across in the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't read anything or heard anything.

Q. Come across in your own experiences?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. The only things I've heard of steroids, getting banned, was Coria and Chela and Korda. That's all I know about it.

Q. Do you think it would make any difference? I would think steroids in tennis wouldn't contribute that much to your game.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll have to ask the experts. I don't really know much about it. I'd say if it's going to help one area, it's probably training or something. I guess, being fitter and training harder. I'm not an expert on that. I wouldn't have a clue.

Q. Do you have any superstitions you take out there on court with you?


Q. After what happened yesterday, presumably you didn't want to become the next big name to go out, do you think because the public don't know the guys advancing and they do know the ones that went out, the tournament has been slightly devalued?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Wimbledon is Wimbledon. Really, I don't really care if I get to Sunday week who I'm playing. You know, qualifier, lucky loser, No. 2 seed, doesn't matter. We're all starting in the tournament. You know, obviously it's a shame I think for the crowd and the spectators maybe that they don't get to see Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi walk out and play again another match. We saw it happen at the Australian Open. A lot of big names went out early. I don't think it hurt the tournament at all.

Q. Ferrero lost today. Costa didn't come here. Obviously the French Open finalists didn't do well here. Do you think it's becoming harder to win both back to back? Do you think it can be done in this era?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely going to be tough. You know, the French probably takes a lot more out of you, I think, energy-wise. To try and back it up, you still have a couple weeks, but normally if you win the French, it's going to be hard to go out and practice on grass the following week. You're going to need a bit of a break. With that, I think it's probably harder. I think you don't get as such good preparation if you go late into the French Open. You don't get that time to adjust maybe as well as some of the other guys who lose, you know, in the first three or four rounds.

Q. But it can be done, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sure. I'm sure some people still on the tour can do it.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 29, 2002, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Julian Knowle 6-2 6-1 6-3


MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. Who would like to start?

Q. Was it a perfect game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I didn't know a lot about him, again. You know, it's not normal that you come into a Slam and, you know, two matches in a row you've really hardly seen the guy play. I went out there. I tried to stay a bit more aggressive than I was in my last match when I didn't know my second-round opponent. Went out there and just tried to play my game. You know, felt pretty good right from the start.

Q. What about your next round, Youzhny?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's going to be tough. Played him last week for the first time in Rosmalen. Tough match. Didn't play my best tennis. I feel like I can improve on that. You know, the court is playing a fair bit different to Rosmalen. It's going to be a different style of match. He played well here last year. I saw him actually play Pat - I think it was the fourth round, third round, I'm not sure. If I'm right, I think he took the first set there that day, as well. You know, it's going to be tough. He obviously feels pretty accustomed to playing on grass now. He moves well. He's got a really nice backhand. You know, I'm going to have to play -- go up another level.

Q. Do you feel more comfortable on that Centre Court now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, feels great. You know, when you win a few matches out there, it gets a lot easier, as well. You know, especially the guys that you play in the first few rounds now, you know. I'm one of the highest seeds at the Slams now, it feels like, you know, I've got the experience on my side going out there on that Centre Court now. Whereas the guy today, you know, he's probably never been out there, probably never seen it, the atmosphere, the feeling out there. You know, I can obviously go back to some of my matches in the past, and I know the feeling -- you know, I had to play Becker out there my first time, as well. I know the experience. The little bit of in awe of the Centre Court you are your first few times out there.

Q. Yourself and Richard Krajicek who have Grand Slam titles are left in the draw. How important is that experience going to be in the second week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's probably big. You know, you know what it takes, I think, and you've got that belief that you're able to win seven best-of-five set matches, how to pace yourself over two weeks now. You can draw confidence. Obviously, Richard can draw a bit more confidence playing here and winning his Slam here. But I've got the US Open I can draw confidence from, the memories, how I controlled everything there. You know, from those good feelings and that, try to bring it into here. I don't think it's a huge difference playing the US Open to Wimbledon.

Q. Can you reflect a bit on how your fighting qualities fit in with you being from Australia and what that means to be an Australian in the tennis world.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good when you walk out there today and see guys wearing Darren Jarman's No. 3 jersey, and holding up a banner too. Made me feel right at home.

Q. How about feeling an Australian overall, how it fits in as a fighter.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, we've had great fighting spirit, I think, in sport for Australia. And we've had a long tradition of great champions - not only in tennis, but every sport. And I come from a great, great sporting country. You know, to try to carry that, you know, it's a great honor. As I said when I won the US Open, I look at so many great Australians who have held up that trophy. For my name to be on it with those guys, it is a great honor.

Q. Does it mean something - obviously Pat had massive support here from the Australians - but to see banners with, "Go Lleyton" on it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Great. Felt like I was playing the Australian Open out there today. All three of my matches so far have been fantastic. Obviously, I saw the craziness of last year's final when Pat was out there. But there were a lot of Croats out there, as well. It's a great atmosphere to play in. It's like playing a footy match.

Q. Do you want to talk about Pat's impact? Do you feel like you're following him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about following him. I've still got to make two finals in a row to do as well as he has. I feel like I've learned a lot from Pat over the years. I don't know about just coming into Wimbledon and, you know, trying to do as well as he has in the past. It's a tough ask. I've now equaled my best performance here, which is last year in the Round of 16s. You know, I still want to, you know, just gradually improve playing here at Wimbledon.

Q. Where did you watch last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was actually still here at the time. I just watched it on TV.

Q. Didn't come along?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wasn't down there.

Q. Can you take us back to that experience, the first time you walked on to Centre Court, and how it actually feels now with a few games under your belt out there? Is there a different feeling about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think you can really describe what it feels like to walk out there. You know, it's hard to describe how you feel, and how it changes. It's more just knowing what to expect when you get out there, knowing the surroundings, knowing where the player box is situated, knowing the big score board is there. You know, you can picture it all on TV growing up and everything. You know, you can try and think how it's going to be when you actually walk out there, but it's always going to be a little bit different. It's just coming to terms. At least every time I go out there now, I know what to expect. I know sometimes I have to bow to the Royal Box, stuff like that.

Q. What were your thoughts of Wimbledon as a kid? Did you watch Pat Cash?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was young, but I actually do remember the day that Pat won - where I was and everything. It was obviously a big deal in Australia when he was able to win it. Everyone knows what Wimbledon is. You know, I think if you say "Wimbledon" back in Australia, they'll say it's the biggest tennis tournament of the year. It's highly regarded back home. Growing up, I always wanted to play at Wimbledon.

Q. How difficult is it for you, if at all, to keep a lid on things, seeing how many seeds have gone out and the expectation that seems to be building?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got to beat whoever's put in front of me. I can't do much else. You know, I'm not going to, you know, take a backwards step. I've got to go out there, play my game, stay positive, believe in myself, you know, not worry about how the draw's panning out. I have Youzhny next. I'm off my guard a little bit, he's ready to step up into a quarterfinal spot at Wimbledon. You know, it's a big thing to be playing for. You know, I'm just going out there and worrying about who I've got to play on each given day.

Q. Are you happy that Escude, who beat you twice, is out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me. I was actually looking forward to having a shot at him.

Q. One of the toughest things about playing you, when you're a set up, when you win a point, it's still fists in the air. That's intimidating for them. Are you aware of the kind of impact that your approach to the game has on the opposition?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I've just got that attitude out there, that never-say-die attitude. I'm 40-Love down in a game, I'm going to keep fighting. I was down a couple times. I don't know if I actually got the game, but I definitely got to 40-30, give me a bit of jitters there. Got back to deuce a couple times. Makes them keep thinking, "He's not going to give me anything out there." That's been my attitude ever since I picked up a racquet in Juniors. Nothing will change. I'll keep fighting till I have to go shake hands at the end of the match.

Q. John McEnroe said champions have to be a bit selfish to survive on the tour and be successful. Would you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends what you call "selfish," I suppose. I think you've got to look after your best interests as a tennis player. Especially I think I realize it more when you get to the top of the game, as well. You have so many other demands, but you've got to go out there and still remember what got you to No. 1 in the world. I think whether that's selfish or not, I don't know if it's selfish or just, you know, priorities. You know, for me, tennis comes first. You know, I put it on the line, I've got to work hard. I don't want to let all the other distractions that come with being a top player override why I got here, you know, getting to the top spot.

Q. So you're able to put that aside, the on-court selfishness, once you go off court, when you're with your family and friends?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. During tournaments and that, I obviously try and do what's best for me during the tournament. But apart from that, you know, I'm still the same person that my family grew up with when I was 10, 11, 12.

Q. Can you peak too soon in a Grand Slam, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You probably could. I don't know, if you're hitting the ball well, you know, you can try and keep it up for seven matches over two weeks. I think that's possible, as well. But, sure, you know, if you can get through matches not playing your best tennis, you know, knowing that you've got little areas to work on but you're still getting through, that's a nice feeling, I think, as well.

Q. Do you feel at this stage of Wimbledon you have the same feeling or shall we say the eye of the tiger that you had at the US Open when you went on to win that one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel pretty good at the moment. You know, I got better and better with every match that I played at the US Open. I got to the Round of 16, and the end of that match against Tommy Haas, the second half of that match, from then on, I couldn't put a foot wrong. I played my best tennis I've ever played. I stood up to the plate and I put it all on the line every time. You know, for me, I hope that I can do it again. I feel great. I feel, you know, as good as I felt, you know, going into the Round of 16 of the US Open last year. Whether I can put together another four matches like I did there, that's another question.

Q. Australia has three players into the last 16. Beyond you, there's not really much depth. Is that something that needs to be addressed? How can that be done?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's obviously Wayne, Flip and myself, you know, doing well at the moment in this tournament. Wayne is obviously a bit older. Flip, we all know he's a Top 10, Top 20 player, no matter what his ranking is at the moment. You know, Flip, I'm not sure how old he is, 25, 26? He's still young enough, as long as his body holds up. You know, there's obviously Ilie dropped away. Scott Draper is borderline at the moment. Peter is just outside, around 200-ish in the world. I think Tennis Australia are trying to look at the younger guys, Todd Reid, you look at Todd Reid, had a good result in Nottingham. Played quallies, qualified, drew Rusedski in his first round. Set and a break up on Rusedski on his favorite surface. So he's obviously got some talent. For those guys to come through.... I hit with a 16-year-old kid yesterday from Australia, Guccione, a left-hander from Melbourne, who plays exactly the same as Wayne Arthurs. I think we've got good youngsters coming through. Why some of these others haven't been able to take the next step into seniors, I'm not sure of. These guys, I think they've got some good coaches behind them now. They're making them work hard. I think they've got to be hungry to take their next steps into the seniors, not worry about the junior results.

Q. What would it mean to you to join the other great Aussies who have won this event?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it would be fantastic to get your name on this trophy, on the board and everything here at Wimbledon. You know, we've had so many great players, Australian players, do so well here over so many years, it would be a great honor if I was able to do that. You know, still a long way away.

Q. You haven't really had any tight, close games so far. Do you prefer to kind of play more competitive games before you play the big guns such as Tim Henman?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me really. You know, as long as you get there sort of, you keep winning. You know, I felt like my match against Bjorkman, that was a big match. You know, I knew that was going to be extremely tough. Was probably one of the toughest first rounds you could have got for a seeded player. You know, I went out there. You know, I took -- I kept in mind, "This is a wary match. This is like a semifinal of a Grand Slam." You know, it was really competitive and tight for the first two sets, the same as two days ago playing Carraz. The first two sets were extremely tight. I feel like I've had tight sets and I've been able to get on the right side of them. If I can get to those tough situations, I still know I'd be able to go up a gear and play better tennis when I had to.

Q. Can you serve much better, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I served great. I had really good rhythm. I don't know where it came from, but felt great. Pray that it's there in two days' time.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


July 1, 2002, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-3 7-5


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Made you work pretty hard at the end. Is that what you needed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good player. I was expecting, you know, a tough match going out there. I'm happy to get through in straight sets. I still wouldn't want to be deep in the fourth set. He was getting better and better as the match went on. It was pretty important to, you know, come out of those few breakpoints that I had towards the end of the third and get out of them, then able to put a little bit of pressure on his last service game.

Q. Conditions a little windy and cold.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was tough. Tough conditions. Conditions you want to, you know, not spend a lot of time out there. You want to get on and off and into the locker room as soon as possible. You know, I'm pretty happy to have got through in straight sets.

Q. I know you don't like looking forward. Must be interesting with your next match, Schalken, 2-0 in the last couple meetings.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player. You know, I played him at the French in the third round. After the press conference, the Dutch journalists said he's never been past the third round in a Slam. I found that pretty surprising because he's a great player. Got a lot of respect for his game. He plays well on all surfaces, as well. I've seen him play well here in the past. We had an extremely tough match, I think 6-3, only one break in the match at Queen's two weeks ago. He won a tournament in Rosmalen last week. He's obviously seeing the ball well. I'm going to have to play better again, you know, if I'm going to get on top of him. Then again, I feel like I'm getting better and better with each match.

Q. Have you ever played in any colder temperatures than today?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure I have (smiling).

Q. I noticed you had a T-shirt underneath your shirt.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that's one shirt.

Q. What's the difficulty of playing Schalken?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's an all-court player. He's got a good serve. As I said, he can play, you know, from the baseline. And he also can come in, as well. You know, I'm not that surprised to see him here in the quarterfinals. I'm going to take it really seriously. I'm going to go out there and play as well as I can if I'm going to win.

Q. You had some tactical advise for him for his Chang match, he said. Are you that close?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he just -- we're good friends. He lives in Belgium, I think. Has his house in Belgium, as well. He just asked me a few things because I played Michael last week. You know, I get along really well with Sjeng. He's a great guy.

Q. Things couldn't have been much smoother for you up to the start of this week. Do you think it might have been better if you actually had one big test?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I think it can work either way. If you're getting through, you've got a lot of confidence going, you know, you know -- I've had a few tight sets, there's no doubt about that. The last set out there today was tight. I've had to come through in pressure situations, breakpoints down, stuff like that. I've played already a breaker against Carraz in the second round. I feel good. At least, you know, I've played some tough matches, you know, some tough sets in there. But also I haven't lost a lot of energy so far, which is a good thing from the way I play and my standpoint so far through to the quarters.

Q. Do you enjoy being the favorite in matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me. You've got to deal with it somehow.

Q. How do you look at it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Go out there and, you know, I've got to win seven matches, just like a qualifier, or whoever, as soon as they get in the draw. You've got to beat the seven guys put in front of you. I don't look to see if, you know, Agassi and Sampras bombed out. They're in the other half. I can't do much about that. You know, I go out there and, you know, put it on the line every time. If I'm good enough, I'm good enough.

Q. Are you surprised that Henman has such a tournament?


Q. Henman.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I expected Draper to, you know, give him a good match. I've practiced a lot with Scott. I'm good mates with him. You know, he gave him a tough match. But then again, you know, Tim came through when he needed to. The same against Ferreira. I think everyone who expected, who knew tennis, knew it was going to be an extremely tough match. Wayne, you know, he was a serious contender. He's been around for a long time. I wasn't that surprised that it was that tough a match. Then, you know, today, I think he's up a break in the third now. You know, that guy's a good player. Not probably the best match-ups for Tim, I don't say.

Q. Several years ago players with big serves used to have an advantage on grass. Now that tendency seems to be changing. Do you think your play style suits the grass courts? How do you analyze the trend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- you know, I've practiced a lot on grass over the last couple years. I've always come and played normally the two lead-up tournaments before Wimbledon. It's not a long grass court preparation. And also Davis Cup ties, normally have to train a week and a half before Davis Cup ties that we play on grass, as well. You know, that added practice and playing a few more matches throughout the year is obviously a benefit for the Australians. You know, I don't know why guys, Nalbandian, Lapentti, are coming through. I'm not sure. I think if you return well and you stay aggressive from the back of the court and you pass well, then I don't think there's any reason why the baseliners shouldn't do that well.

Q. Is there anything that you sort of think about when you dig a bit of a hole for yourself? One occasion you were down three breakpoints. You have this extraordinary mental strength to get out of it. Is there anything that clicks in your mind, "I'm not out of here"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, one point at a time.

Q. It's a gift that you've got.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't panic. I don't worry about it. Because I go down Love-40, I'm not going to throw a point away. It's hard enough to get a break anytime. I'm not going to give, you know, the guy a break of my serve. Every time, I just, you know, try and guts it out, and play maybe a little bit more percentage tennis. But, you know, the last few matches I've been able to -- everyone the last few weeks at Queen's when I was facing breakpoints, I was able to come up with a big serve. That's another dimension to my game that I'm trying to add. In clutch situations, you know, you see so many times Sampras, these guys, come up breakpoints down, they serve an ace. You know, I'm not saying I'm going to serve an ace every time, but I want to at least, you know, try and put in a tough serve to, you know, put myself in the front foot right from the start of that point.

Q. You of course ranked second after Sampras in terms of number of wins on grass, yet this is your first quarterfinal in Wimbledon. How would you explain that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When you win Queen's three years in a row, that explains it.

Q. My point is, why you haven't been a breakthrough in Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think last year I played extremely well. I lost to a guy who was too good on the day. Escude played great last year. He took a set off Agassi before he got injured during that match. He's a great grass court player. I think coming in last year, I had a lot of confidence. It was only a few points that I didn't take last year. You know, I was able to -- I still lost to him in the Davis Cup final, exactly the same score. I came to Queen's again this year, you know, tried to start off in the same fashion. So far so good at Wimbledon.

Q. He mixed up his game in the second set, started going for the regular use of the dropshot. Did that make a particularly interesting challenge for you, the game today, his approach to the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was expecting him to hit a fair few dropshots. He played about 50,000 of them last week in Rosmalen. I was actually surprised that it took him, you know, deep into the second set before he started. You know, I think it was a way I was beating him from the back of the court at the time. He really didn't know what to do. He didn't know whether to come in. You know, that 5-1, I had two breakpoints at 15-40, he did two dropshots. It paid off in the end for him. He got out of that game; but it was half just about throwing the game away as well. That's the way I looked at it. It actually gave me confidence that he's going for those kinds of shots at that point.

Q. Showed he was in trouble.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think he really knew how to beat me from the back of the court at the time. He was trying everything. It was a half tank to throw away the second set. To his credit, though, he bounced back and played extremely well in the third set.

Q. You talked about being able to step up a gear on Saturday. Do you feel you still can or do you feel your game needs to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think you can always get better. And I think, you know, so far I got through unscathed. I still feel like there's, you know, small things in my game that I can still work on for the next, you know, hopefully three matches. You know, come Wednesday, against Sjeng, I know I'm going to have to play, you know, better than I played today. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match. But I still feel like I'm able to, you know, go up another gear when I need to.

Q. Any specific areas?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll find out (smiling).

Q. Everyone knows what this means to the British players. What does it mean to you, Wimbledon? Do you think you can be considered a great without actually putting this on your list?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Wimbledon's Wimbledon. You know, growing up in Australia, everyone knows what Wimbledon is. You know, I'm sure, you know, if you ask 95% of the people in Australia, they'll know what Wimbledon is. They'd think it's the biggest tennis tournament of the year. That's how it stands in Australia. You know, in my mind growing up, it was one of the biggest tournaments of the year. You know, obviously the Australian Open is pretty close to my heart, as well. But coming to Wimbledon, you know, you see so many great Australian, you know, players in the locker room, the past champions. You know, some great memories, I think, of how well Australians have done here. To try to keep the tradition going, as well, some of the boys here who are Australian.

Q. You seem so comfortable and confident at Queen's every time I see you. Do you feel in any way differently on Wimbledon grass? Is it only a matter of your attention is higher?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty much the same. You know, obviously Queen's isn't quite as big as, you know, Wimbledon as a tournament. But, you know, I feel the grass isn't that different. You know, I feel capable. I've been able to this year take the transfer from Queen's to Wimbledon maybe a little bit better than the last few years. You know, it comes with the experience of playing Wimbledon, you know, three or four times now.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


July 4, 2002, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Sjeng Schalken 6-2 6-2 6-7(5) 1-6 7-5


MODERATOR: Who is first?

Q. Lleyton, you took the first two sets, things were looking really good. In the end, it turned out to be a really tough match. Can you go through what really happened?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was on fire. You know, he didn't play his best tennis, but I was playing pretty well I felt two sets. I must have had about 500 breakpoints in the third set, and wasn't able to take one. Could have easily been 6-2, 6-2, 5-Love, I felt. There was only one game in the third set that I didn't think I had a breakpoint. There were a couple Love-40 games in that set, as well. 6-5 up, I had 15-40 still, a couple of match points there. You know, but to his credit, I really didn't have many chances on those breakpoints. Then the match sort of turned. He got confident. He was not making any mistakes that he made in the first, you know, two and a half sets. He started stepping it up. It turned into a dogfight.

Q. How much are you thinking, "I could have done without that," and how much are you thinking, "At least I came through it, and mentally it's a good thing"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I'm 21. You know, I'm not too worried about the body. You know, I'll actually take confidence from what happened at the US Open. I went through an absolutely grueling match against Roddick in the quarterfinals and then bounced back and played Saturday, Sunday, back to back, the best tennis I've ever played against a couple of the most experienced guys in Grand Slams. So, you know, I can draw confidence from that. I think I'm fit enough to bounce back and be ready as soon as the bell goes to come out firing.

Q. John Newcombe gave an opinion a year ago. John is not the absolute authority on everything, but he's a past winner. He felt one of the keys to your game would be could you endure the length of a two-week tournament, winning back-to-back big matches physically, that maybe this was a question in your coming up towards the top end of the game. How do you feel about that physical element?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I just said, you know, the US Open, you know, I had some extremely tough matches in there. I had a five-setter against Blake. I had obviously the five-set marathon against Roddick. I'd have to say the Roddick match on hard court took more out of me than the match out there today on a grass court where the points are a little bit shorter. You know, there was probably a lot more emotion I think in the Roddick match rather than the match today, as well. You know, I felt like I was able to bounce back from that, you know, pretty well. You know, who really knows? I'm hoping it's going to be the same come tomorrow.

Q. How much do you think you'll be able to temperamentally shut off the Brit side of the match and concentrate on the tennis as opposed to the personal issues of the semi?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I can draw strength from, you know, matches that I've played in clutch situations in Davis Cup ties that I've played where I haven't had the crowd on my side and I've been able to block it out pretty well. I've played -- you know, not too many better matches I can remember than beating Gustavo Kuerten in Florianopolis.

Q. Sjeng told us what he thought was so tough about Lleyton Hewitt. What do you think makes you such a tough opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What did he say (smiling)?

Q. I'll tell you later.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm sure, you know, the never-say-die attitude, you know, keep fighting every point. You know, he had a lot of chances there in the fifth set and he wasn't able to take full advantage of them. I think that's one aspect, I'm being very mentally tough out there, as well. They're probably the two big keys.

Q. Which side of the family tree does your fighting spirit come from?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. My mum and dad are pretty competitive, I think, both of them. They both played professional sport. My dad's side of the family's probably more sporting than -- you know, my uncle, grandfather, all played professional football. But my mum was a professional net ball player.

Q. When you double-faulted in the 11th game of the fifth at deuce.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Can't remember.

Q. I was going to say, did you feel you might at that moment be on the brink of defeat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I faced a lot of breakpoints there. Must have been at least two or three - 4-All, the 5-All games in the fifth. You know, I knew I still had an opportunity. I went for a couple of serves out wide and caught the tape. You know, you live and die by it sometimes. You know, it was nice that I still hung in there and, you know, didn't throw away the next point. You know, it was probably better in hindsight that I double-faulted at deuce rather than his ad. But I hung in there and wasn't prepared to give it away that easily.

Q. When you're digging deep and shouting, who is that aimed at? Who do you focus on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. It's not really focused on anyone. You know, it's obviously probably to my camp, I guess. But, you know, I pick out a lot of people in the crowd that I know. You know, everyone gets a little bit of a pump now and then.

Q. Everyone is saying that the pressure is not on Tim, he's got nothing to lose against you. Presumably with such a big crowd on his side, you've got nothing to lose really.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think for sure. I think Tim -- how many times has he made the semifinals here? This is my first time. I'm 21. I'm sure I'm going to have, you know, other chances to do well at Wimbledon. Obviously, he's probably got, you know, maybe less chances than I'm going to have in the future. So, you know, in that way, I think there's a lot of pressure on him to do well. He's made the semis so many times, and everyone expects so much of him, you know, here at Wimbledon. Everyone's been asking the question, "When is he going to finally get through to the final and give himself a chance to win?" Maybe tomorrow is his opportunity, but I feel like we've both been able to handle the pressure pretty well over the last week and a half anyway so far.

Q. In effect, that might give you an advantage on some decisive points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't worry me. I think I put up -- you know, if there is added pressure on me, I block it out pretty well anyway. But I'll be going out there, you know, I'll be free out there. I don't feel like there's any -- that much added pressure on me going out there. As I said, this is, what, only my fourth time at Wimbledon, my first semifinal, first time I've been deep into the tournament. You know, sure, I want to get through to the final, just like anyone would. But, you know, it is my first time. You know, I haven't been out there in a semifinal just yet.

Q. What do you feel, in broad issues,the match could turn on, what aspects?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. We'll have to wait and see tomorrow.

Q. Is there a psychological boost because of your record against Tim or can you -- will you both ignore that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think we'll both ignore it pretty much. Obviously, I would rather be -- would rather have won 5-nil rather than being down 0-5. But coming out there tomorrow, it's Wimbledon. This is where he's performed so well over so many years. It's an incredible record that he's got here. You know, no one can take that away from him. As I said before, this is my first time here. You know, you can sort of throw, you know, the record of us playing I think -- the head-to-heads out the window a little bit tomorrow.

Q. Australia is a great sporting nation. Do you think anyone in Australia doesn't know what Wimbledon is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't. No. Someone out in the Outback may not, but that's about it.

Q. Andre did it 10 years ago from the back. The way the courts are set up at the moment, do you feel of all the years, this is a pretty good one to be a guy who likes to play it from the back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Doesn't really worry me. Queen's, I found especially on Saturday and Sunday the last few years, it's been lightning quick. Really good bounce out there. It hasn't really worried me, the pace, so much. I think the court's holding up pretty well. Sure it's getting a bit dirty at the back of the court, baseline areas, four or five guys in the quarterfinals playing mostly from the back of the court. But I think it's holding up well enough. You know, I actually think Court 1 has probably taken a bit more of a hammering than Centre Court. I haven't seen it today, but I thought Court 1 was, you know, struggling a little bit out there today. I think it's actually playing slower, Court 1 than Centre Court.

Q. Have you had any word from Pat at all, any advice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't worried about speaking to him. I'm sure he doesn't want to. Here I'm in the semifinals at Wimbledon, and he could have been No. 2 seed down at the bottom there playing Lapentti or Nalbandian.

Q. You mentioned your camp there. Who will be there tomorrow for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Same guys, family, Kim, my mate Hayden from Australia, physio, trainer, (inaudible) Fanatics, one of my mates from Australia. Got a few guys here.

Q. 15-All in what turned out to be the final game, you pushed into the net and drove him into a backhand error. Was that a gamble or just the way that point was being played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit of a gamble, I think. He wasn't missing anything from the back of the court. I felt like I was dragging him wide all the time on both wings. He didn't miss a ball. You know, the court was a little bit slower out there, as well, so it gave him a bit more time to get back. He just had such good rhythm. On that one I just felt like, you know, maybe it was the right time just to push in and make him go for a passing shot. He half shanked it. But still, you know, 30-All point. I came up with a big, you know, curler up-the-line passing shot which is a bigger point, I think.

Q. Does the fact that it's a Brit on Centre Court Wimbledon going to give you an extra buzz, add extra spice to the match tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, doesn't worry me who I'm playing. You know, it's a semifinal of Wimbledon. If you can't get up for it, might as well put your racquets away, not bother turning up. I'll be up no matter who I'm playing. Sure, it's going to be, you know, great atmosphere out there. That's for sure.

Q. Does the fact that perhaps the American game might be in a bit of transition, may not have someone of your age who is of comparable status in the rankings, mean that you can dominate for many years? Perhaps if Tim does win tomorrow and get through, you'll be back, he'll still have to face you again and again as a top seed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like one of the advantages I have is I can play on all surfaces I feel now. That's a huge edge to have going into every Grand Slam. Not this year, but there are so many clay-courters who just roll up here, roll the arm over, see you later on day one. I feel like I go to all four Slams and I have a realistic chance of winning them. That's a great thing to have for me. Obviously, the Americans have Roddick coming up. He's their next big hope, I think. But I feel confident that I can -- obviously, hard court is probably my preferred surface, but now grass and clay are getting up there, as well.

Q. As well as Sjeng served today, have you ever lost as many breakpoints in a row?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think so. It was strange. There wasn't really that much I could do on the breakpoints, I felt. Every time I got to Love-40, he came out and served three bombs. If I got a racquet on them, I only just got them over the net, he was able to come in and put an easy winner away. Otherwise he served aces or unreturnables on most of them. Yeah, it was starting to get a little bit frustrating. It was like he was half giving me to go Love-40 up, then saying, "I'm not going to give you the game, though." Obviously, the telling part was he got a little bit shaky when he was up a break twice in the fifth set.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


July 5, 2002, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Tim Henman 7-5 6-1 7-5


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Lleyton, you must be happy with the way you played today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played really well. Came out of the blocks well at the start. You know, took me a few games to get on to his serve at the start. Then, you know, played -- just didn't quite get enough first serves in when I served for the first set at 5-3. He took a few more chances, though, there. You know, but I was able to come back and get right on with the job. Obviously, the rain delay, I came out firing straightaway after that, had breakpoints the first game after the rain delay to get 4-Love. Wasn't able to quite take that. At 4-Love, I was able to get the double break.

Q. After almost four hours of tennis yesterday, with so much on the line today in this match, really only two road bumps in the entire match. Did you surprise even yourself today with how clean you played this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I felt like I've been hitting the ball great the last four weeks, as soon as I came on the grass. You know, I was prepared to lay it all on the line out there today. You know, I like playing in big occasions, I like, you know, the big matches. You know, memories come back of, you know, that US Open, knowing that I was able to, you know, play seven, you know, tough best-of-five matches there. You know, I was able to use those sweet memories to try and get through this one.

Q. Having seen what you have of Tim, having played him before, do you think he played as well as he can play today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I thought he came out and, you know, put everything on the line at the start. You know, I thought it was pretty high-quality tennis out there. He went through a bit of a patch -- you know, I felt like I hit the ball great that 6-5 game in the first set and break and get the first set. I returned incredible that game. Then he had a little bit of a slip-up I think in the first three games probably of the second set. Then, you know, he came out, he felt like he had to do something different, I think, to try and win. He mixed up his game a bit more out there. He tried coming in on his second serve, he tried staying back, he tried rallying from the baseline, he tried chip-charging. I was able to sort of handle all those situations pretty well, I felt. Then the last few games, he really didn't know what to do.

Q. The question will come around again whether he can actually win Wimbledon. Would you say he can?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, he's got the perfect game to win Wimbledon. You know, in the next few years, I think even more so just because there's going to be less and less typical "serve and volley" kind of players like Tim plays. I think that's still an advantage for him, that he plays that kind of way, because there's so few players that play against that. So the guys come on a grass court, a lot of them think that they can't beat a Tim Henman or a Patrick Rafter or Pete Sampras just because they got that typical grass court game. You know, it's got to hurt for him to make another semifinal, but it's an incredible run what he's had, you know, the last four or five years here.

Q. Can you explain to us what it really means to you to be in the final of Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know what to say. You know, I don't think it's really sunk in just yet. But, wow, you know, it's an incredible feeling, you know, to see so many great champions, you know, up on the board that held that trophy up. For me to have, you know, a match to try and do it... You know, it's what kids dream of, you know, sitting back at home, you know, watching Pat Cash win Wimbledon 15 years ago. It's what every Australian kid, you know, who picks up a tennis racquet dreams of, to one day be in this situation. For me to have it, you know, at the moment at the age of 21, you know, it's incredible.

Q. Have you spoken to Pat Cash much about Wimbledon and what it meant to him, what it could mean to you, for Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I haven't. Sort of done my own thing a little bit. I haven't even thought about winning it until -- you know, now it obviously comes into your mind a bit more because, you know, it's only one match away. Up to this stage, I've sort -- I've just taken it one match at a time. I hadn't made it past, you know, the second week here in the past. I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself. You know, I knew it was going to be a huge test today against Tim in a semifinal. To this date, I haven't really thought about trying to hold up that trophy just yet.

Q. Did it cross your mind serving for the match you were one game from a Wimbledon final? Did you tighten up slightly then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, I think anyone human would tighten up a little bit. But, you know, I felt like I didn't play that bad a game. You know, he came out and sort of put everything on the line, which he just about had to. I just didn't make too many first serves, I think that was the problem. If I was a bit tight, then so be it. But, you know, I can take credit for the way that, you know, came back. And, you know, I was 15-Love down in that next game. Tim played a strange point in there. I was able to get that one with a cheap error. I just hit my straps again. Once I hit that lob to get the break, you know, I knew that was going to be too good.

Q. You do realize that you've denied yourself the opportunity of seeing Pat Cash in Sue's dress?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he owes me a lot of money (laughter).

Q. Were you conscious, as the match progressed, that even the most partisan of the British supporters out there were really full of admiration for the way you played? Did that come through, that they were appreciating your play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The crowd was great. Obviously, you know, I've played in some hostile arenas in Davis Cup matches. You know, this was fine. It was a great atmosphere out there. Yeah, sure it was loud at times when, you know, Tim got out of his chair, was jogging from the changeover. You know, that's a good atmosphere to play in. I enjoy playing in that situation. But, you know, I don't recall too many times where, you know, they go around clapping double-faults by me or stuff like that. That's what tennis is about. You know, sure, I got support when I hit a great shot or whatever - but not as much as Tim, but that's understandable.

Q. On the face of it, you had a relatively easy straight-sets win. Can you tell us, at any point in the match, did you yourself feel under pressure or maybe you were losing a grip, maybe he still was in there with a chance of winning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, until I walked up to shake hands, I didn't think it was out of his control or out of his reach of coming back, you know, taking it to five sets. But, you know, there was a lot of tight situations. Early on in the first set, he had breakpoint chances to go up an early break. Could have changed, you know, the whole match. You never know.

Q. 5-All in the third, what were you thinking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, I was a bit disappointed that I lost my serve. But I still felt like I was returning that well that I was going to give myself another opportunity to break. Even though I didn't break that game, I was still confident I could go around, take it to a tiebreaker. Obviously, a tiebreaker's anyone's game, anyone's chance there. But, you know, I still had a 50% chance that I was going to finish off the match.

Q. Regarding Pat, do you feel like you've got any unfinished business on behalf of Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about unfinished business. Yeah, it's going to be tough going out there. I spoke with Pat this morning. You know, he wished me all the best for my match. The whole of Australia is behind me back there. It's a great feeling to have. There's been such a great Australian tradition at Wimbledon. It's fantastic that I've been able to carry it through this year, just as Pat has done the last few years with semis and finals here.

Q. Did he give you any advice or was it just luck?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think he did. No, he just said, "Good luck." Everyone is right behind him -- right behind me, sorry. Yeah, just go out there and do my best.

Q. Did he say he'd like to be here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. He sounded pretty relaxed back there. Probably playing golf and sitting on the beach. I'd like to be doing that, too.

Q. He's redesigned his game, he's taken a lot off his serve in order to rely more on his athletic ability, his volleying. But serving at 108 to 112, in that area, doesn't that give you a better match-up on service return than if he's hitting 120 or 125?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but a lot of people have spoken about this the last few weeks. He's the best volleyer in the game at the moment. I think he feels in a lot of his matches that he's probably got to get a high percentage of first serves in and mix his serve up a little bit more. Sort of give and take a little bit with either. You either go for it a little bit more, get a less percentage in. You're on the back foot with your second serve, having to hit a lot more second serves. On the other hand, he got a high percentage of first serves in, tries to close into the net a bit quicker, use his volleys a little bit more. You know, it's up to the individual. I can't say that, you know, he should go out and try to serve and volley like Goran and bomb them down first serves, then rely on his second serve. It's going to be an awful lot tougher. He doesn't have as big a second serve as Ivanisevic or Roddick or those guys.

Q. Against a player of your returning abilities, it may get him through five rounds, but he runs up against a player with exceptional returning ability.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Still the same. You know, at the end of the day, he's got to make the call whether getting a high percentage of first serves in and not letting me have a look at a slower second serve. You know, it's still the same. If I'm going to look at second serves all day, I'm going to be laughing out there. You know, he's got to make that. Yeah, he changed it up out there. He started getting 120, 123s out there I saw in the last few games. But in the end, it starts to give me a little bit of an opportunity. It's a little bit hit-and-miss. I start getting opportunities to get into the point after his second serve.

Q. At 21 years of age, did you envisage that you would have won a US Open, let alone being on the brink of winning a Wimbledon title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. It's incredible. Everything that's happened the last, what is it now, about nine months, 10 months or so since the US Open, it's been incredible to have won a first Grand Slam at the age of 20; then to go on to become the youngest ever world No. 1. I mean, I don't know what to say. You know, it's beyond what, you know, my expectations or, you know, thoughts could have been, you know, a 20-year-old, 21-year-old. Now to have another opportunity to have a go at another Grand Slam, it's a great feeling.

Q. Regardless of who you play tomorrow, you're not going to alter your game; it's up to them to alter their game to beat you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I feel like I'm hitting the ball, you know, well enough just to go out there and worry about my game at the moment. If things aren't going well out there, then it's a best-of-five set match; I've got time to work it out and get a feeling for what's happening out there. If I have to alter mine a little bit, I'm willing to do it out there. At the moment, the way I'm hitting the ball, the way I'm moving, I've got to worry just about my game, going out there and, you know, trying to get the job done that way.

Q. You get a bit of stick in the press once in a while. Does that help or hinder you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me.

Q. Doesn't worry you either way?


Q. You talk about Australia being behind you. Tim gets it every year at Wimbledon, but it's a lot of pressure. Do you think there's too much pressure on him to do well here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. He does get an awful lot of pressure. But I think he blocks it out fantastic. You know, he's done well here. Whether he can hold up the trophy, that's another question. But, you know, he's had an incredible run, in any book, any person's book. What is it, four semis, a quarter, Round of 16, the last six years? You know, that's a great effort. You know, he does cop a lot of pressure. He's got to try and block it out. I'm good mates with him. I think he deals with it fine. In the locker rooms, he always looks very relaxed. He's a really nice guy.

Q. Can you tell us what you know about either of the two guys you might face in the final, perhaps what you expect?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're both, you know, pretty much baseline players. I haven't seen them play an awful lot here in this tournament, or on grass for that fact. But I played Nalbandian a few months ago in Barcelona in the second or third round there on clay. You know, he's good from the baseline. Nice forehand. Probably forehand's a slight strength, I'd say. But he's got a nice, you know, rally kind of backhand. I'm not sure how much he's coming into the net. Wouldn't have a clue. Malisse, well, you know, he's very talented. I think we've all known that for a few years. It was just sort of a matter of time before he started to break through in bigger events. I played him twice, once on clay, once on grass at Queen's in the first round two years ago. Yeah, I've got to go out there, play my game, put my head down, see what happens.

Q. Would winning Wimbledon prove in your own mind that you are truly the No. 1 player in the world? Do you have any doubts? Would winning here settle all of them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it doesn't worry me. There's other things that, you know -- winning Wimbledon, going out there and doing it. I'm not worried about trying to prove myself the No. 1 player in the world in the rankings. Couldn't give a stuff about it.

Q. What are you going to do for the next couple days?


Q. How will you do that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Do nothing (laughter).

Q. Watch a few videos?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't watched many videos. Footy is on this weekend back home. Get on the Internet and cheer my boys on.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


July 7, 2002, Final

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


MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, the new Wimbledon Champion. Who is going to have the honor of the first question?

Q. Has it hit you yet, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not yet (smiling). Wow, it's unbelievable. I don't know what to say. You know, you're serving for the match there, sitting at the change of ends, trying to think if this is actually real, if I was playing the first round of Wimbledon or the final out there. You know, to get 40-Love up there, have another squeeze at the scoreboard to make sure I didn't celebrate too early.

Q. On the moment where the forehand went long, what was your emotion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I couldn't believe it. I think when you get to 5-2 up, you're a double break up, I start thinking, "Well, this is a real chance now." So it's not that much of a shock, I don't think, if it was in a tiebreak or something like that, a bit closer towards the end.

Q. David at times seemed a bit overcome by the magnitude of the match. How did you manage to hold your nerve for so long, maybe up until the double-fault in the end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was obviously a big moment for him. It was a big moment for both of us. But, you know, I've been in a Slam final, so I sort of understand a little bit, you know, how the pressure and nerves are going to be. Yeah, I thought he was going to be a little bit nervous at the start. I thought that was a big opportunity for me to, you know, try and get the initiative right from the start and put the foot forward. And I was able to do that. He gave a few double-faults in the first game, and I was able to get a double break, afterward that was basically the first set. In the second set, though, he raised his game. He didn't make those easy mistakes he was making, made me work a lot hard for my points. It was heavy conditions out there today. It was tough to hit a lot of winners from the back of the court. The balls are fluffing up, because we were having so many long rallies. It just felt like there was a bit of moisture in the air, as well, which was making it heavier.

Q. You know so very few non-serve and volleyers have won this tournament. Have you always thought, "Even though I don't play serve and volley tennis, can I win it"? Was there some moment as your career evolved from 17 or 18 till now that you became convinced that you could win it as a back-court player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, when I first came on, even after I won Adelaide that first year, I started playing Queen's, just leading up to Wimbledon the first time, I was actually trying to mix it up. I think I was playing the wrong style of game, come to the net, chip-charge, this kind of stuff. It wasn't working. I went back. I said, the guys have got to play extremely well if they're going to beat me from the back of the court. I returned well, used my passing shot, my strengths as my edge, my quickness around the court. Basically from that year on, I've gone into Queen's, the grass court tournaments I've played, which really isn't that many, and just played my game. My serve has got me out of a lot of trouble the last few years in big tournaments. I think, you know, when you start winning Queen's a few years, you know, in a row like I have now - made the semis four years ago, as well, you know, beat Sampras, Henman, Rusedski, Flip, these kind of guys on grass - then you start realizing you're a real contender for the big one a couple weeks down the track, as well.

Q. To your recollection, did you serve and volley any points in this fortnight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I can remember (smiling). I think I tried to once, but I served a fault, so...

Q. You've had fabulous Davis Cup results, then of course the breakthrough at Flushing Meadows, becoming No. 1 in Sydney, now this. You're just off the court, but can you possibly compare these and how Wimbledon compares to these other great accomplishments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't want to go out there and rate them, I don't think, in any order because every one is very unique - the US Open, getting No. 1 and winning Wimbledon. They've all got special things about them and things that make the tournament special. The things about Wimbledon is obvious, you know, I think it's the biggest tournament everyone knows in Australia. For me, growing up, you know, grass wasn't my favorite surface, but, you know, I still -- it was -- there was something about Wimbledon that drew you to come here. You know, the tradition. For an Australian, as well, we've had so many great players do well here in the past. So it's sort of a place you enjoy coming back to and you look forward to coming to play. For me, you know, four or five years ago, I'm not sure now, but when I first played here, eventually lost to Becker in the third round, just to be here and play at Wimbledon, you know, to be in the locker room with Boris Becker and guys like that, was just incredible. You know, I actually, you know, told Jason and a few guys that, you know, for some reason I was really looking forward to Wimbledon this year. And I said that about four or five months ago. So, you know, there's something about it, this whole four weeks leading into Wimbledon, the grass court season, that I enjoy.

Q. You sensed Wimbledon would be special about four or five months ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just had a feeling. There's something about it. I couldn't have said that I was going to do this well. But, you know, I could have bombed out in the first round. There was something that was drawing me. You know, I couldn't wait till Wimbledon started basically. You know, that's a strange thing to have when you're a baseliner coming on grass.

Q. What would be your message to the kids in Australia who watched today you raising your trophy of Wimbledon? How could you be one dreaming boy to achieve your fate?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think for every, you know, kid playing in the local club in Australia, just for them to realize that it is possible. You know, you can, you know, dream. You've still got to put in a lot of hard work and try and get there, but it is possible. It's not out of reach. That's a huge thing to have I think in your mind when you go out there and you start coming on the tour. You know, you've got to take it one step at a time a little bit, as well. But, you know, for me, you know, I can remember being at my grandparents' house when I was six, not watching the whole Pat Cash match, because I was just starting to get into tennis then and enjoy it. I started getting privately coached. For me it was a huge thing to see an Australian win such a big tournament. And I think that, you know, rubs off a little bit.

Q. Were you always planning to climb up into the box and see your parents ala Pat Cash?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had no idea what I was going to do if I won. You know, I sort of went back to my chair. Then I thought, "Stuff it, I'll go and do it." It's been 15 years since an Aussie won. So, yeah, I spoke to Pat before and after the match. You know, obviously he was one of my favorite players when I was growing up, the headband and everything, you know, the way that he showed fire out there on the court, as well. You know, I thought, "Stuff it, I'll copy him out there."

Q. What is Patrick Rafter going to think after you made it look so easy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Hopefully he comes back. But, you know, obviously Pat, you know, he played extremely well the last, you know, two years, here. To make two finals is an unbelievable effort. Look at the matches that he lost. I think he was a point away from probably beating Sampras. I think he had set points in the second set tiebreak to go two sets to Love up. Then Goran, I think he was two points away from breaking Goran to win the championship. So he's come so close. You know, for me to come here, you know, and win this tournament, it means a lot. You know, he called me again this morning to wish me all the best, "Go out there and do it for Australia." You know, it's a great thing to have, you know, that positive -- a guy who I've looked up to for so many years, you know, been in awe of, for him to, you know, go out of his way to give me a call the last couple of days.

Q. Where do you think this final will rate in terms of quality of finals in Wimbledon history?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to rate as a different one. Two baseliners. You know, I don't know how many years you have to go back to find two baseline players playing at the Wimbledon final. But it's a unique final I think more than anything. It wasn't the best tennis. But, you know, the conditions were pretty (inaudible) out there, as well. It was so windy, it was swirling, you know, it was not that warm out there. Obviously the rain delays. You're up and down like a yo-yo out there. You know, it's tough to try and control your emotions when you're not sure, you know, how long you're actually going to be out there; you know, if you're going to finish the match this time or if you're going have to have to come out. So it's a different final.

Q. Would you agree the worst tennis you played in this fortnight was in this final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Some of it. But, you know, the conditions and everything, I play to win. You know, you don't always have to play your best tennis.

Q. Is that a yes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily, no.

Q. What did Pat Cash say to you when you chatted with him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just saw him in the locker room afterwards. Yeah, he said, "Well done, great effort." You know, he said that I'll probably have to talk about him in the press conference actually because -- you know, he said I'll probably get sick and tired of talking about him because he was the last Australian to win it.

Q. There's a sense at least in America that people don't really know you, in part because you haven't told your story to the major publications. Any reason for that? Do you think that will change now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I speak to people. I do interviews. You know, I choose what's right for me, as well. You know, you have that many requests, I'm not going to go out and do every one. That's not right for my tennis. It's not in my best interest. So I've got to think about what it took to get me to No. 1 in the world. And I'm not going to go, you know, trying to change everything just because I'm No. 1, lose that ranking, you know, lose the reasons why I got to No. 1 and what I'm playing this game for. Off the court, you know, I'm shy. I'd prefer to sort of, you know, be in the background. You know, probably more private than a lot of people.

Q. Does men's tennis need a champion that's kind of charismatic and out there or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always nice to have personalities. I think that's why, you know, so many people bagged John McEnroe when he was playing, but everyone says how they miss him and they would love to see him play again. I think that shows when he plays on the senior tour now, how many people go and watch him. You know, guys like that, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, they always had that rivalry going. You know, rivalries and stuff like that, I think personalities are good for the game, yeah.

Q. Where do you play next?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I play in LA and then, yeah, four tournaments, then a week off, then The Open.

Q. Did Pat give you a call before the finals from his home?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Patrick Rafter?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I spoke to him this morning.

Q. Who was waiting for you in the locker room, all the Aussie greats with beers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Frank Segman, Ken Rosewall, Neale Fraser has been talking to me the last two weeks, he's been with me. That's been great. Neale Fraser welcomed me into the club. That felt pretty good. Wally and Fitzy were obviously there. All my support crew. You know, it was a great feeling to go back into.

Q. You're still so young. Do you have a feeling that there's many more Grand Slams in you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I hope so. But, you know, I haven't really thought about it at the moment. If I can play this well for other Grand Slams, then I can't see why not. But, you know, at the moment, I really don't care.

Q. You've been in a major final before. What was the night before this one like for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit different because, you know, going into the US Open final, in some ways I probably wasn't as nervous because I didn't really know what to expect. You know, I had nothing to lose. I'd never been in a Grand Slam final before. It was a different feeling I think going into this one with a guy who's only play, you know, one grass court -- this is his first senior grass court tournament, to play him in the Wimbledon final. So I was probably more nervous I think going into this one than the US Open because in some ways I was nervous because I was playing Pete Sampras, you know, in the US Open final. But, you know, the name more than anything I think. But I didn't know what to expect, so I don't think I was as nervous as coming into here. I sort of knew what it was like to play in a Grand Slam final, and the pressures, you know, what can happen, you know, going into it - the outcome, as well.

Q. What was racing through your mind when you knew you'd won it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I really don't know. Disbelief a little bit. You know, I was talking to Pat Cash before actually in the locker room. You know, I was saying, it was a weird feeling, it was like a dream. I sort of had to pinch myself to see if it was real or not out there. You know, growing up as a kid, you sort of dream these match, you know, playing in a Wimbledon final, you know, stuff like that. You know, I don't know. You could probably tell me it's a dream now (laughter). I'm still, you know, a little bit at a loss for words and don't really understand the whole grip of it just yet. But, you know, obviously I sort of hit the deck. Turning into a bit of my fall now when I win a Grand Slam, fall on my back. I didn't know what to do.

Q. A lot has been made of this Rocky motivation that you use. When you're out there on a big point, any big point in the match, do you think about that stuff beforehand, do you think of a scene from the movie, necessity other kind of images that come into your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, not on a big point. I'm more focusing on the match and stuff like that. There's occasions during the match, you know, not these two weeks, but more like the French Open when I was a set and 5-Love down or something in the second round against Stoliarov, more sort of trying to guts it out, sort of like in the movies then. Then that sort of comes out. But, no, not today, not so much on a breakpoint. I'm more thinking about where he's going to serve or, you know, what's going to happen out there. But, you know, sometimes in my career I have thought about, you know, trying to guts it out or stuff like that, yeah, for motivation.

Q. Is there any scene in the movie that you think of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Depends, you know. If he's getting slugged by the big Russian, he comes back and wins. I was getting slugged by a Russian, but he was about two feet tall. It was a little different (smiling).

Q. Who, if anybody, can take from you the first world ranking?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, Marat Safin is obviously one of the main ones, I guess. There's a handful of guys. Marat, he can play on all surfaces. He didn't have his best tournament here. Look at the final of the Aussie and then semis of the French. He's good on all surfaces. He's going to be a big threat over the years. Andre Agassi for the next few years, for sure. You know, he's fit enough to do well, and he showed that he can win big matches on all surfaces, as well. Then you've got the younger guys coming up, I guess. You know, Kuerten still has a chance when he gets back to a hundred percent obviously. You know, the younger guys coming up, Federer I know struggled the last couple weeks, but if he played like he did in Hamburg, then he's going to be a threat. Ferrero, obviously more suited to clay. You know, Roddick, these kind of guys. Tommy Haas is another one who didn't get to play here but has a real chance.

Q. What about David?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a chance, for sure. Well, I don't know what he'll go to. Somewhere I guess between 11 and 20 somewhere. He can play on all surfaces. You know, if this is -- he's only going to get better and better on grass now. He's going to learn from this. The good thing about this is he's not going to be like some of the other clay court specialist and say bugger it. He's going to enjoy playing on grass and want to come back and win this thing someday. He has a chance. He actually did really well at the US Open last year. He beat Escude and lost to Kafelnikov in four or five sets. He's got a real chance to do well. Whether it's this year or next year, I'm not sure.

Q. Second set of this match, he started to hurt you a little bit, finally went down the line with his backhand. What was your adjustment there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a nice backhand up the line. I knew that from when I played him in Barcelona on clay. He disguises it really well. You can't really tell if he's going -- he sort of likes going that short cross-court angle with his backhand, whether he gets a bit of whip on it, or if he's going up the line, I couldn't tell. The only way I could get him not to go for it too much is with a bit more depth on my shots. If he's going to pull the trigger and go for that down the line - low-percentage shots, if the ball is deeper. The other thing I did well was coming in on his backhand a bit. He didn't have the best retrieving slice of all times. Quite often I got a high volley or didn't have to play a volley. I think that sort of turned the match during the second and third set.

Q. Aside from match point and the awards ceremony, is there one moment that you'll think years from now you'll recall from the fortnight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, you know, getting to the final before I had to play today, it was getting out of the Schalken match, I guess, the way that I played against Tim Henman. You know, I was up for that match and I played some of my best tennis against Tim. If he got through, he would have had a great chance today probably. But we'll never know. You know, those two matches probably in the quarters and semis when I knew I had to step it up against two guys who I've had tough matches in the past, and I was able to do that.

Q. How do you plan to celebrate?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea.

Q. You said it was a real ripper. What was the trophy like when you got your hands on it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a great piece of gold (smiling). I was just, you know, looking at all the names. You walk through onto Centre Court there, you see there's an honor board there, you see all the great names who have won this tournament. When I got a hold of that trophy, I really wanted to have a look at all the names on there. Nice to have my name underneath that.

Q. What did you tell David after the match at the net?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just said, "Unbelievable tournament." You know, I said to him after, I just asked him if that was his first Senior Tournament. I said it's not bad for him. He says, yeah, he's going back to play on clay tomorrow or the next day. Beauty.

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post #82 of 372 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 6, 2002, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Robby Ginepri 6-0 6-0



Q. Talk a bit about the match, it went by so quickly.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, he didn't play great obviously. He struggled a lot, but I just kept balls in play, what can I say. I practiced with him before and he hit the ball well. Then today just went out on the court, he looked very nervous right from the start. Apart from a few big serves here and there he really -- he struggled. I didn't have to do a lot, and was a bit surprised that I was able to keep any balls in considering all the crap that was going on before the match with the ATP trying to make me do another interview before I went out. Gonna fine me if I didn't do it. My head was actually spinning before I went out. I am surprised that I didn't do what he did and missed every ball out there.

Q. What were you asked to do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Done all my commitments for the week. I'd never agreed to do another interview and then before the match, two hours before the match, I got told that I got to do an interview when I came in from practice. I said, that's ridiculous, before I play a match, I have never ever, ever done an interview the day before I play a match. So this crap is going on and in the end I wasn't going to walk out on the court, simple as that. They were going to fine me if I didn't walk out on the court. So ten minutes -- about an hour before I said, yeah, I will agree to do it. I said I will do five minutes before I go out. Nothing got solved. Then I am sitting in the locker room, my head is spinning, I didn't know what was going on; whether I was actually going to go out and play or not. It is a tough situation to be in, but when you got guys who can't make decisions within the ATP setup, it makes it pretty tough on everyone, I think, and I can really understand why the WTA, I think a lot of people see is going stronger than the ATP at the moment. I can't blame them.

Q. What did they actually want you to do, TV or radio?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I have done TV interviews during -- leading up to the tournament as it is anyway. I have done -- I got planned things to do as the week progresses that I have agreed to do. This pops up, I have never ever agreed to do this. It pops up and then they try to fine me before I have to play. At the end of the day ---

Q. When were you actually supposed to do the interview, before you went on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think they wanted in days leading up and I said, no, I am not doing it, I have done all my other stuff beforehand; I have got other stuff going on -- ongoing through the week and that's where the problem kicked up. I have got other interviews for US Open previews obviously as defending champion, and I have got all these other requests that I am doing. Then they throw another one at me and try to make out that I have got to do this otherwise I am going to get fined. That's when all hell broke loose then because if I am going to get fined for going out, what is the point of me going out and playing. I really don't understand that. It's tough for me to go out there and try and concentrate 100% on your game when you got 15,000 things going through your mind.

Q. How was it resolved?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not revolved.

Q. Did you do the interview?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't done anything. I have still got other stuff that's got to be done, obviously with trying to talk to the head of the ATP. No one can make decisions - obviously by their decisions last year with ISL, for any decisions like that, then I think everyone is in a lot of trouble.

Q. How close were you not to playing today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't going to walk on the court. I don't see any point in me walking on the court not giving 100% when I step on the court. We have seen guys in the past. I know everyone in this room has seen -- I am not going to mention names -- but there's so many guys who just show up and play for the money and then walk off. It doesn't matter. I wear my heart on my sleeve every time I step on the tennis court. If that's going to be ab issue when I go out there and play then I don't see a point in me going out there if my heart is not in it and I am competing for the right reasons.

Q. You mentioned something about obviously the women's Tour having a lot of exposure now and everything. Do you sense an urgency within yourself about where the men's game is or do you think it's just kind of everybody taking it to so seriously?


Q. In terms of like in relation to the women's game, do you think the men's game is behind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It didn't help with the whole ISL deal last year. That definitely hurt the men's game. It is a tough situation as it is anyway because we are in a transition kind of period with the whole young guys coming up and obviously Sampras, Agassi are so well known around the world, Rafter, everyone knows these guys, it's tough. Federer who lost yesterday, Kafelnikov, a whole list of big names that lost yesterday. It's tough for the tournament. Canas is a great player, but he came out and won a Masters series events last week, and that makes it tough I think for the Tour as it is. When you make decisions like that on top of it, then it's going to make it even tougher.

Q. Do you have any sympathy for the fact the Tour is trying desperately to get the Tour sold out there and pushing the sport and needs somebody like yourself as the No. 1 to help do it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can understand, you know, but that's even more reason not to push me before I go out and play. That's the way I see it. Sure, I can help, I think everyone can help, but the position I am in, then sure I can help it even more. I think is -- myself, Safin, Ferrero, these young guys coming up, Roddick, guys who are already half out there who can try and make the game bigger and better, sure, I have done so many things already leading into the US Open, coming into the US Open, after winning Wimbledon, at the end of the day when I can (inaudible) when it happens an hour, an hour and a half before you have got to play first round Masters Series event, you sort of wonder who is making the right decisions here; where is it all going.

Q. Do you wonder how players like in the NBA and baseball they talk before games, whether it is the 7th game of the NBA Finals; whether it's the biggest game in the World Series, other athletes in other sports do talk before the game, do you wonder how they do it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's something if I was, I think, if you are growing up doing it, then you'd have a lot better understanding of it. I think -- what am I 21, I have never done it so far, this is my fifth year on Tour, and I have never done it. I know Pat Rafter has never done it in his whole career. It's different sports. If you had it and one day they decided that every time before every match you are going to do this, then I don't see a problem with it. The things is, you know, one time before your match when I am preparing to play, I am warmed up already, you know, I am in the locker room, I don't leave the locker room for that hour, and then comes at 50 minutes before I said, all right, I will do this interview, because I want to just -- that's how badly I wanted to get out there and play, not worry about getting fined, whether I was going to walk on the court, what my attitude was like, I wanted to get it all out of the way. I gave them 50 minutes to an hour, bring the camera crew, I said, bring the crew in the corner of the locker room, I will do the interview; then I will worry about my match. I am sitting there 'til five minutes to one, not knowing if -- what is going to happen. I ended up sending Jason, they said, no, we have don't have enough time. That's the thing that I think hurts in the end because are they looking after the players'best interest.

Q. Who asked you to do the interview?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A few guys in the ATP. But we have been having talks with the CEO, the last ongoing weeks let alone the last 24, 48 hours about the whole thing. He hasn't seemed to have enough guts to put himself on the line and make the big calls.

Q. Do you think it hurts -- I mean, not just yourself but a lot of agents control a lot of what the players do with media requests, things like that. Would you feel better if one universal authority said, here's your interview list for the week, this is what you need to do instead of an agent telling you one thing; ATP needing something else, then maybe individual media come up to you on your own?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, in some ways, but the other, you know, there's so many things that the player, I don't think, needs to deal with as well. There's requests after obviously you win a tournament, let alone you win Wimbledon or US Open, the requests are that long, that to try and for a player, I think, to say that you have got to do all these, I think that's ridiculous. That's too tough. I think the agents are there to try and pick out what is in the player's best interest obviously. I think it happens in all sports, I am getting -- I can't -- I know football back home, stuff like that, that happens. I can't speak for American sport, but in tennis it's always sort of been the way. That's the only way I have sort have known growing up, so I try and deal with that as much as possible. I try and give myself or give everybody as much notice as possible as well about doing the things because that way it makes it easier on everybody.

Q. Does it take a price to pay to be No. 1, though, to have those kind of requests around you

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's definitely more things you have got to do. But I am willing to do that. That's part of being No. 1 in the world; that's part of being a professional athlete. I am still learning. I have got no problem with that. But there's things you have got to do and you have got to put yourself out there be in the spotlight. I have got no problem with that. But then again, I want to sort of have a schedule and sort of know what I have got to do ahead of time as well. I don't want anything sort of affecting the way that I play. At the end of the day, I have got to No. 1 because I train hard, I work extremely hard, and I don't want to get to No. 1 and then do all the media and everything can sort of get - not psyched out - but worrying about doing the media and whatever, rather than what you did to get to No. 1; how hard you had to work to get there.

Q. Do you ever enjoy doing interviews or are they always like a task?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I enjoy doing them. Everyone keeps saying about Australia media, but there's Australia media that I talk to all the time. But it's not always on an interview basis, it is on a friendship basis talking about the footie back home stuff like that. There's only been a few people in Australia who have sort of got on the wrong side with, I think both them against me and me against them. Apart from that, the Australian media has been fine, every time I go home I speak to, you know, all the networks when I arrive home, I have been speaking to reporters who -- Australians who work in London and also in Australia over the last few weeks as well. I think -- I enjoy it some interviews. Obviously if it always adds up, it becomes a bit of a chore. I did an interview a couple of weeks ago with the L.A. times and it was fun. I really enjoyed it. They are the kind of interviews I think that are better when -- I thought it was a 15 minute interview, we ended up talking for over an hour because just kept rolling, and I got no problem with that.

Q. Is your understanding that you are getting fined or you don't know?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have good no idea, mate. I don't know what is going on. I am trying to play tennis.

Q. Ask you about New York since you refused to be interviews by the NEW YORK TIMES can I ask you about New York then. Was that moment last year when you won a blur or was it something that you really remembered in detail when you won last year?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I pretty much remember most of it, I think. Obviously I think as soon as you win you are sort of in awe of the whole situation. Winning the US Open, winning your first Grand Slam, I think more importantly, everything sort of hits you at once, I guess. I hadn't been in that much of a spotlight before even 16 year old winning a tournament always sort of did everything before everyone sort of thought you would, but when you win a Grand Slam and it's sort of your dream come true then I think it hits you a little bit quicker.

Q. Did your life change at that instant do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It changed a little bit, as you know you probably people are coming at you more, as a Grand Slam Champion as I am sure Costa and Johansson and these guys are starting to experience. After you win a Slam people obviously have a lot more respect for you as a tennis player but also they want to get a win over a guy who has just won a Slam as well. Everything sort of changed. For some reason I felt like I handled it really well. I felt like it was, you know, I always dreamt of winning a Grand Slam, always believed that I was able to, and when the time came, I still believed there was more to go on with and I think I showed that by going out at the Masters Cup and trying to win that as well.

Q. When you go back to New York this year somebody will think you of you as like the champion and that wonderful moment you had with Pete; some people will remember the James Blake incident. How do you think you will be received when you go back to New York this time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope well. I was able to forget about it during the tournament and go on with it. Everything has been fine pretty much since then. You know, I actually felt like the crowd was -- from that moment on I felt like the crowd was pretty good. Obviously against Roddick in the quarters and Pete in the final, the crowd was going to be going for them. If it comes to Australia, then the crowd goes for me. It's not much you can do about that. But when I played Kafelnikov in the semis, I felt like the crowd was great when you got two guys from different countries playing, I think they wanted to see a young guy have an opportunity at winning his first Grand Slam.

Q. Do you have any regrets about the Blake episode, even if it's just, you know, I wish that the whatever-perception, the misunderstanding had never occurred, something to that effect?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think you always, you know, when people, you know, sort of perceiving it in the wrong way, I think it always hurts a little bit. You are disappointed in some way or you'd love it not to happen. But it happened, and people saw it their way and everyone's got their opinion. I can't change that. I go out there and thank God I was able to be very mentally tough and block everything out and I knew I was playing good tennis and sort of move on from there, and get the job done.

Q. It will be a different experience for you first time you will be defending a Grand Slam title. How do you think you will approach that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Really don't know. I am going in with the same preparation as last year obviously playing the same tournaments now, taking a week off before the Open and I feel like before the US Open I think for me it's important to take a week off, and it's going to be really nice. I spoke to Pat a few times after he won the US Open, he said, just to go back there at a place that meant so much to you and, you know, won so many big matches and changed your life, you know, he nearly bowed out in the first round to Arazi the first year, but he was able to go on and win back-to-back and hopefully I can go in there and I am sure the first few rounds are maybe going to be the toughest.

Q. The match today, being that it was pretty easy and you have had -- you were sick, then last week didn't go so well. Does it make it a little hard for you to gauge where your game is at?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. But I am playing doubles this week, which is great. I had a win yesterday somehow, didn't play great but we got through. I think it's good for me now to get some -- try and get as many matches as possible. Sure, I'd love to win here in Cincinnati going to do everything in my power to win here and both in Indy next week. If I don't I still want to be gradually improving, improving for the big one at the US Open.

Q. Given the schedule, have you hit the right mix the last year maybe even sort of -- you talked about overscheduling yourself and not taxing yourself too much before a Slam, have you found the right mix?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sort of, I think. I think for the US Open definitely. As long as -- I feel like I'd like to play a fair few matches before going into it. But then also the week off, I think is extremely important. Hard court in this -- if the heat is like it has been the last few days here it's going to take the toll. I don't think going out there and playing the week before is the best thing with my game. Australian Open, I really don't know what is best for me just yet. Obviously the chicken pox and everything sort of up in the air earlier this year, and for the French, Wimbledon, Wimbledon I pulled out of the tournament beforehand. But I had a lot of matches under my belt which I think helped. Because I think on grass, particularly you have to do well and get a feeling for the grass court because the grass court season is that short.

Q. From all appearances, at least from what Kim has said, you are good to her and you certainly have shown a different side in that you have somebody like that in your life. Is that a side that we just don't get to see too much of because you are all about the intensity on the court and maybe there is this flip-side of the personality that we don't get a chance to view too much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I am the first to admit I am very competitive. As soon as I step on the court I am intensity, I want to win. Like most of the players out here, I give 100% every time I step on the tennis court. I think a lot of people perceive that but then they will think that I don't know -- he's probably nasty off the court whatever, I am actually pretty shy. When I went to school back in Adelaide I was shy. I didn't argue with anyone, I had a lot of friends there. But it's sort of the same on the Tour. In the locker room I sort of keep to myself. I do my own thing. I have got a lot of friends at home that I keep in contact with. Obviously with Kim, that all helps as well. But she understands the pressures that I am going through and I understand what she's going through. So that side of it, I think is all sort of a bonus for both of us.

Q. As a shy guy growing up did you have the courage to ask a girl out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually didn't have that many girlfriends. When Kim and I started it was -- I don't know, actually, it was a little bit of both. But I didn't have a lot of guts when it comes to that.

Q. Did you just kind of chat her up a little bit or just ask her out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We were -- when was it -- 2000 Australian Open and I'd just won Adelaide and Sydney that year, and I arrived late and I was chatting with one of my mates who I played juniors with, Nathan, he was playing doubles at the Australian Open. He knew Kim through juniors. I was sitting together, I just sat down and that is how we got introduced. She asked me if I wanted to play mixed doubles. I think she knew we could get a wildcard. I couldn't because I committed to my sister about three months before that. That's how it started.

Q. She literally asked you out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, she asked me to go on the tennis court. I don't know if it was because of my looks or anything to do with that.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 7, 2002, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Davide Sanguinetti 5-0 Ret.


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Not much of a workout today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I still don't know where my game is. Obviously it would have been a lot nicer to have won properly, I guess, but through the round of 16 and can't complain, I guess. Big tournament like this, but obviously matches are only going to get tougher and tougher from now on.

Q. Did you have an idea that that might happen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had no idea. Obviously he was sort of trying to hit a lot of winners out there and it wasn't really his style of game. Early on, after a couple games, I sort of thought something probably was not right, but it wasn't 'til he called the trainer then they said he is going to try and keep playing, but they are not sure. He came out and served two aces, I thought he was going to get a bit of a game.

Q. A little worrisome that you are not being able to get a read on where your game is since you really don't play at the beginning of the summer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe nice to lose a few more games, I guess, but I feel like I am hitting the ball well enough, and I am still in the tournament. Hopefully I am going to get some pretty tough matches from -- I am sure I am going to in the next few days. It's tough, especially it's not quite as hot as it has been here, but if it was hotter than would it have been probably tougher as well, playing back-to-back - started singles, playing doubles Monday, singles Tuesday, I am still in the doubles, so I have played a lot of matches. At the moment I am pretty happy that I am still in the doubles to get some more hitting.

Q. Did you even break a sweat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't have to move much.

Q. Have you play any golf since you've been here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Since I have been here, yeah, I arrived Wednesday after I lost in Toronto Monday night, and yeah, I played a couple of rounds, I think since I have been here, but I have been trying to practice as much as possible, as well. Only started practicing a couple of days before I went to Toronto, so I wasn't expecting great results there and I have never actually done well in Canada for some reason. So I try to put that behind me as soon as possible and sort of move on and I really like this tournament and so far it's nice I made a semifinal last year and hopefully can go at least that this year.

Q. Did you revolve your problem yesterday with the interview?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, nothing has been resolved. Tried to contact Mark Miles a lot of times yesterday and he's in Cincinnati, but for some reason he doesn't answer his phone, so I am not sure.

Q. Are you going to make an appeal to the decision


Q. of the fine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, and I planned to win it.

Q. Who will judge that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have got no idea. I am not even worrying about it at the moment.

Q. Did you talk about that with other players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken about it at all, no.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 8, 2002, 3rd Round

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


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Well-played. That was a good match. Was it more of a fight than you expected?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. I'd never really seen him play. I saw some results of his. He sort of came out of the blue last year and end of the year at Stockholm where he made the final and I think had matchpoints and that in the final there. I heard a little bit about him, but really didn't know how he sort of put it all together. That was probably the toughest part about today - wasn't really sure what to do at the start. And to his credit, he's a really good player. You know, I think there's no reason, you know -- he was what, 150 at the end of last year? Now he's what, 50 or 60, I think? He's a good player and he's only going to get better and better.

Q. How did you sort him out at the end? You came forward quite a bit, didn't you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I had to mix things up a little bit. His backhand was superb there - he was really crunching it - and he didn't make many mistakes. He was probably a little bit looser off the forehand than the backhand. It was hard to sort of work out what he was trying to do. He was sometimes rolling his first serve, then other times he would try and hit a 120 mile-per-hour serve out wide. As soon as I started getting a bit of a feeling for the match, I tried to come in a little bit more, tried to put a bit more pressure on him. A few times when I did come in, it looked like he really liked a target as well.

Q. Is your mind in the shape you want it to be after what's been going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably as good as it could be, I guess, you know. I mean, I've been able to block out distractions before, and this is no different.

Q. Has Mark Miles answered your phone calls yet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken to Mark Miles, no.

Q. The last couple of days you haven't been able to assess your game because you didn't get to play much. How did you feel out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I'm glad I had a good workout out there today. That's what you want in these tournaments going into the Grand Slams. That's obviously the big one, is the US Open for me. Want to be hitting the ball and peaking for that. Last week was -- I felt like I didn't, you know, prepare as well as I probably could have. And, you know, it's nice to get a few tough matches under my belt now here and to get through to another quarter.

Q. Could be Andre tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, it's gonna be tough either way. They're both big hitting players who, you know, can go out there and smack anyone off the court - both of them. Enqvist is obviously playing a lot better than he's probably played over the last couple of years. I've had tough matches with both guys . Won some, lost some against both. So whoever I play, it's gonna be -- I'm going to have to play a lot better than I have so far this tournament.

Q. Can you talk about your history with Andre. Your wins over him have been big wins for you personally.

LLEYTON HEWITT: We never played, you know, in a Slam I guess, which is, you know, probably a little bit surprising. Obviously, you know, the first win when I beat him in the semis of Adelaide when I was 16 was huge back then, you know. The other one was probably the Masters Cup last year to try and get that No. 1 position. You know, I've played well in the past against Andre. It's always been great matches, you know - I think anyway. Possibly the best match of the year so far was the San Jose final. So, you know, if we play another match like that, then it should at least get the crowd into it I guess.

Q. Do you like the idea of playing him because you have such great matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always nice to play the best players in the world, and I think he's up there. He is one of the best players week in and week out and on any surface. You know you're going to have to play at the absolute best that you can play if you're going to walk away a winner off the court. It's a good challenge to have when you go out there.

Q. What do you remember from that San Jose match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I remember being pretty lucky I guess. You know, I won the second and third set, both in breakers. I saved matchpoints. You know, that was my first week back after, you know, the whole chicken pox debacle down in Australia. So for me that was a big stepping stone, I think, for the whole year. And, you know, it was Andre's first week back as well. So for two guys who had an injury and an illness to come out first week back and play that kind of tennis, there's something special, I think, about the matchup.

Q. Did you ever find out where you got the chicken pox?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Where from? If I was guessing, I'd say I actually went - after the Masters Cup final and Davis Cup, about a week later - I went to my primary school. They wanted me to go to my primary school and, you know, just speak to the kids in front of everyone. On the way out, the principal wanted everyone to shake my hand or give me like a "High 5" as I walked out (laughter). I actually didn't even think about it until one of the mothers came up to me a few weeks later, and I didn't have a clue who she was. She actually said, "I guess that's probably where you got the chicken pox from."

Q. They High 5'ed you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know which kid gave it to me, but... (smiling).

Q. Someone's feeling guilty.


Q. Do you remember the first match against Andre? You're young, you're playing this guy. What was that like for you? Then beating him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was obviously pretty nerve-racking, I think, at the start for a 16-year-old to go out and play a guy that you've looked up to for so many years and, you know, who's such a great player. For me to go out there in my hometown, I couldn't have asked for a better situation I guess. I was really going out there just hoping to get games. At the end of the day, I hadn't played -- apart from qualifying for the Australian Open, I hadn't even played in a professional tournament. It was a weird feeling, I guess, going out there and coming off with the win. I couldn't believe it. I know Andre was ranked 100-odd in the world at the time, but he was just starting to get back at that time. And, you know, it wasn't soon after that that he got back in the Top 10 and then went to No. 1 again.

Q. When you're building up to the US Open, is it possible to prioritize what your aims are? Are they to get matches or to win the tournament or to work on certain things in your game? Which would be more important? Is it possible to say?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think definitely, obviously, working on your game is probably, you know -- so that you're peaking for the Open. But then again, you know, you want to get -- for my game I think anyway, you want to get a lot of matches and try and get on a bit of a run and get match-hardened, I guess, out there. I think it's always nice to win titles though as well and have that confidence, that winning feeling going. But in the end, yeah, if I go out there and I, you know, I feel like my game's improving day by day, week by week leading in to the Open, then I'm going to be happy even if I don't hold up the trophy.

Q. A lot of players, after they win Wimbledon in particular, get a lot of endorsement deals thrown at them. Have you signed any? Are you mulling any over?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot of things obviously pop up I guess, and I sort of pick and choose what I think's best. I really don't have that much time, you know, to do many things either. I'd already, you know, done a deal which will be coming out shortly. But we organized that before Wimbledon as well. So, you know, I haven't signed too many deals actually after Wimbledon just yet, but we're still looking at options here and there.

Q. What's the one that's coming out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll find out when it comes out. It's better coming from them than me I think.

Q. Do you feel any different after winning Wimbledon or just the same?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel, you know -- the achievement of winning Wimbledon, I don't think until -- at the time, you don't really understand the whole thing about it. And, you know, growing up, Wimbledon's Wimbledon, you know? To me, that's probably the biggest tournament of the year. To have won that at such a young age now, it's an incredible feeling. I'd spoken so much, you know, at the time about, you know, watching Pat Cash do it and that. It's such a big thing to see a guy from your country win it. For me to be in that same situation, it was probably the biggest dream come true.

Q. They talked about the fact that they slowed down the courts this year fairly significantly.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know how . It felt a little bit slower, but not that much slower to me. I was actually talking to the Chairman of Wimbledon, and he couldn't work it out. They didn't do anything.

Q. They said they did something with the soil.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, the Chairman of Wimbledon didn't know about it at the dinner, so I don't know for sure.

Q. Your countryman Arthurs is doing well in the second part of the draw. Can you talk about meeting him in the final. Have you played with him? What is your record against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If we play each other?

Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: My record... I think it's either 2-nil or 3-nil to me, but I'm not -- 3-nil. It's 3-nil. We played in Adelaide and Sydney first round in the same year, and I played him at the US Open in the second round one year, so... All on hard court. But, you know, they're all tough matches. And, you know, he's got a huge serve; I think everyone knows that. He's a totally different player when he's very confident, as he is at the moment. He's extremely tough to beat. You know, he can go out there -- I got, you know, full confidence that he could make it through to the final. It wouldn't be that big a surprise to me and all the other Australian guys to see that happen.

Q. The fact that you as an Australian have won Wimbledon, is that likely to have any effect on whether Pat Rafter comes back or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. I really don't. You know, I've probably thought about it a bit, whether he would come back or not, whether that would motivate him more or not. I don't think it would mean anything to him, you know, whether -- give him extra motivation or not. I think after he's had the baby and that now, I think it's, you know, gonna just come down to, you know, him, if he wants to pick up a racquet. And obviously it's going to take a couple months. He hasn't picked up a racquet since the Davis Cup final, so it's going to take him a couple of months to get in shape and get on the court training. Your guess is as good as mine whether we're going to see him back or not.

Q. Do you hope he comes back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think everyone does.

Q. Would you be surprised if he did, though? He seems pretty happy from all accounts.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, would be a tough thing to come back from nearly a year out I guess. The longer he sits out then the more surprised I think you'd be to see him back. But, yeah, I wouldn't rule it out totally.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 9, 2002, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Andre Agassi 7-5 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. What was the difference today? I mean, you had some really good rallies - deep and everything - but yet you were able to just edge them out.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I was able to play the big points well, I think, towards the end of the first set. The first set was huge. You know, it's just about around an hour, I think, long. It was a long first set, and it was a grinding one. He had the advantage at the start, then I was able to peg back the momentum. I played a good game to break at 4-all. Then, you know, just didn't quite execute right at the 5-4 game, serving for it. Put in a couple of early errors. He was able to step it up. Got to 40-15. Huge three or four points there to turn it around, get the momentum back quickly. I went on and held to love the second time serving for the first set. Second set he came out and served great the first few times. From there on, it felt like I was in each one of his service games. It was very important just for me to hang in my service games. I felt I was going to get an opportunity sooner or later to try and break his.

Q. Do you think you played better ahead?


Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I played pretty well getting back in the match. I was 3-love down, 15-30 in the first set. Two points there and you can pretty much kiss the first set good-bye at 4-love against Andre. So I felt like I gutsed it out. I hung in there. I didn't give him any cheap points at that stage. That was important. I was able to break straight back. The whole momentum of the match had changed where he was in charge right from the start, yet I had breakpoints the first game and I had game points in the second game. So I could have been 2-love up. Instead, I found myself an early break down.

Q. 5-all, 40-15, there had been a lot of coming and going. It seemed Andre was right with you, level at that stage. Suddenly it changed. Do you know why?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was strange. I just hung in that game. I said to myself, "I'm gonna hang in there and I'm going to try to take the initiative away from him a little bit," and I cracked two winners at 40-15. Sort of changed the whole momentum a little bit. I felt like I was starting to get on top, as I said before, at 4-all. Broke him. Served for the first set. Didn't execute the point properly. Played a bad start to that game. At 40-15, I was just able to hit two clean winners - backhand up the line and an inside-out forehand. Changed straightaway. We changed ends. The whole momentum swung again. I was able to hold to love the next game. In the second set, he came early, he came at me again strong. You know he's going to, he's such a great player and a great competitor out there. He didn't give me anything early. He was serving a lot better, I felt, at the start of the second set, a lot more cheap points. I was able to hang in my service games. And, you know, I felt sooner or later he's going to have to start missing some first serves. That's when I had to try and pounce on him.

Q. With Pete at 31, we see some signs of his slowing down, changes to his game or breakdowns. Do we see that at all with Andre at 32?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. He's an incredible athlete. You know, there's not many people who would be able to do -- I don't know if I'll be out there running around the way he is . And still the motivation and everything, you know - he's ready to go right from the first point every time. You've got to be on your game every time you step out on the court against him; otherwise, he's going to whack you. You know, I was able to, you know, the last couple times we played. We played some great matches. It's hard to beat the San Jose final at the start of the year. And, you know, I don't see any signs of him, you know, fatiguing towards the end of matches at all at the moment.

Q. When you were yelling, were you mad at yourself, were you trying to pump yourself up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was just trying to pump myself up. You know, sometimes it works as a positive, sometimes as a negative. I felt like I was able , when I got down on myself a couple times, I'm able to -- I have a - I don't know how to say it - but some guys, it turns the whole match around and they get very negative on themselves and can't sort of get out of it. I'm able - for some unknown reason, I don't know why - to focus straightaway on the next point. It sometimes makes me concentrate on the next point and try andd improve on what I did wrong Yeah. So for me, I'm not going to say 100% of the time that I get down on myself it works for me, but, you know, I think a lot of other guys, if they get down on themselves at all, sometimes they're history.

Q. After the match, on TV you talked about the level of respect you had for Agassi and still do.


Q. Is it special for him to have that now for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. It's something I really don't think about, what Andre thinks of me or how I play the game or me as a person or whatever really. I've got along great with Andre, you know. It's something, you know, even in the locker room now you still look up to him and have so much respect for him. I've still got a poster in my garage of Andre Agassi on the wall at home. Growing up, he was -- he's that kind of -- he's got that kind of personality that you sort of, you know, it sort of fitted right into my attitude, I guess, and my style of play. He's very sort of out there, he gives 100% every time he's on the court. And he's, you know, he's a baseliner as well. A lot of people spoke about how I was the next person since Andre to win from the back of the court at Wimbledon. I draw a lot of confidence from a guy like Andre being able to win all four majors.

Q. It was Agassi you had posters of, none of the other great players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no, I liked a lot of players. I liked Mats Wilander a lot. I like watching Pete. He obviously -- I was never going to be a serve-and-volley player, I just didn't have that style of game. But I got a lot of respect for Pete, just how good he really is, you know, how good he's been over so many years. I think I realize that more now that I'm sitting at the top of the game. It's so hard to go out there and after you win a major or two, you sort of -- your goals change. It's hard to get up week in and week out for smaller tournaments. You got to take your hat off to a guy like Pete and Andre who have been able to do it for so many years.

Q. Did his poster used to have a better spot in the garage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Andre? No, everyone got it confused. I told them when I did my press conference after I beat him in Adelaide the first time it was in my garage. Everyone kept saying it was in my bedroom. No, it was always in my garage; it hasn't changed. Just, you know, I've got a little gym set in there and a speed ball and stuff. It's sort of where I worked out a little bit when I was younger. That's why it's up there. It's when he had long hair and had the bike shorts underneath his denim shorts and that. That sort of suited my character, I think, a little bit.

Q. You have probably the best two hardcourt players playing each other in the quarterfinals. Was this the best rivalry of the tournament? If so, do you feel like you're over a hump now in the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, there's still two tough matches to go, you know, whoever I play. Obviously, the next match, Roddick or Gonzalez, you'd have to guess that Roddick's probably going to get through that one. But, you know, Andy and I have had a lot of tough matches. It's gonna be extremely tough. He's seeing the ball well. This is basically my first sort of string of matches that I've put together on the hardcourt so far this season. He's had a lot of matches. Even though he's lost a couple, he's made the semi of LA then the final of Toronto. And if he gets to play me, again, it's another semi for him. So his winning form is good form. Then after that, you know, if I can get through that one, then I meet one of the Spaniards. By the way they're going, they're playing pretty well.

Q. You talked about Andy. Can you talk about Gonzalez?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never played Fernando. Actually, I've played him in Juniors. I played him when I was about 15 and he was 16. I never played him in seniors, though. And all I remember of him, he was the No. 1 junior in the 14s and a guy I probably looked up to when I was 12 or 13. Then he went walkabout for a few years. Next thing you know, he comes out, qualifies, wins the Orlando tournament, now he's here beating Henman and Krajicek yesterday. He's got a massive game, a really big game.

Q. Andre broke you early in the first set. Did you still believe you could recover after that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was 3-0, but I wasn't gonna get down on myself because I had chances in the first two games. You know, I had 15-40, then another breakpoint. So I had three breakpoints in the first game. Then in the second -- next game, I had a game point, pulled the trigger and went for a big second serve and double-faulted. I felt like, you know, it could have very easily been 2-love to me rather than 2- or 3-love down. I just hung in there and kept fighting.

Q. The public was today on his side. Does it bother you, or not at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he's Andre Agassi. He's in America. I guess, you know, he's just that kind of person as well. The crowds love to come out and see him play. You know, if I wasn't a tennis player, I'd love to come -- I'd pay to come and watch Andre play as well. We're playing in America as well, but Andre has a great following throughout the world.

Q. Are you right where you want to be, heading in to the semis tomorrow night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd like to be in bed soon, but... Apart from that, I'm pretty happy (laughter).

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 10, 2002, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Fernando Gonzalez 6-7(3) 7-5 6-2


THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Was there any point in that second set where you thought you might lose?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really - not lose. I don't think that thought ever entered my mind. It was more did it ever enter my mind, "What the hell he's going to do next," yes. I had no idea. He's a tough player to play. You know, he gives you absolutely no rhythm. I thought Wayne Arthurs didn't give me a lot of rhythm just with his serve and that, but this guy was just -- he's just letting go from the back of the court or wherever he is. He hits the ball as hard as he can every time. It's tough to play that kind of player.

Q. He said you were a fighter, that on the real important points, that's when you play the best. Do you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess, yeah. I guess that's probably been the case a little bit over the last few years. You know, you sort of look at the guys in the Top 10, Top 15 in the world, and the guys who have been able to win Slams, they're able to step it up on the big points when it matters in big tournaments, in big situations. The semifinal is big here. When I was down a few break points, I came up with a big serve every time. I was 2-1 down in the second set, came up with a pretty good serve every time I was down a break point. I think it just -- it comes with a lot of practice and being very mentally tough out there, I guess, when it comes to the big situations. You know when to step it up and have that self-confidence out there.

Q. Is that just your attitude, though, in every match, that you just don't feel you're ever going to lose it? Or was this specifically with him tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I never feel that -- there's always a chance that you're going to lose, of course, but it never enters my mind when I'm out there playing. Then, too, I'm one of those people - as everyone knows - I go out there and give 100%. Too, you got to go up and shake hands at the end of the match. There's so many times, I think people have seen, where, you know, one or two points change the whole outcome of a match. You know, sometimes when you get through those matches, it changes the whole outcome of the tournament. You feel like you've sort of survived one and you're half lucky to be in there, then everything sort of changes.

Q. You had 20 aces, and really your serve was such a strong weapon. Is that a little unusual for it to be that strong?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I actually didn't feel like I served that great out there. I don't think I got a -- probably 45, 48%, I think, first serves. I'd be guessing.

Q. 47.

LLEYTON HEWITT: 47, thanks (smiling). Make me sound good. And as I said, he's a strange guy to play. He was guessing a lot of the times on the return. He sort of was jumping immediately inside the baseline and guessing which way. So, you know, he'd make me look bloody good with a nice ace out wide which he missed by three meters, or he'd wail it past me for a winner if he guessed the right way. I didn't serve that great. He probably made it look a little bit better than it was. When he runs around, smacks a few big serves, second serves as winners like he did there, especially in the tiebreak in the first set, then he makes your serve look pretty ordinary as well.

Q. Did you tweak your back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've had a bit of stiffness the last week or so, week and a half. I've been getting treatment every day on it. And I could just feel it getting a little bit stiff out there. Then I actually felt something sort of -- some twinges in there towards the end of the second set. I was just a little bit concerned. I actually wasn't going to call the trainer. Then I felt like I had the momentum. I didn't want to sort of let up on that at all after winning the second set, and I was just going to play through it. Then he had a toilet break, I saw Doug sitting on the sidelines, I wanted to try to keep it as warm as possible that change of ends.

Q. Was that more of a prevention type of thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I could feel it out there. I've been getting treatment every day on it anyway. So, you know, it's been a little bit sore. But I think it's nothing, you know, that's going to pull me out of anything. I can definitely play through it.

Q. Do you know how you did it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's just general stiffness. The thing that worried me a little bit tonight -- I've been playing through it. I felt stiff in that area every day I've been on the court, practice and that. Normally, the adrenaline's pumping in the matches. I didn't feel that bad in the Agassi match last night, I was stretching a lot. There was a couple of times tonight where I was stretching on my serve, a few times that I felt a pinch, a bit of a - I don't know if it's a nerve sort of reaction, but like a twinge out there. That's why I called Doug, just to try to warm up so I didn't further damage it.

Q. How does it feel now? Is it something that goes away quickly with a bit of therapy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Not sure. Could wake up tomorrow morning, it could be stiff. I got no idea. I can't see it being a big problem.

Q. Carlos Moya.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's very tough. He's probably been -- since Wimbledon, since he's been back on the clay, he's probably the form player, I guess. What did he win, a couple of tournaments and another semi or something? He's a tough player to play. He's obviously getting back to his -- I think what we all think he's capable of doing and what he proved when he went to No. 1 in the world a few years ago. I've got a lot of time for Carlos, he's a really nice guy as well.

Q. How much of what you did tonight owes simply to your refusal to give in, your unwillingness to lose?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Possibly a fair bit. There's tough matches, I guess, when you get in those situations and, you know, a lot of guys would probably hop for the easier option, I guess, rather than hang out there and keep fighting. That's one of my main qualities.

Q. Are you aware of the effect that has on your opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've never really worried about it. It's just me. I've always done it, and, you know, I'll keep fighting until I got to go and shake hands at the end of the match. But, yeah, I don't know if it does have an effect; that they think, you know, they've got to put me away right to the very last point. That's definitely an advantage for me.

Q. You seemed to get off in a strange way. What was going on in that first set? Was it just a matter of feeling him out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. As I said, he's a strange player to play against. I'm still struggling to work out how he plays (laughter). The first few games he was sort of rolling his serve in, then he'd run around, smack a forehand back fence, then he'd hit a winner. I just tried to keep a few balls in play. Then I lost my serve in the third game. I hit two double-faults, and I sort of went for my serve a little bit more because a couple of points before that he ran around and hit probably one of the biggest forehands I've ever seen on a second serve. I went for it a little bit. I probably really didn't have to pull the trigger at that point in the third game, you know. If I was playing him again, then I probably wouldn't have gone for it so much early on. But then he played -- as I said, he came out and played the back fence four points in a row in the next game and gave me the break back straightaway.

Q. The way he hits it, does it make you want to be more aggressive with your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Yeah, little bit. You always know that as soon as you hit a ball that's slightly short, even, you know, sometimes you hit a good depth ball, and he'll still try and whack a winner off it. Sort of gets you on the defensive straightaway. When you have an opportunity to attack, it's pretty important. I can't say he's got the best defensive skills around.

Q. Now that you have a victory over him, how can you assess his skills, his talent? Can he be a threat at the US Open?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. He's a tough player to play against. He's beaten Henman, Krajicek and Roddick three matches in a row. They're three class players. They're contenders for the US Open. So I can't see why he's not a chance. But then again, you have five sets playing that style of tennis. Then, you know, it's gonna be tough to do it, you know. But with his power, I think he's gonna have days when he looks incredible and he's gonna have days when he struggles a bit.

Q. Also yesterday you complimented his forehand. What can you say about his backhand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's got a nice backhand. I think he's probably -- over the last few months, I think it's gotten better and better since I saw him play last. He was more inconsistent on it a few months ago. Now he probably waits for the right ball a little bit more on his backhand. Obviously, though, his forehand is still his main strength. You know, he's always trying to run around his backhand to hit that forehand.

Q. In your opinion, what makes him a great player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. A little bit like Andrew Ilie, I guess. I don't know how much experience is gonna be. With some of those guys, they sort of can look incredible and they play very entertaining tennis. But on big points, is that always going to help you win the big matches? I don't know. Some matches it will, some it won't, I'm sure. But whether he can learn to I guess sort of - I don't know - control his power a little bit in some important points, then that may help him.

Q. How was your confidence at the end of the first set when he won the tiebreak? Did you think you could lose the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There was always a chance I could lose, but it never entered my mind, you know. It's only a set, you know? Two sets to go. I was right in that set. Had 4-3, love-30, missed a short forehand I probably could have gotten. He's the type of guy that gets down on himself and strings together a lot of errors when you put that pressure on. Really, I felt like I could have just been serving for the first set at 5-3. So I tried to take the positives out of the set. And I knew his game a little bit better going into the second set, but it was still tough out there.

Q. You played Carlos three times this year. Talk about those matches.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won the first one in Indian Wells first round. Then I lost in Monte-Carlo and Rome.

Q. Different surface.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's on clay, obviously. I'd prefer to play on hard court; I think everyone knows that. And, yeah, he's a great hard court player as well. He's playing a lot better, I think, than he was in Indian Wells. He was just starting. I could tell there that he was -- I think he won a tournament the week before Indian Wells on clay, maybe Acapulco or something like that. But he actually was starting to time the ball like he did when he got to No. 1 after winning the final of Indian Wells or something that one year. He was starting to get around and use his forehand and his first serve. He's got a big first serve for sort of a "clay court specialist" type of guy. He's very underrated.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 11, 2002, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Carlos Moya 5-7 6-7(5)


THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. What's the difference between today's match and yesterday's match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think just Carlos is A-class, I guess. He's been there before, he knows how to play the big points well. I think that's probably the biggest difference between him and Gonzalez.

Q. How was your back today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not too bad. It was a little bit stiff before the match. I got some heat cream rubbed into it beforehand, just tried to loosen it up. I didn't feel any twinges out there. Just genuine stiffness. It's fine, I can play with that.

Q. The rain delay, did that have any bearing on your injury, having to stop and start again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Not a huge difference. I just had to go through the same routine as I did before I went out to play the first time. So, you know, sure, once you get into the match, you always like to sort of continue it on. But it wasn't that big a difference.

Q. What did you do during the break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just sat in the change rooms. Did nothing.

Q. Sat where?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In the change rooms. Just not a lot. Just watched the monitor, then got ready to play once. Then, you know, standing out with our bags, then we got told it was raining again. So we had to sit down and go through it all again.

Q. Did you watch it on TV, the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The rain or...?

Q. The replay of the first set.

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

Q. How many times have you lost a 5-2 lead in a set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I've definitely done it before, I think, in some stages. Yeah, I didn't make too many first serves. But apart from that, I didn't hit the ball that bad. You know, he just raised his level of game. To his credit, he played some huge points there to get the two breaks. At 5-3, it was a huge opportunity there, if I was able to get into a third set. I felt like at 5-2 I was starting to get on top of him - breaking for the second time that set.

Q. Where do you feel this leaves you in preparation to defend the US Open title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hitting the ball well. You know, I've gone up another level since Toronto, which is nice. That's all I can really ask for out of the tournament. Sure, I'm disappointed. I would have loved to have won another tournament like this. But, you know, when you sit back tomorrow and you go through what your preparation is going to be, you know, the next two weeks going into The Open, well, it's going in the right direction at least at the moment.

Q. What are your next two weeks like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm playing Indy then a week off.

Q. Carlos - I don't know if this is exactly accurate - he said he thought you lost nine matches this year, and seven of them were to Spaniards or South American players. He felt like you maybe had trouble with that style of play. Would you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know.

Q. If so, what gives you trouble?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I lost to a few of them this year, but I don't think it gives me that much trouble. I think I have beaten them a lot as well. You sort of don't see the first rounds I chop up a lot of the Spanish and South American players as well. Obviously, the guys I've lost to, they've been class players. I lost to Moya, what, twice on clay, now here as well. You know, he's a former world No. 1 and a definite - when he's playing his best - Top 5 in the world. So, you know, that's no bad loss. You know, some of the other guys - Gaudio I remember losing to on clay, which at the time wasn't a bad match because he'd won about 15 matches in a row. Then there was Alberto Martin, first round of the Aussie Open when I wasn't 100%.

Q. What strategy did you have today against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously tried to, you know, get into, you know, as many rallies as possible and give myself a chance to take the initiative up before he started making me run and moving the ball well. As soon as he gets around and whacks that forehand and he's on the offense, he's an extremely tough player to put back on the defense from that position. I felt like I played pretty well, you know, doing that. But then my serve just let me off once I got to 5-2 in the second set. You know, I was serving well and making, you know -- serving well on big points. When I was deuce and break points down, I came up with a big serve. Then I wasn't able to do that. I think that was sort of the main difference and maybe the turning point from 5-2 up and losing at 7-6.

Q. Did the double-fault in the tiebreak just kill you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. But then again at 5-4 I went for a second serve ace and it paid off. You know, shit happens.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 27, 2002, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Nicolas Coutelot 6-2 6-3 6-3


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. Is it a different feeling coming out there as defending champion this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways, I guess. I think you can -- it's always nice, I've always found, to come back to a place that you've played well in the past, whether it's a small tournament or a big tournament. Obviously, as I said before, the tournament, this place changed my life for so many reasons, this time last year. This is where I got my big breakthrough. It's an extra special feeling to come back here. Yeah, I think as soon as I walked on the court and sucked in a bit of the atmosphere, a few of the memories came back of the final against Pete last year. I think, for me, that's a plus, you know. A lot of people may get, you know, a little bit negative, I guess, about it or feel the pressure, but, you know, I enjoy coming back here and, you know, defending my title and see how I go this year.

Q. Does it make you any more or less hungry?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. You're always hungry for the Slams, I guess. I've won a couple of them now. You know, it's a nice feeling to get more now, I guess.

Q. How's that cold? Are you able to take any medication for it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. You know, obviously you can tell I'm not quite 100 percent. But, you know, I've had it since I lost in Indianapolis, so I started feeling it coming here. Actually hung around for a long time. Probably got worse half way through last week and, you know, I look back and it's nice it happened last week rather than this week. At least if I feel like I can get through the first few matches, I'm only going to get better.

Q. From time to time, you have conversations with Patrick Rafter. He's the last person to win this tournament twice in a row. I wonder whether he imparted whether or not there's any particular thing that's important to know when you're trying to repeat as champion here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't brought it up with Pat. You know, I think he's too worried about trying to be a father at the moment. I haven't even brought up, you know, trying to defend the title and be the next -- try and be the next person to try and do exactly what Pat did. My mind, it's an extremely tough task, I guess, to come back to a place, you know, and have the pressure on you again and try and come through seven tough matches. But, then again, I think it sort of suits the way I play in the big matches as well. You know, I think I play the big matches as well as anyone these days.

Q. Was it hard to get into a rhythm against him?


Q. He seems to be...

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never seen him play. I only heard a little bit from a few of the other guys in the locker room. Yeah, you know, certainly surprised me a couple of times. Obviously, the first game said it all, he was 30-love up. Next thing, he sprayed four back fences basically and gave me the break. But he's a good player. He's a typical French player, I guess, extremely talented, got every shot in the book and very flashy. And if they're on, they're very tough to beat. That was pretty much -- I knew that sort of going into it. It's tough playing a guy you've actually never seen hit a ball before as well.

Q. How did you handle the long wait?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was -- obviously, I was sitting in the locker room watching everyone cramp, I guess. I didn't do a hell of a lot. It's obviously -- it's tough for players not knowing when they're going to go on. At least I pretty much knew Venus was going to go pretty quickly (smiling). But then again, I got told that I may be moving courts, as well, for the night session. So, you know, I'm all of a sudden looking around at what's happening on Armstrong, Grandstand, in case they did move me and I had to prepare a bit quicker. It's tough, but that's tennis. Unless you're first match on, you never have a deadline when you're actually going to be out there. That's the ups and downs of tennis.

Q. When you're looking around at the other matches, did you see what happened to Mark?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I saw a little bit. I was having lunch at the time. I only saw the replay. I didn't see it actually happen. But it was a strange fall. I think, you know, looked very similar, I guess, to what happened in Wimbledon a few years ago. I got no idea how bad it is. You know, I saw him icing his knee afterwards, then he left pretty much after that. I guess he's going to see, you know, if there's, you know, some serious damage done or not. Until then, I don't think anyone's got an idea how bad it is. I'm sure he probably, obviously, feared the worst, but then again it wasn't probably quite as bad as what happened Wimbledon three or four years ago because he kept playing a few more games. Could pull up, you know, I guess.

Q. As the No. 1 player in the world, do you get a tremendous amount of attention? Some say that you have some responsibilities. My question really relates to us as the media. What's your view, your philosophy on the media? Do you see us as a pain in the neck, as adversaries, as responsible, in part, for your fame? What's your approach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I see it, you know, as a way to connect with the fans I think, is probably the biggest. Obviously, I guess responsible for, you know, if you're in the papers, then a lot of the publicity is going to be out there and you're going to be thrown in the spotlight a lot more than if you're not noticed I guess and not written about. In that way, obviously, I've been thrown in the spotlight, I guess, at a very young age. I've had to deal with, you know, being in the spotlight since 15 or 16 really. But it's part of being a professional athlete. Yeah, I think, you know, the biggest thing is trying to connect to the fans I guess because the fans don't see that much of you off the court as, you know, they only basically see you play your matches and that. The media's probably the biggest way for people to find out about the person.

Q. Do you think you were treated unfairly with the whole brouhaha and fine relating to the ESPN interview? Do you think that was an unfair treatment of you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot of people lied. I think that's a known fact. I've got no doubt that I'm going to win, there won't be a fine at all. I spoke to a few journalists from Australia. Everyone thinks I don't talk to them, but I do. For me, that was a way to get my side of the story. It was all one-sided coming out. It was just absolute lies coming out. So that was probably the most disappointing thing about it. You know, I really didn't want to come out and make a big deal of it. It sort of blew off. I felt like I was, you know, coping the brunt of it. I felt the ATP was sort of just riding the wave and, you know, as I said before, there were so many guys just making stories up in there, just to throw it in, I guess to save their job.

Q. Who was lying?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The ATP people were lying. A lot of times there was -- always ATP spokesperson, no one ever wanted to put their name to it.

Q. They have a way of changing the stadium court every year, different speed.


Q. Anything different this year? Faster? Slower? About the same? If it has changed, does it suit your game better than it did last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's probably, you know, a tad slower, I guess. I was listening to the commentary last night, I don't know if this is true, they said they put three layers instead of four or something on the court, I heard someone say. I think McEnroe said it. If that's the case, I don't know why they do it. You know, I don't know if it benefits me or makes that big a difference. It's probably going to quicken up, the more play it has on it over the two weeks. I don't find it to be that big a difference, you know. I've spoken to a few guys. They've actually said some of the outside courts are playing pretty quick. I think the thing that tournaments have to do is put all the courts the same pace. You know, I think that's the biggest thing. I'm not that concerned about how the pace of the courts are playing, whether it's Australian Open or US Open, obviously the clay and grass is pretty much the same, I guess. But hardcourts, as long as there are 24 courts or whatever, are the same pace, I've got no problem.

Q. Don't the Slams try to accommodate their own players though? You go to Paris, maybe the speed of the clay courts there are conducive to their players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I haven't put any requests in for the Australian Open yet. Would be a good idea. Haven't thought about it. I'm -- I don't know. Maybe Pete and Andre have spoken, Roddick, I don't know, here. To me, it's not a huge difference on last year. I don't think it favors one particular style of play too much.

Q. What CDs are you listening to these days to get yourself psyched for the matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Believe it or not, I still listen to Jimmy Barns (phonetic), went and saw his Raw tour end of last year, he gave me tickets. I got to meet him and, you know, that's probably my number one. Saw him live as well.

Q. Some newspaper writers have suggested that you're the only serious contender for this title. Do you think that's right?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that's rubbish.

Q. Who do you think your main challenge is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's a lot of challengers. Most people know who they are. Obviously, Agassi, Safin are probably the two biggest. Roddick's up there, for sure. He plays -- obviously, I think we all saw how well he played here last year. Haas, Henman, Rusedski, Ferrero. There's a lot of guys. I think it's getting more and more open, considering so many of the good, typical clay court players are able to do well and win -- Moya was another one. I'm forgetting guys; I know I am. But there's a lot of typical clay court players who are doing better and better on hardcourts these days and getting more confident. They see a guy like Carlos come out and win Cincinnati, and they spear each other on and say we can beat the big hitters and big servers. I think it's an extremely tough field this year.

Q. There were a lot of injuries today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know.

Q. There's been seven today, which is a record.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What was it?

Q. Seven have gone out in the first round, a record.


Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got no idea. Obviously, you know, I've said in the past with the tournaments, I think there's too many. But whether that's why seven people went out today, I got no -- well, first round, I got no idea.

Q. Just to finish up on the previous questions, I mean, to say that the ATP was lying, obviously, is a strong comment. Could you tell me what their lies were?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was basically about the timing of the whole situation, when they notified me, the whole little details they put into it, which tries to make their story a lot stronger. Where, in the end, it's basically just crap.

Q. You weren't notified?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. When I notified them that I was going to do it, just to get it all out of the way, the time was, I think they said 15, 20 minutes, it was an hour. That's an hour before the match we went serving to try and find the ESPN cameras. No one came back to us. Jason could not find one person from the ATP to ask. Then it got to five minutes before, Jason eventually found someone, they said, "No, it's too late now. You're going to get fined." What could I do about it?

Q. Who's Jason?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Jason Stoltenberg, my coach.

Q. Did they not tell your management company on the Wednesday before that you were required to do this? And again on Sunday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If you want to get the written scripts out, it was they -- my management company had spoken to Mark Miles and the ESPN producer and I was going to do the interview after the first round. That's how it was left. Mark Miles was happy with that, then the ESPN producer was happy with that. There was one person under Mark Miles who wasn't. So, you know, the rest of you can get my quotes later.

Q. You mentioned Andre before. He has a lot of weapons. Some people feel his strongest role is that of a strategist. Can you talk about that a little bit, what it's like to go up against him? Is he really one of the toughest strategists out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He is. He knows everything about the game. He's been around it for so long. He knows how to, I think we all saw last time, when he plays those young guys who are a little bit raw, I guess at the moment, he's able to just knock them out routinely, every time. You know, he's -- he hits the ball so well from the baseline. He never, you know, shanks a shot. Everything's in the middle of the racquet. He obviously returns extremely well. He works on his serve, which gets him a lot more cheap points. I think he's worked on his whole game plan a lot better, I guess, over the last few years, which has made him be able to stay at the top of the game, considering he's 31, 32 years old now.

Q. Have you adapted any of his approach yourself? There's a lot of comparisons to your games as far as being strong returners. Is he somebody you've looked at over the years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When I was growing up, for sure. Because I'm not the biggest guy around, I never was gonna be. I look to a guy like him because in so many ways, obviously, my returns are, you know, not bad as well. The biggest thing was he was able to win on all four surfaces. That gave me a lot of confidence going into the grass court season. That's one of the main reasons I believe I was able to win Wimbledon and that I had it in me. You know, I draw a lot of confidence from him. I've hit a lot with him in the past. You know, when you're growing up and hitting with a guy like that, just how professional he is on and off the court, the practice sessions are just, it's 100 percent right from the word "go." That really helped me out when I was younger. Didn't quite, you know, know what to do on the tour, I looked up, this guy's won so many big matches and Grand Slams, I'd seen him on TV. I thought that's the way I sort of want to focus my energy on sort of being like this guy.

Q. Michael Chang was talking about your speed the other day. He said your anticipation, your explosiveness, your quickness, also, just your determination, your fierceness to get to the shot was important. Could you talk about that as a component of your speed element.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I'm pretty hungry out there. You know, I don't go out there and, you know, go easy on any points, I guess. But it's not something that I've deliberately told myself to do. It's just in me, I guess. I don't know why I do it. I try and hustle every ball down and, you know, it really doesn't matter if I'm diving over the hard court or whatever, I'm going to try and get that ball back and make him play one extra shot. Sure, it helps to win a lot of matches. But, you know, that's just part of my game, I guess.

Q. You've impressed hundreds of thousands of fans. Have you ever impressed yourself with a get?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a couple, but... Can't remember them (smiling).

Q. Very important question: Wayne Carey.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's gonna be good. Yeah. Focal point up forward. We're gonna win the flag this year anyway, so... Go back-to-back next year.

Q. You got to beat Port first.

LLEYTON HEWITT: We might see them in the prelim.

Q. You've had, in the past, with your viral infection, some breathing problems. You've got through matches. How does the cold -- is this in any way, by the way, related to that virus? Have the doctors told you it could be? Secondly, how is the breathing different in this situation as it has been in the past when you had the viral infections?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just -- no, I don't think it's connected in any way. I just think it's, you know, sort of like the flu, basically. Sort of felt it coming on, and, you know, I sort of hit my worst probably midway through the end of last week. I feel like, you know, within myself, I feel a lot better. Obviously, I don't sound great. I just feel a little bit congested at the moment. You know, breathing-wise, I don't feel too bad, really.

Q. Energy level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty good. As I said, within myself, I actually felt worse towards the end of last week. I felt there was a couple of days there when I was struggling, able to get over that hurdle. Now within myself, I don't say I'm probably the best. But energy-wise and that, I feel pretty good. I think every day I'm getting better.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 29, 2002, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Noam Okun 7-6(7) 6-4 6-1


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Very satisfactory.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always tough when you don't know the guy you're going to play. You know, the first set was pretty much feeling him out. He was, you know, a pretty good player. Slapped a few balls around, didn't have too many weaknesses. He just got a little bit tight, I think, when he had a few opportunities to close out the first set. That's where I was able to get out of the first set and sort of take my game to another level from there on.

Q. How is your overall confidence at the moment? Sky high? Getting there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Getting there, I think. I still feel like there's a lot of room for improvement. It's a great thing, I'll tell you, to be into the third round, not having wasted too much energy so far. You know, I'm still here battling along. It's a good feeling.

Q. Do you feel any pressure? People are expecting you to win. You are a defending champion.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, there's definitely a little bit more pressure. I don't really feel like it affects me too much. I feel like I'm able to block it out pretty well. You know, I've had to deal with it, I guess, from a certain extent as I've been going up. I've done everything at a young age, I guess, had expectations sort of put on me. I've been able to sort of jump every hurdle. Now I don't really know where to go now. I've just got to sort of try to stay there. Obviously, everyone's after you. I feel like I can go out there, though, and put myself on the line every time, which is a good thing.

Q. You said prior to Wimbledon that you then knew because of last year here what it took to win a Grand Slam. Presumably now, after winning Wimbledon, that's reinforcing those beliefs.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if it can work twice (smiling). You know, obviously I guess after the first one, that's the key. You really start believing that you're capable of winning seven best-of-five set matches over two weeks. And, two, you overcome that hurdle. I still think, you know, in guys that haven't won it, there's still a little bit of doubt in their mind, in the back of their head somewhere, "Maybe I'm not capable of putting seven tough matches back to back together there." You know, sure, now I've won two, fantastic. But I'm no more confident, I guess. I still believe that I can go out there and I know what it takes. But I think that more so happened after the first one here last year.

Q. For your opponents, do you think that makes a difference at all?


Q. When you get into the fact that you know how to win The Open, to go through seven matches to do it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess maybe more towards the end of a Grand Slam, I guess it may help you if you've been there. Guys have to win their first at some stage. Obviously Marat and I were able to do it here back-to-back years. I'm sure Pete sort of felt he had a little bit of the wood over us because he had that experience of Grand Slams. Sooner or later, guys like myself or Marat are going to break through and win our first. You know, there's always a time I guess that people are going to, you know, win their first one. You know, I think sometimes you get into the closer matches towards the end of Slams. Some people who haven't been to finals or held up that trophy start to get the yips a little bit, start doubting themselves.

Q. Next round is you and James Blake. We get a match that everybody is waiting to see. Both better players than you were a year ago. You have a couple of Slams now. He's a much better player than he was a year ago. How does a stadium full of 22,000 people affect the two players on the floor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't think it will affect us both in a huge way because, obviously, I've played a lot of matches in that situation, and he's starting to play more and more. Obviously, Davis Cup ties that he's played, you know, winning his title in Washington, I don't think it's going to -- I don't think nerves are going to play much of a part in it. It's going to be a tough match, there's no doubt about it.

Q. This is New York, where people are going to be screaming, vocal.

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, you know, I had all that I guess last year here. I know how to handle it. I played a young American, Roddick, in the quarters here last year. I had to play Pete, the older guy, who obviously everyone wanted to see him back winning another Slam, in the final. I've had to deal with it in matches. I feel pretty comfortable that I can block out all the outside distractions, get on with the job. Quite often I rise to big matches.

Q. What are your thoughts, in the match against Blake last year, an episode with the lines judge was much talked about here. A year later, what thoughts do you have about that incident? Do you think about it now? Do you think about it differently? Do you wish you handled it differently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think about it at all.

Q. Not at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. James and I are fine about it. You know, we spoke straight after the situation. That was pretty much the end of it. I've played James twice since then. We're not the best of mates I guess off the court just because we're from different countries. I think we're as close as you can be. I guess I've been in a lot of tournaments the same. We played straight after the US Open in Tokyo last year and also Miami this year.

Q. Where you're coming from, it's a dead issue?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I'm pretty sure where James is coming from, as well.

Q. You still sound nasally. Is the cold still there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not much has changed. Two days ago. I think I sound worse than I feel, let's put it that way.

Q. Are you seeing somebody about it, taking anything?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. There's not a lot I can take. Just try to guts it out.

Q. Is there the danger it could spiral into worse as opposed to better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess there's probably maybe a chance of that. I don't know. You know, I took a little bit of medication last week. As soon as the tournament starts, I'm off everything. I'm just concentrating, trying to drink plenty of fluid, this stuff here, keep myself hydrated as much as possible. You know, there's always a chance I guess that you could get a second re-infection or stuff like that. You can't sort of worry about that too much. To me, I feel like I'm over the worst part.

Q. Do you relish a match like Saturday's, James Blake, as opposed to today's?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think over the years, I've definitely played better in the bigger matches. I've definitely played my best tennis in tough pressure situations with a lot of crowd, big crowd. You've just got to look at my Davis Cup matches I guess to sort of see. Brazil and Barcelona, doesn't get much -- more hostile crowds than those two places. I was able to handle the situation pretty well, I felt. I played some of my best tennis I've ever played.

Q. You look forward to it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You never look forward I guess to your opponent getting all the support and you getting nothing. But it doesn't worry me. I'm able to block it out. As I said, it was sort of the same case last year when everyone wanted to see a Roddick-Sampras final. I pretty much screwed that up for them.

Q. You look at the elements of James' game, forehand, athletic, but not up at the net. Is that the sort of player that's likely to give you more problems than a guy like the Israeli today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think there's one style of play that I prefer to play more or find easier to play. A lot depends on how guys play on the day, I think. I've lost to, you know, some of the best serve and volley players around, I've lost to some of the best baseline players, I've lost to guys who mix it up like James does. Then again, I've beaten a lot of different kind of players as well. I think a lot depends just on the day, how the situation is, how both players are feeling in the match. I don't think you can sort of write up too much what type of player I prefer to play or not.

Q. You will have heard by now that Mark Philippoussis won't be available for the Davis Cup. Do you have any thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously bad news, not only just for the Davis Cup tie, but for his career, I guess. Coming back from three knee surgeries I think it's been. If you can draw a positive out of anything, I don't think he has to have an operation, which is a good thing. At least I'm guessing he's going to have to start again at the start of next year in the Australian circuit. The poor guy has had so many injuries, you can't feel -- you feel so sorry for him. If he got a bit of a break, I'm sure I think everyone knows what he's capable of doing.

Q. Do you think we'll be all right without him?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope so. You're never a certainty. I feel pretty confident within myself. I feel confident that Wayne, Scotty and Todd, we can all do the right thing, get us back in the World Group.

Q. Today against Noam in the first set, you seemed to be a bit more tentative than you usually are. Was that more him or more you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's more feeling a guy out, you know, when you haven't played against him a lot. I'd never seen him play before, never seen him hit a ball. You try and feel him out. I didn't know how hard he hits the ball. I didn't know whether he was going to serve-volley or stay back. I was just trying to get a sense of how he's going to play for most of the match. If I lost the first set, at least I would have been better prepared to try him in the next three.

Q. What do you think about Mark Miles saying the fine they gave you was outrageous, they're going to reduce it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not going to get into it anymore. I'm here to play a Grand Slam. Mark's obviously made his comments. My management company have a statement on my behalf, as well. If you want to get that, you can find it somewhere.

Q. What's the assessment of your first serve today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty ordinary.

Q. Why?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Hopefully they're going to go in two days' time.

Q. Do you wish you would have been able to talk to Mark before the tournament started, because obviously outside distractions aren't a good thing?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He had plenty of opportunities at different times to talk to me. Nothing really happened. You know, I'm just sort of leaving it at that for now.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


August 31, 2002, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - James Blake 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-3


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. It seems that at a Grand Slam you always have one of these turnaround matches where it goes, you're able to kick on. How do you feel about your prospects now, the way you're playing after this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel good. You know, hopefully the body is going to pull up pretty well in a couple of days' time. You know, I knew it was going to be an extremely tough match before I went out there. I was prepared to lay it all on the line. You know, in the end it's only a few points here and there in a five-set match like that. You've got to take your chances. In the end, I was able to. I feel like I've stepped my game up, you know, since the first couple of rounds, as well. You know, for me, it's all positive.

Q. Cold is getting better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's not a huge factor.

Q. What did James say to you after the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He just said, "Congratulations. Sorry about some of the crowd," something.

Q. Did you hear what someone in the crowd said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't hear a lot of it. No, I didn't hear much. I was pretty focused out there today.

Q. You seemed very in control of your emotions all the way through, no shouts, screams. Did you feel that was an important element in the way you needed to play today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I went out there with the same attitude that I've taken into Davis Cup matches. I really felt that in my head I just got it in that I was playing for Australia out there. That was my whole mindset, you know, as soon as I walked on the court. When I felt like getting fired up, looking over to my bench, I tried to use all my positive energy when I needed to in that way. Apart from that, I just tried blocking everything else out. I worked a lot on going into that Spanish Davis Cup final a couple of years ago with Newk and Rochey. Newk and I sat down and had gone through a lot of things back then. I sort of drew strength from that, I guess, especially probably the match I played against Costa, winning in five, and also how I handled the situation down in Brazil against Guga.

Q. Talk about the fifth set. You had some shaky points there. Looks like you lost your rhythm.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played well in the fifth. I got off to a good start. I knew I had to. I didn't want to go behind early and then, you know, him have the total momentum after swinging the fourth set around, getting on top early in the fifth. I was able to do that quite well. I was able to hold my serve quite well pretty easy in the first few games. I tried to step it up. He didn't give me too many chances to step it up too much on his service games. I felt like if I could have got a bit of a start in one of his service games, the opportunity was there, that's when I was going to try to nail it down and take it. Obviously that came when I got to Love-15, Love-30, then Love-40 eventually in that game. I was able to step it up, sort of raise the bar a little bit. From there on, it's still tough to serve it out, though.

Q. What would you say would be the two or three points in the match which turned it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously when there's only one break in the fifth set, I guess that game obviously means a lot. You know, won it to Love. There wasn't one point. Getting off to a good start one of those first two points, I was able to get Love-15, Love-30, trying to take my chances from there. Apart from that, I can't remember that long ago. Obviously, the first set I lost, I felt like I was in control of the first set early, then I felt like he was probably having the better session towards the end of the first set. He had a few set points there, at least one. In the breaker, I felt like I was the better player early. Hit a double-fault at 5-All. That sort of changed things. He got the first set. The momentum was with him. To my credit, I was able to hang in there and try and get up an early break in the second.

Q. James said one of the things he was really proud of in the match was that any kid watching the game could watch it and enjoy it and say, "I want to be like either of those two players." Is that something that is in your mind, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, when I'm out there playing, I'm concentrating on other things, I guess. But, you know, obviously for sure, I think it's great for the game to have, you know, tough matches, especially two young guys I guess going out there and giving everything they've got out there. I don't know how long the match was, probably three and a half, around that area. It's tough conditions out there. You know, to see us not give an inch the whole match for three and a half hours to four hours, I think it's something we can both be proud of.

Q. I don't think anyone wants to go on and on about this whole race thing. In the fourth set when the woman called out, a bunch of us were even further away than you were, it was really crystal clear what she said. You stopped before serving in your motion.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't hear what she said. I stopped because James turned around. I was ready to serve. I've got no idea. I didn't hear a lot of what the crowd said all day.

Q. Would it disturb you to hear that she said, "Don't let him beat you, James, he's a racist"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You're always going to get some nutters in the crowd. Can't do much about it.

Q. How do you like music during the changeovers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Music? It's different. I'm not going to get up and dance, but it's all right (smiling). It is different. It's weird. I make myself not look at the score boards. I've got no idea what they're showing up there, whether it's - I don't know - video clips or what the hell it is. I hear the music. Yeah, it's good for the game I think because it gets the crowd, you know, involved in change of ends, whereas a lot of sports don't have like a little bit of a time-out, I guess. In that way, I think it's good for the game.

Q. You weren't watching when they replayed the ball that was called out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't look at the screen once for my three matches or two matches that I played, and I didn't look at it last year.

Q. It's not distracting to have the action replay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not for me. For other players, maybe. I think somebody, maybe Agassi, got it turned off last year, the screen, at one stage during his match. For me, it hasn't been a problem. I don't even -- the whole time when I'm sitting down or playing my game, I don't look up there. I look to a couple of score boards now and then, that sort of situation, on the side of the court.

Q. Would you say that's the least emotional you've been in a big match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really, no. I think last year I wasn't that emotional probably in some of my matches, you know, towards the end of the tournament. I felt like I got fired up today when I needed to. I felt like I got fired up in some of those matches. Even away Davis Cup matches, as well. I don't know why.

Q. Early in your career, insiders have noted that you have kind of an affection for Patrick, especially in your early years.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Patrick Rafter?

Q. Yes. In recent years, you usually are a pretty tough customer on court. You were saying "nice shot" a couple times, applauding. Do you have a little bit of respect or even affection for James, even though he's a tough opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a nice guy, no doubt about that. I think everyone knows that. Yeah, I say a lot of "good shots" to a lot of opponents. It's not just because I'm playing James out there. Maybe he hits more good shots than some other guys I play, I don't know. Yeah, he's a nice guy. We get along fine off court.

Q. Is there any significance coming into this event as the Wimbledon Champion? Do you feel any different at all than perhaps this time last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, a lot's happened since sitting here, what am I, into the Round of 16. If you take it a year ago when I was in the Round of 16 there, I was a bit of a pidge really. I hadn't done anything. I was sort of in the Top 4 or 5 in the world. I hadn't made a breakthrough really in the Grand Slams yet. Made one semi here. A lot of things have changed since then. I've been able to, you know, obviously go -- I won here last year, then just sort of extended that, went after No. 1. I'm sort of just riding the wave basically. Obviously, start of the year wasn't as I hoped. I can't blame myself because of that, though. The clay court season was tough. But then obviously as soon as I got on the grass, I felt fantastic. I think the confidence I had on the grass, especially at Wimbledon, you can take it into a little bit of account, helps you with confidence. I was able to put together another, you know, seven tough matches there. Obviously, one was especially tough in the quarters against Schalken.

Q. Adelaide will play Brisbane at Brisbane. Do you think they can win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We can win, mate. We've probably got the best record. You know, we've got the double chance anyway.

Q. Would you be willing to give us non-Australians a seminar on Aussie Rules football?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Take too long. How about you just say best game in the world, leave it at that.

Q. What is it about you when you get into a fifth set that makes you so confident?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know about confident. I play each game sort of on its merits, I guess. I know it's sudden death. I think I'm obviously in pretty good shape. Mentally I'm as tough as anyone, I guess, on the tour. I think those two are probably the biggest factors. My five-set record isn't the greatest, I don't think. I've won a few close ones, though, in the last couple of years in Slams. Obviously, I screwed it up against Escude in the Davis Cup final last year. But apart from that, you know, it's not bad.

Q. For the years you were with the Davis Cup team, watching Patrick, who went through a period there where he was just phenomenal in five-setters, did you get anything from that, inspiration from that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, obviously -- I don't know how good Patrick was before. I can't remember. I don't know if he was unbelievable.

Q. Really good.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I'll take your word for it. It doesn't surprise me. Obviously, you know, the one that made me want to play Davis Cup for Australia was obviously that first match I saw, two sets to love down, against Pioline on grass, White City. That's my first ever Davis Cup that I've seen live. You know, that basically said to me, "I want to be out there as soon as possible." That was it. In that way, that five-setter of Pat's, maybe it helped Australian tennis a little bit.

Rusty - always # 1 in my heart

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