|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|01-21-2016 11:33 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt 21-01-16
David Ferrer def Lleyton Hewitt 6-2 6-4 6-4
Q. What's the overwhelming emotion right now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's strange. Yeah, out on the court obviously you got so many things going through your head. You're trying to soak it up as much as possible out there one last time.
You know, it was an unbelievable atmosphere out there. A couple of the roars during the match tonight was as loud as I've ever played in front of. I was getting goosebumps at times. Obviously just watching the video and hearing those great players talk about you in that light, you know, was pretty emotional.
Especially when I got back in the locker room, I guess that hits you a little bit more then. When I'm with my close friends and coaching staff that have helped me so much out, yeah, it's sort of a strange feeling because you're obviously disappointed not to keep going, but obviously proud of everything we've done as well.
Q. Were there tears?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Maybe a couple (smiling.)
Q. All the good things that people say about you on radio, TV, online, you've been called the embodiment of Australian sport; you've become a national treasure. How does that sit with you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't read anything obviously. But as I said on the court, this month has been awesome. I've loved every minute of it. I've tried to soak it up and enjoy it as much as possible, but still try and go out there and perform and play well and stay focused.
But, you know, I've loved every minute of playing for Australia, wearing the green and gold. Not just when we play Davis Cup, I pride myself being on an Australian throughout the year and representing our great country and the love and support that I've had throughout my career, but the last few years, has been unbelievable.
Q. A fair bit of intimidation there when the boys talked about you. Is it something you think you're born with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm pretty sure I was. I think people can work on it over time a little bit and improve. But my attitude and that attitude to give 100% all the time, it wouldn't have mattered if I was a tennis player or if I was doing a 9:00-to-5:00 job in an office. I always wanted to get the most out of myself, I think.
Q. Doubles tomorrow, but anything special planned tonight? Anything different to mark the occasion?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I know of. No, I saw Grothy in the locker room and he was already asking about practice tomorrow and warming up tomorrow.
No, I might have a quiet beer. That's it.
Q. I don't think anybody in Australia could believe when you got called for two foot faults. Your thoughts when that happened?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The second one was obviously at a frustrating time. Just sort of being able to get myself back in that third set, it wasn't the best time. But, you know, it wouldn't have made a lot of difference to the match at all.
Q. Seems like you had some interesting things to say towards the chair umpire. Was he in the wrong, do you think?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Who is that?
Q. The chair umpire.
LLEYTON HEWITT: With what?
Q. With the foot fault decisions.
LLEYTON HEWITT: The chair umpire can't do a lot about it. It's more just getting called by one end and not the other.
Q. David is a tough opponent to come up against in your last match. How tough was it going up against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a quality player. He's just come off another great year. He won a heap of titles. Yeah, he played in the World Tour Finals, as well.
He's a top-quality, top-eight player at the moment. He didn't really give me a lot of opportunities out there tonight. All my service games were really hard to hold the whole time. The small opportunities I got on his, he didn't give me any cheap points.
But that's why he's had a long and successful career. He's been awfully close to winning a major.
Q. What about when you hear Nick say something like you should keep playing, you're the best player in Australia? Are you convinced this is the best time to call it quits?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I've been set on it. I got the most out of my body, as well. I've pushed myself to the limit. I look forward to the next phase in terms of work-wise, in terms of helping these next guys coming through, and the likes of Nick as well.
Q. You started playing here in a different century. Does it feel like a hundred years to you sometimes?
LLEYTON HEWITT: When I look back and see the footage of me playing Bruguera, it does, yeah. I had really baggy clothes on. I was 15. I looked probably about 10. Yeah, no, when I see some of the old press conferences and stuff, I don't remember those at all. They're a bit embarrassing.
Q. You were 15. How old do you think Cruz will be when he makes his debut?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Hopefully 14. Hopefully he beats me.
No, we'll see. Yeah, hopefully he gets a chance to play in this great event if he wants to.
Q. Did you know the kids were going to walk out on the court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I didn't know what was going on. Yeah, it was kind of all a bit of a blur when you're out there and you're just used to picking up your bags and walking off.
Craig Tiley came up to me and asked me if I would hang around and talk to Bruce, which was obviously great for me because I got to thank the crowd for one last time.
Q. What's so wonderful about being a father and what do your children mean to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's the greatest gift of life. It's amazing to have the kids, see them grow up. For me it's been extra special the last 10 years because they've been able to be on this journey with Bec and I, as well.
Yeah, especially the last few years where they've actually been able to come to tournaments and remember it. They're going to have lifelong memories of being out there with me and Cruz hitting with the likes of Federer, Nadal, Murray, these guys. It's pretty cool.
It's probably pushed me to play that little bit longer to enjoy it so they could get something out of it, as well.
Cruz, the last couple years, he came on a little boys trip to a couple of different tournaments. It's been nice.
Q. When you broke in the third set, did anything go through your mind? Maybe a fourth set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't start thinking about a fourth set. It was just trying to hopefully hold serve that next game, keep the momentum going, try to stay in front in the third set.
It wasn't to be. I feel like I was always playing catch-up throughout the sets, which was hard.
Q. Any memory that sticks out? The two majors, the Davis Cup, the comeback against Federer. Anything particularly stand out?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, especially at this place. The Davis Cup semi, but also final against Spain where I beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in five sets on day one.
Some of my greatest memories doing it with the team, Mark Philippoussis, and it's obviously pretty special times.
But obviously the two majors.
Q. How difficult was it to keep your body to the levels required through the last stages of your career and how was it tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it gets tougher obviously as you get older. You spend a lot more time doing recovery and making sure that you're not going to get injured more than anything, as well, as you get older.
I've had a great team behind me that I've worked with. I felt like for how old I am, still being able to move pretty well around the court. I still feel like I can last five sets against good players, as well.
It certainly gets harder to back up every couple of days.
Q. Roger in New York said you took the game to a new level and taught him a lot of things. Do you think you've helped change the game? If so, talk about that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, possibly. I guess guys playing from the back of the court obviously started believing once they saw that I was able to do it, especially on all surfaces.
It was really kind of the total changing of how tennis was played in a lot of ways, especially on grass. Apart of the likes of especially Agassi in '92, there wasn't a lot of guys that would stay back and play from the back of the court.
I think in that, a lot of guys learnt or believed that they could do it playing that way. That was probably my biggest thing. Obviously I think the other guys came in, and Roger and that took it to a totally new level.
Q. Do you have any feelings about players having to come here and having to address this issue of match fixing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's a joke to deal with it. You know, obviously, yeah, there's no possible way. I know my name's now been thrown into it. I don't think anyone here would think that I've done anything corruption or match fixing. It's just absurd.
For anyone that tries to go any further with it, then good luck. Take me on with it. Yeah, it's disappointing. I think throwing my name out there with it makes the whole thing an absolute farce.
Q. No athlete likes to go out losing, but tonight how great was it to have on court, the video, the kids walking out?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's special. It is. It's, like I've said for the last year or so, I've been very fortunate that I've had such a great career that I had the opportunity to go out on my terms.
A lot of great sporting athletes don't have that opportunity. And especially if you pray in a team environment where a coach makes a decision whether you're going to play or not sometimes where you finish your career.
I actually had the ball in my court in a lot of ways to do that here at the Australian Open. I feel really pleased about that.
THE MODERATOR: A very good note to end on. I'd like to welcome Craig Tiley.
CRAIG TILEY: First of all, thank you, Lleyton, Australia's greatest-ever competitor.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Thank you.
CRAIG TILEY: On behalf of everyone in the world of tennis, our sport, thank you for who you are, thank you for what you've done, and also what you're still going to do. Well done.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Thanks, mate.
THE MODERATOR: Let's have three cheers for Lleyton Hewitt.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Thank you.
|01-19-2016 01:22 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt 19-01-16
Lleyton Hewitt def James Duckworth 7-6(5) 6-2 6-4
Q. Farewell tour continues.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Live to fight another couple days. That's good.
Q. Seen you battle for so many five-setters. Almost nice not to have to do that tonight and enjoy a comfortable three-set win?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I wouldn't say 'comfortable.' Obviously that third set I had to dig deep and make a lot of balls to try to get back into it.
He raised his game. I was kind of waiting for him to just dip off a little bit there in the third set. Eventually it happened.
You know, I felt I really stepped it up the last couple of games on my return of serve. Made him play a lot of balls. Put pressure on him as well. You know, that was probably slightly telling in the end.
Q. I noticed during the game, after when you do a bit of a power shot, you would slow down the pace of the ball, do a bit of a slice. Was that one of the game plans going in?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, you know, I've got to try to nullify his power as much as possible. He was going to mix up his game. He hit and came in a lot. He used his slice.
You know, I was impressed with how Ducks played tonight. He didn't have too many dips in the three sets, which was important for him. But, you know, my game plan was obviously try to make as many balls as possible and try to put a lot of pressure on his service games.
Q. How do you think you handled the occasion?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Got the win, so I must have handled it okay (smiling).
Yeah, I felt pretty good. You know, I was pretty pumped up before I went on. You know, I think I was able to block out everything else once I was out there.
Yeah, obviously you get asked the same questions for quite a few months leading into this tournament, then it's there, and you don't fully know how you're going to react until you're out there on the match court.
I think I had my game face on. Yeah, it might have been in the back of my mind a couple of times, but I was focused, ready, competitive, I guess, to get out there and hopefully get past the line.
Q. Pete Sampras just wrote a piece reflecting on his young career. He wrote a letter to his young self as a teenager. If you would sit down and write a note to yourself as a teenager, what would be one or two things you might say?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know, mate. Not in the frame of mind to think about it right now.
Q. You played a lot of tennis through the summer, exhibitions, et cetera, and a hell of a lot of matches. Do you reckon that helped in terms of being able to close out that first?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, yeah, for sure. I needed that. Yeah, it was definitely a blessing to get the call up to go to Adelaide as well and play those two matches, because I felt like after the Hopman Cup, then I played in Sydney, I sort of got in that motion again, that match toughness, and serving breakpoints down, and, you know, your position, just getting ready, handling the nerves of having breakpoints as well.
When you're not playing week in and week out, those are some of the tougher things to deal with. I felt very comfortable in those situations tonight.
Q. You have David next. You played him in New York on a pretty hot day. What makes him such an exceptionally difficult opponent to play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's like a brick wall out there. He competes as well as anyone on tour, as well. Yeah, he moves great. Everyone thinks he just makes ball, but he's a pretty aggressive baseliner out there. He doesn't get back too far behind the court.
He's been just under, I guess, winning that Grand Slam as well, you know, making the final at the French. He's made so many semifinals of slams. Especially on clay and hard court, he's a tough customer for nearly anyone.
Q. Do you give yourself a chance of beating him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I give myself a fighting chance. It's going to be tough, I know that. But I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough to go out there and give him a good run.
Q. What you wanted to get out of this final appearance at the Open, did you get it tonight or do you still want more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I want six more. But, you know, just take it one match at a time. I do all the right things. I've prided myself my whole career on preparing as well as possible and doing all the one percenters to try and get the best result possible. I'll do that again. If it doesn't go my way the next match, then so be it. Everything in my control. I'm going out there to give it my best shot.
Q. The lob tonight to end, very fitting.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Against the breeze as well. I threw it up there, and yeah, hit a couple of lobs tonight well, but that one was spot on.
Q. What did it mean to have Tony in the box? I think Mark Webber was there as well.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's great having a lot of people that have supported me throughout the career. I have a very loyal team, group of friends and family.
You know, they're there for not only all the good times but the rough times as well, when you lose early in tournaments. You know, especially Rochey. It's awesome to have him there with me. He's meant so much to me.
Q. What sort of questions do you get from your kids with regard to your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much. Cruz was asking me right before I went on tonight if I was going in the ice bath right after the match. I said, If I win I would be. He thought we were going in regardless. He likes the ice bath (smiling).
Q. Back on the lob, is it nice going out knowing there's still quite a few parts of your game that are as good as anyone in the world?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, to compete with the best guys out there. Don't always get in a position to play the lob, though. It's not like a serve, a return, or a forehand. You got to be pushed into that position for it to open up to have that opportunity to play that shot.
But obviously my return of serves, when I'm feeling comfortable on the court, I still think they're one of my biggest strengths.
Q. You've been making good use of the Lleyton Hewitt emoji on Twitter. Is that a flattering tribute for you? Can you think of any tributes in the past that Australia has done for you like that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was good. The kids liked it, so that was important.
Yeah, no, I liked it. Obviously Tennis Australia has been fantastic. I'm employed by Tennis Australia as Davis Cup captain, so I'm part of the company. It's been really good. I've enjoyed this farewell month.
Everywhere I've gone, I obviously played in Perth, Sydney, an XO in Hobart in December. Went to Adelaide one more time; now here in Melbourne. I can't thank the public and the Australian fans enough.
Q. You went from being juice boy in Davis Cup to the captain. Talk about the process.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I grew up around Davis Cup for so many years. Such a high priority on my schedule always. Yeah, I was the orange boy maybe once or twice, then I got thrown in. I was kind of the fifth person for a long time.
When you have the likes of two top-10 players in the likes of Rafter, Philippoussis, and the Woodies, it was going to be hard to break into that team. Then I got into the team and played exceptional under that pressure and circumstances. Never looked back.
As I said, it was one of my priorities each year. Now moving into the captain's role, it's my priority to pass on my experiences to a lot of those younger boys, which I think is a good thing.
Q. The last five Australian Davis Cup captains were watching you tonight. Does that mean a lot to you as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Really? Yeah, absolutely. I get along well with all of them. I'm trying to think.
Q. Fitzy, Wally, Pat.
LLEYTON HEWITT: And Frase.
Q. Newc was commentating.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I saw Newc after the match.
Yeah, I saw Frasey. He probably had the best seat in the house. He was in the front row. As you get older you get a better spot to watch from. Pat and Wally were up in the media area. I saw them, as well.
I get along well with those guys. It's such a small group of guys. Obviously Frase and Harry Hopman and these guys did it for so many years. Not too many times the opportunity to be Davis Cup captain comes up.
Q. Will you come to Albert Park in March?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll have to see if I'm around. I've been to Silverstone with Webber in the past. I've enjoyed it.
Q. How far do you think Nick can go in this tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot depends on the draw. I was very impressed with Nick last night. I watched his whole match on TV. I thought he played great. First set was exceptional, and then how he closed out the match. He's moving really well. Best I've seen hit move ever.
He's confident. He's in a good space at the moment. Yeah, Cuevas is going to be another tough battle for him, but if he goes out and plays his game, then I'm liking that matchup. Then he has to step it up against quality, high-seeded players.
Bernie, I only saw patches of his match tonight. After losing the first set, it was pretty good he came through comfortably.
Q. The Australian women have had disappointing results so far. What sort of advice do you give to them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't watched a lot of theirs, so I can't really comment. Yeah, I guess they're all at different stages of their careers. I probably don't know them well enough to know what they're possibly doing wrong.
I saw Dasha had a good win. I like the way she goes about it. I saw her in the gym a lot in the pre-season. She works extremely hard. I think she's got a lot of good things ahead of her.
Q. Doubles tomorrow with Sam?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes. Fourth on. Looking forward to it.
|01-16-2016 06:55 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt 16-01-16
Lleyton Hewitt pre-tournament press conference
Q. 19 Australian Opens, you only played another Australian once. Your 20th, you get one in the first round. Was it something you were hoping to avoid?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. Always bound to happen, wasn't it? Especially now that I've got a second hat on, a full-time job as Davis Cup captain. Yeah, it's obviously a bit surprising I haven't played more over the years with all the wildcards that Australians get into the tournament, as well. Yeah, it's awkward, but in another way it's fun to go out there with Ducks. I've been helping him the last few years. He's been part of the Davis Cup squad on a number of occasions. He's a great kid. I think he's going to push on the next couple years and get a lot better.
Q. Todd Larkham, 2003. Any memories of that match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was pretty quick.
Q. What is the most dangerous thing with Ducks' game for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He has a good serve, good forehand. He has a quality first serve, good second serve. Gets a lot of kick off the court, as well. He's a different kind of player. He's a good competitor, as well, very good competitor. He changes up his game style. He comes in a little bit. He stays back. Tries to rush you at times.
I've seen him play some really high-quality tennis. He beat Simon in Brisbane last year. Had a good match with Roger here the only other time he played on center court. I saw him push Nishikori in Washington last year, which I was impressed with.
Q. Does it seem real to you that you could be one match away from the end?
LLEYTON HEWITT: To tell you the truth, I don't know how it feels. A tad strange feeling, but I'm trying to soak it up as much as possible. I guess it's different in the fact that if you do go out then, yes, it is the end. But you got to try to block that out as much as possible. You could go through all the same emotions again two days later, as well. That's going to be the tough part to deal with.
Q. How have you seen your role change as you've progressed in your career as far as first coming up as a youngster, being world No. 1? Do you feel you've taken on a different role as your career has gone on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the last probably five years or so I've taken on more a mentoring role with the younger Australian boys, especially in terms of the Davis Cup squad, even trying to help them out and hit with those guys a lot when I'm on the road, as well. A lot of guys have come to my houses and trained with me, whether it's in Australia or overseas.
But I've enjoyed that, seeing these younger guys get better. They're going to be the leaders of our sport in our great country. I've taken a lot of pride in that.
Q. How are you feeling physically?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty good, yeah. I've been really happy. Played pretty good in the Hopman Cup. Had the Fast Four in Sydney, which is a good hit-out. Played two really good quality matches in Adelaide actually.
I feel like just to get that match toughness back, into the routine of playing matches again, the last two weeks has been good. I had a good hit-out with Fed yesterday. Hit with Murray this afternoon. Hitting with the best guys.
Q. What did you make of the events in Sydney yesterday with Bernie?
LLEYTON HEWITT: There was no doubt he was under the weather, I think. He was struggling. I spoke to Bernie. Yeah, it's unfortunate. I know he was really keen on playing Sydney, because he won it before and lost in the finals.
Awkward position now, only a couple days out from the Australian Open. There's no doubt he wasn't 100% yesterday. Yeah, I think he's got to now try to refocus and put that at the back of his mind because he can play well here in Melbourne.
I was really impressed with how he played in Brisbane. To beat Nishikori, a quality top-10 player. Fingers crossed he has a good two weeks here.
Q. When you were a teenager, feeling invincible, how many times did you think you'd be playing at the Australian Open at that stage?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't think I'd be playing past 30, that's for sure. 30 years old, not 30 times (smiling).
Yeah, I guess the biggest difference was is I had those injuries in that timeframe. When you're away from the game and you miss the hard training, doing all the preparation, it all depended on how motivated you were. If I wasn't motivated to still go on and push myself, go on and do gym sessions by myself, hop on the practice court, I still wouldn't be playing. That's what's pushed me the last few years. I don't struggle for self-motivation, to get up early and do the hard work that no one sees. There's no crowds or cameras around there. It's just you in the gym or on the practice court.
That's one of the things I will miss, not having to go out there and push yourself day in and day out.
Q. You inspired Federer's career. Did he inspire yours as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Roger? Yeah, absolutely. What he's done is amazing. To see how well he's still playing now, it's incredible. He's a great ambassador for our sport. I think it's very hard to ever have a better ambassador than Roger for our sport. How highly in demand he is for what he's achieved, to do it for such a long period, stay in the top, be a chance of winning every single tournament that he enters is pretty remarkable.
Q. Is it difficult when you come up against someone who you know so well, who you're mates with off the court, to play your natural game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I played Bernie at the US Open. Was really tough. I hit with Bernie about three days before we played each other. He was asking me things to help his service and stuff like that (smiling). That was really awkward. I'm sure this will be no different.
Q. Ducks said you were giving him some tips over the last little while. Do you fear it might come back to bite you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Perhaps. See how good a student he is. No, yeah, these guys, I speak to them all the time. Ducks was text messaging me yesterday morning before the draw was out. So, yeah, obviously I think both of us will look back on it. No matter what happens, it will be a satisfying enjoyment of going out there and playing against him.
It's his only opportunity to play against me obviously on a big court as well. I think later on in our career, his career, me once I've retired, it's something that we'll enjoy.
Q. What is your all-time favorite moment from here in the last 20 years?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably beating Roddick in the semifinal of '05. I'd been through a lot of grueling four- and five-set matches to get that opportunity to play on the final Sunday of this tournament. I think just the satisfaction of knowing that you'd done it was pretty amazing.
Q. The '91 US Open, Jimmy Connors was 38, had a wrist injury leading into the tournament, made it to the semifinals. Do you still feel like you can go deep into a tournament? Do you start each tournament in a Grand Slam thinking you can win?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I go in thinking I can be competitive with these guys, absolutely. I'm not looking past Ducks, though, at all. Got to take it one match at a time and focus on that. That's something I've done so well throughout my career, though. I haven't looked too far ahead at all. It's important to do that, but I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough to push a lot of guys out there. Hopefully the body holds up.
Q. Are there still the same pretournament nerves going into this last event or is it a completely unique feeling this time around?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think it's still similar. The buildup, obviously the demands are a bit more at the moment. But, as I said, I've tried to enjoy it as much as possible. A couple days out from a slam, you're always a bit on edge, a bit nervous. I think that's the same for every player. Doesn't matter how many times you've done it, if it's your first or possibly your last. The first match of a slam's never the easiest, I don't think.
Q. What are you anticipating with the Rod Laver Arena crowd? A bit different going out against another Australian.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it will be. I'll probably have a fair bit of support out there. It is a unique situation. It's something that I haven't had to deal with, playing another Aussie on Rod Laver Arena, that much. I just try to go out there and put on a good show.
Q. Which was the most important rivalry of your career and why?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think against Roger, purely because we grew up, the same age, grew up together. We had a connection with his coach Peter Carter and my first coach, then Darren Cahill. So Peter Smith and Darren Cahill were very close to Peter Carter as well. I'd say some of the epic matches in my career especially, more so than probably Roger's career, he's had a few more epics, were against Roger.
Q. For such a long time you've been the standard bearer for the Australian men. How long do you think the Australian public can wait for another man to win a Grand Slam tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. I think Nick and Bernie are in a decent position now, the next three years, to have a real crack. There's small areas of their game they still have to work on. Nick, over five sets in slams, that's when he plays his best tennis. But he's going to have to do it probably Round of 16 onwards, or even third round here onwards against absolutely quality players over five sets. How he can back up two days later and be able to do that, that's the big question. He's only going to get better in the next three to five years anyway. You have Thanasi pushing forward after his surgery. Hopefully they put themselves in a position to make the semis. Then draws can open up and anything can happen.
|09-05-2015 02:08 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
An Interview With: Lleyton Hewitt (Round 2)
Thursday, September 03, 2015
Q. What were your emotions after that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I left it all out there again. Yeah, obviously you go through the pain barrier out there on the court. Everything happens so quickly. It was the same as Wimbledon.
But, you know, was a great atmosphere out there on that court. The crowd was really involved. You know, it was nice to be able to turn it into a decent match.
Q. You had your little boy out there watching you. He's here now. What does it mean for you to be able to share this moment, even though it didn't go your way tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's great. Obviously my two oldest kids especially are old enough to understand what daddy does out there now. It's been a lot of fun this year taking him to a few more tournaments.
He's really enjoyed it. He loves sport. For him to sit out there for five hours, it was a pretty good effort.
Q. Did you feel you had it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, obviously I felt like once I got to the fifth, if I could have broken that first game as well, I could have really opened it up. You know, Bernie's got such an easy serve, though, he hits his spots well. He was able to do it in that first game from Love-40 down. That sort of just kept the momentum going for him there. If I was able to break it open early in the fifth...
But then obviously had 15-40 at 5-3. He was kind of in that mood of just going for everything. Couple of shots went in.
Q. Would you take that backhand that just dropped over?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't remember now. The first backhand he hit, hit the tape. Went for a winner. The next one I felt like I scrambled as much as I could have. He was sort of just redlining on every shot.
Q. What will you miss about playing at the US Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just great atmosphere like tonight. Especially the night matches are really special at the Open here. I've been fortunate to play in so many long four- and five-set matches out there on all three of the major courts.
You know, it was a great atmosphere out there again tonight.
Q. You're kind of a real mentor and kind of a father figure to these youngsters. Did you feel any conflict? Is it easy to set aside that aspect of things when you go out there and play against them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was really awkward. I said it would be before the match, and it was (smiling).
As I said before, I get along really well with Bernie. Yeah, he's a good guy. He's moving in the right direction. You know, the last couple years I've gone out of my way to try to help him out a lot. Yeah, I think it was awkward for both of us.
Q. Do you think something like this does something good for him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably, yeah, in the long run I think. He obviously was well on top. Yeah, I was able to somehow find a way. That's what I've been renowned for in my career. If I can instill a little bit of that especially into the three promising young guys on the way up, you know, with their games and the weapons they have, then that's just another positive for them.
Q. Talk about your quality of fighting. Obviously that was something you had from the get-go. Did you work on that at all? Did it just come naturally?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it just came naturally, yeah. I'm just very competitive. I pride myself on getting the most out of myself.
Q. Do you think you have the same level of ferocity and fight now that you did at the very beginning?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I do. Yeah, maybe in a different way in some way, though.
Q. It was obviously a very emotional match. You've both spoken about that. Is it a match you could actually enjoy while you were in the heat of the battle or just too much pressure and too much else going around to really enjoy what was happening? The second part is, in one sense is this like a baton change between you and the young ones, playing Bernie, now the No. 1 Australian?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's been I guess the No. 1 for a while, for the last couple years anyway. In terms of that, I've seen my role the last couple of years as more of a mentor to those guys anyway.
Yeah, I guess once you're out in the heat of battle it's hard to enjoy it because you've got so many things going through your mind about trying to get the most out of yourself and performing as well as possible.
So, yeah, I would have liked to have been able to enjoy it a bit more. But obviously when it's so tight, especially in the fifth set, you're just trying to find a way to obviously get across the line.
Q. You said your competitiveness is something you've always had. How do you go about trying to instill that in another player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not easy. Everyone's personalities are different, so you've got to work with that a little bit, I think. It's probably a work in progress.
But I think the biggest thing is if they see what you can get out of it, just doing a lot of the 1% things, and it doesn't always even have to be on the match court. It could be being the ultimate professional in the locker room and preparing as well as possible for matches. Then it just becomes part of your daily routine.
So there's a lot of things the younger guys can learn.
Q. You've heard the Aussie fans singing a fun song about walking in a Hewitt Wonderland. What's the one most wonderful thing about all your years playing tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Playing tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Tennis has given me the life that I have, and that's the best thing. Obviously I've had a lot of success. A lot of hard work and dedication and sacrifices. But obviously at the end of the day, you know, tennis has given me this great life.
Q. Can you mention some of your most cherished memories from here, if any, other than the year you won? Big or small things you'll always remember about this place or your time here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the night matches are always, you know, that's probably the biggest difference to a lot of the other tournaments. When you play at night here, great atmosphere here, obviously 23,000, 24,000 people. You really feel like you are the showtime, prime time match.
Yeah, probably a couple years ago, two years ago, whenever I beat del Potro in the second round in five sets, because I came back from a foot surgery and didn't know if I'd have the opportunity to compete out there on the center stage against those guys again. To beat another former winner here in the night match, that was probably, apart from winning it, one of my biggest ones.
Obviously my first breakthrough year in 2000 of making the semis in singles and winning the doubles the year before I won it. This has always been result-wise one of my more successful slams.
Q. Talk about the first great win when you were young, winning your hometown tournament, how important was that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was obviously important. I went from 750 in the world to 150. Winning a couple satellites, I wouldn't have done it that quick.
Yeah, I guess, you know, instilled the confidence and self-belief that I can go out there and match it against tour players because I really was just not even a rookie. I was on the junior tour.
To go out there and beat guys like Agassi and hold up under that pressure and circumstance in the heat of battle against the best guys, that gave me a lot of belief. I think that's one of the reasons why I was able to succeed at a young age.
Q. At Wimbledon you spoke about some of the toughest strokes you've faced. Mentally, who would be the one or two greatest fighters that you've faced in your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, Nadal for sure. The way he goes about it is fantastic. He's one of my favorite players to watch. How he handles, even at the French Open this year, Novak was well on top early, when he finally got on the scoreboard, incredible competitor.
Q. Can you sense a transformation in the way you were received here? Back when you were younger, you weren't the crowd favorite. Today everyone was going crazy wanting you to win.
LLEYTON HEWITT: They like the old guy, don't they? It's nice (smiling).
Yeah, unbelievable atmosphere out there. The night matches have been great. Even two years ago when I played on center court against del Potro, the whole crowd got behind me there. I really felt the love. Yeah, coming back as a champion as well as the years go on, once you've been back, your 10-year anniversary of winning the thing, you've been around for a while. I guess I appreciate that.
Q. What will you think about leaving the grounds tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What time to book a practice court for tomorrow. Sam Groth already messaged me (laughter).
Q. A lot of your biggest rivals have long retired. Is there anybody who you're going to particularly miss playing against?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably Roger just because how good he is. Everything that he can do on a tennis court, it's second to none. I've had a lot of practice sessions before every major tournament the last couple years with Roger and I've really enjoyed that as well.
Q. When you first came into it, there were a bunch of Aussies. Now at the end of it there's a bunch of Aussies too. Is there a message you would like to give to the young guys coming through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I will pass on stuff to the young guys. I don't have to say it here. But, yeah, obviously that's my next role, is to help those boys out.
I was very fortunate that I came up in a group where there weren't a lot of egos, especially the Woodies Stoltenberg, Fromberg, Wayne Arthurs, a lot of these guys. I stayed at both the Woodies' houses around the world. They helped me out with a lot of stuff. Obviously Rafter came up when I was playing Davis Cup with him. He took me under his wing.
So I was really fortunate with that stuff. It's just like, you know, I had Nick at my house in The Bahamas last week training beforehand. I think that's just part of a really good Australian culture.
Q. How special was it playing in front of your biggest fan, and what advice did he give you after the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He said I nearly won (laughter).
No, he gets along well with Bernie, too. No, it was good. He loves his tennis. I'm very proud that he could sit through five sets. Now he knows what Bec and my parents have had to sit through their whole life.
No, he loves it. Yeah, Bernie is fantastic with Cruz, Nick and Thanasi. They're great. Hopefully some of this rubs off and he wants to be out here someday.
|09-02-2015 04:00 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
An Interview With: Lleyton Hewitt
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Q. How tough were the conditions?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was hot and humid out there. Obviously sweating a lot, which was just hard. But it's hard for everyone out there, as well. I felt like I got off to a great start. Came out and executed my game plan perfectly. You know, just through the second set he obviously started serving a little bit better. He's an awkward opponent because I wanted to be aggressive and play on my terms, but it's a bit hit-and-miss out there so you're trying to make him play that extra shot as well. If you don't get enough on it, he's capable of hitting winners. I was happy to play a really good tiebreak.
Q. Was the decision to come here to get some more match practice for the Davis Cup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty much. After we won the Davis Cup tie, I wanted to play obviously. Wally and Pat, Joshua Eagle and Rochey, everyone wanted me to play. Obviously take a wild card, could have gone to another Aussie, but I felt like to give myself the best opportunity for the Davis Cup tie, it was the right decision.
Q. You obviously played him in Davis Cup. Different surface.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
Q. Do you feel he was more at home on this surface?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say 'cause, you know, his serve and his forehand are dangerous. But, as I said, he can miss a lot of shots out there, as well. The court probably suited me, gave me a slight advantage over hard court against that opponent. But he played bloody well against Nick on the day one in Davis Cup on that court. He can play on grass, as well.
Q. The prospect of playing Bernie next...
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just awkward. That's the only thing to summarize that. I get along great with Bernie. Helped him out a lot. Hit with him this week. Yeah, just awkward.
Q. Could you point to the two or three really most special moments in your career.
LLEYTON HEWITT: That's hard. Davis Cup means a lot. Winning especially in 2003 when I played so well in the semis and the final. You know, doing it in a team atmosphere in Australia was pretty special. Getting to world No. 1 in Australia, in Sydney. Yeah, my good mate and idol growing up Pat Rafter with me on the court. Yeah, it's hard to separate obviously the US Open and Wimbledon. US Open was my first slam. But for me there was always something really special about Wimbledon.
Q. Roger just spoke about how different rivals pushed him through his career. Which two or three players really pushed you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess early on Agassi, you know. He came back and took the No. 1 off me. Then I was able to get it back for a bit. He was just such a quality player. Obviously Roger took the game to a new level, and then Rafa. It was obviously bloody hard to keep up with those guys.
Q. You never played Bernie before. Something that you always looked forward to, had much banter about?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, never really spoken about it. As I said, you know, Bernie and I have got a really good relationship. He trusts me a lot. Yeah, I don't like playing any of the Aussies. I had to play Kokkinakis last year in Brisbane. I played Grothy in Brisbane this year. I had to play ^ J.P. Smith only a couple of weeks ago. For me, in the position that I'm in now, trying to help these guys especially with Davis Cup and the rest of it, yeah, it's tough.
Q. What is your enduring memory of your win here? What do you think back on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously beating probably the greatest at the time, Pete Sampras, in the final, in his home Grand Slam. The semifinal and final I felt invincible out there. Didn't feel like I could miss a ball.
Q. Did you go into that match with Pete unsure or did you feel massively confident?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pete hadn't dropped serve for something ridiculous going into the final. I remember sitting right here, everyone saying, You can't beat him, you can't break his serve. I just tried and I broke him first game, so... That gave me a lot of confidence. I remember walking out for the final, Pete Sampras is out there at the coin toss. Ivan Lendl is actually doing the coin toss. These are two guys I grew up idolizing going to the Australian Open every year. For me it was a surreal feeling, but it gave me confidence for the rest of my career going out there and being able to play well in those situations and not be in awe of the situation.
Q. Controversy early on, did that help you with handling the media?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I've always been able to block things out really well. I was able to do it those two weeks. I guess in terms of crowds and stuff, playing Pete in the final, nearly everyone was obviously going for Pete. But I'd played him Davis Cup big matches before that already in pretty hostile arenas. To me it didn't faze me at all.
Q. Spent a few days with Nick. What was your advice to him and do you feel for him at all? Pretty difficult month.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I do feel for him. Yeah, he's a good kid. Yeah, just trying to work through certain things more on court than anything. You know, he's obviously got a totally different game style to me. But I think a lot of my bigger strengths, if he can tweak his just a little bit in some way, it's really going to be beneficial to his game moving forward. He obviously has a rough draw here but we'll see what happens.
Q. Didn't speak at all about his trouble?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, we speak about everything (smiling).
Q. You talked about your performance here in New York. You also had an incredible performance in Davis Cup in Boston. What are your takeaways from that experience?
LLEYTON HEWITT: From Boston?
Q. Yeah, early in your career.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I beat Todd Martin who was No. 4 in the world at the time in four sets in extreme conditions. As I've always said, Davis Cup means so much to me. I was fortunate to come up at a time with Newk and Roche. They let me know what Davis Cup is about, especially playing for Australia. Yeah, I've just tried to lead by example with that the rest of my career.
Q. This tie coming up, do you feel that passion is there with the other guys as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Sam is growing as a player. He's made massive inroads from the Czech Republic when he played his first live match to Darwin. I think it's really helped him as a player week in and week out. Just that belief, you know, getting over those nerves of going out there and not just playing for yourself. He was great, fantastic.
Q. When you leave this tour, one chapter of the tennis history is going to be closed. You are the last player to make a full Grand Slam season in the last three decades.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Just makes me feel old, Mate (smiling).
Q. How do you feel?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Old (laughter). Roger and I are the same age. Obviously I just came on tour just a little bit before him. He's obviously not struggling at the age of 34 out there. He's playing okay. No, obviously everyone has to call 'time' at some stage. I'm very comfortable with how it's all panning out at the moment.
Q. You've achieved success, reached the No. 1 ranking in the world. As you close a chapter on your career, what's the next step for Lleyton Hewitt? Will you try to go into coaching, mentorship program, be an example for some of the younger players? Will you try to be a role model, as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Mainly I'll be selfish and try to help the Aussies. I'm not going to lie. That's what I'm passionate about. I still feel I can more so at the moment help with guys on the court, dealing with certain things off the court. I think that's my biggest strength at the moment. How much I do in the future, I can't tell you.
Q. Going into tonight, what do you think that Nick's best qualities are as a player and just as a bloke?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously he's got such a powerful game. I'd love to have his serve obviously. I would have won a lot more big tournaments if I had that weapon. But it's how he backs it up, as well. For a big guy, he moves well around the court. He can hit winners from anywhere. That's why he's so exciting to watch. As a bloke, he's pretty reserved for how you see him on the court. You know, he trusts me at least, which is a big step forward. Obviously I've been able to earn that trust being in Davis Cup teams and showing that I do care about his career.
Q. You were talking about Davis Cup. You play for your teammates and your country. Singles is about you. Are you ready to turn the chapter away from that as you near the end of your career? Has that helped you to say, It's time to put that part of my life down and help others come up?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, it's been like that the last few years. I've had that many Aussie young boys come and stay at my house and train with me, whether it's in Sydney, Bahamas, Adelaide, wherever it's been. It's been like that for a long time. Davis Cup for me has been a massive passion. It's the reason that I still played this year, is because I feel like we had a good opportunity to do well, and I could still add something to the Davis Cup team as a player this year. I made no secret that my goal this year is to go as far as we can in Davis Cup.
|06-30-2015 07:33 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt: first round
Lleyton Hewitt speaks to the media following his 3‑6, 6‑3, 4‑6, 6‑0, 11‑9 defeat by Jarkko
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. If it had to end, it would have been in a fighting spirit that you showed out there today.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was always going to leave it out there, everything I had in the tank. I certainly did that.
I didn't, you know, leave any stone unturned preparing. But also on the match court today. You know, there was a couple of times the match could have gotten away from me at certain stages and I found a way of hanging in there.
In the end obviously disappointing to lose. I would have loved to have played Novak in the next round. But, yeah, Jarkko is a tough competitor and it was never going to be easy.
Q. When does it start hitting you that you've played your last Wimbledon singles match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. You try and suck it in as much as possible at the end of the match and that. But, yeah, you're not probably thinking as clearly as you'd like to be.
The change of ends, I was always serving to stay in the match, as well. I was more trying to always think about, you know, holding serve and getting those first couple of points. It never entered my mind that this could be the last time you serve or play a game in the Championships.
So it's kind of a strange feeling in a lot of ways. Obviously you're so fatigued out there as well, at the time. But, you know, the crowd and everything, it was fantastic. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Q. Coming in here, did you reflect much on the journey from when you first came here till this final tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, as much as possible, I think. Even yesterday I just went and sat in the stands of Centre Court, you know, just soaked it up and listened to music in there. Just little things.
Yeah, coming back knowing that it's your last time competing, as I've said all year, I'm fortunate that I can have that opportunity to do that. I have tried to soak it up. As I told you the other day, with my family as well, it's been really nice.
Q. To get as far as you do in professional sport, I assume you have to be pretty ruthless and hard‑nosed. Are you an emotional kind of guy? Do you cry easily?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I probably don't cry easily, no. I haven't cried today, if that's what you're asking (smiling). Pretty close, but not quite.
There's been times, mostly after Davis Cup matches, I've actually probably cried a couple of times because you're not playing for yourself in that situation. Whereas most of my losses week in and week out, I'm disappointed and shattered a lot of the time. But in the past I've been able to bounce back pretty quick.
Q. The great champions here have so many great moments, of the walking out on Centre Court or returning each year or lifting the trophy. If you could share with us one or two moments that were really special for you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to beat winning, obviously. You work your whole life to have an opportunity to play on the final Sunday here in Wimbledon, to have a chance of holding up that trophy.
And so, yeah, nothing can really compare to that in tennis.
So for me obviously that's a no‑brainer. Yeah, the semifinal against Henners in 2002, especially because of the English and Australian rivalry so many years in sport, but the crowd was against me on that day. Both of us could sense it was a final in a lot of ways, as well, going into that match.
Q. Is there a sense that something can never be taken from you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I lost first round the next year. But I would have lost first round every other year, I couldn't careless, I still won it. You can never take that away.
Q. What is the process of deciding that your career is over and accepting the fact that you have to move on and find something else? How do you deal with this journey?
LLEYTON HEWITT: When you're 34, it's not that hard to deal with it. Can't keep playing forever. Yeah, tennis, it's obviously such a physical sport out there. Yeah, you have to try and play week in and week out to get the best out of yourself and to be able to beat the best players at the big tournaments.
And, yeah, my focus has switched. I prefer to spend a lot more time with my kids. A lot of the smaller tournaments, I don't have the same motivation for. So then it's pretty easy to make that decision.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit more about what it was like sitting there. You said you went to Centre Court yesterday. Were you alone? What were you picturing or thinking about sitting there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, one of my close mates, Peter Luczak went in there, one of my coaches. He went off, and he sort of understood it was my time just to sit there. He came in to keep me company for a bit. But then that hawk was in there. He went in and actually had photos and held the hawk for a bit. I was kind of just watching that.
They were setting up in the back, doing all their stuff. It was a bit of a shame, the covers were on the court yesterday.
But it was more just thinking about that walk you do, you know, the tradition of the tournament, playing on Centre Court. Yeah, I've always loved the tradition of the game. I've never hidden that. That's something that I love being around.
I'm fortunate that the Australian greats, we have so many with that tradition and history of the sport, especially here at Wimbledon. I love nothing more than catching up with the old guys and having a chat with them about certain stuff. I think it's great.
Q. You've been right through the whole journey. We have a whole crop of young kids coming up now. What's the key advice you would give to those kids coming through at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot of it is, yeah, the small 1% that you do. It's more behind the scenes, on the practice court, in the gym that will pay off down the line. A lot of these kids that are coming up, the Australians especially, have a lot more firepower than I had. But I had to work on other areas of my game, being mentally tough, different strengths, to get the most out of myself.
They're fortunate they can rely on finishing points quickly and having those big serves they can go to when they need to. There's certain areas they can work on to become more of a complete player.
Q. When you look at yourself today, when you look at the guy with the hair that won the thing, which of the two do you like better?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously now, with a beautiful wife and three kids.
I preferred my body back then (laughter).
Q. When you burst onto the scene as a kid, you had to put up with the pressure of the media and the public saying, This kid is not the way the old players used to be. The young players coming through now, Kyrgios, Bernie, they're going through that as well. What kind of advice do you tell them off the court to stick through it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've spoken, especially the last couple years, probably more so to Bernie. He's had his ups and downs the last couple of years. I've built a pretty strong relationship with Bernie. I think I'm probably one of the closer guys that he trusts now.
You know, obviously little things I try and point out. I'm not going to say everything here. But he knows some of the stuff that I think can help him.
Nick, I'm getting to know Nick a little bit better, when I played especially Davis Cup ties with him. I was in the Asian League with him last year, spent a lot of time getting to know him there.
Some of the young kids in this generation are a lot different. Even going to dinner with Davis Cup ties, you talk about totally different things, stuff I've never heard of. I sort of sit down with Rochey, Wally, and Pat, the older blokes.
It's more trying to build a trust where they feel comfortable coming and asking if they need certain pointers in certain ways.
Q. You're handing over the baton. Is there one of them that you feel is one that is going to follow in your footsteps?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I think the three we have here at the moment, I like James Duckworth, Grothy and those guys.
The other three have something special. Omar Jasika is on the way up as well. Might take him a bit longer just because of his game style.
Out of the three, no. They all have different strengths. You know, I've said the last couple years, a lot of people were quick to write Bernie off after he had the hip surgeries, and I still think he's going to be a contender the next couple years.
Q. How aware are the kids of this occasion now? Have they said anything to you? With the Ashes coming up and also the British Open golf, are you looking forward to seeing any of those events?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the kids understand. I think all three of them are old enough. That's why it's been great to be able to soak up the atmosphere, especially the last week preparing for the tournament. Cruz obviously loves being on the court with me as much as possible, in the locker room, the club. The locker room staff have made us feel as home, so it's been great to share that.
Now I got Davis Cup straight after here. I'll have plenty of time the next few years to do that.
Q. Your career spans generations in the game. From your perspective, what was the best shot of any player you played against and why, best area of the game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a tough one. You know, depends what surface, how big. Obviously Rafa's forehand on clay, on a hot day in Roland Garros is nearly impossible to control.
Roger's forehand on hard court in the US Open final, he hardly missed the ball.
I think those two at their best, those two forehands have been pretty good.
Q. You just talked about how easy it is at the age of 34 to retire. Today Tommy Haas won a match at the age of 37. Can you understand somebody who is coming back on tour at that age?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, Tommy obviously does a lot of hard work. He's in great shape still. He's had some terrible surgeries and layoffs over the years. It's great to see him back and winning matches.
Yeah, I think he's probably driven by spending so much time on the sidelines. It's kind of like me I guess the last few years, because I had those four years where I had five different surgeries. You realize how much you miss the game.
When you do hang 'em up, you're going to be retired for an awfully long time. You want to get absolutely the most out of yourself. I think Tommy's probably at that stage.
Q. Your final Wimbledon press conference without mentioning your Aussies. Are you going to miss them as much as we're going to miss you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: They're great. Very special to have them there. They were awesome the whole match. They've been awesome every year, even when I won it. I'm fortunate I get to have the boys at Davis Cup and obviously the Australian Open. hat's fun.
Q. It's human nature to think I might have done this or that a little differently. If you could have changed something in your career, what comes to mind as something you might have changed?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know off the top of my head. I don't live with too many regrets. Yeah, obviously the one tournament I would have loved to have won was the Australian Open. I don't have any regrets about it because I did absolutely everything in my power in 2005 to try and win it. I ran into a guy that was too good on the night.
Q. What does it say about the competitor in you that you went out 11‑9 in the fifth set and weren't prepared to fade into the sunset?
LLEYTON HEWITT: That pretty much sums up my career, I guess my mentality, going out there and, you know, never‑say‑die attitude. I've lived for that the 18, 19 years I've been on tour.
As I tell people, it's not something I work at. I'm fortunate that I have a lot of self‑motivation to go out there and get the most out of myself, whether it's in the gym, behind the scenes, whatever.
So, yeah, I obviously I'm proud of myself that I went out there and left it all out.
Q. Without naming names, can the same be said of every player on the circuit at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think everyone has their good days and bad days. I think one thing I'd obviously push the young Australian guys, one area, that never‑say‑die attitude. It doesn't have to be a stroke or anything that you have to work on. If you just have that in yourself, it will win you a lot of matches.
Q. Is there any advice that you tell your kids now that you learned from your parents, since they were a big part in your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just try to be a support to my kids more than anything. My parents have always been fantastic supporting me. I was fortunate both my parents came from a sporting background, so they understood, even though it wasn't tennis, they had a limited knowledge of tennis. They only played it socially.
But they knew the sacrifices and the things you had to, I guess, work towards to try to get the most out of yourself.
That's something I guess later on, no matter what my kids choose to do, what path they choose to go down, sport, entertainment, whatever it may be.
Q. I happened to be in the press office earlier when a rather surprised official took a phone call from a rather elderly English lady about your Aussie fans saying she was disgusted by their behavior, they hope they're going to do something about the way they sing. Is there a kind of message you could give to people in this country that don't understand the way the Aussies do their thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: They can just go sit in the Barmy Army. They'll work it out pretty quick.
Q. You worked in commentary the last couple years. Is that something that's going to take a more forward step?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not right now. I do enjoy the commentary I do do. I'm very fortunate that I work with two of the best out there in Bruce McAvaney and Jim Courier. They're so professional, I've learned a lot from those guys.
I enjoy it, but I don't think I'll do it all the time. I do enjoy doing it a little bit.
Q. Can you put into words what Wimbledon means to you, why it's so special.
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, it's the home of tennis. I don't get the same feeling walking into any other grounds in the world, no other tennis court, no other complex, than I do here. I do get goosebumps walking into this place.
I'm so fortunate. One of the greatest things about winning this Championship is becoming a member of it. For me to be able to go in the member's locker room four weeks before Wimbledon, yeah, in there with some of the older members, sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat, it's a lot of fun.
That's something I can always come back and enjoy over the years.
|06-16-2015 02:19 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
K. ANDERSON/L. Hewitt
6‑7, 7‑5, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. As disappointing as it would have been to lose that match, how special was it to be recognized and have the opportunity to say thank you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, yeah, it was fantastic.
Yeah, I have loved coming back here and playing for so many years. Obviously I have said most years I come back here it's one of my favorite tournaments of the year outside of the majors.
Yeah, it was special to come back. Knowing it was going to be the last one, as well. I have played so many big matches in front of big crowds here over the years with big names, quality players.
For most of the first two sets I played pretty well out there.
Q. That forehand on match point?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I kind of just slipped a little bit actually on that one, and yeah, just didn't hit it well. But yeah, you start thinking about afterwards whether I because it was the second serve. Up until that stage I had been serving really well, as well. Whether I should have gone for a different serve or not, it's about second guessing what you went for.
But yeah, I felt like he sort of stepped it up, as well, from that point. Even from 4‑3 when he went down a break, that next game, was down Love‑30, fought hard to get out of that one. Felt like he sort of tried to play the match more on his terms from then on.
Yeah, I was actually surprised how many balls, good balls he made from the back of the court. It wasn't just his serve out there.
Q. Will this be an emotional, long farewell for you this year? Will you just put that aside and get on with your tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think it will be that emotional. You know, just try and enjoy it as much as possible. I'm fortunate that not many people in sport get to go out on their terms, and, you know, I have always said that I wanted to, you know, if the body held up and the opportunities were there, I would love to go out obviously on my terms. And, you know, so far it looks like I'll be able to do that.
Q. Obviously the Australian Open will mean a lot to you, but in terms of the other tournaments over the year, is this the part of the season that, given it's your farewell tour this year, this means a lot to you given your success and the attachment you have to grass over the years?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I love this month, this time of the year. I love just getting obviously clay was never my favorite surface. As soon as I got to London and started preparing for Wimbledon and obviously Queen's, that tournament, then I felt right at home straightaway.
Yeah, I have said it so many times, but this time of the year is one of my favorites and I guess you go under the radar a little bit more. Obviously, yeah, over the years, especially when you're at the top of the game playing in Australia, you know, it's a pretty hectic month, the whole lead‑in to the Australian Open, as well.
I guess you can sometimes enjoy this time of the year. And, you know, obviously Wimbledon, going back there as a member, it's a pretty special place.
Q. And what's your hope there? Are you quite desperate to get maybe one last win there in terms of a match or two under your belt and see what it looks like?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Whatever. Yeah, hopefully, it will be nice not to the last two weeks I played a couple of pretty good grass court players. It would be nice to play someone that's not quite as good as those two on grass first up, at least.
You're in the hands of the gods, though, when you're not seeded. You know, you can come up against anyone. But as I showed for the majority of the first two sets today, I felt like the standard of tennis was pretty damn good.
Q. You had quite a good year last year, and your ranking, you ended like No. 50. What was it that actually triggered the decision in Australia this year? Something happened, or did you also know that this was going to be it this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I knew I was always going to play one more Wimbledon, for sure. It was just a matter of whether I wanted to, yeah, that next six months I guess decide on keep my body in as good of shape as possible and play another Australian summer and another at least Australian Open.
Yeah, it was always pretty much in my mind it was made up that I wanted to come back and play Wimbledon one more time, and obviously here at Queen's. Then I had to decide whether I was ‑you know, I don't want to go out there and not compete and play well, either.
So I feel like I have done all the right things off the court, on the practice court, and I can at least know that I have given 100% out there in my preparation but also on the match court.
Q. Assuming that competing is still the thing that drives you, is the travel the biggest grind for you now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, the motivation obviously for Australian Open, Wimbledon, these tournaments now, and Davis Cup, yeah, the motivation is always there.
That's what I will miss about obviously hanging them up. But, yeah, just being at home with the family, and yeah, not have to always think about training and getting your body right and hold those one‑percenters that you have to do to keep playing on the tour.
It does get harder I think without the match practice and playing a lot of matches, as well, just to come out and expect to play well against the big guys straightaway.
But I've tried to train exceptionally hard so that I give myself the best chance.
Q. Winning Wimbledon as young as you did, did you think you'd potentially win more than has happened in the end?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not something I thought about when I won Wimbledon. It's kind of just a massive obviously satisfaction of all the hard work over the years.
Even though I was young, yeah, I made a lot of sacrifices up until that point as well to try and be the best tennis player I could be.
Yeah, it's a relief, I guess, in some ways, too, that you can go out there and enjoy that, yeah, you're a former winner of probably the biggest tournament there is in the world. Yeah, to me it doesn't really matter if you win it once or five times. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'll take what I got.
Q. Are you playing in any tournaments next week?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at this stage, no.
Q. Have you prepared for your retirement? What have you been doing in that respect? In terms of helping young Australians come through, what are your plans involved with those?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't fully prepared for it. I have prepared my whole life. Now I can just sit back and just chill out for a bit, enjoy, not having to set an alarm and go to the gym and do all the small things.
Yeah, we will wait and see. Obviously I'll be helping out Australian tennis in some way at some stage, and, yeah, it's kind of started this year, anyway.
I have tried to help out Bernie the last couple of years as much as possible, and I have a good relationship with Nick and know Thanasi really well, and we are playing doubles here and at Wimbledon, as well. I feel like I have a really good connection with those guys. They are quality players moving forward.
Q. We know you're playing the Australian Open and obviously Wimbledon next week. Have you made a decision on the US Open and maybe the Davis Cup later in the year, as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously at this stage I'm planning to get through the Davis Cup and hopefully we are in a semifinal, trying to play a couple of matches before then. It will be a good opportunity to play France or Great Britain in the semifinal of the Davis Cup, sort of work my schedule around the Davis Cup. For the rest of the year, that would be the priority.
Q. When you look across the way the tour has changed in the many years you have been playing, what are those changes that surprise you most or you think are most significant?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably the bigger guys out there, how well they move now around the court. Kevin, he's 6'8" or so. And you have Karlovic, 6'10". Isner is 6'9", 6'10", so it's not just about their serve. You know, they are quality players from the back of the court and they make a lot of balls out there.
You know, obviously when I first came on the tour, a lot of the big servers were pretty much just serve/volley players. If you can keep them on the back of the court, they weren't going to make two balls in a row.
So the game has changed as I think everyone returns a lot better than they used to, as well. It makes it a lot harder to serve/volley.
|02-03-2015 04:05 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
January 29, 2015
DARREN PEARCE: We'll start with a short statement from Pat Rafter, followed by questions.
PAT RAFTER: Thanks, everyone. I'm officially stepping down from Davis Cup captaincy. Wally Masur will take over as interim Davis Cup captain. Lleyton will then fill the spot when the time is right and ready. That will start as of pretty well right now. Wally will take on the first role in the Czech Republic and form his team and run his team how he feels it needs to be run. Lleyton being such a dominant part of our Davis Cup team for so long will be of strong assistance with Wally. So that's where we are right now.
DARREN PEARCE: Questions.
Q. Why now?
PAT RAFTER: In December this year, January, started getting a lot more heavily involved with the job, especially in January. Sitting down during the Brisbane tournament, running over everything that had to be done, has to be done, just realized it's a really big job. I just can't do both roles.
Q. You would have had to dealt with some of the guys, as well, and this gives you carte blanche to deal with them if need be?
PAT RAFTER: Probably a little bit of that, but I think we've formed a pretty good relationship as well. I think we've had this mutual respect. I'm not always telling them what they want to hear, but I think it's right message sometimes. I think we sort of respect each other, all the guys on the team. A lot of it also has to do with the academy space, and also the women as well. I just feel for me to do the role that I need to do, I can't be traveling all over the place in this initial six months for sure. I just got to knuckle down and get things going.
Q. Wally, what does the term 'interim' mean for you?
WALLY MASUR: Exactly that. When Pat started talking to me about this, it was a case of we have a former No. 1, as our performance director. Lleyton has an undeniable link with Davis Cup and he will be captain one day. It's not in the model in Australian tennis to have a playing captain as such. Obviously spoke to Lleyton a few days ago about it, and we've come to the arrangement that he's still a player, he still has a career to flesh out and see where that ends. Until that happens, I'll be captain. I think, too, we have great stability in the sense that we have Tony Roche and Josh Eagle, head of men's tennis is involved. They've formed great relationships with the guys. Having worked with these two over the last couple years with Davis Cup, when Pat asked me, it was a pretty easy decision to make. I think it helps facilitate these two guys be involved in the way they want to be involved and hopefully make a seamless transition.
Q. It's a pretty high position in Australian sport. You must be proud.
WALLY MASUR: Yeah, look, I was involved with John Fitzgerald as coach. I was coach for a number of years and Fitzy never let me be captain. Never forgiven him for that (smiling). I have to say, the best memories I have of tennis is playing Davis Cup and being involved. These guys were a big part of the team when I was involved with Fitzy. You're right. Even though I'm involved in an interim fashion, and it certainly wasn't the way I accepted the Davis Cup role in the first place, you're right, very important in terms of Australian tennis. Pretty lucky to have Lleyton who has been the backbone of the team for so long, That he wants to be involved going forward, that Pat wants to be involved as a performance director. If you look at the other countries, it's almost unique. It says something about the fraternity of tennis in this country that they do.
Q. What does it say about your role, especially the Australian Open 2016?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've thought long and hard. I plan to play the Aussie Open next year and most likely finish then. Obviously for me the Davis Cup is something we've worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a position in the World Group where we have a genuine shot. I believe with the guys now we have a lot more options, a lot more depth. I feel like I can still put my hand up as a player and help the boys get over the line. Whether that's singles, doubles, whatever is needed. Right at the moment that's the main focus for us. Personally I'll be looking towards the grass court season and most likely finishing here in Melbourne, which for me would obviously be special to play 20 Australian Opens.
Q. You're not entered anywhere in the next month. The Davis Cup is the next big thing for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, there's opportunities. I may hit with some of the guys here as well, some of the younger guys in Australia before getting over to the Czech early and getting prepared for that match. But, yeah, for me the main focus is Davis Cup, then obviously the grass court season after that.
Q. Does that mean you'll skip the French?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Most likely. Most likely.
Q. How is the body holding up in terms of next year? How do you see yourself? Nurse yourself through this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, my body's fine. As I said, I think I trained harder probably than anyone in the off-season. I had probably the longest pre-season ever, probably three months. Yeah, the body feels great at the moment. That's the only reason why I want to keep playing. I'm excited about the prospect obviously of still being able to play Davis Cup. I've been waiting a while for these young guys to come and for us to have an opportunity of going deep. I think we have a real shot at trying to upset Czech away from home. It's not going to be easy, but I give us a real good opportunity there.
Q. Pat, how would you rate your time as Davis Cup captain? When you started, we were out of the World Group; now back in.
PAT RAFTER: First few years were certainly a learning curve, trying to get a relationship with the guys. I'd been out of the game for quite a while. Just sort of stepping back into it was interesting. And then I guess it's had its ups and downs just with the different players and me trying to stamp some sort of authority, which sort of backlashed on me a little bit. I always expected the guys to work hard, train hard, and then we can play hard after, as well, and enjoy it, because Davis Cup should be enjoyed. You also play in a team environment. I felt like all the guys put in pretty well. I formed some really good relationships and friendships with the guys. I got to know them very well, on a level some good and some bad. At the end of it, I can sit down and have a beer with the guys in 10 years' time.
Q. Do you think Pat has weathered the storm, he's gone through the tough times, and now you come in?
WALLY MASUR: Funny you should say that. Last time I took over the role we had Rafter, Philippoussis and Hewitt and the Woodies. Timing is everything, which is why I talked Pat out of the role and talked myself into it. I think it's important, too, that those young guys have somebody a bit more contemporary to deal with over the course of the Davis Cup fortnight (smiling).
Q. Team selection, is it becoming more difficult now?
WALLY MASUR: But in a positive way. Absolutely in a positive way. You go through that process. There's still a few tournaments to be played prior to the Davis Cup in March. You assess those events, see where everybody's at health-wise. We have to make a decision. Tony Roche and Josh Eagle will be a part of that as well. As Pat mentioned, just given Lleyton's role within the team, it's going to be someone that we bounce ideas off, too.
Q. Have all the guys put their hands up to play the next tie?
PAT RAFTER: Yep, they have.
DARREN PEARCE: Thank you, everyone.
|01-22-2015 06:58 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Yeah, surely he'll want to compete at Wimbledon one more time!
|01-22-2015 06:57 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
I also thought it would be sure he play the grass season.
|01-22-2015 06:42 PM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Wow. I wasn't worried by al of the commentators predicting retirement but comments like "I'll sit back and assess everything after this tournament" do make me wonder.
|01-22-2015 11:18 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt 22-01-15
Q. What caused the turnaround in the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He definitely raised his level. The first two sets I felt like I was dictating play the whole time. Yeah, he obviously tightened up some of his errors start of the third set. He started serving a lot better as well. I couldn't get into as many of his service games to build pressure on him. He served, and then, yeah, he played a good game to break me halfway through the third set. He seemed to really get confident after that.
Q. When you left the court, did you take an extra moment tonight at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, it sort of happens that quickly when you walk off. Obviously, a great reception. But you probably don't take it in as much as you should.
Q. I had a look at your five-setters. You've lost five of your last six. Does that come into your thinking? Were you aware of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't come into my thinking when I'm out there. Obviously I'm aware, though. I lost to Seppi last year. Lost a tight one to Janowicz at Wimbledon. I think Simon at the French. Been decent players, though. Obviously frustrating tonight because I was playing so well for the first two sets.
Q. Were you expecting the game to change so suddenly in the third?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I never looked ahead, that's for sure. I was focused. I was more trying to hold my service games through the third set, then trying to get that small opportunity to break. In the end, as I said, he played a really good game. He got aggressive, got hot on a couple of returns at 3-2 in the third set. Then after that he wasn't missing as many easy balls as he was for the first two sets. His serve picked up.
Q. You said you didn't look around when you left the court. The television replay showed at the last sit-down, changeover, you were looking around, taking everything in. What was going through your mind then?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know more than me then. If I looked at every TV changeover, I'm probably doing exactly the same thing. There was nothing different going through my mind. It was more just trying to work out the situation. I was trying to bust my guts to get the first couple points, put some kind of pressure on him. Nothing else entered my mind.
Q. The second break in the fifth set, did you think before then you were getting into his service games?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Those two games I had 15-40, another breakpoint straight after. If I could have broken there, got back on serve. Then the following game I think I had Love-30, he came up with four good first serves. I didn't have -- yeah, I made a couple of them. But he had short replies that he could step in on. Credit to him, he came up big when he needed to, especially with his serve.
Q. There were stages in the first two sets when you were playing superbly. Does it make it more frustrating or almost baffling that it turned around when you're playing that well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, conditions were different, too, from the start of the match till the end of the match. Totally different conditions. You know, the ball was flying through the air. Obviously you start in daylight and it goes into nighttime. By the end the balls were so much heavier out there, which was, yeah, obviously harder to dictate play, especially from the back of the court for me.
Q. As usual, there will be a lot of speculation about your future now. What's next for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll sit down and think about it. As I've said the whole time, I haven't thought about anything. But obviously the Davis Cup is the next main thing. Now that we've got some guys playing really good tennis at the moment, it's an exciting time. Yeah, we have a good chance to possibly pull off an upset away. That's the next focus.
Q. Does that make you want to stay on longer, not thinking about retirement, but...
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not necessarily. Obviously it would be great to play when Nick and Bernie and Thanasi are possibly top 10, top 20 players, you get a free ride winning Davis Cups (smiling). That ain't going to happen straightaway. You know, I've always said that for me to stick around in Davis Cup is to help these guys more as a mentor, teach them what Davis Cup's all about. So far I've been able to do that from I guess my dedication on the practice court and the match court playing for Australia.
Q. What are your thoughts on the singles mix? You have been in the top two. Do you think you still have that spot now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot depends on the matchup. I think right at the moment, obviously the good thing now is we have a lot of options. It's a key I think to trying to win Davis Cup ties, especially in the World Group. You need options. Obviously I feel doubles-wise I've played some of my best tennis in Davis Cup doubles over the last five years, six years since I've really had to play doubles nearly every tie. At least now I don't feel -- you know, I'm never going to play three matches anymore. I think that's a good thing.
Q. How does the body pull up after a five-setter now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel fine at the moment.
Q. You talked about the changing conditions going from daylight into darkness. Who does that suit most out of the main contenders here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think Roger's always played really well in night conditions because there's not as much breeze. Early on, the first couple of sets, there was actually quite a bit of breeze. We were playing downhill from the end you walk in. I like playing in those conditions. Once it was sunset, then the breeze totally went out. In still conditions, I think Roger plays pretty well because it's hard to get out of his hitting zone.
Q. 19 consecutive Australian Opens is an incredible record. 20 has a nice look to it. Is that a lure at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For some people I'm sure it is. Yeah, I don't know. As I said the whole time, I haven't been kidding anyone, really I don't know. I've just tried to focus on what I've wanted to do, to get the best out of myself this year. I'll sit back and assess everything after this tournament.
|01-20-2015 10:27 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt 20-01-15
Q. What was the most pleasing thing about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Just getting the four points, getting the win. It's always tough any Grand Slam, especially early on in tournaments, especially the start of the year, more so playing at home in your home Grand Slam. The first match is always tough to get through. It's obviously a big buildup to it, as well. You know, I was obviously the favorite going out there tonight, but I knew he was going to be really flashy and I was going to have to weather the storm when he had a run-on of games. Happened every time I played against him. I was able to do that and change the momentum when I needed to.
Q. In the last six years when you have gotten past the first round, you've made it to the Round of 16. Do you find getting over that first hurdle is massive?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It helps obviously. Yeah, obviously the draw can open up a little bit if you keep putting yourself in a position, you hang in there and find a way to win. That was important tonight, to find a way. Obviously I get another opportunity on Thursday. I'll look forward to that. It's going to be another challenge, another step up in class. But come Thursday, I'll be ready.
Q. What does Becker bring to the table?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Similar to tonight in some ways, you know, good serve, good forehand. Yeah, he's going to play with a lot more shape on his shots than the guy tonight. He hit pretty hard and flat tonight. Obviously I'm going to have to weather the storm with Becker's serve. He's an experienced player, as well. He's obviously had a really good win against Benneteau today in four sets, which going into that match, you know, you wouldn't have been the favorite. So he's obviously playing well and seeing the ball well. You know, I'll speak to Rochey and Looch and the boys and get a game plan, try to execute and get off to a good start.
Q. You took control in the third set. What was the key?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just tried to stay in front early on. Yeah, I thought hopefully he was going to have a little bit of a lapse in concentration after playing really well in that second set. I wanted to try and change the momentum as much as possible. The biggest thing was trying to make as many balls as possible. I didn't feel like I made too many errors, unforced errors, in that third set. I can't remember a whole heap at all. So at least I made him play so many balls. But I felt like I was starting to dictate play, and he wasn't able to sort of stand there and deliver.
Q. The ball toss trouble early on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just lost my rhythm there for a short period of time. It was really only the first game. Just lost my rhythm. Sort of strange with the cloud, as well, sunlight and that. But got better as the match went on.
Q. How hardened are you by the past couple days with everyone getting through virtually?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good. Obviously the young guys that have had a lot of pressure and expectation on them, they've handled it really well, which is important. I think for the most part those three guys, obviously Tomic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, you know, obviously they have big futures. All three guys like playing on the big stage, which is really important. I've seen that in Davis Cup now. It doesn't get much more pressure than playing, you know, Davis Cup, where you're playing for your country and your teammates as well as yourself. It hasn't really surprised me the last couple of days, but they've got to keep kicking on now. It is only the first round. They've got to keep taking their opportunities when they present.
Q. Do you feel there's less expectation on you this year because of their success?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah, for sure. Obviously there's other guys which can do damage in the tournament. It's great for Australian tennis. For a period, obviously when Pat retired and Flip had a few injuries, there wasn't a lot else that could go deep into a Grand Slam. Where now, these guys, they've had little flashes in the pan of quarterfinals, a couple of quarterfinals in slams. But they've got to try to do it on a more consistent basis now.
Q. Will you talk something about your Chinese opponent today.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a talented player. This is the third time I've played him now. I knew pretty much what to expect. But, you know, to get the wild card from the Asian Wild Card Playoff, he destroyed everyone in that tournament. He was the quality player to get through. Last year he qualified for the Australian Open as well. You know, I think he's got better the last couple years since I played him in Davis Cup.
Q. Word on your next opponent?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough competitor. He plays really tough. Good serve, good forehand. He's an experienced campaigner. He's been around for a long time. He's won quite a lot of big matches. I think he plays pretty well over five sets.
Q. 19 Australian Opens now. It's unprecedented. Are you still having fun? Is it still the same?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the motivation, the buzz is still there, absolutely. You know, I love walking through the corridors, the practice sessions on Rod Laver Arena, the week leading up to the slam. The start of the Australian Open, there's always a real buzz around anyway. But this is one of the things I really miss when I do eventually retire.
Q. This isn't a farewell tour?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I get asked that every day, so...
|01-17-2015 06:35 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt 17-01-15
Q. How do you rate your chances heading in, I suppose?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I just take it one match at a time obviously. Just try and focus on my first-round opponent, what I need to do to try to get through that match. Played him a couple times before in Davis Cup over five sets, so at least I'm well-prepared for what to expect out there. Obviously just try and get my body as close to 100% by Tuesday. Hopefully go out there and execute what I need to do.
Q. Was it a relief to finally get somebody that wasn't a high seed in the first round of the Australian Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you don't really focus on it that much, to tell you the truth. It's nice not to play one of the real top guys. But you've got to be prepared to play anyone. I try not to worry about it leading into the draw obviously. I've been in this many times to this tournament, it's not something I focus on, I guess, leading up a couple days out from it.
Q. Do you think you'll find yourself soaking up the atmosphere a little bit more? I know you've said it's not your last one, but every one is closer to the last one.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. When you go out there to play, though, I don't think I'd be thinking like that. I'm trying to do absolutely everything in my power to get over the line and get the win. I think once those thoughts sort of enter your mind, yeah, it can probably distract you and be a little bit of a negative influence when you're trying to perform at your best out there. So I'm that big a competitor, I think once I hit the match court out there, my focus will basically be on the one-on-one aspect out there and try to get the best out of myself.
Q. You played him twice before, both in Davis Cup. What are his strengths and what are you expecting come Tuesday night?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm playing night, am I (smiling)? Yeah, it's good that I least know what to expect. I've obviously played him twice in Davis Cup, seen him play Bernie in Davis Cup, as well. Yeah, he's a dangerous player. He swings from the hip on a lot of shots. He's got a good serve, nice forehand, backhand. Likes changing direction off both sides. Yeah, he has had a couple of pretty good wins in his career. He seems to play well at the Shanghai Masters every year where he gets a wild card there. He's a good competitor, as well. I've got to go out there and at least I know what I'm going to expect and we'll come up with a game plan, then it's about me trying to execute that on the day.
Q. Being a competitor, do you go into this thinking you have a genuine chance to win? Is that dream still alive?
LLEYTON HEWITT: When you start the tournament, that dream's still there for everyone, the 128 of us that are in the draw. Nothing changes in that aspect. Over the years I think I pride myself on not looking too far ahead anyway. Even when I was No. 1 in the world, I always played every match on its merits, gave the utmost respect to my opponents, who I had to play. I've said it so many times: it's a matter of trying to get through the first week of a Grand Slam. Doesn't matter how you do it, but you have to try to find a way of getting through that, put yourself in a position in the second week. Yeah, anything can happen in Grand Slams. Over five sets, obviously, guys can get injured. There's a lot of ups and downs over two weeks.
Q. What do you think of the other young Aussie chances? Pretty good talent coming through.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously Nick has a pretty good section of the draw I think that he's in. Bernie is in a pretty good section, as well. Bernie has been playing well the last couple weeks. Obviously took someone like Nishikori to play extremely well - he's a quality player - to beat him in Brisbane. Gilles Muller, 6-6, could have gone either way in Sydney in that match he lost. Obviously Nick would have liked some more matches under his belt coming in. If he can get his teeth into the tournament, I don't think that's a big worry for Nick. Thanasi has a tougher first round against Gulbis. He's got a fighting chance in it, though, for sure Thanasi has improved a lot over the last year.
Q. Is this the most excited you've been in your time of the youngsters coming through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess it's probably a few more in a group coming through than I've ever seen in my time. Probably happened a bit before I actually started. You had the guys, the Woodies, Stolz, Philippoussis, Rafter, Fromberg, so many guys coming through at that stage. For a while, I guess I was the only one and we didn't have a lot of juniors, we sort of struggled to make that transition from really good junior players in the Grand Slams to making it onto the senior tour.
Q. How is the body feeling?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, feels pretty good at the moment, so... I don't think that will be a problem come Tuesday.
Q. Will you provide any sort of mentoring towards Nick, specifically during the Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Obviously I've got to try to focus on what I need to do to get the best out of myself. Bernie contacts me quite a bit. I've been in contact with him over the last month or so quite a bit. He asks a lot of questions about opponents and stuff, as well. I'm always there for any help that they need, how to handle any situations that may arise.
Q. How do you feel he's going at the moment mentally?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Bernie?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think he's in a good head space at the moment. As I said, I felt like he played pretty good tennis in Brisbane, and Sydney. He beat Kohlschreiber convincingly in Sydney. That may be his seed in the second round, which I think is a good matchup for him. In Brisbane, as I said, it took a red hot Nishikori to knock him off there. Apart from that, he played well obviously beating Thanasi, but first round against Sam Querrey, as well. He's hitting the ball well, moving well, serving big.
Q. Andy Murray was saying he thinks the tournament is wide open. There's a lot of talk that the top four are more challenged than previous years. Do you feel that's the case?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Possibly. It's still hard. Obviously Andy Murray is not in the top four in the rankings at the moment. I think guys still see him as one of those big threats as the top four anyway. Obviously there's Raonic, Dimitrov coming up, putting pressure on. Nishikori. Cilic won a Grand Slam now. These kind of guys. I still think the core is going to be those top three or four guys. Over five sets, it's still extremely tough to beat two or three of those guys back-to-back at the end of these tournaments.
Q. You're obviously one of the great veterans on tour. If you look over the course of your career, how has tennis changed? How are you looking at this tournament, looking at it in terms of the tools you need to bring, the game you need to bring?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously the surface changed here throughout my career.
Q. Sorry to bring up something annoying.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, doesn't matter. The players, they're a lot more bigger, stronger guys these days than when I first came on tour. I think the bigger guys move so much better these days than they did in the past. You just got to look at guys like Raonic that have such big games but are still very consistent from the back of the court, able to make a lot of balls from the back of the court, whereas some of the bigger guys when I first started, they were a bit hit-and-miss, spraying a lot more shots. Even guys like Isner and Karlovic, they obviously hold so many service games, but they're not hackers from the back of the court. They can make balls on their return games as well, which makes it tougher.
Q. How is the surface playing at the moment? Medium paced?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've only hit on center court most of the time. I would say that's probably a bit slower than the outside courts purely because it gets laid last by a little bit of time after all the other courts, doesn't get as much play on it to quicken it up. I'd say it's probably a medium. It's certainly not quicker than medium. But I wouldn't say it's much different to last year.
|01-15-2015 07:40 AM|
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
January 13, 2015
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I don't know what future you see for it, but do you see a future for it on the professional tour in any kind of fashion? (Regarding fast four scoring.)
ROGER FEDERER: Well, number one, this was about getting more kids to play the game. Now, I definitely think this is an easy exhibition format, no doubt, because it keeps the score close. The score keeps on moving. From that standpoint I think it's a very nice format.
For me personally, I didn't have to adjust much mentally to the format. Feels like I've played it before in the past, even though I've never even come close to playing something like this. I enjoyed it, you know.
Now, is there a future for it? We've tried the let thing in challengers for three months as a test. Didn't go down that well with the guys because the nets are too different all around. I don't know how to explain.
No ad, we have it in the doubles. And then the tiebreaker, to me, we haven't spoken about it on court, but I thought that was actually the most intense.
We played two tonight, and tiebreak is over in a hurry when you get the first mini break. So I think that's the biggest change for me almost.
Then I like the best‑of‑five format to four. I like the idea of that because every point is more important and it's hard to get back from a break. So you feel like you go more often into four or five sets most likely, and keeps it close.
I liked it over all. I think it's a good thing. But the idea is to have more kids play the game. They already do it near Australia. We hope for this to maybe really kick it off now.
Q. Can you think of any way you would like to tweak it? Any thoughts on possible modifications?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I think within XOs you can try all sorts of things and see if it sticks. The beauty of our game is not know if you're going to be on court for 45 minutes or for three hours.
I know sometimes that's hard for TV because in soccer or other sports you know exactly how long you're going to be playing. You beat the clock and you're fine.
In tennis you got to run over the finish line. You got to get there by hitting a winner or pushing your opponent not hang with you anymore.
So I have no ideas. I'm out of ideas.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't have any. Obviously there were a lot of changes for us tonight in terms of in a singles match. Backing up exactly what Roger said, though, it's about getting more people playing the game.
That's why it's obviously fantastic that Roger has been here tonight to do it in Australia as well, to launch this. And especially in Sydney, in one of the biggest cities in Australia obviously. We need more players playing in Sydney.
So it's not just the juniors. Social tennis as well and people talking about tennis, which is a big thing. At local clubs we can get this because they can play two sets of this faster format as well and it doesn't take so much time out of their day.
So I think that's the biggest positive with it.
Q. As an Australian you've seen what 20/20 has done for cricket.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
Q. Could you see a future for this in tennis? (Indiscernible.)
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we just played in the IPTL as well which is a format that obviously had a lot of different rule changes and was based on the 20/20 or cricket.
To try and pump up tennis in Australia I think this is important, and obviously doing it with Roger and myself here leading into the Australian Open, and then Rafa doing it as well down in Melbourne in a couple of days, I think it's great for our game.
As I said, just to build momentum in Australia about our sport.
Q. Roger, do you think maybe perhaps this style of scoring may be more advantageous for the big‑serving guys?
ROGER FEDERER: Maybe. I mean, possibly. I don't know what the stats are, if the bigger sever wins breakers more often. I think that's probably is the stat that would be more important rather than just being able to hold serve.
The big guys also have struggled with breaking serves, but it's really the breakers that are over in a hurry.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Tonight as well‑ we didn't come down to it ‑ but it's obviously interesting. If you're playing a big sever like Karlovic or Isner and it comes down to that last point and they're serving in the tiebreak where it's 4‑All...
ROGER FEDERER: It's a slight advantage then.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Even though we get to choose the side, sometimes that doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to the receiver against those big severs.
Q. Maybe one serve might be the next thing, cutting two down to one.
LLEYTON HEWITT: You could possibly. Obviously there has been talk about that for a long time, you know, one serve and whole lot different stuff. We have a whole lot of great things about our game though that you want to keep the tradition.
Obviously in this kind of format you can tinker with little things like that.
Q. (Question regarding shorter matches equating to player longevity.)
ROGER FEDERER: I think we see it in the doubles a little bit with the no‑ad scoring and the superbreaker in the third. It seems like the doubles guys are hanging around for longer.
In singles, it's hard. You know, I think it's also the motivation for the guys to do it time and time again. Because there is so much more running going on, it's so much more physical, that ‑‑ clearly it's an idea to cut it down a bit like you do a fast four format, you know, because then if you go into the match you kind of know that the maximum length of the match is going to be an hour, 45 it seems like, and that mentally is just a good thing to know.
You don't have to pack seven shirts. Might only have to pack four shirts. Only have to string a certain amount of racquets. It's a more controlled environment it seems like. Especially if it's brutal heat or very humid. That could possibly keep guys in the game for a little bit longer.
I still believe in the future we'll see plenty of best‑of‑five set matches. That's, at the end of the day in those kind of matches or in tough best‑of‑three sets, you know, five days in a row, you just got to be able to back those up time and time again if you want to play at the top.
So I don't know if a change in format is going to keep the guys in the game for longer.
Q. The schedule from here, Roger?
ROGER FEDERER: Rest. I need to relax a little bit here, so I am going to take a couple days off probably and then‑ not probably, for sure ‑ and then I'll get back on the practice courts probably on Thursday.
Then I might take another day off before the tournament gets underway.
Q. Are going to stay up here or are you going straightaway to Melbourne?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I'm going back to Melbourne to meet the family there.
Q. How do you feel physically? You seemed to have quite a pretty busy off‑season, and a pretty demanding week, ten days of the year.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, the off‑season didn't feel like an off‑season, to be quite honest. I'm not saying that to joke around in anyway. I only had eight days off. Went back to practice, I went to India ‑‑ I mean, it was like one and a half, two days. Went back to practice; practiced with Thanasi in Dubai.
Went to Switzerland; played a charity match there with Stan for my foundation on the 21st; had Christmas at home, which was so nice.
Then came back to Dubai; practiced there with Goffin and then came here.
So it was a bit of everything. A bit of XO, a bit of practice, a bit of relaxation, and then right away Brisbane.
So basically my year end comes after the Australian Open, which I can't wait to come around. I can wait for another three weeks, so we'll see how it goes.
Q. That's the way you feel right now?
ROGER FEDERER: It feels exactly like that, yep. The year end seems to me after the US Open.
Q. (No microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER: How well do I remember?
Q. The first one.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I do actually remember it quite vividly. I qualified in Toulouse in '98 and played Guillaume Raoux first round. He came from Davis Cup in Israel I remember and he was totally tired.
I came out and I played already great in qualifying. I beat him 6‑2, 6‑2, and he looked so tired. I totally took advantage of it.
Then ended up winning my second match against Richard Fromberg I remember in the second round.
Almost had chances against Siemerink in the quarters. That was a breakthrough tournament for me after having played Gstaad earlier in the year. Then little later I played Agassi in Basel, in my hometown.
So it was a very interesting period of my career because I was bouncing around between juniors and professionals. I think I played the US Open finals in the juniors and lost to Nalbandian as well there in that spell.
So I remember it very clearly. It was a great match. Yeah, wouldn't have guessed it would have been my first of 1000, but it's great.
Q. (No microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, like I got to the hotel and I posted even the picture of the 1000. It's this crazy number. It's just so long and it looks so good, looks so great, so grand and everything.
Now we're onto 2000, right? (Laughter.) No thank you.
Anyway, I must say it feels very special, but probably it's just a great time as well right now between Brisbane and the Australian Open to get it over and done with. Really I think it gives me great motivation going into the Australian Open, I must say.
Q. How did your body pull up today from yesterday?
ROGER FEDERER: It's all right. Today clearly you feel like you want to enjoy it as much as you can. The whole format, the crowd, it was amazing. Doing it with Lleyton, who I have such great rivalry over the years and is a friend now, I must say.
We've seen each other for so long that doing something away from all the matches as such is great, something to promote tennis in this country that has seen so many great players come from you can't even keep count anymore.
We don't have something like this in Switzerland. I can't even really relate to the whole thing even though I am very much aware of its history here in Australia, and Lleyton is part of that.
So for me to be a player in this format and in this evening has been very nice, but clearly I'm hurting from the last four matches and the last week. Usually after a final and a 1000 matches you're like, Oh, that feels good.
And then next day, bang, you got to come on court and play Lleyton. It's not so easy. That's why I'm really looking forward to rest now. It's most important for me to recover now rather than actually practicing and trying to feel better.
The game is there and I'm feeling really good right now.
Q. (No microphone.)
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. Not much, to be honest. It was never a goal of mine to reach a 1000. Feels very special now.
The last thing I'm going to do is trying to think of those guys, what they did and I have to beat those guys, I have to match it, I have to pass them.
That's totally beside of point. They did great things. They were unbelievable players. Incredible longevity. Those are inspiring numbers, no doubt about it, but it's not a goal of mine.
Q. (Question comparing how he feels going into Melbourne last year versus years past.)
ROGER FEDERER: Last year? Compared to?
Q. Compared to the past.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, every year has been different, clearly, but usually I played great at the Australian Open. I think I've been doing ten semis now in a row at the Australian Open.
I don't recall every single feeling I had the eve of the tournament. But usually I felt pretty good and confident going in because I had always good finishes to the season very often.
Last year was different just because I came off a tough '13. Had a new racquet. Stefan Edberg joined the team. I had the back and everything.
At the end actually I played much better than I thought I could and would. So I feel much better going into the tournament this year, but that doesn't mean a thing. It all starts from scratch for all of the guys.
Q. Quick one about the new format. Do you think it's value for the money to the general public? I went out to get a beer and two sets were over. What are your thoughts on that?
ROGER FEDERER: Shouldn't have gone for a beer.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
ROGER FEDERER: Should have stayed. I didn't think it was that fast, to be honest. How long did we play? Almost one and a half hours? I think the average tennis match is probably going to take you an hour, fifteen, maybe an hour ten defending how quick you play in between.
Q. I do like the five‑hour matches, though.
ROGER FEDERER: You like them? Every single time? I like them too until I wake up the next day.
Q. Can I ask a very quick one of Lleyton: Are you happy with your preparation? Relatively quick match here; first‑round loss up in Brisbane. Where to from here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I've spent a few days down in Melbourne hitting on Rod Laver Arena.
Obviously disappointing with Brisbane, but I'm actually happy with my ball striking, to tell you the truth. Brisbane was just awkward. Only one word to describe it. And so for me, I thought I played really well in the doubles as well with Gooch.
Would've liked to have got some more matches, but it was a good hit‑out tonight. I am really happy to be playing to Tomas Berdych down in Adelaide, obviously my hometown and where it all started for me on Wednesday night. I'm excited about that.
Then get to Melbourne on Thursday. That's where it all starts as well.
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