Lleyton's Press Conference - Page 7 - MensTennisForums.com
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 2, 2002, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jiri Novak 6-4 6-2 7-5



Q. Is three sets what you needed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good, especially it's 12:30 now. Obviously, you know, I was meant to be a night match anyway, just kept getting pushed down and down in the courts. So, you know, I was still planning on playing going on 8:30, I guess anyway. Wasn't a huge difference for our match rather than some of the other matches that had to hang around all day.

Q. Were you happy with the scheduling today? One stage we were told you were unlikely to play at all. You were put on the Grandstand court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I was in my hotel room the whole day basically, just basically preparing to play on Stadium tonight. Jason called me and said they're thinking about moving me to Armstrong. We didn't know what time. They were going to give me not before 8 or 9 o'clock. Next thing, I hear a rumor going around they were probably going to call off my whole half, which seemed to me pretty sensible at the time. They're not pushed for that many days at the moment. Then I found out that I'm going on Grandstand. So it was a bit of a shock. But I was prepared to play a night match anyway, so it wasn't a big deal.

Q. Do these schedule changes, court changes bother you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. It's tennis. You can't do much about it. You know, I would have liked to have played on Stadium, but it's no big deal to me. I knew -- I'd actually played Jiri two years ago in the third round here when I played the semis, I played him out in Grandstand. I wasn't that disappointed about going back out there.

Q. You can do something about it. They can put roofs on the courts.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we could do that. Be like Australia. Be a good idea.

Q. They build a brand spanking-new stadium here three, four years ago. You would have thought sense would have prevailed.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's why I think the Australian Open and the players and organizers, sponsors, I guess, and TV is perfect. It's so easy, especially now we've got two. It's a dream down there. You know, I'm lucky enough that most of my matches are going to be on those two courts. I'm going to know I'm going to play at least when I'm scheduled to play. Sometimes it's a bit of a disadvantage if you go indoors and other guys in your half don't get to play, stuff like that. At the end of the day, TV is a huge thing for tennis. No offense to all the old matches and stuff, when you got to watch it four or five times, it wears you out a bit (laughter).

Q. How would you rate your game today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was pretty good. You know, I was -- first few games I felt like I wasn't quite hitting the ball well enough. I was feeling him out, I felt like. I was getting in good rhythm. I was able to step it up. I felt like I started playing pretty well. In the third set he sort of raised his game a little bit. He was on a bit of a downer the whole second set pretty much. He was able to stand up. He's a very underrated player. His serve, when it's on, he's tough to break. He hasn't got a huge serve, but he hits the corners well and returns well. He's putting pressure on your service games every time. I felt like I served really well tonight, which was a huge thing against a guy like Novak.

Q. Not to keep bringing it up after each match you play, but it was a little bit more of an intimate setting today. A couple of heckles I heard from the crowd. Because it was a smaller venue, could you hear that? Do you tune it out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I block out most things out there. I just don't know what I'm thinking, my mindset, sort of out there -- I don't, you know, when I get fired up, obviously I like to feel the emotion of the crowd. Very rarely do I hear much of what anyone says - even if my parents or my coach or whoever, comments in the corner, people are saying "Come on" and stuff. I sort of hear it vaguely, but I can't really -- I'm in that much of a zone out there that it doesn't affect me too much.

Q. No different mindset than when you're playing a match that everyone wants to see and talk about and write about to going into one in the next round that is almost not

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't even care about it.

Q. Almost. Strange situation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's different I guess because, you know, normally, you know, I guess the further you go in the tournament it's gonna get more and more hype. Obviously the third round against James was a pretty hyped up match, I guess, beforehand. And, you know, it was probably, you know, obviously playing on Grandstand and tonight at 12 o'clock was not the best atmosphere out there with a full house. So it's different, but, you know, you still know. That's when the great players, I think, pick up their level and try and block it out and just get the job done and get off and into the locker room and worry about the next round.

Q. Did you sense that after every first serve that had gotten in, he won the point up until you broke him in the first set? Did you get the sense that maybe after you won the first set he's thinking to himself, "It's going to be very hard for me to beat this guy three out of four when I've taken one set from him in three matches"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt pretty good going into the match. I played him three times before that, once I think when I was maybe 17 years old, 16 or 17. Then the next time I played him it was US Open, and this year I played him in Hamburg and played pretty well, I thought. Pretty convincingly beat him there on clay. So I was feeling reasonably confident going in. I felt like my game matched up pretty well to his as well. I felt like I could chase down enough of his balls to sort of make him go for sort of the wrong shot here and there.

Q. He had a lot of unforced errors.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's that kind of player, though. I don't -- as I said, I don't think he matches up great against me.

Q. 19 aces. Can you recall the last time you have done that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. But, you know, I think I served pretty well here last year, especially in, you know, the latter stages, the quarters, semis, and final. I don't know number-wise, but it was definitely up there. I felt like I had, for most of the match, pretty good rhythm.

Q. How do you think the day off now will advantage you when the other half's out playing tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's probably going to be a small advantage, I guess. But then again there's only one guy from my half's gonna get through to use that maybe to your advantage. So, you know, at the moment I'm just worried about Ferreira or El Aynaoui. I'm not concentrating on the other half at all.

Q. Ferreira's been a bit of a dark horse here but he's been playing very well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've practiced with him a bit the last few weeks. He's a bloody tough player. He's good at everything. Surprising that the last couple years he has sort of one good result here and there, winning Stuttgart. He beat me two years ago in the final there. Apart from that, he's had a lot of average losses for him I guess. It's no real surprise, I don't think to the players, to see him come out and have an opportunity of making the quarters.

Q. How would your game be different against Younes? He just lost the second set. Well, let's move over. Have you played him very much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've played him three times. I think I lead 2-1. Beat him on grass and clay and lost to him on hard court.

Q. How does he match up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player, very flashy, huge forehand. Little bit like Novak. He has a big first serve but he hits the corners very well. You wouldn't say he has a Roddick or Sampras kind of serve but it's tough to return. You know, both got big forehands, that's their strengths. Obviously got to open up their backhand as much as possible with both guys.

Q. Watching any of Andre?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't seen any of him. He hasn't spent too long on the court for me to watch it.

Q. He hasn't dropped a set. Is that sort of surprising this deep into a Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways, but I guess Andre's done that a lot of times though. He's probably the best guy at rolling over guys very quickly, I guess. Once he gets his nose in front, he's extremely tough to get back in the match with. You know, I probably would have thought that Gambill would have given him more of a match though. Apart from that, his first three matches, I couldn't see those guys doing too much against him. But Gambill, even though his record wasn't great against him, I thought Jan-Michael was going pretty good.

Q. I know you take one match at a time. You know you got to meet him in the semis.

LLEYTON HEWITT: We'll see when I get there. If we both get there, then it will be a good match.

Q. The third set today you were serving for the set, that was the only time you lost your serve. Do you have any thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I probably played a little bit negative for the first couple points. Then, you know, the last couple of points he just slapped winners off my serve. The last one I hit a pretty good first serve out wide. He picked it up, slapped it up the line. Wasn't a lot I could do about it. He sort of went out with the "all or nothing attitude," I guess, in that last game. You know, it was good, though, that I was able to try and block it out and still break the next game and hold easily.

Q. When you held serve to win, the first serve, the second serve that you hit on the first point, seemed to be quite close to him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was strange.

Q. Let it go by.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't sure if he didn't expect me, because I went for a slice out wide, I think he was just expecting a kicker to his backhand to start the point. I don't know. Was a bit strange.

Q. You trying to build your way into a Grand Slam tournament. For instance, you're probably playing better now than you were twelve months ago corresponding time. Are you where you want to be? You still want to be playing better? Where are you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty good. I've got through my matches pretty quickly apart from the Blake match. Sometimes it's nice in the first few rounds, I guess, to have one of those tough matches and get through it. It realizes, you know, how hard in some matches you got to work to get through those tough ones. Sometimes those surprise packets in the first few rounds help you, it's a little bit of a wakeup call when you go into it. Obviously I knew it was going to be an extremely tough match though, in the third round. I'm pretty happy. It's nice in these conditions and waiting, you know, seeing a round of play tonight, getting done, you know, nice to have a straight sets victory.

Q. Do you know when you are playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Wednesday, I guess. That's what I'm thinking. But if I get through one of the times, it's gonna have to be a two-day break there. I don't know what they're thinking.

Q. Seem to be well over the cold?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty good. Yeah. I feel pretty strong at the moment, so...

Q. When was the last time you addressed such an empty room?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm sure maybe a satellite. I don't know.

Q. Must have been a long time, though?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Didn't happen at Wimbledon. Yeah, I don't know.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 4, 2002, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Younes El Aynaoui 6-1 7-6(6) 4-6 6-2


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. The first set, if there's such a sort of thing as perfect, you were pretty perfect.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I came out and, you know, tried to attack from the start, and I knew that for some reason that he was pretty slow out of the blocks, I felt as well. He didn't quite serve as well; I was sort of on his serve right from the start. He wasn't quite hitting the corners. Then he got better and better as the match went on, which I expected him to do. But I was happy definitely to get off to a good start and get that first set under my belt.

Q. The wind seemed to be causing havoc with your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, was tough out there. Tough conditions. Sometimes I felt like it was going directly down the court, straight down. Then it was other times where I felt it was swirling around and I didn't know where it was coming from. Tough conditions to play in. But I've played actually a lot of matches here on that center court probably in worse conditions than today. So it's tough for both players. You can't do much about it.

Q. Did you feel that, you obviously knew he finished at 2:30 in the morning the other day. He went to bed at 7 or something.


Q. Yeah. He worked out and had some food.


Q. Went to bed at 7 o'clock. Did you know there was a likelihood that, you know, the longer it went on, the more tired he'd get?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, actually I didn't think he'd get tired. I've seen him before and I've seen him play a lot of tough five-setters, especially on clay, which is probably a more demanding surface. You know, his fitness is pretty good, I thought, in the past. I wasn't expecting him to get tired. Then again I thought maybe half way through the fourth set he was starting to struggle a little bit out there, which obviously had probably a lot to do with the other night - just throwing his whole routine out the window, I guess. You know, so that was a little bit surprising to me, that, you know, a lot of those Moroccan guys are extremely fit guys.

Q. There's a good chance you'll play Agassi. Have you given that any thought, given he's the player that's the most likely to trouble you here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's gonna be a tough match. If I have to play Andre, I've got to play as well as I can if I'm going to win. But then again he's got to play as well as he can. So, you know, we've had some pretty good matches in the past. We've never played at a Slam. That part will be interesting. But, you know, I got to go out there with the same attitude that I have to play my game and hopefully it matches up well on the day.

Q. Are you going to watch the match tonight to scout the players? Do you feel like you already know them pretty well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I know them pretty well. I might watch a little bit on TV, but not a lot. You know, got a funny feeling that if Andre gets through, I won't be playing much like Max anyway. You can throw that strategy out of the window.

Q. Five sets, surely that must help you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Some ways yes, some ways no. He's in great shape. I don't care what age he is. You know, he looks as fit as ever to me. He looks stronger than he's been probably in the past as well, and, you know, I can't recall too many matches that Andre's lost because of his fitness. So I throw his age right out the window. You know, I think he works as hard as, you know, anyone off the court and, you know, you got to put him probably in the top four or five guys I guess on tour, as the fittest guys around.

Q. When you guys both made your comebacks in San Jose, you played in the final. Coming into this, let's say you do play Andre, how much does that match give you confidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. It was probably, as you said, it was our first matches back. It's a bit different scenario now, if we play in the semis of the US Open rather than the final of San Jose - best-of-five, best-of-three set match, totally different situation. You know, I beat him a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati, but I reckon, we both can throw all those past results out the window.

Q. What's your schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a weird situation. Couple of days off then you play back-to-back matches if you get through. So I probably just will hit once tomorrow and once Friday or whatever it is, probably for, you know, half an hour, 45 minutes most.

Q. Back to Younes for a minute, how come you're playing him, he runs around that backhand the way he does, but you have such precise shots. Why is it so hard to get the ball past him when he's on the baseline? He's out of position.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sometimes, but his forehand is pretty big out there as well. When he gets around there and he can sort of whack it, it's not like you can just stand there and sort of bump it up the line. Most of the times he's attacking so you've got to actually, you know, you're running sort of to place the ball back. A lot of the times you're just happy to get it back over the net and deep to make him play another shot. Then you have to be very weary of if you push it down the line, don't quite get all of it clean, sitting there, ripe for his forehand just to whack away.

Q. Then you had to hit a drop volley.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, was a big point obviously for the break. I just had a bit of a hunch, I guess, was anticipation more than anything. He hit a lot of sort of drop volleys. I made him play low volleys. I started running probably before he hit it. It was pretty quick.

Q. On the TV John McEnroe said he thought you were probably -- looked like you were saving yourself for the big ones. Is that something you do consciously?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, you know, don't win all tough five setters and just scrape through. But I think I look forward to the bigger matches, no doubt about it. I know when to rise for the occasion, I guess. And, you know, it's not hard to get up for, you know, big matches. But I think I came out of the blocks well today and I sort of put it to him straight away that I'm defending champion here and it's gonna take a hell of a match from him to beat me out there today. In the end -- second set was huge, for me to get out of that one. Then, you know, it's nice to get through not, you know, not in tight five-setters, I guess.

Q. Still got something in the tank?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel pretty good at the moment. We have to wait and see. Couple of days off shouldn't hurt.

Q. In that match today, especially in that second set when it was tight, there were a couple of line calls that were a bit iffy. You seemed to bite your tongue and didn't get into it. There were a couple balls that looked out. One in particular you looked at it again. But you didn't sort of get too emotional out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't actually remember. I don't know. But, yeah...

Q. As a whole, you didn't seem super emotional. You just sort of stayed steady. Is that something you're trying to do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I didn't even think about it. You know, couple line calls, I can't remember. You know, I know there were some, but I felt like there were some in the first set that was probably more critical. There was one particular point where I think I won it, had to win it three times to win the point. But apart from that, I can't remember that many obvious errors.

Q. Did you see him kick the net on that breakpoint?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't see him, but I knew it was awfully close. Just at balls come over, the umpire said, "Touched," or something. I didn't know what was going on. Yeah, as soon as the umpire said it, then I realized.

Q. Do you sort of look at it in terms of, "Okay, I've won this many and this bloke won that many?"

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I don't even -- doesn't enter my mind. I'm not even going to go close to putting myself in the same category as Laver, Sampras, Agassi, whoever. I've won two Slams and, you know, at the age of 21, been No. 1, which is fantastic. It's past my wildest dreams, I guess, just to have done that. But I'm not, you know, putting anything in myself to go out there and win the most Slams or whatever. If it comes, it comes.

Q. Do you have more respect for a guy who's a prodigy and always marked as a great, great player and becomes a great player? Or a guy like Younes who was never thought to have a chance and goes on to become a Top 20 player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too much. I guess, it's totally different situation, I guess. Obviously, for the guy who gets nothing, I guess, and works so hard his whole career just to get into the Top 20, you got to take your hat off to that guy. But you got to take your hat off to a guy who's hailed as the next great thing and has so much pressure and expectation on their back. To come out and actually do it, that's another thing. You can't sort of weigh up the two things. Obviously, the pressure's huge, I guess, for young guys coming up who, you know, get tagged as, "The next big thing," from their country or whatever. But if you're able to go and do that, then that's well done.

Q. What is the most dangerous part of Andre's game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. He does everything pretty well. You know, I think just it's hard to say, to just pick one area out. But, you know, he obviously hits the ball extremely clean and extremely well from the back of the court. Dictating play from the back of the court, like he often does, with a lot of guys. It's tough to get too many cheap points off him.

Q. Is his serve underrated?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, very underrated. He's worked on his serve a lot over the last few years. He gets a lot of cheap points off of it. I think he uses his serve well for his game. A lot of guys, with different games, wouldn't be a great serve. He hits it in position where he's going to get that next short ball and pound his groundies, which he does so well.

Q. Can you imagine yourself playing a Grand Slam semifinal in ten years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. It's a long way. Got no idea.

Q. You've got two days. You said you're probably going to hit a couple times. What are you going to do the rest of the time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea, mate. Pretty boring, not gonna go sight-seeing.

Q. Sit in your room?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sit in my room most of the time. I'll be here at the courts, hanging out, doing not a lot for a couple hours. But I don't want to hang around the courts all day. Just lucky it takes half an hour, 45 minutes to go to the hotel.

Q. Like to go out to dinner?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends on the timing. No big deal to me. I've been doing both this week or the last couple of weeks.

Q. Couple of years ago when Patrick was playing the semi against Pete, he went to see Pearl Jam.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I probably won't be doing that. Probably not.

Q. You just mentioned you think it might be difficult for people who are hailed as the next big thing. Is that how you see yourself, pressure on you is enormous?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's probably, you know, I guess a lot of pressure since I came on at such a young age. I've done everything at a pretty young age. Qualifying for the Australian Open at 15, winning my first title at 16, sort of breaking into the Top 10, winning a Davis Cup, now the Slams, No. 1. You know, I think I've done everything before everyone expected me to do it and even myself. But yeah, I don't sort of worry about what other people think or what they, you know, put a tag on you or how much pressure's on your shoulders. I go out there and, you know, I give 100 percent every time I step on the court, and so far it's been good enough the last few years.

Q. So there's never been a time when you played and you're just out there and things aren't going right and you thought, "This is not gonna happen today?"

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean "not gonna happen?"

Q. Just, "This guy's too good for me?"

LLEYTON HEWITT: Back in the under-12s it probably was. I go out there and I try every point until I can't, you know -- obviously I've got to go and shake hands at the end of the match. You know, there's not one situation where I feel like I'm beaten, no.

Q. We talked about Andre. Just in case there's a bit of an upset...

LLEYTON HEWITT: We're forgetting he's got to play.

Q. Yeah. What is he like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Max plays a totally different game than both Andre and myself. He's a great competitor. He doesn't -- he shows very little emotion. He works extremely hard. He's got a big serve, big volleys. You know, he's got a big presence out in the court, I guess, but he doesn't give you much rhythm. That's probably the only thing that could put Andre or myself in any situations, if he comes out and gives you absolutely no rhythm and he's just serving up a storm, I guess, tonight against Andre. But, you know, I'd still feel at the moment that Andre matches up pretty well against Max.

Q. Did you say you are one for sight-seeing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not during the tournament, no.

Q. So you haven't been down and had a look at Ground Zero?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I went at one stage, yeah.

Q. Did you go?


Q. What did you think of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it was... It was interesting, but it was, you know, a weird -- such a weird... I had never seen it. I had never been in the World Trade Center before, so I didn't really know what it looked like. But it was... Just a huge space left empty. Sort of leaves you with an empty feeling when you walk away from the place.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


September 7, 2002, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Andre Agassi 4-6 6-7(5) 7-6(1) 2-6



Q. Obviously pretty disappointing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he was too good on the day, though. You know, I felt like I had chances there, obviously up a break in -- up a break in the first set. Just struggled in the wind there for a few games and basically that probably cost me the first set. Then in the second set, serving for it 5-3, fought back, 15-40 down, back to deuce. Sort of let that one slip as well. So could have been easily up two sets to one, I guess, rather than two sets to one down there. I felt like I was starting to get on top in the fourth at 2-1, Love-30 I had in the fourth. Felt like I was starting to get another chance there. And, you know, to his credit, he came up with four big points then. I don't think I played too badly in those points. Then I went 30-Love up in the next game. It was huge. Those two games were a huge swing there.

Q. Do you feel your serve let you down at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't serve great. I served, you know, in patches, I think. I wasn't able to -- against a guy like Andre, you got to make a high percentage of first serves. I wasn't able to do that. I was battling it out with, you know, second serve.

Q. How did the crowd affect you, Lleyton? Obviously they were very pro-Andre?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've played in a lot worse places (laughter). Didn't worry me at all.

Q. Although you won't be there tomorrow, the sense of I guess history, having Sampras and Agassi in that final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's big for tennis. It's a great matchup. Don't ask me who's gonna win, 'cause I got no idea. It's one of those things, you know... Both -- their records speak for itself. But I'm not even going to go out -- and I've got no idea. I think it just depends on the day how both guys pull up. It's gonna be a great match.

Q. When you came into this US Open, there was still a lot of lingering stuff from last year. Do you feel in a way that at the end of it all, even though obviously you're not going to win the championship, do you feel in a way it's been a good experience for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's been all right. I feel like I came here and I played as well as I probably could have. I've made the semis. I can be proud of myself for coming back here in tough situations and, you know, trying to defend your title here. Gutsing some tough matches out. There's no, you know, shame for me in losing to Andre Agassi in a semi of a Slam. He's one of the greatest players ever to live. Sure, I'd love to be out there tomorrow, but, you know, I'm sure I'm going to get a lot more chances, too.

Q. To a lot of us it did look this week that you were considerably more subdued than you've been in the past in various places. Did you feel a little bit like the place was leaning in on you?


Q. Like you had to be different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt like I got pumped up when I needed to. Just in today's match, if I needed to get fired up when I broke back or went up a break, then I did it. It's hard to get fired up against a guy like Andre when you get 30-love up, he'll come back, smack four winners and it's a waste of energy.

Q. A lot of the commentators this week have been saying this was the match that was likely to trouble you. Did you go into this match today feeling that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's a lot of guys that can trouble you - I guess, trouble me out there, but obviously Andre's one of the best players in the world. Be silly thinking that you're going to have a pushover out there. He was always going to be a big match. I think any semifinal in a Slam is a big match as well. I don't think just because I was playing Andre Agassi, it was any tougher than playing Tim Henman at Wimbledon. They're all tough matches, you know. The situation as well as the guy at the other end.

Q. Does the fact that you made the semifinals and dug deep take some out of the sting of not defending your title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I can be -- I laid everything I had out there on center court this week. I can't do anything else. I can look in the mirror tonight and, you know, know that I went out there and I gave everything I had trying to defend the title.

Q. Does it take some of the sting out of the hurt of not defending your title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I'm not the kind of person that goes out and tanks matches anyway. For me, as long as I put it all on the line every time, then I can be proud of myself. It's the same in a lot of tournaments when, you know, very rarely do you win tournaments. A lot of my losses, I can still, you know, look at the way I played and, you know, knowing that I didn't, you know, go out there and tank any points. I played as well as I could and he was just too good on the day.

Q. The last three times that you've met you've beaten him. How different was it today to those three times?

LLEYTON HEWIT: It was funny, you know. He's actually started a lot better in the past than he did today. You know, just about every match that I've played him before, he's come out of the gates straightaway. You know, he was a bit slow out of the gates today. Then I started struggling with the wind a little bit, didn't quite -- wasn't quite aggressive enough when I went up that break early in the first set. That gave him the chance to -- Andre's the kind of guy you can't give a second chance to. And, you know, he started pounding on me then, and, you know, I wasn't making enough first serves. You know, it's, of course, different. We never played a best-of-five-set match either. So in that way it was a lot different.

Q. Is it irritating or downright strange to look up and see someone who coached you for so long in his box?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. We played twice before, and... It's not that strange.

Q. Do you think that it gave Andre an advantage having a coach that knew your game so well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't work the two times before, so I don't know. You tell me.

Q. If it hadn't been at your expense today, would you think that an Andre-Pete final is a great story for tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. It's -- you know, as I said, you know, with me not being, you know -- if I'm not allowed to be in the final, then I'd love to see these two guys go for a final. I think everyone would. I think it's great for men's tennis. But sooner or later, you know, when they do retire, the only downside is people are going to keep wanting to see Agassi-Sampras finals and it's not going to be there five, ten years' time. But, you know, I think it's probably more so Sampras getting to the final more than Agassi. I think that, you know, it hasn't shocked me, but I think it shocked the media and the public more than anything.

Q. When you see the sort of hype surrounding that match and how people are talking about that match, you're the No. 1 player. Do you think you need somebody -- do you long to have somebody with whom you can build that kind of relationship and that kind of intensity over the rest of your potential careers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it would be nice to have a rivalry going like Agassi, Sampras have had for so many years, to be in as many Grand Slam finals as those two have as well. But who knows? I got no idea whether that will happen or not. You know, I've only made, you know, two Grand Slam finals. These guys have made so many. I've got to keep trying to give myself as good a possibility or good a chance every time going into Slams to get to the final. And then, you know, maybe I'll have, you know, Roddick or Federer or Safin or someone up the other end most times; I don't know.

Q. Would you like to? You'd like to have that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think it's good for tennis. Connors, McEnroe, Borg, all these guys, personalties out there. Going for Grand Slams and big tournaments, you know. This year, we've had obviously Costa and Johansson winning Slams. We haven't had the big names like Agassi, Sampras in the spotlight.

Q. Who's your pick for tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't you hear me before or not...? I said I'm not gonna make a call.

Q. Along that same line, are you surprised that nobody's stepped up? I mean, it takes a guy from sort of, you know, who's got a long resume already to stop you rather than one of, you know, your contemporaries going head-to-head with you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't know. I think we all saw how Sampras disposed of Roddick a couple of nights ago. You know, he's just not quite ready for it. There's Safin. Obviously, he's there some weeks and not there others. You know, I feel like I'm putting myself in a good position to be in most Slams now. Obviously, the last two Slams have been great - the French, made the Round of 16; the Australian Open didn't go to plan. So I feel like I'm putting myself there in a position. Whether other guys are going to step up, I don't know. I got no idea.

Q. What's your focus now? Is it year-end No. 1? To build for the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Trying to qualify for the Davis Cup. You know, that comes first I guess next, you know, what is it? A week and a half, two weeks' time. We'll try and get through that match. And, yeah, then after that, you know, I'm playing Tokyo, Madrid and Paris. I give myself a good chance of getting No. 1. You know, if I get it, great. If I don't, then it's not the biggest deal.

Q. In the tiebreak in the third set, did you feel that was going to propel you into the fourth and change the momentum?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said before, I felt like, you know, I had 2-1, Love-30 in the fourth set, I felt that was a slight opportunity for me. He closed the door on me pretty quick in that game. I didn't feel like I played that bad a game. I made him play, made him come up with winners on those four points and he was able to do it. The next game I had 30-Love, I was playing from the better end those two games. That was a big turning point in the fourth set.

Q. Do you think the people here have a more accurate idea of who you are than they did last year, who you are as a person?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways I guess. They saw how I, you know, how I handled everything I guess when I had to play American players; and, you know, how I was able to block out, you know, all the attention and everything going into the Blake match; and how I was able to put my head down and work extremely hard and dig out an extremely tough match against a talented player. For that, I guess that's another thing I can be proud of myself.

Q. Is there any quality of yours that you think the tennis public misunderstands?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I have to think about it.

Q. Would you be pleased when you turn 32 to be playing at the level that Andre's playing at now? What would that mean to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I would be happy to still be playing.

Q. With Davis Cup qualifying looming, are you heading straight back to Australia, or will you take some time out in New York?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure what I'm doing yet. We have to wait and see.

Q. Have you actually been home since Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't been home since San Jose, after the chicken pox.

Q. Are you looking forward to getting home?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's gonna be great.

Q. Do you know whether there's anything planned for you on your return?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not sure.

Q. Would you like there to be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me. I'm not thinking about it right at the moment.

Q. What are the first three things you're looking forward to doing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably going, talking to the Crows, firing them up for next week.

Q. They need a talking to.

LLEYTON HEWITT: They struggled. Next week, we have Collingwood in the prelim. Pretty good.

Q. Did you check the result on the Internet, or do you phone home?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I saw it on the Internet this morning.

Q. What did you do? What did you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, they've got their one bad one out of the way now.

Q. If you started this year and someone had said to you, "At the end of the Grand Slams, you'd be the Wimbledon Champion, reach the semifinals of the US Open," what would you have said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I would have taken it, for sure. You know, to win Wimbledon was... You know, back home, Wimbledon means an awful lot. There's no doubt in Australian tennis it's the biggest tournament of the year. For an Australian, we've done so well there in the past. I've seen how close Pat's come the last few years. You know, it meant an awful lot for me to, you know, hold up that trophy this year. So if I lost first round of every other tournament and you gave me Wimbledon this year, I would have taken it.

Q. Would it have been actually nice to have been in Australia to know what the reaction was to that? Is that perhaps one thing you've missed, not knowing what it was like to be back home to enjoy it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways I would have liked to have gone back and, you know, celebrated with friends back home, you know, with some people who have helped my career out so much in the past, I guess. Then again I had so much support coming from Australia, it was -- Wimbledon is the biggest tournament in Australia. I got no doubt about it. After I've been in -- you know, done well at the US Open, done well at Wimbledon, the faxes, the support that I've got was incredible going into the second week of Wimbledon.

Q. Lleyton, you played Andre a couple weeks ago in Cincinnati. You beat him there. What was different today? Did he play much better? Did he surprise you with anything?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I sort of -- I probably took my chances a little bit better I think in the match two or three weeks ago. I was down an early break in that one and I fought back. Then as soon as I was able to get that first set, that sort of put things in a whole different perspective than today. Fighting, it always felt like I was fighting the whole time from behind. It's tough to do against a guy like Agassi. He's probably the best front-runner around. When you give him that advantage, it's very tough to come back.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 14, 2003, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Magnus Larsson 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-7 6-2


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Magnus was just saying that he thinks a match like that is better for you than if you go through two, two and two, because it sets you up.

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me personally?

Q. Yeah. What do you think about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it's always a tough one, I guess. I'm happy to be through to the second round. A win's a win for me. Yeah, I think sometimes it is good. You know, it's a little bit of a wakeup call in some ways I guess. I didn't feel like I played my best tennis, but then again the three sets that I won was 3, 1 and 2. So wasn't like I just got totally killed in the other two sets that I lost. And I had early chances early in the fourth set and wasn't able to take them. I thought he played incredibly well for a guy that only played a few tournaments last year. I think he was definitely one of the toughest qualifiers, just for the fact that, you know, playing No. 1 seed, the crowd against you on center court, he's not scared of that. I think, what, the other 15 qualifiers would have been a little bit more scared than Magnus was.

Q. The two sets that you did drop, what went wrong there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was one service game in the second set. I don't know if you saw, but 30 -- I was up 30-15, playing all right. Magnus half put a tank volley, spun it back over the net. That could have gone anywhere. So it was a little bit -- you know, the next two points I served one out wide, he cracked a winner off my serve, big forehand. The next point, I attacked a little bit too much and made an error. Apart from that, I didn't play the set that badly. I felt like I had chances early on his serve and wasn't able to take them. But it's tough, you know, he doesn't give you a lot of rhythm out there. If he gets any kind of short ball on that forehand, no matter where he is, he tries to put it away straight away. Obviously when he's serving well, he's very tough to break.

Q. Is that one of your strengths now, to think that when someone just plays a better second, you just accept it and get on it and think, "What can I do," knowing that you can win the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's always ways I guess to try and get out of tough situations. You know, I've been in enough tight situations now that over -- I've got confidence when I get in that situation. I don't press the panic button I guess as much as I probably would have a couple years ago. That just comes with experience and being out there and sort of gaining that experience of playing the big matches and playing the big points. Yeah, it's something that I think I've handled very well the last few five-setters that I've played. Obviously the one against Ferrero in the final of the Masters Cup, I don't know if I played any other five-setters before that, the Sjeng Schalken at Wimbledon was a great one to get out of that one, also the James Blake five-setter in the third round of the US Open this year. So my five-set record's pretty good at the moment. I figure at two-sets-all, I got to try and step it up a gear. I was able to do that today.

Q. The Sjeng match was probably that time, could you see a period -- was it transitional?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. The Schalken match gave me a hell of a lot of confidence after I came back. I had matchpoints to win in straight sets. Nothing went right there in the third and fourth set. In the fifth set, I was down a break twice on grass against a guy who's confident and got nothing to lose. That was a tough situation, gave me a lot of confidence. I guess it was a big step to go on to win Wimbledon, getting past that. It's always nice to come out, have a tough match somewhere along the line of a Grand Slam. Not too many guys who don't have a scare - they're the ones that go on to win.

Q. Can you say something about Todd Larkham?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if I ever played him in sat's, a long time ago. I was trying to think about it today. We may have played, he might have chopped me. He was one of the best satellite players around when I was playing. I'm not sure if I played him or not.

Q. 1996.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I did play him. Lost right?

Q. Love and 2. I think you lost.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm pretty sure I'll get more than two games, there you go. No, but, yeah, he's obviously had a great week. I'm sure he was disappointed didn't get a wildcard. He felt like he's got something to prove. Cecil Mamiit, I hit with him a few days before the tournament started, and I thought he was hitting the ball really well. They both play very similar games I'd say. I didn't see any of the match today. You know, good on him. That's a good win.

Q. How much did you have to change your prep when a qualifier came up in the draw and all of a sudden it was Magnus, not your regular qualifier?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I didn't change my preparation too much. It's always tough playing a qualifier, especially in Grand Slams, because they've been out there, played matches, they're match tough, they've got nothing to lose. A lot of them, it's huge money to get into the Grand Slams for a lot of them. I know Magnus is very well off anyway. But it's always a tough draw I find playing qualifiers. When Magnus came out, as I said before, I think he was probably the toughest, maybe Vinciguerra was up there as well, couple of the toughest guys who you probably didn't want to draw, just because they've been in the Top 50, obviously Magnus Top 10 in the world. As I said, on court, I really looked up to Magnus a few years ago when I was younger. He was in the Top 10. I remember sitting up and watching him win the Grand Slam Cup. So, you know, I had total respect for him out there on court. I didn't take it easy at all.

Q. When did you think you had it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When I got matchpoint.

Q. It was really that tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's -- I was very relieved I guess when I got that early break in the fifth set because then I could just sort of try and go up a gear and keep holding my serve and I knew I was home then. But, you know, you just never know. He's the kind of player that could come out and just smack four winners off his forehand and break you back straight like that. I felt like I served pretty well today. I didn't lose my serve for the last couple of three sets, I only dropped it once I think in that service game that I said that he hit the tank volley that turned out all right.

Q. Was it overwhelming emotion, relief at the end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's a lot of relief after last year I guess more than anything. Losing in the first round last year, obviously feeling shocked and the whole situation, I felt like I was, you know, playing pretty well coming into the tournament, then, you know, nothing went my way. I think sort of the sour taste left in my mouth after last year, I could come out here and sort of get rid of it. I'm just going to get better and better from now on.

Q. Magnus compared you with Mats Wilander, who I think was a hero of yours.


Q. Is that a fair comparison?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well... Yeah, I don't know if I'm that good. Yeah, Mats is -- you know, I love Mats. You know, he's probably one of my, you know, maybe the favorite player. I just love the way he played. He was so cool on the court, got fired up when he wanted to, brought the crowd into it. Yeah, ever since -- he was fortunate enough to get some great results here at the Australian Open when I came and watched him as a youngster. I really enjoyed the way he played. He never won Wimbledon but he was always a contender, semifinals, quarterfinals at Wimbledon as well.

Q. Leaving aside last year, obviously different circumstances, do you feel much fresher than when you played Adelaide, Sydney usually as your leadup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pressure or...

Q. No, fresher.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Fresher, sorry. Yeah, I guess maybe a little bit. I think there's positives and negatives and that is the reason I went back to the Hopman Cup is I didn't get a good enough test last year for preparation for the Australian Open. With the chicken pox, I felt like I was playing really well coming in. Definitely wasn't the Hopman Cup's fault I lost in the first round last year. So I felt like, you know, sometimes playing maybe Adelaide or Sydney, you just get, you know, that competitive spirit. I think everyone knows once I get out on the court, I'm not going to take it lightly at all and I'm going to go out there and try and compete, run every point down, maybe wear myself into the ground a little bit. That's why I saw the Hopman Cup as an advantage this year. Hopefully, come second week of this Slam, it will pay dividends.

Q. The other Aussies have done well, especially compared with last year. Is that pleasing for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's great. Well, we're going to get Crabby or Ilie through. Jaymon played, I watched him last week on TV play against Ferrero, and I thought he hit the ball really well. He was very stiff not to win that and Ferrero went on to make the final there. So that was a great effort for Crabby, he works extremely hard. I know him pretty well, I've trained with him. Who else? Luczak, that's another hit-up partner who's been in the Davis Cup. I think he's got a real good draw for him, sort of opening up for him. He plays Renzo next. Good to see guys stepping up to play. Wayne and Flip, they're the known guys. I think the one I'd love to see is Scott Draper do well. He's a very close friend of mine. I think everyone, you know, knows how much trouble he's had. I think he's really hitting the ball well. You know, tomorrow I think's going to be a big test for him playing Albert Costa, but I believe he's good enough.

Q. At the start of the fifth set, the trainer -- end of the fourth -- the trainer came out briefly. You spoke to him. Can I ask what that was about? Was there a physical problem?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I actually sort of burnt my finger on the Rebound Ace. When I went to change my shoes there, my shoe lace snapped, I said to the trainer if you could maybe just warn him I may need something after the next change of ends. I played the next game and a half since then, and when the trainer came out, I said, "Don't worry about it. It feels fine. I'll just play with it." Sort of just precautionary. It was hurting a little bit at time, just a burn, went away straightaway.

Q. Wayne said today after his five-setter that he was inspired by the thought of having watched some of your matches and watching you dig yourself out from tough situations. Coming from a 31-year-old, how does that go down?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's great, I think, if, you know, one of the main reasons why I'm No. 1 in the world is because I train extremely hard and my never-say-die attitude. I think if the younger Australians can sort of get that into them, if I can help in that way, being a role model in that way, that makes me feel extremely good, you know. If Wayne actually was thinking about that at two sets to love down yesterday and got out of it, well, that means a lot. I've seen Wayne come back from awkward situations. He's got that kind of serve that's always going to keep him in the match anyway on most surfaces. I think it's nice to get that kind of feedback I guess from a guy that, you know, I've played a lot of Davis Cup pressure ties with.

Q. Have you had a chance to follow the Crows much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was good, mate. They're both trying to fight for a position in the back line to win the flag next year.

Q. So it was Smart and ...


Q. Bassett, yeah. Sort of thing you like to see?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's great, isn't it, in the preseason. Be aggro. May pay off next September when we win the flag.
Q. You wish?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We got the King, mate.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 16, 2003, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Todd Larkham 6-1 6-0 6-1


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A win is a win obviously for you. Is it tougher if you're wiping the floor with a fellow Aussie?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always tough playing Aussies, anyone from the same country, I guess. But, you know, this is a Grand Slam, and you've got to try and block it out as much as possible. That's why I guess I try and block out who I'm playing, you know, from whichever country he's from really and just try and play my game against theirs and see how it matches up on the day. This is such a big tournament, you can't go thinking about taking it a little bit easy out there or whatever. I had to just try and get on and off the court as quickly as possible. It's nice to do it a bit easier than I did in the first round, too.

Q. Does it put a bit of an edge around the Aussie group of players playing one another instead of us against them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. There's nothing really you can do about it. I think everyone knows that and accepts it. You know, if you're drawn to play each other, it's too bad. Basically you got to go out there and do as good a job as you can and then you'll be mates afterwards and talk about Davis Cup ties or whatever. That's always been the case, I think. Yeah, I don't think anyone's really had a problem with it.

Q. Who inspired you the most, Kim or Andre Agassi yesterday?


Q. Who inspired you most to win that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No one really inspired me too much. I just tried to get a win on the board.

Q. Were you aware of the score of Kim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I knew she won today. She cracked half an hour. It's a good effort.

Q. She said afterwards she feels a bit sad and bad for her opponent. Do you have the same emotion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always tough, yeah. But as I've said, I saw how, I guess, Andre went out there and chopped up Lee the other day, as well. You know, this is a Grand Slam. You know, you can't take any match lightly. You got to go out there and play your A game and hopefully it's good enough. I've seen so many matches won and lost when you're still cruising one or two sets up, two sets and a break, and you lose it. You just can't afford to do that in this game of tennis these days. There's too many good players.

Q. Was your need for a quick match heightened by what happened in your first match, long, tough match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always nice to have an easy match after a tough one. But, you know, I felt good out there today. I felt really good. I felt like I bounced back really well. I felt hungry. I felt eager out there. I felt quick on my feet. You know, when you put in your work before a Grand Slam starts, you've got to be prepared to play seven best-of-five set matches. You've got to be prepared to go the distance in every one of those matches. You can't be thinking about trying to get three or four, just cruise through to victory in an hour and a half or an hour and 20 minutes. You've got to be prepared to last three, four hours, maybe seven matches. Hopefully I've done enough work to be able to do that.

Q. Stepanek next. The sort of trend today is not to volley very much, but he volleys a lot. Is that going to make a difference?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough player. I've only seen him play a few times. To beat Guga again, he beat him in the end of the season in the Paris Indoors, I saw that match. He's a different kind of player. He plays with a lot of finesse. He moves extremely well. One of the best movers I think on tour. He's probably one of the most underrated players. He's really come sort of from that doubles sort of playing and then sort of joined the singles, I guess, and got better and better. I think he's learning a lot from playing. I saw him play a lot with Jiri Novak over the years with doubles. I think he's learning a lot from Jiri in the way he's stepped up to the plate and got into the Top 10 in the Masters Cup now. He's had a big win. Obviously, he's going to be a little bit tired. I've got to try and take full advantage of that come Saturday.

Q. So what's on your agenda tonight?


Q. Nice celebration?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Bed.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, we had a bit of a dinner last night. I didn't think I was going to be off this early tonight.

Q. The new shirt, is it a little bit too close for comfort to a Port Adelaide Magpie shirt? Does that not worry you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, doesn't worry me. Actually, I like black and white, I really do. I think it's actually a really nice-feeling shirt out there. I think Andre and I are the only two guys who have the actual black one with the white stripes. I like the look of it. I think it's a pretty nice shirt.

Q. Does it get hot in the sun?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The black? That's why I'm only wearing it for night matches. I'm wearing the white one with the two black stripes for the day matches. It does get too hot. I think that's probably -- if Andre plays a night match, he'll probably wear the black. I think he's wearing the white during the day as well, so.

Q. Apparently James Blake was given dispensation to wear his sleeveless shirt in this tournament. Is this something you would consider?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The sleeveless? He's wearing that?

Q. He was wearing it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I haven't really thought about it too much. You know, it's a bit of a fashion statement, I guess. For me it would be a weird feeling going out there and play with no sleeves on your shirt. At the moment, I feel comfortable just playing in a normal shirt. You know, I guess times have changed a little bit, you know, with colors and stuff out there at the moment. I'm probably not quite ready to make that adjustment yet.

Q. You just mentioned the Masters Cup in Shanghai. Do you think your winning the Masters Cup have impacted encouraging you to win the match in Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To win the tournament?

Q. Win the tournament.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, last year -- it gives you a lot of confidence, coming off winning a tournament like the Masters Cup, knowing that you're among the eight best players in the world at that tournament. You have to play, you know, incredible tennis to win such a prestigious event. But this is a new year now. It's a totally different format than the Masters Cup. You've got to get through, you know, seven best-of-five set matches, whereas in the Masters Cup there's only the final that's best-of-five sets. It's a different situation, but I guess, you know, I feel confident, I guess, coming off the last few wins I had in the Masters Cup, beating Safin, Federer and Ferrero three days in a row. I felt like I played extremely good tennis that whole week.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 18, 2003, 3th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-2 6-0


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. What was more difficult, the match or talking to John McEnroe?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always tough. I get a bit nervous talking to John. Yeah, I think it's fantastic that he comes all this way, though, to commentate. I think he really adds a lot of attention and spice to the tournament. You know, I think it's great that we have a personality like John who is able to -- I think everyone saw how much the fans love him just going out there and saying some words. He's turning into a bit of a comedian out there, as well.

Q. After the first two games, did you think you would have a tougher match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I thought it would be a little bit tougher than it turned out. It was different conditions, though, tonight compared to two nights ago when I played Larkham. The breeze was a lot stronger I felt out there tonight. It was coming straight down the court. And I was into it that first game. So it was a little bit tougher from that point of view. I didn't make any first serves I think that first game. I still had a lot of chances to hold serve. He probably played nearly as well as he could that first game. You know, it was probably one of the better games he played for the whole night. He served extremely well in the next game. From there, I felt like from that point on I felt pretty much in control of the match.

Q. Following on from John McEnroe's question to you about playing in front of a home audience, what percentage would that lift you from playing in Shanghai or playing in New York or somewhere else?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to put a percentage on it. I think especially in tight matches when the going gets tough, you sort of look there and you have 15,000 people screaming for you, I think that can really help. So far probably the test has been Magnus Larsson in the first round when I went to the fifth set, and they really helped me sort of bounce back after I lost that tight tiebreaker in the fourth, I was able to get out of it and go up an early break in the fifth. I think the crowd works both positive for me and negative for your opponent sometimes as well. It feels like they're playing the whole crowd, not just myself out there sometimes.

Q. How much of a relief is it to be into the second week after last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a big relief. You know, nothing went right last year, obviously. There was obviously a lot of pressure and expectation coming into it this year again, being the No. 1 seed, being a little bit fitter and healthier, as well. You don't have to play your best tennis just yet, as I said when I was out there with John. You just got to try and find a way to win the first few rounds, get your way into the tournament. You know, the last few Grand Slams I've been able to play some of my best tennis towards the end of the Grand Slams rather than at the start. I feel like I'm getting better and better with each match. This is the time now you really got to step it up another gear.

Q. Obviously, there was a lot of expectation on you. Given the intensity that you bring to the court, was there a lot in yourself to get through this first week, given last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just took it one match at a time. I didn't want to look too far ahead of myself. You really can't go out there and expect just to cruise through just because you're the No. 1 or 2 seed or whatever. You've got to put your head down and work extremely hard to get through the first few matches. You're playing obviously lower-ranked guys in the first couple of rounds, and they want to knock off the No. 1 or 2 or whoever, you know, the Top 10 players in a Grand Slam event. That's sort of their dream out there. So I guess you're sort of the top dog ready to get knocked off, as well. Sometimes they play better tennis against the better players.

Q. When you pump yourself, are they timed at any particular point? Is that when you feel like you're actually getting the advantage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It just comes out naturally, I guess. It's not something I think about before the match. "If I break in the second or third game, I'm going to get pumped and get the crowd into it." It just happens when I'm out there. You know, that's me, I guess. You know, there's not much I can really do about it. I like to get the crowd involved and I like to show my emotion out on the court. You know, I can't really put a time or a certain spot in the match that I'm deliberately going to get pumped up. Sometimes I break serve and I just give a little pump or yell out, "Come on." I don't know why.

Q. You said you have to lift yourself up in the second week. How much do you have to lift yourself up for the match against Younes El Aynaoui?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be a tough match. He's got a big first serve. He's got a big game. He's got a huge forehand. You know, we played a tough four-set match in the US Open in September in the quarterfinals there, in the second week. I was able to scrape through that one. He's obviously playing well. He had a tough match today against Lopez. You know, I just got to go out there and play my game. If I execute as well as I can, I'm giving myself as good a chance as I can have.

Q. Serena Williams said she's at 75% at the moment, and she times herself to peak at the finals. Can you afford to do that in men's tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. You got to be on your game I think right from the word go, as you saw in me against Larsson. There's upsets in men's Grand Slams day in and day out. Obviously Moya losing to Fish, not a lot of people would predict that. There's a lot of upsets in men's tennis. You know, that just shows the depth, I guess. You just can't take it lightly, especially over five sets, depends on the conditions of the day that the guys have played before, how much that's taken out of them. There's so many variables, I guess.

Q. The issue that's been brought up several times in the last several weeks of drugs in sport, that whole issue, what are your feelings, thoughts on the issue of drugs in sport, drug testing, whether you think it's rampant at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I'd like to think that the sport's clean, you know, as I think every other tennis player would, as well. You know, it's sort of out of my hands a little bit, I guess. You know, I believe in drug testing. I got no problem with that. But, yeah, there's not a lot I can do about it. I've just got to sort of concentrate on myself. I know I'm as clean as you can get. You know, I'd like to hope that every other opponent that I'm playing out on the tour is as clean, as well, so it makes a fair dinkum battle out on the court. You know, so far there's only been a couple of incidents where people have been caught positive. You know, the two guys who have been caught in the last couple of years, I know at least one of them was by accident, something was in vitamins or something that wasn't meant to. It's very tough when you get in that situation.

Q. Do you get tested often?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, very often. You know, the end of last year I got tested every week. I got out-of-competition testing. Yeah, from I don't know when, just before the US Open, till the end of the year, every tournament I was tested. I had out-of-competition tests a couple times in there, as well. That's a fair bit, I'd say.

Q. There's a lot of young guys in your half of the draw. How do you rate them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, they're all great players. They've all played well in big matches, as well. You know, Roddick obviously has a huge game. He plays Youzhny now. I thought he's pretty good for a while now, and it didn't really surprise me the way he handled the situation in the Davis Cup final from two sets to love down. I played him in Rosmalen and Wimbledon last year, as well. I thought he handled the situation very well. Federer is still there. Blake is still there. There's a lot of tough young guys, I guess. You know, a lot depends on just going out there on the day and see how your game matches up, I guess who is feeling a bit fitter as well. That's the big key in Grand Slams, is how you feel, if you have a couple tough matches, how you pull up the next time.

Q. With Safin no longer a chance of meeting you in the semifinals, that has to be a good thing should you get that far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have to worry about getting to the semifinals. If you make it to the semifinals, you're not playing a pigeon in it. You're playing a guy who has won, what, five matches to get to the semifinal. It's going to be no easy beat, I don't care who you play. Obviously in that situation, down in the bottom half, the favorites, I'm not sure who they play, but Blake and Federer from the top of my head are probably the two favorites to get through there now. You know, the way the game is these days, you can't take anyone lightly.

Q. Public expectations for you to win this in Australia for the first time in however many years, does that pressure sometimes get you? How do you sort of try to overcome that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just block everything out. I block all the sort of outside pressures, I guess, and expectation out. I just worry about going out there and doing the job. You know, basically just take it one match at a time. I'm not getting ahead of myself at all. I'm in the Round of 16 now. Three down, four to go hopefully. If I'm good enough, then I'll be here on the final Sunday. If not, then I'll be back next year.

Q. With regards to Safin's injury, he said it was partly due to the short off-season. I don't know whether you've been asked this summer about your feeling on what is the best date for the Australian Open.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a tough one. You know, I still feel like the Australian summer deserves to be the first thing at the start of the year. I still think it's our summer, I think it's a fantastic time to play tennis. Whether it's maybe a couple weeks later, one or two weeks later, that would probably be ideal. Obviously, it coincides with school holidays and stuff at the moment. That's another issue that people on the Australian Open organization may have some problems with. But for the players, I think it would be better in a couple of weeks later. But I definitely prefer to start the new year playing in Australia rather than going over to America or whatever, then coming back and playing, whatever, March or April. I still think starting with the Australian Open at the start of the year would be much better.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


January 20, 2003, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Younes El Aynaoui 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 6-7(5) 4-6


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That was a high-quality match, wasn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, was -- you know, it's always hard to tell when you're out there. Felt like pretty good hitting. One break for four sets, you know, high intensity like that, in a Grand Slam Round of 16, it's always, you know, I'd say pretty good tennis out there. I was just disappointing that I was on the other end of it today, I guess. I felt like I played pretty well and I had a lot of chances, you know, I had a lot of 15-30s on his serve. To his credit, he just served huge today. I really couldn't get any rhythm on my returns and, you know, he was too good.

Q. Have you played someone who served better than that, do you think, 70 percent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- no one I could think of. Obviously, Sampras, when he's on, is extremely tough. But, yeah, I think that high a percentage of first serves, he was just hitting the lines so much out there today. You know, I knew going into the match that's how he plays. I played him at Wimbledon in I think the third round there a couple years ago, and he did the same thing. It was an extremely tough four-set match. It was the same at the US Open in the quarters just a couple months ago when we had a tough four-set match as well. He just played a lot better today than he did in those two matches. Normally he makes a few more unforced errors and can go down love-30, hit a few double-faults. There was one point in there early in the first set, 15-30, hit his second serve 185 down the middle on the line. Just in that zone, had great rhythm on his serve today.

Q. Did you sense that the crowd never quite got out of its very tense opening? Never really got going out there today? Couldn't lift you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely not their fault.

Q. Just seemed as though they were quiet from the word "go."

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt pretty good out there. I felt like the crowd was -- you know, I try and block it out as much as possible as well. It's not like I tried to use the crowd, I guess. Obviously when everyone's on the edge of their seat going into tiebreaks like that, we had three of them in the first three sets. So, yeah, I think it's pretty nervous for everyone sort of sitting out there - not only the players but also the spectators and coaches and everyone.

Q. When you missed that passing shot when you had the breakpoint in the final, you thought that you could overcome?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I never -- you know, the game after I got broken at 3-all, the game at 4-3, I didn't get my racquet on the ball that whole game. He served huge. If he was gonna do that again, then too good in the last game, I thought. I felt that I tried to put a little bit of pressure on him out there and. You know, I had breakpoint, and I if I got a second serve, I would have had a big chance I think. But he put in a big serve. You know, he was gutsy enough to come into the net off a big forehand. If I was good enough, I could have made a pass but would have been an extremely tough pass to make.

Q. Do you think it's harder to win your home Grand Slam than it is to win other ones?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Obviously, the pressure and expectation is a lot more on your focus. Whenever you're a top player playing at any Grand Slam, there's always pressure and expectation. Maybe if you're, you know, playing in London or America for me, then you don't feel that pressure quite as much maybe. But, you know, I think No. 1 seed at any Grand Slam is always a little bit of pressure these days.

Q. Is it more painful for you to lose here than anywhere else?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah. At the moment, it's really disappointing. You know, no other way of putting it. Hopefully I'm going to have a lot more opportunities and that's the way I've got to look at it. I didn't leave anything out there today. I gave everything I had and he was too good. You know, that's all you can ask of yourself I guess when you go out there to play. You know, I'm sure I'm going to get, you know, some opportunities during this year or next year, whenever, tight matches like that, they go my way. So you win some, you lose some. You just got to, I guess -- it's tough at the moment but not get too dejected about it. Sort of bounce back better, bigger and stronger.

Q. A lot of people were expecting a night match rather than a day match. Is that a factor in any way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. I'm -- it was hot conditions out there, but it wasn't much wind out there or anything. It was hot but it was nice conditions to play tennis in. Obviously, you know, I played two night matches. This would have been my second day match. So, you know, I got no complaints.

Q. When you're at the age of 21, obviously more tennis ahead of you to play. When you get to a match like this, are you at a point now where you (inaudible) the opportunity you lost or you can still look forward? The reason I ask the question, from your experience last year, you know sometimes you're just not right for these sort of tournaments. There might not be that many chances you get, where everything's right, your health, fitness.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You're disappointed but hopefully I can come back and be healthy next January and, you know, hopefully I can go a little bit further into the tournament. But, you know, I'm the kind of person that gets a bit disappointed after any loss, I guess. I love competing. I love getting out there and playing as good of tennis as I can. And, you know, I think when I look back on this match in a couple of days or a couple of weeks, whenever I feel like thinking about it again, you know, I can honestly say that, you know, I fought as hard as I could out there. Who knows, it could make me a bigger, stronger person when I come back to play in the years to come. I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.

Q. Are you starting to wonder, what is it with Melbourne Park? You seem to have bad luck.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It's not bad luck, I don't think, today that I lost. I played an opponent who was better than me on the day. That's tennis. That happens. It's not like golf where you go out there and you've got to just worry about your score and you don't really know what's going on. It's a one-on-one battle and you've got to win seven matches in a Slam. Today he was too good.

Q. Were you surprised at the high level he started playing from the beginning of the match; you were expecting something different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think in the times that I've played him before, he's a tough player to get rhythm off because he's got such a big forehand there, obviously a huge first serve. Even his second serve gets up there; doesn't give you an opportunity to attack at all. So, you know, probably a little bit surprised. The matches I've played in the past, he hasn't been able to string it together for that long. He didn't play any loose service games obviously today, whereas in the past he's thrown in a couple of doubles in a game or missed a couple of forehands when he's gone for too much and stuff like that. Today he, you know, played extremely well.

Q. The other day Younes said it's very easy to find out which are his weaknesses. He said you watch him playing after ten minutes, you see what is his weakness. Are you somehow disappointed you were not able to exploit those weaknesses, I mean, to play on them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it was just too hard the way he was serving today. It's as simple as that. Hard to find his backhand I guess when you can't get your racquet on the ball. Really was a little -- you know, it was a little out of my control. In the tiebreak it was -- you know, the second-set tiebreak, I was up 3-2. Third set tiebreak I was up 4-2. So, you know, I had my chances. The end of those couple of tiebreaks he just played a lot better than I did.

Q. Do you think he's good enough to be in the Top 10? What additions does he have to add to his game to get there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, if he plays like that, he's easily good enough to play in the Top 10. I just think over the last couple of years or so, you sort of see him play a great tournament, then the next couple of tournaments he loses to guys he probably shouldn't. It's probably just getting -- for your ranking, it's all got to do with consistency and how you play throughout the year. There's no doubt he's a dangerous fighter in any tournament to play against. You just don't know some days whether you got him or not.

Q. You have one of the best returns in the world - maybe the best. Is there something in Younes' serve that makes him difficult to read?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He seems to hit the lines a lot more than everyone else. He goes for those. You know, obviously his serve out wide on the deuce court worked unbelievable today. But he's a very -- he's one of those guys that sort of goes for the lines the whole time. If he's on, he's very tough. You know, it was -- couple years ago when I played him at Wimbledon, I thought he served extremely well. Today he's outdone that by a fair bit. At the US Open when I played him, he didn't serve that well. I had a lot of opportunities to get into rallies with him and really needed to take it to his backhand I guess a lot more.

Q. Service percentage was 47 percent today. You only got broken once, obviously. Do you think that's something you need to work on in terms of getting your percentage up in some big matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes. For the tournament I've been broken three times for four matches. Not too bad.

Q. Do you remember any other match when you didn't break your opponent in four sets?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Off the top of my head the only one's the Agassi match when I was 16 in Adelaide. It was 6 and 6. But I'm sure there are other matches that I haven't broke, but I can't think of too many.

Q. Just a little insight into what it is like to have to bear the weight of the Aussie tennis expectation, how do you think you cope with doing that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I haven't really felt any extra pressure. I try to block it out as much as possible, and try and use it as a positive rather than a negative. I try and go out there and, you know, enjoy the fact that I've got 15,000 people barking for me. It's a lot easier to go out there and do that mentally rather than, you know, play in Brazil or Spain in a Davis Cup tie and have them all going against you and booing you. So, yeah, I try and use it as a positive. There's been times I guess where I've played some of my best tennis in hostile arenas, where the crowd's against you. Sometimes I think in that situation you've got to focus a lot more and sometimes for me it brings the best out in me. But the pressure of, you know, being the No. 1 Australian, you know, I think, you know, obviously we don't have anyone in the quarterfinals now. I think on a whole, it was a lot better than last year. Some of the younger guys who got wildcards and got the opportunity have sort of stepped up. It sort of I guess takes the weight off me a little bit.

Q. Do you think Hopman Cup was enough preparation for your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played four matches: four singles, four doubles. I had a good training week last week. I don't think preparation was the problem. You know, I trained extremely hard, and I hit a lot of balls last week. I was feeling good coming in. So, you know, it's always a tough question of weighing it up, you know, playing competitive ATP tournaments compared with playing the Hopman Cup. At least you get in that Round Robin situation, you're guaranteed matches rather than you go in, work on areas of your game, bomb out early, your confidence is probably lower if you bomb out in Adelaide or Sydney rather than Hopman Cup.

Q. What is your goal now this year, at this moment? Still be No. 1 or winning Slams?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think Slams are probably the most important. You know, obviously backing it up last year, you know, No. 1 two years in a row was sort of all I wanted at the end of last year. I was able to play my best tennis towards the end of a really long and tough year. This year, you know, I don't think I'm going to play nearly as many tournaments as I did last year. Whether it hurts me, you know, trying to hold on to No. 1 again, we'll have to wait and see. But if I get in a position, you know, of doing well in Grand Slams, you're always going to have a good chance of finishing the year No. 1 anyway.

Q. Can we take it for granted it's going to make you even more motivated for a couple weeks' time in Sydney?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I guess it depends who's showing up, too.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 10, 2003

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: We have Lleyton Hewitt, our defending champion, coming off a win in Scottsdale. He has improved his record to 9-1 on the season. Lleyton didn't drop a set throughout the week in Scottsdale. Questions.

Q. You must be feeling pretty well, pretty good after all that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good week. Obviously, I didn't go in there with the highest of expectations. More than anything I just wanted to get a few matches under my belt before coming here. Yeah, it worked out perfect. I didn't play my best tennis the first couple of matches. I got better and better as the week went on. And I had to, as well, against the guys who I was playing against come quarters, semis and finals. To go through tournaments these days without dropping a set, I'm pretty happy with that.

Q. Pretty big effort in the doubles, too, you and Mark to get out there again.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it turned into a long day yesterday - very.

Q. How do you feel at the end of it all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel fine. I've played enough back-to-back tournaments when I've won one tournament and then come out. You know, sometimes I like feeling like you're on a bit of a roll, as well. For me, it's a lot better going out there and playing, being match tough, getting that match hardness under your belt more than just going out there and practicing. Hopefully it's going to put me in good stead for this week. We'll have to wait and see.

Q. You said at the end of last year you would play less tournaments. Is it the reason why you didn't play since Davis Cup, just to slow down?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was never going to play. I never play straight after Davis Cup ties. I feel like Davis Cup ties take so much out of you, more mentally than physically. So, yeah, it was never a plan to play straight after Davis Cup, and it never will be.

Q. On the point of Davis Cup, apart from teaming up with Mark in doubles, was that also good for Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It gives us another option. I think we came through pretty good. We played some great matches. I think in the end we just got a little bit tired in the final. But, you know, throughout the week, we played really well, especially in the quarterfinals against Johnson-Palmer, we played some of our best tennis. If we had to play together in Davis Cup, it wouldn't be that big a problem now. I feel comfortable enough playing with Mark, and I'm sure he feels the same way.

Q. How many more tournaments do you think you'll play together?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. We may play Miami. See what happens.

Q. What's the feeling of coming back here after the win last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Winning last year?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always a nice place to come back to, you know, somewhere that you've played well in the past. You know, I made the semis before winning it last year. You know, the court surface, the conditions, everything, I think suits my game pretty well. Yeah, it's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. It's a nice place to come regardless, I think, even if you're a defending champion or not.

Q. After your win, do you feel you're match tough now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'm five more matches tough, I guess. Yeah, I feel good about the way my game's been progressing over the last four or five days. You know, but now you've got to step it up again. There's a lot tougher matches here. You've got the best guys in the world playing this week. If you're going to go through another six matches in seven days, you've got to -- I start tomorrow, so six matches in six days, I've got to really go out there with all guns firing right from the start.

Q. First match against Younes. Any comment about this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's no easy draws in this tournament. You know, it's going to be a tough match, no doubt about that. You know, I've got to go out there and play my game, you know, take my chances when I get them I think more than anything.

Q. Can you reflect back on your match against him in Australia and just talk about what you thought happened there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He played too well. I really had very little opportunities to break serve. It's one of the few matches I didn't break serve in the whole match. Four tight sets of tennis, I only lost serve once. But I felt like I had some chances, though, to even. I was up 4-2 in the third set breaker. I think that was a huge turning point. If I could have won that third set, gone two sets to one up after three breakers, it would have been a huge psychological difference than being two sets to one down. Yeah, it's going to be interesting, I guess, not playing in a Grand Slam, playing best-of-three sets, as well. Yeah, it's an extremely tough first round.

Q. Does his style bother you at all or did he happen to zone on you that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player, no doubt. He's tough for anyone, I think. But, you know, he played probably as well as he could play I think that day.

Q. Surely you can't expect a big server like that to serve at 80% match after match.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you hope not. You hope not (smiling). Yeah, you know, he served huge, but then I still had a few opportunities and I just wasn't able to take them. In this game today, you know, tennis, you've got to really take your opportunities when you get them. You may only get one or two chances. If you don't take them, you end up losing the match. I can't expect him to go out there and serve 40% or 50% first serves either. Every time I've played him, he's been able to get a high percentage of first serves in.

Q. Imagine you were in Pete Sampras' shoes, would you retire? What do you think he's going to do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I got no idea what Pete's going to do. I got no idea, mate. I don't know what my goals would be after winning 14 Slams and basically winning everything you could win. I really don't know. It's up to him. I don't know if there's any more motivation to keep playing. I'm not sure what he could really look forward to. If he did want to come back for one more Wimbledon, I'm not sure. It's a little bit of a fairytale ending if he was to retire after the US Open, I think, beating his biggest rival in tennis, Andre Agassi, in the final of his national Grand Slam. Yeah, it doesn't get much bigger than that.

Q. All the players have been saying that the courts here are playing slowly and the balls are playing slowly. Does that suit you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sometimes. You know, I think it matches up against different players. You know, last week I felt was, you know, through the air it was playing very quickly, but the court surface and balls were playing very slowly last week in Scottsdale, as well. I haven't hit here yet. I'll find out this afternoon what conditions are like. You know, I don't think it's going to be a huge change. I couldn't see a huge change from last year anyway.

Q. From what you saw last year, was this a surface which is basically fair to most players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so, what I can remember. I can't remember it being too quick or too slow. I think the balls fluff up a fair bit, but I think that's just The Masters Series balls. They just get chopped up after two or three games. But the court surface I can't remember being a huge problem for anyone.

Q. Safin was saying yesterday that he doesn't have any problems getting motivated to play the big-name players. When he's playing guys lower ranked, he has motivation problems. You don't seem to have that. How do you manage to keep the intensity week in, week out, match in, match out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I love competing. I love going out there and just getting on the court and having that one-on-one battle. You know, it's obviously a lot easier to get motivated for Grand Slams and the bigger tournaments and Davis Cup, et cetera. You know, sure, I'm trying to peak for the big tournaments, but then again, I don't want to go out there and not give a hundred percent in the smaller tournaments, as well. You know, obviously your goals and priorities have changed over the years since I first came on the tour when I was 16. It was like every tournament was a Grand Slam final. You know, now obviously after you win a couple of Grand Slams and Davis Cup and those ties, your goals and priorities change a lot. Obviously, I love going out there and just, you know, trying to I guess put it all on the line every time. But I definitely know in the back of my mind what are the more important matches, as well.

Q. You've been so good the last year and a half. Do you feel yourself gradually improving, say, half percent, one percent, week to week, or is it too tough for you to tell that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, sometimes. I feel like there's days or tournaments when I start getting on a bit of a roll, there's areas of my game that I feel like are coming along. Then I think like anyone, you have some off days as well you feel like you drop back a couple of pegs. There's still areas of my game that I feel like I can get better at and help me out, not only, you know, on hard court and grass, but maybe on clay, as well, more so. You know, I still feel like there's a percentage of my game that I can improve on, become a more well-rounded player, I think.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 11, 2003, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Younes El Aynaoui 4-6 7-5 6-2


MODERATOR: Lleyton will face Yevgeny Kafelnikov tomorrow. Saved two match points today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: More than that, I think.

Q. How did you dodge those bullets?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Backhand up the line, on the line, I guess. I'm not sure. You know, I went out there, I went for my shots on match point, and it paid off. Yeah, you sort of live and die on the edge, I guess. I practiced that shot, you know, it came off. A couple more inches wide or long, I could have been in a bit of trouble. You know, some days you have it, I guess, some days you don't. I felt like nothing was going right today at all until that time where it sort of all turned around.

Q. Where did it turn around?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably on that shot. Before that, you know, he was getting so many net cords, just nothing felt like it was going my way at all - overrules, line calls. I was able to block it all out during the match. Yeah, it just felt like he sort of just continued on his way, how he was playing so well in Australia against me in that match, and he continued exactly the same right from the word go today. I went out there on the court, and it felt just a much bigger stadium than what I was playing in Scottsdale. I felt smaller out there. I played a very average game first game, and he hit two cold winners in that game as well on his forehand. He sort of didn't look back from that point. I just felt like the good thing was he wasn't serving as many aces, as he was, today. During the Australian Open, obviously the conditions and the balls and the court were a lot slower here today. I felt like all I needed was to get one break under my belt and I was going to be all right.

Q. What did you think when you did that diving backhand volley, he had a wide open court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was more worried about whether I was going to get up or not than whether he was hitting the ball in.

Q. How is your leg?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. Just like I just jarred my hip a little bit. Just landed right on the bone. It's not the smartest thing to go diving on hard court.

Q. How much did Melbourne come into your mind during that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Into the mind?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think it came into his mind a lot. He just kept sort of playing exactly the confident tennis that he was playing in Melbourne. Serving well, hitting big forehands. It was coming into my mind a little bit only because I was getting a little frustrated I couldn't break serve. I wasn't having that many chances. When I did get a small opportunity, he came out and served an unreturnable or an ace. I just kept telling myself to hang in there today, I wasn't playing great tennis, but if you get your chance, you just have to take it. In the end, I kept hanging in on match points, even when I was serving for it. I could sense he was getting a little tight in that game. I knew if I could get it back to 5-All, things could turn around. In the end, I did. Very easily it could have been the other way around.

Q. When a guy has had a big win like that, like he did at the Aussie Open, does it make you more anxious to beat him? Do you start the match thinking that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. I think I'm probably more aware of the way that he can play, give him more respect as a player. He played pretty faultless tennis against me in Melbourne. There really wasn't much I could do about it. But, you know, there's not a reason why he hasn't won a Grand Slam if he can keep playing that kind of tennis, as well. There's going to be days when he's a little bit off. If you get those chances to take him on those days, you've got to take him.

Q. When you said it was a bigger stage, do you still feel nervous walking out into a big environment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It wasn't nervous. It was just different conditions. I hadn't been out there. Last year when I came here and played, I had a week of preparation between winning San Jose and starting Indian Wells, so I practiced on the court, got a feeling for the court, the balls. It just felt totally different to me today. That's why I said halfway through, this isn't about playing your best tennis, this is about getting through this match, finding a way to win, coming out tomorrow, hopefully for the rest the tournament, build it up and get better and better. I got through it. Hopefully I can get better.

Q. What things do you think you need to do to improve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just got to feel the ball a little bit better. I think I served well in patches. I can still improve that. I just got to step up in the court and take my chances when I'm given them.

Q. What did he tell you at the net? He took time to tell you something.

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the end? We were both sort of laughing. I don't know. I'm not sure. I think I said, "Sorry, mate." I don't know what he said. "Good luck," I think. It was more I think we were, I don't know, laughing at the situation because it very easily could have been -- a half hour, 45 minutes before that we could have been shaking hands.

Q. The bit of fun at the end with the kid and the remote control cars, is it my imagination or did you let him win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he was too good (laughter).

Q. What can you hope a win like this does for you getting through the next round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's sometimes nice to get through a tough match. I don't feel physically fatigued because of this. It's only three sets. I didn't feel like I had to do that much running today out there. So I feel fit enough to go through the next hopefully five matches in five days. It's a little bit of a wake-up call, I guess, as well. Yeah, it's nice to sort of have an escape like that and to go out there, you know, just take it one match at a time. Obviously, Kafelnikov tomorrow, it's not going to be an easy match either. The draw just gets tougher and tougher. It's a little bit of relief to go through the next round after saving match points.

Q. On the match point against you when you were serving at 3-5, he appeared to make a very strong service return, you had kind of a high ball back. Did you have any concern that ball might be out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I knew that one was in. Yeah, I think he was actually -- he felt it may have been going out. The end he was playing was with the breeze. You know, I was sitting there, and I actually thought it was going in most of the time. I was still worried that he could turn around, and it was going to be an easier shot for him to whack a forehand winner off of. I think he played a backhand cross-court. I saw a huge opening up the line and went for it. It paid off.

Q. Would you have given him the point if the linesman miss-called? Would you give him the ball, a point?


Q. Would you play fair play?


Q. Let's say you missed that ball and you just saw that he didn't. Would you give him the point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: On that point?

Q. A particular situation.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's not a hundred percent of the time where you're right. It works every way, I guess. There's a lot of calls out there which I felt like didn't go -- did not go with me at all, and there's other situations where they go with you. But the players aren't a hundred percent right all the time either. So it's a little bit -- that's why umpires and lines-people are out there. It's very tough actually to call lines. I know when I've played practice sets and that now, you're so used to having lines-people and umpires, when you're actually out there playing, you miss so many calls yourself because you're actually worried about hitting the ball. Close calls, there's millimeters in how close it is, whether a little bit of fur touches the line. Obviously, I think if there is some clear mistakes, it's obviously disappointing, and that's why you see some players reacting the way they do.

Q. What about Kafelnikov?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, tough player, especially on this kind of court. Apart from clay, maybe even these days it's his best kind of surface. Second round of a big tournament, it's a tough draw. I've got to go out there and play my game. I have to play better than I did today. You know, I played him in Paris Indoors, and I thought he actually played well that day. Tight two set match. Second set went to a breaker. Even though I've had the wood on him the last few times, we've had some pretty good matches the last few years.

Q. War seems likely in the middle east now. Do you have any concerns about safety, with all the traveling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've probably got the same concerns I guess as anyone. There's not really much we can do about it, though. We're professional athletes, we have to travel. But obviously I think after the whole September 11th thing, I think it sent a shock wave through everyone.

Q. Are you happy that Kafelnikov is still playing, although he declared he would retire?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a strange one, wasn't it? I guess he didn't win a match in the Davis Cup final, so I don't know, maybe that's his out. Yeah, I think Yevgeny has still got good years left in him. There's no doubt about it. Yeah, I don't know what he'd do if he did retire. He'd play golf. I don't know what else. I think he's good to still have around. He's definitely good enough to still be around and in the Top 20 or Top 10 maybe again.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 12, 2003, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-3 6-2


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Congratulations on the award announced last night in Australia about you being named Australian Athlete of the Year.


Q. What do those sort of things mean to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's obviously, you know, something that I hold very special. These things don't come around that often, especially from a country like Australia. You know, we have so many great athletes, everyone knows that. You know, I look up to a lot of those guys, as well. You know, Ian Thorpe, Matthew Hayden, Steve Waugh. These guys I grew up idolizing. For me to be put in their caliber is fantastic. I'm sure those guys -- I know Ian has won it before, I'm pretty sure. You know, I think those kind of awards are something that, you know, you really can't do much about, but it shows that the Australian public I guess are really into tennis and the way I played last year.

Q. You got down a little early today, then jumped on him and stayed on him the whole match.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he played a lot better today than he has in some of the previous matches I played with him. He didn't make a lot of mistakes out there and he made me work for a lot of points. I had to sort of hang with him I knew early and try to get him out of puff a little bit toward the end of the first set, start of the second.

Q. Did you feel your level today was better than yesterday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes. I went up a little bit today. Still in the tournament, so I'm pretty happy.

Q. Today you played pretty well against a guy who has won two Grand Slam tournaments, and yesterday you had an epic with a guy who hasn't done as well as Kafelnikov. What is the stylistic difference between those two and the problems they create for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Kafelnikov is not quite the player he was at the moment, even the last year or so, when he won the French Open and also won the Australian Open and runner-up at the Australian Open. It showed in his results last year. It's the first time in, I'm not sure, seven or eight years, that he didn't make the Masters Cup at the end of the year. So he's not quite as confident as I think he's been in the past. El Aynaoui, his ranking is probably as high as it has been ever. They're two totally different on the scales right at the moment.

Q. What about the playing styles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: El Aynaoui has a better serve and forehand, but Yevgeny's got a lot better backhand. Yeah, they're totally different players, very different.

Q. We get the impression with Kafelnikov, he's a guy who can turn it on when he's in the right mood. Does that make him difficult?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He is. He's a player you don't want to play too early I guess in tournaments. He's a rough draw because, you know, he can play big matches very well. You know, he's had Kuerten a couple times at the French Open two sets to one, maybe a break. Ended up losing the match, and Kuerten has gone on to win the tournament. He's a very dangerous player. He's a very classy player. He's a guy, he's been around for a long time, he's been in the Top 10 for a long time, and he's won majors. He knows what to do on big occasions. Big occasions don't worry him too much.

Q. You must have been pretty pleased with some of those forehands you hit down the line.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I started hitting the ball a lot better. I started getting my rhythm out there. I hit the ball heavier today, which I was happy with. My backhand felt pretty consistent out there, as well. Yeah, I just felt like my serve in patches was not too bad, but still room for improvement, which is good.

Q. There's been a lot of talk the last week about Wayne Ferreira's proposed breakaway. You're the No. 1 guy. Where do you stand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't speak on behalf of all the players, but my experiences with the ATP, I think I've got to look at it in a very positive way. I think, you know, any way that things can be helped, I think, you know, it's great for everyone. You know, I know a fair bit about it. I'd still like to know a lot more about it, as well. I think anything that's going to help the players... At the end of the day, I know with my dealings with the ATP, I know there's a lot of room for improvement.

Q. Do you think there's room for improvement then in the way the players are represented?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot of room for improvement.

Q. What do you think can be done about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I think it's a huge issue. And I think all the players have got to come together and talk about it. But I think the players' interests are probably the biggest key.

Q. I was talking to Todd Woodbridge yesterday who went to the meeting that you couldn't attend on Monday night. He said he felt pretty secure that 16 of the Top 20 guys are going to support the ATP and not go with Wayne's group.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it was a different meeting. I think that was a totally different meeting. That meeting was for the ITF. It was about prize money for Grand Slams. It had nothing to do with Wayne Ferreira's things.

Q. You still think it's possible a good amount of players, or at least yourself, might join Wayne's group?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That meeting, I know for a fact it had absolutely nothing to do with Wayne Ferreira's group at all. I don't think it was even mentioned in the whole meeting. I know that wasn't the issue in the meeting. The issue was going with the ATP, and they want to work as a group and get the Top 20 players to go more against the ITF so the ATP can go out there and try and get more money and a higher percentage for the Grand Slams. You know, I think we're getting maybe 9% of the profit I think from the US Open compared with on the PGA TOUR and stuff like that, they're getting 55%. I think that was the deal Monday night. It had nothing to do with Wayne Ferreira's group.

Q. But in Todd's opinion, he still thinks Wayne's group is dead in the water.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Somehow I doubt that. I really doubt it.

Q. So you're still open to possibly joining Wayne's group?


Q. I understand to join that group, you have to sign a document. Would you be willing to do that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd have to go through and look at everything. You know, I've spoken to players, as well. You know, whatever's going to be best for the game and the players' benefits, I guess. You know, I think at the moment there's a lot of room for improvement. If it's going to end up helping the players, I don't see why not.

Q. If you met with Wayne's group tonight, just theoretically, what would you say would be a great thing it could accomplish?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For the players?

Q. For whatever.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the biggest thing is getting the players' issues across better. I think that's the biggest thing out of all. I think there's not enough -- the ATP hasn't done enough for the players, as the players' voice I think more than anything. It's like a players' union in a lot of ways. I think that's the biggest issue.

Q. What are some of the players' issues?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'm not sure. You know, I think -- you know, I haven't spoken to a lot of guys, but I think there's just little things behind the scenes that we feel like, you know, we say it to people but it doesn't get across to the right people. It sort of goes into the council meetings and nothing ever really happens about it. I know there's been a lot of issues over the last two or three years. It's been building for a long time.

Q. How much deeper does this go than bonus pool money?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It goes a lot deeper. There's a whole range of issues. You know, I'm not going to get into it right now, but it's a lot bigger than just that.

Q. Just to clarify, if you're going to deputize the tour to represent you going to the four Slams for a greater chunk, isn't it hard to then simultaneously form some sort of breakaway unit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I actually haven't had anything to do with the ITF. I wasn't at the meeting the other night. I couldn't go. I haven't even had any information on it whatsoever. I know that Todd Woodbridge wants to sit down with me and have a chat and go through it, but at that stage I know nothing, nothing about it. What I've heard is secondhand. I haven't been given any paper or any sheet saying what the proposal is or what they want me to sign to go to the ITF, put that proposal to them. So, you know, at the moment, I'm very limited in what I know about the whole thing. I know more about the Ferreira thing than the ATP getting together and going against the ITF for more prize money.

Q. Isn't it a situation that the ITF, they're not really the ones that determine the prize money breakdown at the Grand Slams, and it's a case of the group needs to approach each Grand Slam independently because they are the ones that determine the breakdown, et cetera?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, as I said, I don't know enough about it at the moment. You know, I think it's a huge procedure anyway. You know, you've got to take a lot of things into account before you even go, you know, doing that to the four majors. You know, I don't play the Grand Slams for the money. Let's face it. I play it for the respect of the tournament, holding up the trophy at the end of the two weeks. The money just comes with it. I think more than anything, it's sort of seeing where the money's going, you know. The players I think as a whole feel like they're making a lot of this money by them coming and playing these tournaments, and just sort of seeing where the money's going, I think whether it's being wasted somewhere else, where it could be going more to the players.

Q. On an entirely different note, can you give some thoughts on Taylor Dent as a player. Can you talk about the strides he's made.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think he's playing a lot better now than he was playing at Wimbledon. He was very flashy at Wimbledon at that time. Obviously, the last couple weeks, he's taken some huge steps, as well. Winning Memphis, beating Roddick in the final. You know, I know he won Newport. But to beat a guy in the Top 10, Top 5 in the world, in a final of a tournament, that's another step up for him I think. He's handling the situation of playing week in and week out with expectation now a lot better. You know, I think he's improved his game a lot over the last year or so.

Q. What impresses you more in the improvement area?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think he's found his game a little bit more at the moment. I think he's probably fitter than he's been in the past, as well. I think they're the biggest things.

Q. Can you talk about your match tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Coria, I played him when I was in Juniors a long time ago in the 14s, I think, but I've never played him since. You know, he's a grinder. You know, he's not going to miss too many balls and he's going to make you work for everything. You know, I'm going to be out there and be patient but also play my game and take my chances when I get the short ball.

Q. You've had quite a lot of matches after a reasonably long break. How are you feeling physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I want to take it one day at a time. It has been a lot of matches, with doubles as well in there last week. A lot of late nights, then sort of coming here straightaway. I guess, you know, the more straight-set victories you can get, the better off you're going to be. Today was a nice start.

Q. You're happy being on a roll?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I play well when I get that momentum going, you know, get some wins under my belt and get that, you know, match hardness I guess there. So, yeah.

Q. When was it you played Coria?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can hardly remember. I think it was under-14s, maybe. I got no idea.

Q. Do you remember how you did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I won, but I can't remember too much.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 13, 2003, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Guillermo Coria 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4


MODERATOR: Lleyton improves to 12-1 on the season and advances to the quarterfinals here for the third straight year. Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Are you just trying to tease us or do you enjoy these wonderful long matches? Very high-quality one again.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a tough match. I like my opponents to play a lot worse. He played extremely well out there. You know, he didn't give me any real chances. I had a couple of chances at 4-All and 5-All in the first set. I feel like I was a lot better players in the first set. He ended up playing too good a tiebreak. Really wasn't much I could do about it. Then I went down an early break, kept fighting. It was a little bit like the El Aynaoui match, even though their serves are a lot different. Even though I broke him once, I thought the doors would open to a few more breaks. That's exactly what happened.

Q. You won more points than he did in the first set.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I felt like I was pretty much cruising on my service games. I was always the one -- there weren't too many games that I can't remember being at least 30-All on his service games. Obviously at 4-All and 5-All, I had probably between those two games maybe five breakpoints, I reckon. I wasn't able to take them. You know, it was a bit disappointing to have lost that first set.

Q. Frustrating, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. Because I think I could have opened the match up a lot easier if I got off. If I was able to break a bit earlier and win that first set, it could have been a convincing straight-sets win instead of a grind in three.

Q. Second set was strange with all the service breaks, yet the quality of tennis got better probably.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think we both played maybe a little bit more aggressive on each other's serves. We took a few chances and it paid off for both of us. Then in the third set, I served a lot better. I felt like I got my rhythm back. I won a lot of my service games very comfortably, got up early in my service games. I knew I just had to put pressure on him in one game, try to make him crack a little bit, and it happened.

Q. When you shanked that overhead in the sun, then came back tough, what message do you have for young players who are trying to get on the tour when that happens? We see they don't come back after something like that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a tough one. I couldn't do much about it. You know, I still knew I was serving for the match. I was up a break. Even though it was his ad, I knew I'm still in the driver's seat here. He's got to come up with a hell of a point to beat me. I put in a big first serve. Yeah, you just got to try and forget about it as quickly as possible. Sometimes it's very tough to do.

Q. Is he as quick as anyone else out there at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. He moves extremely well, both across the court and also coming forward, as well. He's very quick. There's a lot more balls today that he got back that a lot of other guys wouldn't.

Q. You come into this event obviously knowing what the ranking situation was, you survived the three match points, does it get harder and harder knowing that so much is on the line?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't really care about it too much. You know, whatever happens.

Q. Doesn't seem that way.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I play to win at the end of the day. If I make the semis or whatever, you know, I'm still going to go out there and give as much as I've got. You know, I think everyone knows me well enough, every time I step out there I give a hundred percent, no matter whether I'm playing to crack the Top 100 or get to No. 1.

Q. You're listed at 150, he's listed at 145. Your heights are pretty much similar. You seem to play similar games. Do you ever get the feeling you're playing against yourself when you're playing against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we both -- yeah, I guess we both play similar in a lot of ways. We obviously move very well around the court. You know, I think probably the turning factor, I got a few more cheaper points off my first serve than he did. Especially in the third set, when it counted, on the big points in the third set, I was able to come up with big first serves. That's probably a little bit the difference. Sometimes he just rolled his first serve in to get the point started.

Q. What player that you've ever played most reminds you of yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'm not sure. You know, he's got the kind of game that's very similar to mine. There's a lot of players out there who are very quick and play well and return well, obviously pass very well, as well.

Q. The No. 1 aspect, you just said it doesn't really matter, but is it also an attitude of wins come, the titles come, that will take care of itself then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but it just hasn't been my focus at all this year. You know, after I defended at the end of last year, that's pretty much where I sort of started forgetting about the No. 1. You know, I really wanted to obviously work towards the Australian Open. The four majors, for me this year Davis Cup is probably the No. 1 priority. You know, we survived one round, we've got three to go. You know, I know to a lot of people it may not mean that much, but to me it means an awful lot.

Q. Brian Vahaly has gone to the quarterfinals. Do you have any thoughts about him? Are you aware of him as a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen him play that much. Obviously, he's had a huge run, qualifying, then winning a few rounds. You know, it's good for him. Obviously to get the points and that up, to be through the quarterfinals of a Masters Series event.

Q. You had a good percentage going into the net today on key points. Are you going in more than normal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't think so. I still I can come in a bit more. I probably just came in today on the right points I think more than anything. I still think it's an area of my game that I can work on.

Q. If you could change one thing in the sport of tennis, what would that be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know at the moment. I'll have to sit down and think about it.

Q. Can I ask you next time then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I still may have to think about it.

Q. Can you comment on what Mark Woodforde has meant for Australian tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mark's been huge. He's put back a lot into tennis in Australia. I know there's a small tournament, he's from Adelaide where I grew up, still live, and there's a small local tournament for all the sort of pennant players around Adelaide, South Australia. He actually donates the money to the winner of that every year. I lost in the final one year and also I won it the following year. Woody actually presented me with the check. Two weeks later, I got a wildcard in Adelaide and I beat him (smiling). It wasn't the way to repay him, but he's been fantastic. He's really helped me out, especially when I came into the Davis Cup squad at such a young age. He was sort of the veteran of the team.

Q. Did he ask for his check back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he wasn't too happy (smiling).

Q. Just with these matches that are so tight, having to really fight to get out of them, is there any element of concern with so many going so close?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For what? Concern for what?

Q. Well, that you really are having to dig deep.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That I'll get tired this week or next week?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I take every day at a time. You know, there's not a lot I can do about it. If my opponents are playing that well, there's really not that much that separates me or whoever from a lot of the other guys in the Top 50, top hundred in the world. You know, I just got to get out there, dig deep, play my game, and hopefully I'll pull up well. If I don't, then there's really not much I can do about it. You know, I try and be in the best physical shape that I can be in, you know, hopefully it's going to put me in good stead.

Q. You said we know you're going to give a hundred percent any time you play. Do 10:00 starts present any different situations for you? Are you an early riser anyway? Do you find it easy or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't mind it. I really don't mind it. You know, it's nice sometimes to get your match out of the way, then you've got the whole rest of the day to recover, as well, chill out and do nothing. You know, I probably prefer to play a little bit later, I guess. You get to sleep in a little bit longer. Sometimes it's tough with the atmosphere, the first hour or so, it's not quite there in such a big stadium when it's not quite full, not that many people in there. You know, you really got to get yourself up and keep that intensity right from the start.

Q. What time did you practice this morning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I practiced at 8:30.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 14, 2003, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Robby Ginepri 6-4 6-2


MODERATOR: With the win today, Lleyton advances to his third straight semifinal here in Indian Wells, and improves his career record to 16-4 at this tournament. Questions for Lleyton.

Q. And also reserves his world No. 1 ranking, although yesterday you said you aren't that concerned about it. I suspect it's quite nice, an addendum to the result?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's nice, but you're going to lose it some week. Doesn't really bother me. You know, I didn't come to Indian Wells to try and hold on to my No. 1 ranking; I came here to win the tournament. I'm still in with a good chance. I'm through to the semis now. Four matches down, two to go. That's pretty much where my thinking's at. I played better today. I'm happy with the way that, you know, I came out and won the match efficiently, got on and off the court pretty convincingly.

Q. Most comfortable one this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Yeah, I guess, you know, because I didn't lose serve for the whole match, I kept my nose in front once I got up a break. You know, I saw a little bit of Robby's match yesterday. He played extremely well. He was full of confidence, had nothing to lose out there today. He started better today than he did against me in Cincinnati. When I was able to get up that one early break in the first set, I think his confidence got sort of a little bit of a dent in there and his game sort of went away a little bit.

Q. Nine in a row for you. Could this be the roll we talked about in Scottsdale?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know how long it's going to keep going. But was it nine in 11 days I've won now. That's a lot of tennis. You know, you throw in the doubles that I played as well as making the final there. I played a lot of tennis. I've got that match toughness going now, match hardened. I'd like to keep it going. You know, you've got to take it one step at a time, though. Don't want to get carried away because you're on a winning streak, you're going to keep going. Go out there with an open mind and play as well as you can.

Q. But the confidence and mental toughness are there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's hard to lose it, I guess, when you go out there to play and you've won nine matches in 11 days. You realize that. I realize that I've come through a couple of pretty tough matches, especially this week against El Aynaoui and Coria. You know, I know I've got a couple tough ones under my belt and I survived those.

Q. Are you feeling now like you're unbeatable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Not unbeatable. I don't think anyone's unbeatable. I feel like my confidence is high at the moment. I feel like I can beat anyone on any given day, yes. But unbeatable, you know, I think you can leave that to Tiger.

Q. Just commenting on the point of nine in 11 days, et cetera. As a streak like that continues, is there the risk of somehow that putting pressure on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Not for me. I see every match as a challenge, as a new challenge. You know, I'm not putting any more pressure on myself. I'd much rather be, you know, nine in a row going into this semifinal tomorrow than, you know, making the quarters or the semis and losing in Scottsdale. So for me to have that winning feeling going, I've had it a few times going, you know, winning Adelaide and Sydney back to back, doing well in those tournaments. I've had it in the Queen's, Rosmalen, Wimbledon time frame. I know how that sort of winning streak goes. I like the feeling of it, having that confidence on your side.

Q. How about your match with Spadea coming up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You've got to take your hat off to Vince. Hell of an effort for what he's done. The way that he's come back after losing so many first rounds there for a while, he obviously broke the drought against Rusedski at Wimbledon. We really didn't see him for a while after that. He was playing the challengers and the futures. The way he's bounced back and gone about his business very quietly, sort of got his ranking back up there, it's pretty amazing.

Q. Have you played him before?


Q. Where was the last time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At least twice, maybe more.

MODERATOR: Two times.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough competitor. He's not going to give anything away. He moves very well, has a good baseline game. He passes well, counterattacks very well. I'm not going to worry about his game too much. I'm going to go out there and play my game and hopefully I'm not going to have to change too many things. If I do, then I do.

Q. If you didn't think about No. 1 all week, did you think about it today beforehand?


Q. Was it afterwards you thought about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think about it at all. I couldn't care less. As I said before, I didn't come here for No. 1. I'm going to lose it some week, doesn't bother me when.

Q. Do you hear it when they announce you as world No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hear some of the things they say. It's pretty hard not to (smiling).

Q. You do know about being world No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I know that I'm world No. 1, yes (laughter).

Q. That's got to be a good feeling.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not bad. When they say former world No. 1, that's not a bad feeling I don't think either. I'm sure Pete, Rios, guys that have been No. 1, I don't think they mind being called the former world No. 1.

Q. You mentioned Vince is sort of going about his business nicely and smoothly. Do you feel the same yourself, the fact that the pressure is off, you're not in Australia, not in the spotlight, and here you can go about your business a little bit more not casually as such, but without the burden or the pressure, pressure, pressure?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely not as much pressure I guess coming from the media and expectation from the media I think more than anything. But, you know, that's natural. You know, that's up to Andy and James and whoever else they want to put it on here in America. Everyone has that, all the top guys. When they go back to their home country, it's like Tim in June, me in January.

Q. Do you feel as perhaps relaxed in this part of the year as you do anywhere? Your results would suggest you probably do.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I like the stretch. You know, Scottsdale, even San Jose last year, Indian Wells, Miami, I've always loved these tournaments. I think the courts suit me, the weather, the conditions. Great hotels. You know, the climate, everything out here, I think everything's pretty easygoing. For me I can really enjoy, you know, those outside things I guess at these tournaments.

Q. Couple games of golf this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had nine holes on Monday afternoon. I would have liked to have had more. I can't do much about it at the moment.

Q. Kim was in here earlier talking about her superstitions.


Q. Sitting on the couch at the hotel, going to bed at the same time, what she eats.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Fair enough. I didn't know about those.

Q. She says she's trying to some degree to convince you to eat things like broccoli and stuff, instead of the hot dogs.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't mind the hot dogs. Yeah, I think she watches what she eats a lot better than I do. I can't believe she dobbed me in. I'm actually not that bad. I've improved a hell of a lot since I was 14, 15, 16. Yeah, the vegetables, they're not bad, but not the best thing.

Q. She said that you have improved.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'd say, you know, during tournaments and that, I eat as well as any player out there. It's more so my weeks off. I think that sometimes I let myself, you know, let go a bit - ice cream, chocolate, those kind of things. I love to go to the footy and have a hot dog and chips, mate. Tonight as well.

Q. Can you pick one American under 25 at this point that you think could really rise to the top? Who do you think it would be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's impossible with injuries or whatever. The two front-runners are obviously Roddick and Blake. They're the two front-runners. You know, it depends. A lot depends on I guess who gets a big breakthrough at a Slam first, and then can really take off from there, as well. But, you know, both guys can handle the big situations very well. You know, they've both proved -- I don't know what Blake's ranking is, but I'm sure he can get in the Top 10 pretty soon. And Andy's already 5 or 6 in the world. That's not bad anyway. That's not a bad start.

Q. Do you have any superstitions?


Q. Nothing?


Q. Lie to us.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't have any. I can't think of any anyway.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 15, 2003, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Vincent Spadea 7-6(5) 6-1


MODERATOR: Tomorrow Lleyton attempts to become the first back-to-back winner here since Michael Chang in 1996/'97. He also will attempt to win his second career Tennis Masters Series title. Questions for Lleyton.

Q. A lot of matches, a lot of wins for you in the last two weeks. How do you feel mentally and physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty good. I think I was a little bit not quite as sharp as I could have been at the start of today's match, but I got better as the match went on. The second set I played a lot better. But it was tough conditions out there today. You know, the other days we haven't had that much breeze. Today it was swirling around. Every second game I felt like it was changing direction out there. Vince, he was playing very competitive out there. He wasn't making any mistakes. He was making me come up with good shots if I was going to win the points. In the end I felt like I got my rhythm and timing a lot better.

Q. Do you feel like you broke his spirit a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like once -- when he was 4-1 up, I won that long game to get back to 4-3, then I held from the tougher end to hold on to 4-All, I felt in much more control of the match from that point on. I had chances to break at 5-All. He actually got like a half volley net cord that I scraped back, he hit a winner on. I felt like I was getting in more and more control. The big key was winning the breaker. After I won that, I felt like, you know, I was adapting to the conditions as well as his game a lot better. I hadn't seen him play for a couple of years. So, you know, he played well.

Q. Talk about that breaker.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think we both, you know, didn't want to give too much away. I think early he hit a double-fault to give me a mini-break, then I went up. We had a great point I think at 5-2 maybe. You know, I was a bit unlucky not to win that one. Then it went to 6-3, had another long point. I lost that one. Hit a double-fault. Then he hit a double-fault. It was an interesting way to win it. But the way for me the double-fault, just felt like halfway through the breaker the actual -- when I felt like I started up the worse end, the tougher end to play, then I was going up the better end, it felt like the wind changed. When I went up the better end, it felt like I was against the breeze. You get those short balls, you suddenly feel like they're on you a lot quicker than you think. It was tough conditions. I think both of us didn't want to pull the trigger too early and waste the mini-break.

Q. Volleying, and you hit a dropshot on match point. Do the doubles help?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It does help. There's no doubt about it. The more -- you know, I don't play a natural volleying game. So the more, you know, volleys you hit, the reflexes that you got to play in tough doubles matches like I had last week, it does help, there's no doubt about it. But, you know, I feel like I'm coming into the net on most of the right balls. I still think there's chances I could do it a little bit more. But it comes with confidence, being able to transfer it from the practice court to the match court as well.

Q. What does this week tell you about your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I've been getting better and better with every match. Started off, you know, tough draw early on against El Aynaoui. You know, I survived that match. You know, I've had some pretty tough matches. The Coria match was very tough as well. I feel like I've been getting my rhythm a lot better during the week. The last couple of days actually, as I said, have been a lot windier out there. It's actually tougher to play with your rhythm. I felt like I'm a little bit slow starting, but in the end I've played better tennis.

Q. The way you recited how that tiebreaker went, it almost seems like you have total recall. You gave us a play-by-play practically of every point. Do you have that good a memory about all things? Do you remember a match you played a couple weeks ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty well, yeah. You can test me on a few matches if you want (smiling).

Q. Last year when you won, you won in a sandstorm when the board blew over in the middle of a match. Do you think weekends at Indian Wells are always going to be like this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not quite as bad today as when I played Pete in the semis last year on Saturday. The sandstorm I think was the day I played Pavel in the second round last year. It was pretty incredible playing in those conditions. I don't know. For me, you know, I don't know if the boys are back on the court now, but I'm glad that I'm sitting through to the final now and they've still got -- I guess if it rains, it makes it tougher, as well.

Q. At the end of the first set, the crowd is chanting, "Vince, Vince," then he double-faults.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was hoping he'd do that (laughter). That was a good way to shut them up. I didn't have to do anything (smiling).

Q. Can you talk about the last time you played Guga. Some people say it was one of the most spectacular matches some people have ever seen.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it was the best I've ever played. In those conditions, in that atmosphere, on my worst surface and his best surface. Yeah, in such a big match, a clutch match, you know, a lot of people have told me I was hitting bad bounces in the middle of the racquet that day. You know, I'm not sure why, but I went out there, you know, just played one of my best matches. I'm not really sure why. Everything I sort of touched that day turned to gold.

Q. Is he one of those types of players that you can get really pumped up to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: This is a final. I'll be pumped up no matter who I play. But he's a great player, there's no doubt about that, the caliber. It's great to see him back, you know, in the semis and finals of these big tournaments again. You know, it wasn't long ago, I think this time last year, he was sitting out of all these tournaments. He's had to struggle and work through it. He's come through a very tough draw this week as well and got through pretty convincingly.
Q. Do you get on pretty well with him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah, pretty well.

Q. Having been through the experience of that kind of amazing match, does that create almost a bond with a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think he was too happy about it afterwards. But, you know, I don't think it's got anything to do with that match. I think he's just a very laid-back, easygoing kind of guy. I don't think there's too many guys who would have a problem with Guga at all.

Q. Should you play Schuettler, just talk about him, too.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's taken a huge step forward the last probably six months or so. Yeah, he proved during the Australian Open how good a player he can be. He's done it again this week. The way that he beat Andy yesterday was very convincing. You know, I think he's a great mover on the court. He serves well to make advantage of his game I think more than anything. He's got a very nice package game, and it's come together very well obviously since the start of this year.

Q. Can you say one thing American tennis fans don't know about Lleyton Hewitt?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I don't know. I don't know. What have you guys told them (smiling)?

Q. You don't like to give interviews.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I give interviews to the right people.

Q. Tooheys or Fosters?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably Carlton Cold. You don't have it over here.

Q. Budweiser or Sam Adams?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't have the American stuff.

Q. How about hot dogs or hamburgers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Whichever. I like probably hot dogs a little bit more.

Q. A friend of yours was saying she likes pasta with broccoli. Does she ever push that on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, sometimes. Not that often.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 16, 2003, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Gustavo Kuerten 6-1 6-1


MODERATOR: With the win today, Lleyton improves to an ATP best 15-1 on the year, and he becomes the first back-to-back champion since Michael Chang in 1996/'97. Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Do the champions pool their prize money?


Q. Do the champions at this event pool their prize money?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean?

Q. Put it together.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that.

Q. What are you going to do to celebrate tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I haven't even thought about it. Don't know. Golf might be on the agenda.

Q. You just kind of suffocated him out there, never really gave him a chance to get in the match.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always an interesting situation when you have someone coming off playing this morning and being on Cloud 9, making a Masters Series final, then have to turn around in an hour and a half and have to go out and play the final. But it works both ways. I'd like to go to bed the night before knowing who I'm going to wake up and play the next day. I was wary, I lost to Pat in Cincinnati semifinals two years ago, and Guga didn't get to play his semi, came out and beat Henman 5 in the third, chopped Pat 1-2 in the final. I was very aware that Guga is capable of coming out and playing a another good match. On the other hand, I wanted to get to get off to an extremely good start. I felt like I was reading his serve well. Even when he was hitting his big first serves in, I was still making him play a lot of balls. Today he just to me early was pushing the panic button a lot to try and go for winners where he didn't want to be in a lot of long rallies with me.

Q. How do you feel about your play this week compared to Scottsdale?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's been patches. I've improved over the week, which has been great. My last three matches I got better and better. That's what you got to do when you get in the quarters. But it's important to survive those early ones. I had to survive a couple of scares early. I got through those tough ones and was able to, you know, just focus on the bigger matches from then on. You know, I think both weeks have gone a little bit the same in a lot of ways. I think I got better from the quarters onwards in Scottsdale, as well.

Q. Was your first match point against El Aynaoui the shot of the tournament, and in any way does it help you when you have an early scare?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Gee, I don't know for the whole tournament. I haven't seen too many other matches.

Q. For you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me it was a huge turning point in the tournament. I still had to save a couple of match points on his service game in the next game, which is probably a lot tougher to do. What was the other question?

Q. The other question was, when you have an early scare like that, does it help you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, sometimes. You know, in best-of-three matches, normally you're not going to be too tired because of it. You know, sometimes it can help you, you know, to get through a tight match and know that you've come through a tight match and you've played in pressure situations when you get in that situation again. Like I was down a set and early break to Coria, I didn't press the panic button. I believed in myself and I believed I was able to get out of the match. Best-of-five matches are sometimes a bit different.

Q. What does this title mean to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It means a lot. You know, to come back to a place, you know, where you're defending, you're the No. 1 seed, everyone wants to knock you off, you come out here and defend. You know, for me it's one of the nicest tournaments of the year. I really enjoy playing here. You know, I think it's always nice to come back to somewhere where you played well, you know, in the past. You know, I made a semi, now two wins here. I've got good memories about this place.

Q. Two demolitions in two finals.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's nice (smiling).

Q. I assume you'll be thinking the same when you go to another tournament towards the end of June.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I hope so. Hope the final is the same as last year.

Q. You didn't seem -- Guga has a great backhand. You seemed to have no fear of it. Is that where you thought you'd have an advantage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: His forehand and backhand are probably both as dangerous as each other. I think a lot depends on days with Guga, whether it's backhand or forehand is marginally better. I just felt like today, I felt I had a lot of confidence in my backhand cross-court against his backhand. Standing in the court, I wasn't getting too far back, I wasn't giving him the chance, I was keeping my ball very deep, I wasn't giving him that easy ball to go up the line all the time, and he had to start pressing, and he started going for that backhand up the line, which in a lot of cases he's able to hit incredible shots off. You know, today whether his footwork was a bit slower out there and I was hitting it a little bit deeper, as well, it put together a little bit tougher shot selection I think for him. You know, as I said earlier, I don't think he wanted to be in those longer rallies today.

Q. Before your matches, do you talk with Jason about strategy or just think it out once you get on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We talk a little bit, not a whole heap. You know, I've played these guys enough now, I pretty much know how they're playing. Most of the time I'm more concentrating on my game more anything. I feel like if I play as well as I can play with my game and have everything in touch, then I've got an extremely good chance of winning. You know, it's more he just gives me some reminders of, you know, little areas that the guy, you know, maybe likes to go to on big points and stuff like that.

Q. Two titles in two Sundays. Is it accurate to say you're in top form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel pretty confident at the moment, which is good.

Q. Everything seems to be clicking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I'm extremely happy the way that I've been playing and the way that I've been competing over the last two weeks.

Q. A long-range question. Guga said he felt you could win six or seven majors. Would you be pleased if you did that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That would be fantastic. If I can win another one, it would be fantastic. You know, I'm not looking too far ahead of myself. They're bloody tough to win. There's so many good players. You know, all you need is one average day and the other guy to have an extremely good day, and you can be bundled out. You know, they're bloody tough. I'll take any one of them.

Q. Which is more daunting for you, winning on clay or winning at home with all the pressures there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me. I think my game at the moment suits the Australian Open more than the French Open still. But I think I'll get better and better on clay. Who knows. A lot of people have told me by the end of my career that maybe the French Open will be my favorite. We'll have to wait and see.

Q. Does it make it special to win a tournament like that, to play a final right after Kim's win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, especially with the way it turned out. If I went out and lost, it wouldn't have been too special. It's obviously fantastic for the both of us to come here, No. 1 seeds, everyone wants to knock you off, and we've both been able to handle the pressure and situation very well this week. But, you know, it's a bit awkward, I guess, going on straight after her. I'd much rather be out there supporting her than sort of sitting in the locker room waiting. So it's a tough situation, as well, playing on the same day straight after.

Q. I assume you were watching in the locker room.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah, I saw the scores.

Q. Jump up and down on your own? Were you on your own?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was actually getting my feet taped, doing all my preparation that takes me a while to do.

Q. Did Kim's win motivate you to go out there and just go through Kuerten?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, obviously I was really happy for her when she won. But it sort of goes out the window. Once I get out there, I totally to get forget about her winning the tournament and I'm just basically thinking about Guga, focusing on what I've got to do to beat my opponent rather than Kim's win. Is that a good sign that I'm going to win or whatever? I don't know. It's more once I get out on the court, it's pretty much just me and him, one on one, out there.

Q. I didn't see the entire match, but to go up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Why not (smiling)?

Q. Talking to your friend. You played a serve and volley point to go 3-1 in the second set.

LLEYTON HEWITT: To go up 3-1?

Q. In the second set.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I serve volleyed a couple times today. I just felt like -- Guga stands an awful long way back. I just felt like it was -- I don't know why I did it. Felt like it was a good play at the time.

Q. Doesn't happen often.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think I lost one today when I did it. Might have to do it a bit more.

Q. After such a roll, how many days off do you need to regroup before Miami?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I'll take tomorrow off for sure. May have a light hit Tuesday. At this stage, I'm not sure. I think it starts Wednesday, Miami. I think I've got a bye, I'm guessing, like last year. Thursday, Friday. Friday maybe I'll be on. I'm not sure. Yeah, Tuesday will be a light hit, if anything. Probably get serious Wednesday.

Q. Are you going to play golf tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a good chance.

Q. How do you feel about Miami? Does it have the same kind of good vibe that here does?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It has good semifinal vibes. I had three semis in a row. I like the tournament. I like the place. The conditions are totally different to here. The wind, it's pretty much windy every day. You can play on that center court and you don't know where it's coming from. It's tough conditions to play in. It's a lot more humid obviously there, as well, so you're sweating a lot more. I enjoy the tournament, though, yes. I'd like to try and get one or two stages further in it.

Q. Has there been any time since you won the US Open when you've gone into a match doubting you were going to win it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think even before the US Open I felt like I could probably beat anyone on any given day. Didn't mean I was going to. You know, I felt confident enough in my game that if I played the way I wanted to, the way I envisioned playing, I could go out there and beat, you know, anyone. But then again, I could lose a lot of matches as well. Obviously the confidence after the US Open just grew and grew.

Q. What do you want to improve next in your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I think, you know, a little bit more serve-volley, still working on my serve a lot more. I think I can still put pressure. Even as good as my returns are, I still feel like I can make them more of an attacking shot sometimes as well, especially on the second serve now and then, you know, taking advantage when I get the short ball. It's easy to do all these things in practice. When you're going out there and you're winning tournaments such as these last two weeks, it's tough to sort of change a winning formula, as well. When you get out of there to play, it's a little bit like a robot: you just keep playing.

Q. Could you compare this effort of winning 12 matches in two weeks to a Grand Slam where it's seven matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't know. This has been tough, though, winning I think like 11 matches in 13 days. It's tough. But it's only best-of-three sets, as well. You get a couple of quick two-set matches in there, it's a lot easier. I pretty much look at a straight three-set match, it looks very straightforward in a Grand Slam. Not very often do you get a white wash in all three sets. Demand on the body, it's tougher playing seven best-of-five-set matches. Then again, to keep your concentration on a mental level after you won a tournament, to keep it going for the next, that's another thing.

Q. As fit as you are, if you had to do what Guga had to do, do you suppose you'd have done better than he did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope I would have got more than two games, but I don't know. I don't think I've had to do it since Juniors. It's a tough thing. I think for him, he's played a couple of clay court events the last couple weeks, and I would imagine the clay would be a lot easier on his hip, coming back from surgery, than an American hard court. This is hard enough on my or anyone else's body, let alone a guy who just came back from surgery. I would have hoped my body would have held up a little bit better in that situation, but you never know.

Q. How are you going physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty good. Wait and see next week.

Q. Any parallels with this year's tournaments and last year's, why they've been so easy for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Last year I felt like I played really well against Tim in the final. I played one of my best matches. I didn't do a thing wrong. I think I played perfectly to his weaknesses. Tim probably didn't play his best match as he could have. A little bit today, Guga didn't play as well as he definitely can. But then again, I felt like I stepped it up from what I've been playing during the week, as well. You know, it's a lot easier when you're getting off to good starts in both sets to sort of run through them a lot quicker.

Q. Some people are going to describe you and Kim now as the king and queen of tennis. Does that embarrass you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I couldn't care really. Couldn't care less.

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post #105 of 372 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 21, 2003, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Francisco Clavet 4-6 4-6


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Lleyton, you never looked like you really found your rhythm. You were hitting a lot into the net a lot more than I've seen you. Was fatigue a factor, playing so many matches, or did he just play really, really well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't play great. Yeah, I didn't feel great out there. That's probably the reason. I still had a lot of chances to win even though I played so bad, so...

Q. We heard you're battling an upset stomach. Can you tell us when it happened?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I got sick last night. I had room service. Was sick as a dog all night.

Q. When you got it back to 4-4, did you feel like you were getting some momentum, getting back in it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't feel like I was playing well. I think he was tightening up a little bit more than anything. Yeah, I just felt like I couldn't rally out there tonight at all. I felt like I had to go for shots when, you know, most of the time it wasn't really on. You know, really wasn't much I could do out there tonight.

Q. Were you feeling sick tonight or drained because you were up all last night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I was still feeling sick and it got worse as the match went on.

Q. What was Doug doing? I saw he put a towel on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He gave me some stuff to try and settle my stomach down. Yeah, the towel had smelling salts or something on it to try and freshen you up or something he said.

Q. Do you think this might be related to what was going around Indian Wells last week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I doubt it. I think I ate -- I just think it was food poisoning last night more than anything. It just came too quick, you know, after I had dinner last night. I was feeling 100 percent before that. So it was just very weird.

Q. What hotel is it, so we can avoid it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not going public with that.

Q. What was it you ate?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I had a few things and I don't know what it was.

Q. What did you ask for?


Q. What did you ask for, to eat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I asked for a few things.

Q. Were you throwing up all through today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was sick last night and, yeah, I got to bed pretty late.

Q. Here's a guy who's retiring at the end of the year, slashing forehands in the second set like he's got nothing to lose, "Let's go for it." Did you have the same kind of feeling about him this evening?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I -- yeah, he played as well as he could, I think. You know, I still feel like, you know, it was more because I couldn't go out there and play my game that I wanted to play. You know, he mixed the ball up well and, you know, he went out there and gave everything he had.

Q. How disappointing is it for your run to end like that when you have no control over it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's disappointing, yeah. It's -- yeah, I'm pretty pissed off. But, yeah, shit happens and I got to get on with it and forget about it and try and get healthy and I got a lot bigger matches coming up, including probably two weeks' time, so...

Q. Can you sort of look ahead to the Davis Cup. We probably won't be seeing you anymore here. Davis Cup against Sweden, your thoughts about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's gonna be a tough match. It's -- I'm glad we got our fully fit side because we're going to need it. They've got -- they always seem to find a little bit extra in Davis Cup. They played a hell of a match with us last time we played them in Sydney in the semis of 2001. We were very lucky to get through that one. I think they play even better at home. They raise it a level there as well. Indoor hard court, I don't think that's going to favor anybody too much. It's a pretty neutral surface. The way, you know, Bjorkman's obviously playing very well at the moment, he held the team together in the Davis Cup. Vinciguerra, not very many nerves. Enqvist is always a bit of a loose cannon. I know he's been struggling over the last year or so, but he's not a player that you'd want to play. He can fire up and if he's on, he's very tough to beat.

Q. You're not going to need firing up for the Davis Cup, but is the fact that you kind of went out here in a bad way going to make it even more important?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I won't be -- soon as I get healthy again, you know, I'm obviously going to start training and getting in the best shape that I can be in for the Davis Cup tie. And, you know, when I get on the court, this tournament's not going to enter my mind.

Q. Are you going to spend more time, do you think, training here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't even thought about it yet.

Q. Are you going to approach the French Open differently than you have in the past?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure what I'm playing at the moment. It's not 100 percent sure. I know I'm playing Barcelona. After that, I'm not really sure where I'm going to go. So I'll sort of just play it by ear, how my body's feeling. Yeah, hopefully I can judge it as well as possible. I don't think my preparation in the years before have been that bad. I've tried the World Team Cup a couple of times. Last year I didn't try it and, you know, it's hard to sum up the positives and negatives about that tournament. It's a fantastic tournament but whether it's too much before the Slam, I'm not really sure. I'm going to have to think about it.

Q. I missed the very beginning. Was your stomach still upset at the start of the match, or were you feeling okay at that point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was as soon as I started running that I started feeling it the most. Then it just got worse and worse, and when he gave me something to drink, it sort of settled it down for a couple of games, then it just came straight back again. It was a little bit fighting a losing battle.

Q. Do you think Clavet knew that and was trying to keep you out there as long as possible?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, who knows. His game's to sort of rally the ball. You know, he's an extremely fit player. You've got to be able to be fit yourself and run a lot of balls down. He's going to make you work extremely hard to win points and win the match. You know, whether he knew it or not, I'm not sure. But there wasn't much I could hide, I don't think.

Q. Have you started to think of going back to Wimbledon as defending champion, or is it much too early to give that thought?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, it's still a while off. But, yeah, it's gonna be a -- something pretty special, playing the first match on Centre Court. Yeah, I'll be looking forward to that day when it comes. But still hopefully some big matches before then.

Q. Would you expect to play one of Rome or Hamburg or not necessarily?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably, probably. I may play both. I'll just play it by ear, how I'm feeling at the time, how my body's feeling, how many matches I've had leading in. Nothing's sort of laid down in cement this year.

Q. Monte-Carlo is not necessarily on your schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not.

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