Lleyton's Press Conference
DAVIS CUP - USA vs AUSTRALIA 1-4
16 Jul - 18 Jul 1999
July 13, 1999
Q. Lleyton, are you nervous about this? This is your first Davis Cup.
LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, it's a bit of daydream, I suppose, for me to be lining up against the States for the Centennial Match, and it's a big opportunity for me playing alongside Pat and Sandon and Woody and having Newk on the side of the court and working with Rochey the whole time. I'm looking forward to it at the moment. The nerves aren't setting in yet.
Q. Do you think you'll get more nervous as we get closer to the weekend?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. Coming out Friday and playing, I'm going to be nervous for sure. It doesn't matter who I'm going to be playing against. It's my first Davis Cup match. I'm going to be nervous, I think, going out there.
PATRICK RAFTER: You can't keep saying that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Anyway, once I get into the match, I think I'll be all right.
Q. Maybe your grammar will improve, too. (Laughing)
LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe. You never know. I'll keep having Pat help me over here.
Q. Pat, does this tie feel different, special, because it's the Centennial Tie?
PATRICK RAFTER: Not really. Obviously, we're all feeling a bit of pressure, and we're concentrating more on the job that we have to do. I know I am, and I'm pretty sure Lleyton is and the boys are. We're just trying to focus on our matches, and the Centennial is just something that is obviously big. Maybe we can reflect on that after the tie's finished.
Q. Do you feel more pressure with the changes in the Australian line-up?
PATRICK RAFTER: No, not really at all. I'm very happy playing alongside Lleyton. He's had great performances and he has kicked my butt plenty of times this year. Obviously, without Flip and Todd here, it might make the team look a little bit disorganized, but I think we have enough good players to compensate for that. So we're all very happy with the team we have got.
Q. Are you disappointed that you possibly will not be facing Sampras in a singles?
PATRICK RAFTER: It's not really a disappointment. You know the team, he will be on the team. I think we are thinking that he still might play. But, first of all, I've got Jim in the first match and I'm concentrating all my attention on that. And I guess we'll check on Thursday to see who plays, if he does play. I think Thursday we'll know.
Q. So you don't necessarily believe that he's just going to play doubles?
PATRICK RAFTER: No, not at all.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Do you? (Laughing.)
Q. Would you expect him to play singles?
PATRICK RAFTER: I think you could say that. I don't think he's come all this way to sit on the sideline and watch.
Q. Lleyton, when you were 16 and playing matches, you said that at that time you weren't nervous; you were just excited to be there. At what point did you start getting nervous in matches?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably it started when I had to go back into Adelaide. Up to then, I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain. And sort of I started getting a little bit nervous, sort of defending that title, and I had higher expectations on me going into Adelaide. But I think I'm handling it pretty well. (Laughter.) Can you shut up? (Laughter.) I think I'm handling it pretty well at the moment, apart from the media side. (Laughter.)
Q. Pat, I'm just wondering how you feel coming off of Wimbledon. You had a real great Wimbledon. Mark was playing really well. It was a disappointing loss. Where is your mindset now?
PATRICK RAFTER: I didn't look at the match as a real disappointment. I thought Andre played a very good match. So... I had a few days off. I was just really happy to finally crack through at Wimbledon. I'd been on a break there for a few years, now I feel like I can be a real part of that tournament now and in the future as well. I've come off that tournament with a lot of confidence. I had a few days off. I got here, trained with the boys, I'm back on a familiar surface, I like this hard court. It feels good to be on this hard court.
Q. Do you have any preference about you playing doubles?
PATRICK RAFTER: No. Not really. I'm very confident in them doing the job, and then I'm also ready to play if Newk and Rochey want to change things up or whatever. I feel fit enough to do that.
Q. (Inaudible)... What was going through your mind at the time when you went from the 700s to where you are?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I was 700 in the world. Just luckily, I was playing a Perth challenger one week. Next thing I knew, I was playing Agassi in the Semifinal. And, really, I suppose it all happened too quick for me to realize that I've jumped 600 spots. But I suppose the biggest part is being the second year, I haven't really fallen down yet. I had a great start for the year and hopefully it continues in the second half of the year.
Q. Lleyton, you went back to Adelaide after Wimbledon. What was your reaction? What was your feeling when you heard you had to get back here quick and you were going to be playing Davis Cup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I suppose it's a dream for me to play Davis Cup. Once I have that opportunity, I'm going to take it with both hands now. And I only spent three days at home, I came back and played, started training with Rochey here this morning. And, you know, I think it's a big step for me. It's a big step for me. I'm just glad sort of Newk and Rochey put me in the right stead. They've made me work over the years, being the orange boy and that. I know what I have to do to get into the Davis Cup. I feel a part of it now as well.
Q. We might have seen a little bit right there. Is there any kind of hazing that goes on when an 18-year-old kid comes on and is playing his first Davis Cup match? Does he have to carry everyone's bags or anything like that?
ANDREW ILIE: We have to carry the bags out of the car at the hotels.
JOHN NEWCOMBE: Does Lleyton have to?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: He's been part of the Davis Cup Sports since he's been 15. We've had him at nearly every match since then. So he's really been blooded for this occasion, whenever it came. And I think he thought and we thought it would be maybe some time next year, so it's come a little bit early. But he's been totally prepared, and he's seen a lot and observed a lot and he's a great observer, as people who become champions are. So I think to go back to your question, he's going to be nervous, but it will be a good type of nervous. It will be match nervous and settle down after a couple of games. But he'll probably have to play Pete first up, which is a pretty big thing when you're coming in here for the Davis Cup match.
Q. Do you think Pete will play singles?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: I would be very surprised if he didn't.
Q. He's got until Thursday, doesn't he, to really make that announcement -- for them to make that announcement?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: From what the boys are saying, it's a team decision. So if you're on a team and you want to win the match -- I think Jim said it in the paper this morning -- the objective is to beat the Australians and win three matches before they do. Why would you have Pete sitting on the bench? I'm not trying to force him to play, I hope he stays on the bench for three days. (Laughter.)
Q. Could I ask a question of Mark. Does it feel strange to not have Todd here for this one?
MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, of course it feels a little strange. Todd and I have had a partnership that's extended over many years. The Davis Cup has been an important part of that partnership. It does feel a little bit weird, but then again there's great support with the other guys that are here, and, you know, it's business as usual. Todd's not here, so I've got to play with someone else. Hopefully, I'll be playing with someone else and get the job done.
JOHN NEWCOMBE: Todd was there in '96, was injured against Croatia and Mark played with Pat.
Q. Why isn't he here? Why isn't Todd here?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: He's had a slight arm problem the last couple of months, but that's not the main reason. They're having a little bit of a rough trot in the doubles. His singles ranking has gone way down; he lost the first round in the French and at Wimbledon had a really tight match. Todd had a couple of points there where he -- very important points -- where he had the opportunity to win the point, and he felt that he really tightened up, and he just didn't feel he was up to this. And it's not him as an individual here; it's him as a team and he's playing for his country. He made the decision that he'd rather not put that at risk. So it was his call. He made the call.
Q. Because he's not confident enough?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: He just doesn't feel that he's got enough confidence to weather the storm that will be here.
Q. Mark, was that discussed with you? I assume he talked to you about this as well, about his decision making?
MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, I guess I had a little bit of an idea, and, I mean, it's not up to me whether he comes and plays or not. It was his decision, as Newk pointed out. He probably had a more in-depth conversation with Newk about where he stands than he did with me. But that's all I can say.
Q. John, how do you feel about this? What are your thoughts right now? How do you feel? Nervous, edgy-wise or confidence-wise with the injuries?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: Well, obviously, Philippoussis was starting to play pretty well there at Wimbledon. It looked like he was heading into his best run. So things were looking very good. Then he went out. And then a couple of days later, Todd made his decision. So most teams wouldn't be able to come up with anything from there, but we've got one of the best doubles players in the world in Sandon, and Pat played with Mark in doubles against Croatia and they teamed up terrific there and won in three straight sets and were an obvious combination, as Sandon and Mark are an obvious combination. So we're very lucky to have that. And then we're lucky to have someone with Lleyton's ability, as yet unproven in Davis Cup, but you never know with a young bloke like that if he's -- he can sort of just go up like that.
Q. He's probably entering with no pressure, especially if he's playing Pete in the first round. If he loses, it's expected.
JOHN NEWCOMBE: He's got nothing to lose. He's not expected to win that one. His big test is if it comes down to the wire on the third day and he plays Jim in the deciding match. That should be fun.
Q. Sandon, your thoughts, your views, the fact that you're likely to play doubles over here? Where would you put this with some of the other results like winning the U.S. Open, et cetera?
SANDON STOLLE: Well, for me, it's a good opportunity. The year's gone well up until this point. I've played with Pat in Dusseldorf when we won that event. That was a great experience. Then coming in and me having a chance to play, it's obviously a dream to play for the country. I'm looking forward to it. So if it happens, I just want to go out and put my guts out on the court and hopefully have a win in the first match.
Q. John, I was just wondering, do you have mixed feelings about this site? I know this was supposed to be in Australia then got changed. Also, this place holds special memories for you. What are your thoughts about coming back here to Longwood to play this match?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: Yeah. It's like coming back 35 years, isn't it? Nothing's changed. (Laughing) No, this was a place where we played some great matches over the years. I think the last time I had the doubles here was in '67, Rochey and I won it. Next year, '68, we played a pro tournament here with the ones that were contract pros there, and I think Tony and I played a really long five setter, I think he won the next two 12-10, 13-11, something like 6-4. And Rocco (phonetic spelling?) beat me in the Final. I think Tony won the tournament here in 70 or '71. We've got a lot of memories in Boston, which are all good ones. Hopefully, we'll leave at the end of this weekend with some good memories that we want to remember.
Q. Has a lot changed since then?
JOHN NEWCOMBE: No way.
Q. You said Todd made his decision a couple of days after Mark was injured in Wimbledon. You've been sitting on that a couple of days. Did you think you could you change his mind or --
JOHN NEWCOMBE: I wanted him to think about it for a couple of days and see how he felt. But if Todd's been there 97 percent of the time since Tony and I have been there and we haven't lost a doubles in five and a half years, since the first tie we had against Russia, and that's with -- mainly with Todd and Mark playing, so we wanted him here. But he had to make the call. And you've got to respect him for making that call. It's a big, big decision. If someone else does really well, it may cost him his spot. So it's a big opportunity for someone else to step up to the plate. It's a big call for Todd, and I respect him for making it and you've got to go with it.
Q. How are you doing up there, Andrew?
ANDREW ILIE: Are you talking to me? (Laughter.) All right. Here we go. (Laughter.)
Q. It must be good for you to be part of this, the whole team and the whole atmosphere, even if you don't get a gig? How many shirts have you ripped in practice, mate?
ANDREW ILIE: I just want to say that, you know, God forbid I get a chance to play... (Laughter.) I really would feel sorry for the fellow that plays me. That's all I have to say. So they better be praying that I don't make the court, because there will be hell to pay for everybody, so... But, no, answering your question, it's an honor, although it's pretty sad that there are a couple of injuries on the team, I'm really glad to be part of the team, and, you know, just practicing with the boys and being on the team. Hopefully, I hope I'm not going to get to play because that means we're going to have other injuries there. So I just hope that this weekend will go well, and we'll see how it goes.
JOHN NEWCOMBE: Andrew and I have been talking about if something happens and he does have to play, I'm wondering how I'm going to talk to him to change his image. He goes through the days like this -- (Laughter.)
ANDREW ILIE: It's all the drugs that I take. (Laughter.)
JOHN NEWCOMBE: He closes his eyes and goes back like that. I don't know how I'm going to get inside his head.
ANDREW ILIE: It's pretty difficult. (Laughter.) I don't know how I get inside my head sometimes. Thanks. I'd like to thank you for putting a question to me. I really appreciate it. You made my day. Thank you. (Laughter.)
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
July 15, 1999
Q. How startled is everybody?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Two days ago I we all thought that Pete would definitely play and sort of got the feeling last night that he wasn't going to, so we weren't surprised today.
Q. How did you know?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Just the way you can sort of tell, you have a feeling.
Q. Thoughts on Courier and it has been awhile since you played Todd.
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it has been awhile and we have all seen how well he has played the Davis Cup and he played quite well at Wimbledon as well. So his form is getting back there and I am pretty happy with my form as well. So I am looking at a pretty close contested match. I have got to serve and volley very well and he has got to return very well. I am going to put him under a lot of pressure on his service games, we all know that, try and get as many easy service games as I can on. It will be whoever can execute their game plan better.
Q. I have heard the surface is a little tad slower than Flushing. How much do you think that is going to affect your game?
PATRICK RAFTER: I found the court really nice this week. It is a very evenly paced court. I think that is what the ITF agreed on; I think they pretty well accomplished that.
Q. John, if you were in Tom Gullikson's shoes what would you have done? Would you have ever considered benching Pat Rafter from singles if you had the same --
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, probably wouldn't like to be in Gully shoes if we win either. (laughter).
Q. This is your first Davis Cup. Can you comment on how nervous, how excited you are?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think I am too nervous at the moment. I am really excited, just sort of feel the buzz as you walk around the place, I have always been the fifth player in past Ties. I think I have learned a lot from Pat and the Woodies and Sandon, all those guys. So I think I am handling it pretty well at the moment. For sure, tomorrow morning I am going to be pretty nervous.
Q. Easier that Sampras is not playing - not to disrespect Courier and Martin, but Sampras is the No. 1 player and you are probably not going to have to play him in singles; make it a little easier for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I have lost to both Martin and Sampras, so they are both going to be tough matches. But I had a good match with Pete in Queens a few weeks ago and I think they play sort of similar games. I am going to have to be returning very well against Todd and I think that is probably the key in my game.
Q. What do you think about all this Sampras stuff? Are you scratching your head; a little surprised here?
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, well, as Newc said, sort of got the feeling that he wasn't going to play yesterday and so we weren't overly surprised at today's decision. But we are still waiting to see what happens on Sunday and if he does play, but right now we got to do our job on Friday and we will just take it from there at this stage.
Q. How is your kick serve on this surface?
PATRICK RAFTER: It is working pretty well. I haven't been able to use it so much on the grass. I had been trying on the grass and sometimes it worked; sometimes it doesn't. But I know every time I do it on the hard court, you get a good reaction, this court really takes it nicely.
Q. Pat, do you think you might be seeing Pete on Sunday?
PATRICK RAFTER: Well, we don't know who we are going to see on Sunday; that is what we are saying.
Q. Could you talk about you are playing Jim Courier, is it different playing him? He is a more formidable opponent in a situation like this as opposed to second round somewhere on the Tour?
PATRICK RAFTER: One thing about Jim is he puts in 100% every single match he plays. Some guys deal with the pressure of Davis Cup consistently very well and Jim is one of those sort of guys. He loves the whole thing of Davis Cup, what it is, and he is someone who has been able to handle that better than anyone else.
Q. Newc, can you talk about what you think the keys are for Patrick and Lleyton winning tomorrow?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Not particularly, no. We will keep that to ourselves. I think that the first matches, the draw came out very well for us, I believe. It is a must-win situation for them in that first match which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Todd. Also knowing that he is playing, and Pete is not playing, he is playing Lleyton, he is -- on paper he is supposed to beat Lleyton. He has beaten him before, but he knows Lleyton is a very, very good player and a tough person to beat. So there will be some anxious moments for them in that first match and if we lose the first match, we are not going to be as worried as they will be if they lose the first match, put it like that. That is sort of a fact, you can sort that out yourself.
Q. Can you give us the run-down on the doubles, how is that going to play out?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Probably should let them answer for themselves. But we had -- when Todd withdrew we had three choices we can play Mark with Sandon; Mark with Pat, or Pat with Sandon. And those three combinations were all very solid and we feel good about a lot of them. We will actually -- tomorrow night we will all have a talk about it and see where we sit. But for now, Mark you probably should answer that. He and Sandon have been playing here all week and been pretty good. They are good mates. They send dirty e-mails to one another all the time.
MARK WOODFORDE: I don't find them, no, I just pass them on. It is going to be a tough match anyway whoever we are playing, but I think one of the advantages, obviously Sandon has partnered Alex O'Brien in for a couple of seasons now and so he should know his game pretty well. Obviously I have faced Alex more than enough with Todd. And I have had the experience of playing against Sampras a couple of times, in particular, the one a couple of years ago in Washington, DC, so the fact that Pete is not a regular doubles player could go against him. But that remains to be seen on the day. Sandon and I are very comfortable playing together. We have played a couple of times before and I think it is easier for our team to gel together in a situation like this where we have lost a couple of players and so hopefully Sandon is just as comfortable as I am with him. You are going to have to ask him that.
Q. Could you give us a little bit of run down, biggest differences between Todd and Sandon when you are playing together?
MARK WOODFORDE: The big difference that I have noticed in practice is usually I am up looking down at Todd, but now I am looking up. So I feel like I should be listening to Sandon.
Q. Sandon, did you get a call from your father at all, any little advice about Davis Cup?
SANDON STOLLE: No, I got a call from Newc and dad stays out of it. Obviously he is proud, running around the place taking photos which I have never seen. Mum has got him doing all the dirty work, but listen to Newc and Rochey and they know my game pretty well. So I feel comfortable playing with Mark as well. I think the most important thing with the doubles, as I was saying earlier, the same thing that Woody touched upon was that I don't think Pete is as comfortable with playing doubles. Obviously he is a great player, but going in, I mean, I much prefer see him across the net in doubles than in singles. Just because I have that confidence in my game in doubles and I think he is a little uncomfortable with it. We will see on the day how he plays.
Q. Mark, do you consider Pete to be a good doubles player?
MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I have only played against him a couple of times and fortunately have come out on the winning side, but obviously he is one of the best singles player around at the moment, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he is going to be a great doubles player. I think, given the opportunity to play more matches, sure, he definitely could be with that serve. It is obviously a big, big plus. It is just -- I just can't see how he can just walk out there and believe he can play good doubles. I am comfortable with Sandon and we have been playing together. We have played doubles week-in and week-out as well as singles; that is going to work with us. If it comes down to a tie situation, and whether we can exploit that.
Q. Lleyton, you are pretty hyper when you play. Do you think Davis Cup is the perfect scenario for your game?
SANDON STOLLE: Yeah, I think so with the Fanatics back up there, they are surely going to help me. I think I will just try and put on a bit of a show tomorrow and get pumped up an hopefully I get in that situation and get the chance to get pumped up as well.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
July 16, 1999
Lleyton Hewitt - T. Martin 6-4 6-7(1) 6-3 6-0
Q. (inaudible) how much did that make you settle down?
LLEYTON HEWITT: That was a huge game for me. I was a little bit nervous at that time. I heard the boys sort of saying out in the side of the court, I heard Newc on the side of the court -- I mean, I worked on my serve the whole week, so sort of he said a couple of key things to get my ball toss right in the right position and just stay steady on my service. That is what I did. Next three to five points I served just about all first serves. That is when my serve start working for me. I started holding serve a lot easier.
Q. Second set tiebreak. The way it went, how do you get yourself back in the match, third set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I thought Todd was starting to get a little bit tired at that point and really I think that was the most positive thing I could take out of it; that whatever I am feeling, I am sure he is feeling a lot worse than I am. So I went out there with that attitude for the rest of the match. I was going to stay out there as long as I had to to win that first match.
Q. How does match rate in terms of your performance?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Best win I have ever had.
Q. How was your night last night?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually pretty tough to go to sleep last night. Trying to have an early night, but then really couldn't get to sleep for a couple of hours. I just got on the phone; called the folks back home and all the mates.
Q. Todd was struggling the fourth set. Did you sense that as well; that pretty much he was spent?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Newc sort of felt that as well. I had to really try and get on top of him early in the fourth set. I did that; I came up with a few good returns and he hadn't been serve and volleying any second serves up 'til then until the first game of the fourth set; then he started serve and volleying second serves, so I took out of that that he really wanted the points to finish quickly and didn't want to sort of get into a baseline rally with me.
Q. Is it what you had expected it to be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much. I can't wait to get out there and play again. Fantastic atmosphere out there. I tried to block the crowd out as much as I could today. All that band noise, stuff really sort of got over the top of our Fanatics up the top there, didn't really hear them at all.
Q. How did you manage to keep your nerve throughout the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Newc had a big part in that, sort of he kept me pretty calm, taking deep breaths at every change of ends and no matter what the situation was, straight off, after I lost the second set when I got the early break in the first set, when I was still serving for 5-Love in the fourth, Newc was great on the side of the court.
Q. Your experience at Wimbledon playing on Center Court with Becker, even though it was a loss, did that help you in any way just going through that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it helped me, but I think the biggest thing was the match I played against Todd in Sydney. I took a lot of confidence out of that match. I was pretty tired at that time and just made the final of Adelaide; that was the quarterfinals of Sydney; then I came out and I really gutsed that out. I think that was in the back of Todd's mind that I wasn't going to go away out there today. So I think really that match actually did a lot for me even though I did lose it.
Q. How high are you right now on your Davis Cup debut and can you also talk about the atmosphere out there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It is fantastic. As I said, it is the biggest win of my career. Biggest match I have played in my career. I am sure there is a lot of people back home watching it into the wee hours of the early morning. It is a great atmosphere out there on center court, out here in Boston as well. It is just -- because it is pretty tight as well. You sort of got your guys up on one end; I sort prefer being on the far end as much as I can. Come down the other end and it is: "Todd, Todd, Todd," so, I try to block out the crowd as much as possible, but you still hear it.
Q. Do you pattern your game after Agassi at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I try to play pretty aggressive from the baseline. I think the biggest thing today was my serve. I served really well. But I don't think I actually just model my game on one person. I try and work on a lot of areas of my game. I am trying to become and all-court player.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
July 18, 1999
Q. We have had a parade of people in here already. We are apologizing hitting you with this right off. Seems that there isn't much question on the Australian side about the integrity of Todd Martin. But are there questions sort of about integrity of this whole weekend and sort of how things went down?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No.
Q. Now, the other answer.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: (Laughs) No, not really. I mean, I don't know what was going on in the other dressing room this morning, so --
Q. When you read this morning that Gullikson was leaving very open the possibility that Sampras would play, what was your reaction to that?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I didn't think it would be true. We didn't know any reason why Todd wouldn't be able to play the rules are very explicit so he didn't have an injury.
Q. But as it turned out he said he did and his doctor, his team doctor concurred and said that he could not play.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I don't know, he played 3 and a half hours of pretty good tennis in the heat and had Pat two sets to Love and two breaks in the fifth. I think that speaks for itself.
Q. Talk about Patrick's match, winning the match (inaudible) --
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Sorry to --
Q. Talk about Patrick's match.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, it was a very hard one for Pat to play. Because of all the -- at five past 12 Pat didn't even know who he was going to play with everything that was happening back there. And then he is playing Todd and Todd comes out and was obviously just going for everything and jumping on Pat's second serves and everything he hit was coming off, not just -- that just threw Pat wide out of kilter and it was extremely difficult position because it was like you can see Pat thinking, oh, gee, I am playing someone that I think I can beat, but he is just going for his shots and it will be a terrible loss if I lose, then Lleyton is going to have to come out and play the fifth match, I should be winning, but I can't get any rhythm in the match add Todd is playing great and serving great. Is he going to fall over or not; at one stage Pat said to me, well, could you -- this is just about the beginning of the second set, he said, can you mention to the umpire that I think Todd is taking a bit of extra time on the change of ends. He is going over what you are supposed to take. He says, I know he is sick, but I think we should mention it. So it was -- they are good friends; it was on Pat's minds that Todd was sick; well, two hours later the guy was still there, so it was a very difficult situation for Pat. He really just had to dig down deep and as you saw in the fifth set twice down on service break in the fifth it was not too many guys that are going to get out of that position an Pat is one of the guys that can dig down and find something a little extra when he has to do it.
Q. Does this have -- did this sort of sour relations between the US and Australia in terms of the mind games that have gone on and sort of the subterfuge that has gone on this week?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, not really.
Q. Put yourself in Gully's position, how would you have done things differently?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I am not going to start second guess that. That is mind games. (Laughs) We are not into mind games. We just carry out and play.
Q. Do you think it was particularly fair to Pat that he didn't know the identity of the opponent --
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it was a very unfair situation, yes. And it I think it definitely parade on him out there because he was very uptight for two sets. He was just like he was wound up and who am I going to play it is sort of ridiculous. You don't know and it was 5, 10 past 12 before he really had any idea.
Q. The talk about Pete at all until last night, or this morning?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No. I mean, Pat had said last night if Pete plays well that is good. Bring him on. But you go back to the rules, okay, the doctor said he wasn't fit to play and yet he played three and a half hours; had Pat a break down twice in the fifth.
Q. Would you consider that maybe that Todd actually was ill but that he just went out there and really did his best and gutted it out, just didn't have enough at the end.
That he actually was sick out there and -- but he played through it.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: (NO RESPONSE)
Q. Or you wouldn't even consider that a possibility?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I don't want to get into it. Todd is a good friend of ours. I don't want to get into it. It speaks for itself.
Q. Lleyton, what do you think of Davis Cup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it has been a great week or week and a half since I arrived here in Boston sort of our one goal was to come out and make it to the semifinals and just get through this tough time in the States here and now we have done it and we can look forward to playing Russia in September.
Q. How much have you grown up as a tennis player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: This week?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I have learned a lot, I suppose, just hanging around Pat so much and just sort of talking about the guys we have had to play and sort of how he looks at his opponents and sort of he gave me a few hints if I was in that situation in the fifth match today, which I could have nearly been in, just how he normally handles it; how he handles the pressure and maybe it could be a good thing for me to handle, how I am going to handle it. Just to sort of think of it not as such a Davis Cup match but a normal match because nine times out of 10 because I think I would do well against Jim Courier but in a Davis Cup match you know how well Jim plays under pressure and that it is a totally different situation.
Q. John, can you look at A. ahead to Russia, B., what kind of celebration plans you might have, and C., Lleyton or Mark Philippoussis in the semifinals?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Wow, you really are giving me the whammies here. We will celebrate and we will have a good strong celebration tonight, I will guarantee you to that. You don't want to see me around 11 o'clock, believe me. We have to decide in two week's time, August 2nd where we play. It will be Brisbane, Sydney, Perth or I am not sure -- I think Adelaide may have put in too.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Let's get Adelaide. (laughter).
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: It is quite probably will be on grass. And I can't even begin to think of the answer to the last question. For starters we don't -- Mark is not even back playing yet. So we just have to see what happens. But Lleyton has been given his opportunity here through unfortunate circumstances to Mark and he seized on his opportunity and got us that unbelievably valuable point first up which was sort of broke the tie wide open for us. So his credentials are established now he has passed the test.
Q. I know you don't want to sort of go on about this but you have been around this game your whole life. Do you think what Todd Martin was put through this week was fair?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Look, honestly that is really not up to me to -- I don't know what was going on in the other dressing room and what discussions took place between everybody and that is really their business and I am not going to start making quotes about what is their business.
Q. All the Davis cups you have played and captained, given the fact that you weren't even supposed to be playing here and what went on during the tie, how does this rate as a satisfaction level for you?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yeah, we were stung in the semis two years ago in Washington and now I think two years later we are a stronger team, a better team, a more experienced team. It is satisfying for Tony and myself. I think we have got an excellent chance to win the Cup this year. This is our 6th year; we would really love to win it for the boys because Pat played his first Davis Cup match with us and Mark Philippoussis did and Lleyton did and we have sort of grown pretty close to all these guys, so it will be just an enormous thrill for Tony and myself if we can do a little bit to help them get their names on the Cup. It will be a big thrill. This is a step along the way really. It was -- I think I was probably like everyone when who was barking for Australia you couldn't believe it was over when it was over today.
Q. What did you say to Todd when he came over to shake your hand at the end of the match?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I said a great fight, mate, well done.
Q. What did you say to Gully?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Bad luck. He said congratulations, well done. Good luck in the semis.
Q. Given coaching or captaining in tennis and stuff, it is somewhat different obviously a lot of restrictions who you can play (inaudible) it is tough coaching?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: That is part of the job. Everybody knows that we didn't go through a very pleasant year last year lose to go Zimbabwe. I am Bob way and everything that happen. You just have to accept that. We didn't have a pleasant time when we lost to hung Guy in '95 and we were put out of the World Group. That is part of it. If you can't stand the heat huff got to get out of the kitchen. The boys don't expect you to belly up when the going gets tough; same way we don't expect them to belly up when the going gets tough. If the tough things are there they expect us to be able to make the call on it. Hopefully we make the right call. But that is what you get selected to do the job for. So really not a matter of sympathy or anything else, of course, he has a tough decision to make, but that is part of the job.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
August 31, 1999
Lleyton Hewitt - Marc Rosset 6-2 6-2 6-0
Flushing Meadows, New York City
Q. Lleyton, people get a bit overwrought sometimes playing their first time in a main draw. How did you feel?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't really feel any nerves at all today. I really -- I haven't played a match for about four weeks now, since the Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles. I went out there and was thinking a lot about my ankle, so I suppose I didn't know if I would be able to sort of finish the match probably. In practice, that's been totally different. It's been fine in practice the whole week now. I've been testing it out with guys like Pat and Tim Henman. Once you get in a match, I don't think you know how it feels. That was playing in the back of my mind. I tried to block it out as much as possible.
Q. How is it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It came through well. Rarely felt it the whole time. If I did feel it, it sort of went away straight away. I think I played sort of -- to get through so easily today was a big bonus as well. Not to be out on the court putting so much stress on it and sort of having been in the second round here.
Q. Lleyton, you're 18 years old, you're playing your first U.S. Open, coming in here off an ankle injury. Confidence high coming into this match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Confidence was high about four weeks ago. It's tough for a guy who was -- I was playing so well. I had no points to defend over the last four weeks. Missed two Super 9s and Long Island, big events. It was tough for me sitting at home watching all the guys play, especially Pat doing so well and guys like that. So I had to come out here today, and I had to try to do a job and get through my first round.
Q. Have you been able to practice during those four weeks? Are you pretty much rested?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I practiced about three days before I came over here, and they were really staying in the corner just trying to stroke a few balls, and really no running at all.
Q. John McEnroe says that if you're healthy, you're one of his picks here. How do you feel about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: That's a big call. I suppose it helps when Pete Sampras isn't in the draw anymore. But, you know, I'm not on Pete's side anyway. I have a lot of matches to go before I get close to that. I'm taking one match at a time at the moment. I'm not match fit at the moment, so I wouldn't say much to that answer.
Q. Would you say that the U.S. Open sort of suits your personality?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I suppose New York, big city, the crowd really gets behind you out there and stuff like that. A couple of times today I had a couple passing shots, lobs. The crowd got involved in the match. The further I go in the tournament, the more it's going to sort of support me. And as soon as I get on sort of the stadium court at night, I think it's going to be even better.
Q. Was there a time when you thought you might not be able to play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I got told as soon as I went home by two different specialists that I wouldn't be playing in the U.S. Open. So basically there was -- for about a week's time, I just had to rest and couldn't basically walk. I stood on crutches. From that week, I felt the whole time I wasn't going to be playing the U.S. Open. I was trying to still be positive about it, but in the back of my mind, knowing I wasn't going to be here. I was trying to focus in on getting it right for the Davis Cup tie and sort of put my hand up for selection there. I went and saw the Davis Cup physio for Australia, and (inaudible), who works with him as well, and they both gave me a great chance of playing the U.S. Open and then being all right for the Davis Cup as well. So that sort of -- I suppose just sort of being positive about it really helped as well sort of being around those guys. They're much more around the tennis players, as well, than some of the other doctors that I'm not sure have been around tennis so long and don't know how long it does take for an injury to heal. Sort of being positive and setting a goal and really being --
Q. How do you feel about Pete being out?
LLEYTON HEWITT: My chances?
Q. Well, the fact that he's out?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not going to play him in the final, though, so. The odds on us both getting in the final are...
Q. What did you do to get fit?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I was at the beach every day (laughter.) Walking along the beach every day.
Q. In the water?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah.
Q. How deep was it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was pretty cold as well back home.
Q. How deep was the water?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I only went up to about waist-level.
Q. Which beach?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Right outside my coach's house, so it's Henning Beach (ph) in Adelaide. And it's winter over there at the moment.
Q. How far did you walk in the water?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably 3 Ks every day.
Q. Did you find participating in the Arthur Ashe Day has increased your public recognition around these parts?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. I don't think a lot of people knew me sort of before today or before Arthur Ashe day as well. Particularly, I did a Clinique ad for Nike on Court 7 in the morning with John McEnroe. Also coming into the stadium court and having a look around there, and I suppose just being sort of -- Patrick Rafter's in there. A lot of people sort of knew who I was going into that match.
Q. You had experience earlier this summer with the Davis Cup. Do you find it helped calm your nerves as opposed to going out to your first match today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit it helps. But really I've played a lot of matches. I played the Davis Cup I think, what was it, about six weeks ago now, six or seven weeks ago. That's the most pressure I've ever felt. Coming out here and playing the first U.S. Open main draw doesn't compare to that. Just the difference of being advantage Australian instead of advantage Hewitt. So really today I didn't really think I had nothing to lose going out into that match. I suppose that helped, having an ankle injury. Sometimes you see guys who have a sort of a sore spot or bit of an injury often play better because it's in the back of their mind and it takes a lot of pressure off them as well.
Q. Earlier you mentioned realistically you didn't expect to get to the final. Do you have a benchmark or an objective that you say, "This is where I want to be with this tournament"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I've come in to this tournament -- two weeks ago I didn't think I was going to be playing. It's just great to be here. I'm taking it one match at a time. I think a lot of -- you know, there's a lot of question marks of me going into the match today: Main court. Am I going to be able to put up with the stress? I came through great, and, hopefully, I do in the next match as well. I'm just taking it one match at a time.
Q. Most of those courts out there are lightning fast. Are you surprised at how well you handled a big-hitter on such fast court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they're pretty quick. I've been practicing the last few days with Tim Henman, Pat Rafter, got pretty big serves as well. I think that helped a lot. I think one of my own assets has been a good return of serve. It was sort of his strength against my strength today, and I thought I had done really well. Plus, I think the wind helped me as well, being a bit breezy out there. He threw in double-faults at crucial times.
Q. Pat Rafter and Jason Stoltenberg said you kind of created a little bit of a stir down in Australia, especially with a lot of the female fans.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pat said that? (Laughter.)
Q. Yes. How do you handle instant adulation?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually, I've learned a lot from Pat, to tell you the truth (laughter.) He's sort of the king down there with all the females and that so... And just sort of -- sort of handling myself in the media on and off the court, just with the media and how well Pat handles it. So I've learned a lot from Pat. And since Davis Cup three years ago, Newc and Reggie put me on that team, I have learned a lot from all the Australian guys. They took me under their wing and helped me a lot. Pat sort of comments on how I could improve the media talk and stuff like that. That's been a big part for me.
Q. Has there been any time at a tournament or whatever that you couldn't -- an incident that happened, whether you got mobbed or autographs, and you go, "Oh, my God, I'm a professional tennis player and I'm becoming a star"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably when I was 15, the Australian Open was a big shock. I was playing with no one watching me the whole time. Suddenly I was on the front page of the paper playing Sergi Bruguera, who, at the time, was the jewel, the French Open champion. So in my home Grand Slam it was pretty big. Come sort of Monday morning and everyone sort of wants to know you; whereas, Friday afternoon playing in the quallies, no one really knew you at all.
Q. In Australia, baseball is becoming a big game. Have you ever played it? I know we have Dave Nelson here who plays.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I never played baseball. No. I watch it on TV over here, but never played it.
Q. You're one of the young guns here right now with the likes of McEnroe thinking of you as a possible contender here. Hearing that Sampras is out of this tournament -- I mean I know you haven't had a lot of time for this -- to absorb this, but does this sort of take a little something out of it, the thought that you might have an opportunity to possibly go up against the No. 1 player in the world? The fact that he's out of this tournament, does it deflate things at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think to win a Grand Slam is big enough. There's enough guys, 127 other guys in the draw who are all great players as well. Whether it's Pete, Pat, Andre, none of that really matters. It's who's playing the best at a certain time, and I don't think anyone can say Pete was going to win the tournament regardless anyway. Safin's a tough player. He had to play him the first round. He's coming off -- I think he had pulled out of another tournament two weeks ago as well. He was going to have his hands full in that match. There was no guarantee I was going to be playing Pete. There are a lot of other guys. I'm going to have my work cut out.
Q. What's the best part of being on Tour for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think just travelling around and seeing other cities.
Q. What's your favorite city so far?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Adelaide. No (laughing.) No. I like, outside of Australia, I like probably Orlando.
LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot of the other Australian guys do also.
Q. Have you done anything in New York while you've been here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, nothing.
Q. Are you staying in Manhattan?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I'm not sure where I'm staying, the Intercontinental. I'm not sure where that is. I haven't really looked around at all.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
September 2, 1999
Lleyton Hewitt - Wayne Arthurs 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4
Flushing Meadows, New York City
USTA: Questions for Lleyton?
Q. Were you having trouble with the serve in the third set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Third set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably. His serve got better as the match went on. He started off pretty rusty at the start. For sure, at the end of the third set I was starting to struggle, particularly in the tiebreaker as well. He served his best in the whole match was the fourth set, and that was the set that I won. I knew that if I could keep holding on, I'd get that opportunity. He sort of threw in a couple of doubles in that game and sort of got me back to 30-all, and then I was pretty confident every time I got a second serve on him. But he got better as the match went on.
Q. How did the ankle play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pulled out well. Strapping was a little bit tight. But apart from that, it pulled out well.
Q. Are you surprised you've gotten back this quickly, playing so well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. I think I've always been lucky in the past. When I have been fresh and sort of come in to a tournament after a few weeks' break, I've always played well. It's sort of shown in Adelaide the last couple of years when everyone sort of had holidays and that, and I came out at my hometown and came out and played well there. So I think that was a bit of a bonus as well. You know, it was tough for me sort of having four weeks off. After I was hitting the ball so well and coming off that Davis Cup victory as well.
Q. Lleyton, it looks pretty conceivable you'll have gone from being the rookie of the Davis Cup Team to possibly, in two weeks, being the leading man?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's unbelievable, isn't it? Everyone's getting injured. My timing could have been good.
Q. Can you talk about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm still hot from Petr, and Pete getting better soon. But obviously there is a cloud over both of those two, and possibly still a little bit of a cloud over myself as well with the ankle, even though I have passed the first two matches and that. I've got to go in there, I've got a job to do, and I suppose I was -- even if I was the No. 2 player, I had to try and beat both the guys anyway. I don't think it's going to be a big step for me going as the No. 2 player into the No. 1 player, and I'd probably rather be the No. 2 player and playing the fifth match on the final day. So, but, you know, I think we've got -- the good thing is we've got a lot of depth in our team. Whether we call on Wayne Arthur, Jason Stoltenberg to play the second singles, you know, Woody, we've got so many combinations in the doubles as well, which helps.
Q. What's the current team now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The four that were named, Pat Rafter, Mark Philippoussis, Mark Woodforde and myself.
Q. And what happened with Todd Woodbridge? You don't know?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pardon?
Q. Todd Woodbridge? No?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Newc figured there was a cloud over a couple of us in the singles, and Newc figured that we had -- there's four singles instead of just the one doubles that we've got to win. So he thought that we might as well throw in, at that time and stage, we might as well throw in three singles players ahead of Woody there. He felt any three of us could have played with Woody as well.
Q. Have you had conversations with John Newcombe in the last few days about all of this?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, just a bit of a joke. Everyone's getting injured. We'll sit down -- probably everyone's going to sit down maybe at the end of this week, during this week, I'm not sure. Newc suggested we all sit down and talk about the situation now and what's the best team to sort of put into the grass when we play against Russia.
Q. It looked like you were going to be the favorites going into this, and now it's a little bit more even and you're on grass against the Russians. How do you see that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be a tough match. There's no doubt about that. I don't think Safin's results on grass are all that good. I think that's a bonus for us. I don't think -- I don't believe he played any grass this year. Kafelnikov can play on any surface. I think the big thing was for us, when we did pick the surface, that it was either rebound ace or grass. Kafelnikov won the Australian Open and can win on any surface. I think it's still going to be a good decision.
Q. How hands-on in your general career are Newc and Tony?
LLEYTON HEWITT: They've made a big influence. You know, for the last four or five years probably, three to four years, sort of when they got me in the Davis Cup as sort of the orange boy, and I started gradually moving up and up. Reggie's at all the big tournaments, he's spent a lot of time with me working on my technique side of it, and Newcombe spends a lot of time working on tactics and stuff like that. I had four weeks off at the end of last year before I played the Perth Challenger and then the Australian. This summer I went to Newc and Rochey's house and practiced there for two and a half weeks. They're good mates.
Q. The Australian crowd is great. I was watching some of the matches. They had a rah-rah section.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was good, wasn't it?
Q. It was cool. How does that make you feel out there? As part of that excitement and playing, countrymen and so forth?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's fantastic. The more you get, it feels like you're playing at home all the time. So I support all those people that come out all the time. You know, I think it's great to have as many Australians in the crowd as possible. But I think because we are doing so well in the Davis Cup the last few years, it is because we have a tight group as well. I suppose that's sort of the thing that Newcombe and Rochey are trying to put through to all the guys, the way it was in their day and trying to get it through to our day, and then sort of going on -- whether I become a captain in the future -- or put it into the Juniors' in their minds that we are sort of a team. And that's why we sort of bond so well every time we go to the Davis Cup ties.
Q. Do you think the Australians represent probably one of the tighter groups?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. No doubt about it. If not the sort of tightest group, I would say sort of travelling every week.
Q. Why is that? Is it tennis in Australia, the way you're brought up? Just the culture, the tradition, the heritage?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I would say more the tradition. I would say that's probably the big thing. It's all of the above that you said. I'd say the number one is tradition and sort of the way that Rod Laver did it, he's out there supporting all the guys today. He was out at my court today. He comes to all the matches that he can. Ken Rosewall, Fred Stolle, Newc, Rochey, all these guys come out and watch all the time, John Alexander. It's just so tight. Whether I'm getting coached by Darren, Darren Kale at the moment, everyone chips into my game as well and helps it out a little bit in areas that they can. Whether that's past or present players as well. Mark Woodforde had a big deal in my career as well, coming from Adelaide, he's helped me out a lot.
Q. What's your first memory, when you were a kid, of big-time Australian tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably Pat Cash's match against Mikael Pernfors in the Davis Cup, in the Davis Cup Final. He came back from two sets to Love, down in one and five. Ever since then, I wanted to play Davis Cup and I wanted to represent my country, and sort of I looked up to Pat Cash.
Q. Have you faced Kafelnikov before?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I never played Kafelnikov.
Q. Given all these famous Australian players around you, was anyone telling you come into the net more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: They're all telling me to come into the net a little bit more all the time. You know, they understand that baseline's my game and I'm trying to play greater from the baseline, try to counter punch the opponent. They don't get into it that much, to become a Pat Rafter and serve volley every point. They're chipping in; they think it's going to help me down in the future. I'm sure it is. It's going to help me on every surface as well.
Q. You didn't come to the net in the third set. You didn't come in much today, though, even though you had been playing pretty well behind the baseline.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I sort of backed my passing shots against Wayne today. I thought -- for starters, I try to keep him on the baseline as much as possible. I feel like I was going to win 80 to 90 percent of the points on the baseline every time. When he did come in, I thought I was passing well enough to counter punch him anyway, and I was lobbing well anyway. I wasn't worried about getting to the net.
Q. Growing up, did you play a lot on grass?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Grass, I played very little. I'd play three tournaments in my whole Junior career.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Practice, very rarely. We've got Memorial Drive right there, but there's just no tournaments so there's no need to practice on it. You're always practicing on rebound ace.
Q. Australia waited for a long time to have a new generation, in a way, of top players and stuff. Does that put you guys under particular pressure at home, playing in the Australian Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I love playing back home in Australia. My favorite three tournaments are Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. But also I like playing under a little bit of pressure as well. I think the crowd gets behind you that much, sort of lifts you up as much. It's a buzz playing in front of home fans, sort of where you grew up playing tennis.
Q. Where does that come from? You've shown a remarkable ability not to be intimidated by higher seeds and playing well in your big moment. Where does that confidence come from?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Just playing in Juniors, I suppose. I always played at my age group. I've always been playing the bigger and stronger guys, for example, the guys like Wayne Arthur today, big serve. My whole time in my Junior career, I haven't been the biggest guy out there. I think being mentally tough has had a big part to do with it as well. That's one of my main strengths, if not the strength of the my game as well, being mentally tough out on the court. And I think that's had a big deal in sort of looking at these guys and sort of believing that I can beat them.
Q. Where does that come from?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I don't know. I think just growing up, I played a lot of footy and stuff like that. So I think I was born a little bit with it as well.
Q. You're in the toughest part of the draw.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough. At the moment, I'd rather be in the top half, I can tell you. Everyone's pulling out. But to win the tournament, you have to win seven matches, and every guy on the 128-draw is going to be tough. I'm just taking one match at a time at the moment. You never know, it could open up down the line.
Q. On this surface, how do you rate?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd say pretty good. The whole year I made semis and Queen's on grass, third round Wimbledon, won a tournament in Del Rey Beach on clay. I think my game is coming together on all surfaces. Hardcourt is suiting my game pretty well at the moment. It's similar to playing on rebound ace as well.
Q. Were you a bit tough on yourself for losing that third set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: In the past I would have been a lot tougher on myself I think. I think today I coped with it as well as I ever coped with making a mistake like that. I had a chance to put him away and I think sort of everyone -- Wayne's main -- Wayne's worst part of his games, I'd say, is returning. I think I did take it a little bit easy, I'm going to stroll in here for a 6-4 in the third victory. But I did a double-fault at 15-0. I was upset after losing that game. I think I refocused. I knew once I could get that break in the fourth set, I wasn't going to do it again. I wasn't going to let it happen again.
Q. Did Darren have anything to say about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he just came in and said "Great match" afterwards. I haven't seen him since.
Q. Do you get nervous? You always seem very balanced and mentally in control and you talked about your mental toughness and having the support of the guys on the side of the court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
Q. It seems well beyond your 18 years, too.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think everyone gets a little bit nervous though before any tennis match. For sure if you're playing the big guys in the US Open, Australian Open, you get nervous. Once you're out there in the first couple games, you're in the atmosphere and the buzzer thing, it goes all over my head. For some reason, I've always loved sort of being in the limelight or the spotlight out there, sort of in the middle of everything, trying to put on a bit of a show for everyone out in the crowd. So I think that's had a big part to do with me. Sort of I got thrown into it pretty much when I was 16 or even when I was 15 and qualified for the Australian Open and had to play Sergi Bruguera in the show court. I've learned how to deal with it sort of over the years and I think I'm getting much better at it.
Q. Did you enter the Open with a certain round that you wanted to get to?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at all. I didn't know if I was going to be able to play. I rode up here and I was literally 50/50 on playing the first match. And I knew if it wasn't right, I wasn't going to risk it going into the Davis Cup, and then I've got five or six big tournaments after that as well.
Q. It's a long way away, do you think you can hold up for seven matches?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't even thought about it. At the moment I'm feeling good, my ankle is coming together good. My body's feeling good as well. I'm gradually getting match tougher after a four-week break, which has been tough. It's a long way to go to win seven matches here.
Q. Did you play (inaudible) before?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Never.
Q. What do you think about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be a tough match. He's hitting the ball great at the moment. I'm not sure what his score was today. He won his first round easily in straight sets. I'm going to have my work cut out with Andre and have to be moving well in that match as well.
Q. Would you like to get into a bigger show court, do you think, for that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For that match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I always like getting in the show court, so I would say yeah.
Q. Can you tell me more about where you were when you saw Cash play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Where I was, I was about five years old, I think. I'm not sure where I was. But a couple of years after that, I had the tape at home and Pat Cash made a story called The Pat Cash Story, which sort of was pretty big in Australia, and I watched that. I'm not sure where I actually was at the time.
Q. Did you see the match on TV?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I watched the tape of it.
Q. You watched the tape.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
September 4, 1999
Lleyton Hewitt - Andrey Medvedev 6-3 3-6 6-3 4-6 3-6
Flushing Meadows, New York City
USTA: Questions for Lleyton.
Q. What turned things around?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just played a few too many double-faults on big points today. The wind was swirling a bit out there. Totally different than playing on Court 11. Even though it's a show stand, it's not that closed sort of atmosphere. The wind was swirling a little bit. I felt I couldn't thrust up well tonight on my serve, particularly on my second serve. Normally I get a lot of cheap points on my second serve when I do go for a second serve ace. Tonight I really had no confidence in it. Probably that and also the start of every set, as well. I really struggled, particularly in the sets I lost, the second, fourth and fifth. I gave him the break straightaway and he sort of got on top of things and could dictate the points.
Q. Was it a concentration thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a little bit, for sure. I think in a couple of those games I was 30-Love, 15-Love up. Sort of let it slip with a double-fault, as I said. He thought he had a chance in that game, sort of got the sniff, went after it a bit.
Q. You almost looked like a bit of a tired tennis player, mentally, emotionally.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I was getting a little bit tired towards the end. I think the main thing is because I haven't played matches for four weeks, if you haven't sort of hit a ball for four weeks, come in and try to play best-of-five sets, as well. You know, I had pretty comfortable victories the first two, so I really didn't sort of push it. This was sort of the first five-set-long match I've had, particularly playing a baseliner as well. It was totally different. A lot longer points than usual compared with my first two matches.
Q. Second time you were broken there in the fifth set, you seemed to be strangling the racquet a bit on the baseline. A bit of emotion there.
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I was a little bit disappointed, I suppose, because I had that many chances. I felt I was the better player all night, yet I lose the match. I had so many chances to break him. He came up with an ace here and there. It was getting pretty frustrating towards the end there, particularly. As I said, I broke back and got sort of back in the match in the fifth set, 30-Love up, I throw in a soft double-fault. Little things like that tonight sort of built up on me. I suppose in the end it got the better of me.
Q. What are the lessons for you tonight and out of the tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think that I was hitting the ball as well as anyone in the tournament this whole time. I think tonight I went a little bit negative the longer the match went on. At the start, I came out aggressive. I went at him sort of the whole time. It sort of dropped off towards the end of the fourth set, towards the fifth set. I was winning games, but I wasn't sort of attacking him. I was waiting for him to make the errors. I think that's the main thing, if I go out there and stay positive, really attack, go after the guy, come into the net after some of my good groundstrokes, I think I'm hitting the ball as well as anyone.
Q. Got a bit to do with his style of play, too? He can send you to sleep.
LLEYTON HEWITT: The way he looks, walks around sort of moping around. That's the way he plays. Good on him.
Q. I know it's the US Open, but I'm doing a story on the Aussie Open. Would you mind talking about what you might think it would take for an Aussie man to win? Hasn't happened in almost 25 years.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think we've got a pretty good chance. Of course, Pat Rafter has to be the No. 1 chance to win the Australian Open. He was hitting the ball great here. Just unlucky he has the shoulder problem. Otherwise he could have done the hat trick. Mark Philippoussis can beat anyone on any given day if sort of everything is going well. I suppose I always play well at the Australian Open, but just try and string seven matches together in a row is going to be tough. That's the Grand Slam that we all sort of look forward to, as well. Playing in Melbourne, we get the crowds out there. It's such a good atmosphere out there on center court as well.
Q. What about the Aussie legacy? How is that for you when you're playing a Slam in Australia, you have the Lavers, the Newcombes?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's fantastic. All those guys sort of come out, all the Hall of Famers, so many top Australian players as you mentioned, Rod Laver, those guys. They all come out. Personally I love playing in Australia. It's my favorite tournament of the year.
Q. What are your plans between now and Davis Cup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's three weeks, just under three weeks now until we play. It looks like I'll be playing at this stage. You know, I think I'll take -- I'll probably go home as soon as possible, I think, just put the feet up for a few days, just make sure the ankle is a hundred percent by the time I do have to get on the court there. I'm going to be up as early as possible, a week and a half, probably earlier, practicing on the grass. It's just totally different conditions up there in Brisbane, just trying to see how the grass court is playing.
Q. How is it for you to be part of this Aussie Davis Cup team?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's fantastic. It's always been a dream of mine to be representing my country in anything, whether it's the Olympics or the Davis Cup. Just sort of watching the tradition, as you said, all of the past champions we've had, sort of to be a part of it now, playing the matches, that has been great. The last two or three years, I've sort of been the orange boy, then the fifth player in Zimbabwe. Now I'm actually in the top four players. You know, it's sort of just a buzz to be around those guys, sort of practicing the whole week before, then going out there and trying to do the job.
Q. Does that carry over to the rest of your tennis, to the tournament world?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, for sure. We're a tight group, as well. I think it really helps. It's not that hard to sort of come together for just the Davis Cup ties because you're only playing normally four of them or less during a year. We're sort of seeing each other every day at these tournaments. We come together pretty much straightaway for the Davis Cup ties.
Q. Go back and look at the four Grand Slams you've been in this year, full year. If you could do a chart showing the progress, maybe some dips in it, what would it look like?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the Aussie Open I suppose I played an unbelievable match, possibly the best match I ever played against Pioline the first round. Started about as good as you can sort of get. I suppose there was a little bit of a letdown two days later when I lost to Tommy Haas leading a set and a break. Tommy Haas ended up making the semifinal. The draw opened up there. Took a little dip there. French Open I lost to Rodriguez in five, played a pretty ordinary match in that. Probably dropped a bit more there. Wimbledon, I beat Filippini, and Alami played very well in both those matches. Lost to Becker, but learned a lot from that match. I started to get back in the match. Just being out there playing Boris Becker on center court definitely got pretty high then. Also, considering I came here just about not going to be playing the tournament to sort of come out, beat Rosset and Arthurs, and lose to Medvedev who is the runner-up in the French Open in five sets is not a bad effort.
Q. Would you say that your attitude at your age right now is it's a learning experience or, "I want it all right now"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think in the men's game, 19, you're very young. I have a lot of learning to do and a lot of years ahead of me. I look to say I had a pretty good year, particularly in the World Series events I've done very well. I really haven't lost to that many sort of players below me, as well, which is good. My ranking has been improving every week. I still have sort of a quarter of the indoor season, as well.
Q. Which Slam means the most to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The Australian.
Q. Tell me more about that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Because it's my home Slam. As you said, an Australian hasn't won it for so long, as well. I just love playing there, walking underneath, the changing rooms, there's history there. I've gone and watched that Slam since I was five or six years old every year. To be a part of it now, one day to win that would sort of be the best thing.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
ITF: Can we have a first question, please.
Q. Have you ever been to a longer ceremony (laughter)?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Have you (laughter)?
Q. Do you have any preference to who plays first, the first player to begin first?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, not at all. We weren't particularly worried either way.
Q. John, how much does a final like this come down to the character of the first round players rather than the surface or their ability and nothing else?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it comes down to, in my experience, the players, first of all. After that, it's very important for the player with the spirit that's with the team because, especially when you're playing away from home, there's going to be a time when you're going to need all the courage that you've got, and if you can draw on your teammates and feel that it's a real, real spirit coming out towards you, it can help you get through some very difficult occasions. We've been showing that this year. We'll try to double that effort for the final.
Q. Would you say you're at the point in your preparation where you wanted to be on the eve of the match?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yeah, we were there two days ago, I think, especially with Mark and Lleyton, and I think yet the Woodies became at their peak. We're more than happy. We expect to be at our maximum playing ability on the day.
Q. Lleyton, this is your first year in Davis Cup. How different is the feeling being in the final and can you tell about how excited, how motivated you are?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's an unbelievable feeling for me. A lot of the players go through their careers without playing in a Davis Cup final. For me, at the age of 18 to have this opportunity, in my third tie, when at the start of the year it looked like I was going to be struggling for a spot, you know, this is definitely the biggest moment in my career so far.
Q. You've played Pioline a few times. You've lost to him and you beat him easily at the Australian Open. What could be the key here on this clay?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think you can't take a lot out of those matches really. It's a totally different surface and it's in the Davis Cup, as well. You're not just playing for yourself out there. I think it's going to be whoever handles the pressure better, I think, on the day. I'm sure he's hitting the ball well. He was hitting the ball well in the Paris Indoors where he did just beat me there. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well, as well. I think it's going to come down to being mentally tough on the day.
Q. Do you feel a stronger pressure being in the final or do you take it as a normal tie, you and the players, John?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think you have to ask the players that question. For me, yeah, you can't just say it's treated as another match because it is a final. But quite honestly, for me, the last two days I've had a very calm feeling because I feel we can't do anything more. We're prepared for the fight as best we can; now it's just a matter of coming to the action.
Q. From some players, as well.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for me, I've been going into every one of my ties as a do-or-die match. It doesn't feel like, you know, even though it is a final and, you know, it's winner-take-all in this one again, I've been going in there with that attitude anyway, just taking it one match at a time, so.
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I agree with Lleyton on that one (laughter).
Q. Mark, you've had a US Open final on your own. This is a different kind of final. What's your state of mind? How different does it feel to you, this event, than heading into a final in a Slam?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, I mean, I felt the pressure differently in the US Open final against Patrick. I would hope to think that, you know, I know it's a different kind of pressure, but I'd like to think that I learned a little bit from a big match like that. Like I said, it's totally different. You know, I feel like I've been very relaxed all week. You know, I've been hitting the ball well. I feel I'm very prepared for this.
Q. Todd and Mark, all the huge finals that you've played in, where does this one come and how important is it to you, particularly the end of a year when you haven't had quite as much joint success as you've had in the past?
MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I guess we'd like -- I'll answer for my behalf. I mean, I'd like to erase the memory of losing in '93. I think a little bit of inexperience, even though we'd won quite a few finals leading up to the '93 final. I think experience went against us in that match and we lost to a pair who, you know, don't quite play as often as what Todd and I had. It would be nice -- it would be exceptionally nice after a disappointing year, by our standards. We haven't won a tournament since the early part of the year. It would be nice to certainly cap the year off knowing that we're starting to play a whole lot better and got our confidence. It would be nice to be a part of a victorious team here and certainly one trophy that we haven't been able to garnish together.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: I'm a believer that hard work pays off. I know that Mark and I have worked extremely hard the past three months to get our form and consistency back to a high level. If you can keep putting in the hard work and keep knocking on the door, which we have, we've been in semis, finals, played good matches against all the top pairs, the door will open. This is the perfect opportunity for us to finish off a year that perhaps hasn't been our best, but in consistency terms it's still been ranked high. It's a way that we could make '99 still an exceptional year and one that we'll remember.
Q. Mark, two questions. The first would be, in tennis, the seasons are getting longer, harder on bodies. You haven't played a lot the last part of the year. Do you feel fresher this year than you normally do? Do you think that could help you?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Definitely. Last couple of years I felt like towards Paris Indoors, I was getting very flat. You know, two years ago I didn't play Paris Indoors. I was mentally and physically gone, which it looks like I really am now (laughter). Yeah, I've been feeling great. Unfortunately had that injury, but, you know, came back strong from that. I felt like I've dealt with it pretty good, beings it's my first injury. Like you said, I haven't played a lot of tennis. But the positive side to that is I'm very fresh at the moment, so.
Q. The second question, old topic. I'm curious. After what happened last year with some of the miscommunication and difficulties, do you feel at this point being in the final like a man on a mission in any way to sort of atone for any of that or make things right with the Australian public a bit more, in a sense?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, I don't like to think that, you know, I've got something to prove. I'm just here, you know, like any one of the players, just doing what they have to do, you know, being part of a team. You know, I felt like anything that's happened in the past, I've forgotten about it. I'm sure everyone else has. Going out to dinners, it's been a lot of fun. I really do feel part of a team. Nothing has been different or anything like that. So all I've got to do is just play the best tennis I can and give it 100% on the court and just have no regrets about, you know, not giving it everything I have. That's all I'm worried about. You know, I'm sure that everyone else would appreciate that.
Q. Which is the difference between this court and these balls and Dusseldorf?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, in Dusseldorf, the ball seemed to bounce pretty high. You know, to my surprise, to be quite honest, the talk that I was hearing at Paris Indoors, it sounded like this court was going to be extremely slow. You know, the first time I got out there, it wasn't that slow at all. In some respects, it's a little quick. You know, I think the balls are bouncing nice and high. I think it's a great-pace court. Some balls, I think the Dusseldorf, the balls get a bit heavy after a few games. These ones tend to lose their fur, maybe get a little bit quicker. I think it's a nice court.
Q. Do you expect this to be very closely-fought tie, coming right down to the last match?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I've said from the beginning, I think it's 50/50. But having said that, and having observed our players closely with what Tony has been able to do with them over the last ten days, I know that any of you that have watched can see they're playing at their peak. I add to what I said in the beginning, that sometimes can you feel a spirit inside a team, and then you start to believe it's your destiny to win. I have to tell you, when I woke up this morning, I sometimes get those feelings. I honestly believe that it's our destiny to win. That's the feeling inside my gut.
Q. Could you analyze for us the strength and weaknesses of the French team and the strength of your team?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, I think our team, if you look at the Woodies, you know, the strength is there, that they've got the results on the board, maybe not on clay at the French Open so far, but in all the other tournaments. This is probably the most extensive that they've prepared on clay. With Mark, his results speak for themselves. So far, on clay, he's played some great matches. Not yet at the French Open. I think he's going to surprise some people here and they're going to be looking at him closely for the French Open next year. And with Lleyton, he's only got a short record. A lot of people in France, they haven't seen him performing at his best, and they're going to see that this weekend. I think he's going to make them a believer also. For the French team, I think the big plus with Cedric is that he's been here before in a final. That's a big plus for him. But there's a lot of pressure on him because he's the most experienced player for Davis Cup. It's almost imperative for him that he wins on the first day against Lleyton. Because if he loses, I think it's a big wound in the team of the French. But having said that, you know, he's very experienced. Grosjean I don't know so well. Your doubles pairs, we expect it to be a very tough doubles match, very entertaining. They have good returns and they play well. Also they beat the Woodies a couple of times. All that's really done is really pissed the Woodies off.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
Lleyton Hewitt - Cedrik Pioline 6-7(7) 6-7(6) 5-7
ITF: Questions for Captain Newcombe and Lleyton Hewitt.
Q. What made the difference out there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think it comes back to serving at 5-4 in the first set. You know, I had him on the ropes then. That's when I really had to sort of dig deep and get the first couple points on my serve, put him under pressure. It was much like the Paris Indoors where I served for the set, goes into a tiebreaker. Tiebreaker, he's all over me. Eventually I have a chance. Also I was up a break early in the first set which I was 40-Love up on my service game, let it slip there. That was a crucial game because I felt like I was on top of him then. I felt like I was going to be the fitter guy out there today. You know, if I could get one, two sets - for him to win in four or five sets, I think, was going to make it tough for him; particularly the way the sets were going, how long they were going.
Q. Give us your resume of the first day's play, John?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, it's finished up as perfect from the Davis Cup, I guess, general standpoint of it's one match all, poised tomorrow for what should be an unbelievably exciting doubles match. Philippoussis walks away, you know, feeling pretty good about the way he's played, as Pioline walks away feeling pretty good. But I think from Lleyton's point of view, he knows he could play a little better than he did in the first set and a half, and, you know, he could have been up the first set if he had won the first set, then he had the chances, two breaks early, a set point, served a double-fault. If he'd won the first set, things could have been different. I don't think when he reflects tomorrow he'll say, "I could have done a little better, but the other guy played as great as he could play." I think Lleyton will be confident going into Day 3 if he has to play the decider. I know from my point of view, I feel pretty good about what he did out there today.
Q. How do you feel about how you did out there today, Lleyton?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt like I was fighting the whole day. You know, I couldn't seem to just get that breakthrough, that one piece of luck or whatever it may be that, you know, really sort of opened up the match for me, whether it was on breakpoints - it happened every set - the double-fault I suppose in the first set tiebreaker, then I sort of worked my way back into the second set tiebreak as well. In the third set, I get back to 5-All and had, gee, it felt like 50 breakpoints on it, I couldn't break him. The whole match, even when I was 5-1 down in the third set, I felt if I could get one set, I was going to win the match. I just couldn't get that breakthrough, as I said. It just felt so hard for me today to, you know, come up with the right shots on the big points.
Q. I guess you said it was easy for you to play with the crowd against you. How tough or easy was it to play against Cedric today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What was that?
Q. You've been quoted to say that you would prefer to play with the crowd against you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: It's a misquote.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Misquote, I think. I'd love to play the crowd with me anytime.
Q. How tough was it to play against Cedric today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He played great. You know, he mixed it up very well today; came up with big serves on big points when he needed to. You know, you got to take your hat off to him. You know, I think it comes back to he's played in the Davis Cup final before. You know, he knows what it's all about. You know, I suppose you can't buy experience.
Q. Story of today really was that you were on the brink so many times of "getting" Cedric - so close to breaking him; got to two tiebreaks and he won them both. How psychologically draining is that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was very tough out there at the time. As I said, I felt like even when I was two sets to love down, if I could just sneak out the third set, I felt like I was going to win the match. At no time during the match did I feel like it was over. You know, I kept telling myself, you know, "We're in this match." You know, I thought I was playing at times a lot better than he was, yet I was a bit unlucky. He would hit some great angle volleys on big points. You know, just little things. He shanked a couple balls over my head which I couldn't get to. You know, just felt like a lot was going against me at the time.
Q. Is there anything you take out of that that you think will help you on Sunday if it comes down to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's the worst feeling I've ever had as a tennis player, losing a Davis Cup match. I can say I don't want to have this feeling again. You know, I can take so many things away from today's match, whether it be how to handle the crowd. Everyone can talk about how loud the crowd is going to be. Until you're actually out there playing in the middle of it, you got no idea. For me to experience that today, you know, if it does come -- I hope it doesn't come down to my match for the team's point of view, but if it did come down on my match on Sunday, I can say I'd handle everything a lot better.
Q. Newc, can you comment on the way Mark played today?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I thought he played a very intelligent match, a good-thinking match. He really got Grosjean against the ropes, and he didn't let him off. He didn't give away a lot of shots. When he had to play good solid-type stuff, that's what he did. He just kept his opponent on the ropes and didn't let him off, put him away. That's the type of game that Tony and, I believe that Mark can play on clay all the time. He's so powerful from the back that when he uses his head and plays tennis like that, he's very, very tough to beat.
Q. On today's evidence, how do you feel Mark will match up against Pioline on Sunday?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: That should be pretty exciting because they're both playing excellent tennis. I think I give Mark, you know, a slight edge. I think that the type of game Mark plays is maybe able to penetrate some of Cedric's game. I don't want to go into specifics, but I think there are certain shots that Mark hits that may be able to penetrate Cedric's game. I've seen him do it before. I think he can do it again.
Q. Newc, is your gut feeling still that it's Australia's destiny to win?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Sure (laughter). Yeah, you know, I just know what we've done. Yeah, I have a good feeling. I mean, I've got to say, even when Lleyton was down and looked like he was out of it in that third set, I honestly thought he could win the match. I mean, not stupidly thinking, but it was -- we discussed it at a set and a break down. I said, "How do you feel about what's happening out here?" Lleyton said to me, "That's my interpretation, as well, that a couple of the things happen and this whole thing could turn around." Even in the third set, I felt that that was there. I know that he wasn't ready to die. You know, he was going to have to be killed before he was going to finish the match. If he'd have broken through at 5-All, anything could have happened. They could still be out there. Could have been a five-hour match. So, yeah, I feel really good. But I know it's going to be very, very tough.
Q. Newc, so often the doubles rubber is a match that could turn a Davis Cup tie. How are you feeling about Todd and Mark coming out tomorrow?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: They've done all the work that they can do. They're playing as well as I've seen them play on clay. So we'll just have to see what happens. As I said just a while ago, it's going to be one of those doubles matches where there's going to be long, extending rallies, lots of shots hit, and the pressure's going to be immense. It's going to take the boys -- our boys are going to have to stand up very tall tomorrow and believe in themselves.
Q. Newc, we all know about the reputation of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge - they go back so many years together; yet in their two meeting against Santoro/Delaitre, they lost both occasions. Are you going to change the tactics tomorrow?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I didn't see those matches when they lost. I know Mark has been asked that question and Todd. They both said when they did lose, it was in a tournament, they weren't playing particularly well at that time when they did lose. I think in Davis Cup, especially in doubles, everything gets thrown out the window. I've seen pairs that you don't think are very good, come out in a Davis Cup doubles and they do unbelievable things. So in doubles more than singles you get the extraordinary performances put in.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
France - Australia 2-3
December 5, 1999
Lleyton Hewitt - Sebastian Grosjean 4-6 3-6
ITF: First question, please.
Q. Newc, what do you learn today about Philippoussis, what you didn't know before today?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it was more what Mark learned about himself today, that he has the ability in a match under that pressure to maintain not just the level of play but the level of concentration and focus for a three-hour period under extreme pressure. The level he played was very high; there were no lows. He kept that same level the whole time. That's what the big problem was for Cedric. In the end, it was just too much for him, this constant pressure at this level. Cedric had a big high at the end of the second set, but as soon as he came off the high, just a little bit off the high, then Mark just jumped all over him and he never let him breathe again. Really, that's what happened. I think Mark has learned that about himself now. Once you've done that, then it's easy to do it the second time.
Q. What do you think this will do for Mark and the Australian public? Will he be the great hero?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: He's always been popular at home. As we know with sport, if you're winning, everybody loves you. If you're losing, then some people love you and some don't. But certainly I would imagine that Mark will look back on this in the future, in ten years' time, and say, "That's where my career actually turned the corner and I started winning Grand Slam tournaments."
Q. Like Pat?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yeah. There's a time. It could be the same with Mark, like Pat's career turned in Davis Cup against France also. Eight months later, he had won a Grand Slam tournament. I think going through something like this, it just puts something inside you, that little bit extra.
Q. Of all the Davis Cup campaigns you've been involved in, either as captain or for many, many years before as a player, how would you categorize this particular year's campaign? Can you compare them in any way?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think this year has to go down as one of the great years for Australia in Davis Cup history. What we went through all year, with our injuries, every time someone was asked to step up, they stepped up, and they played at their maximum. It was a fantastic effort. We had how many people play, seven? We had seven different people play for us during the year. Every time someone played, they were playing fantastic tennis. Two of the players, it was their first time, first time to play Lleyton.
Q. We heard from Mark soon after his match. Maybe we can ask the other three guys what emotions they had going through them. It was a superb occasion.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Name somebody first.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I was very nervous, I suppose, in the changing rooms. I wasn't able to be out there and enjoy as it as I would have liked to be. But to see Mark play that well today under that kind of pressure, you know, in a Davis Cup final, it's a fantastic honor, I think, for me to be alongside Philippoussis and the Woodies here, winning my first Davis Cup trophy at the age of 18, in my third Davis Cup tie.
MARK WOODFORDE: I think I was a little bit more emotional yesterday, just knowing if Todd and I were able to secure the victory, you know, it would help Mark to come out and play to the form that he displayed on the first day of play. For the first set and a half, I was upstairs commentating for the local network. It was very, very difficult to sit there and actually watch it evolve in front of me. I'm sure if I'd been sitting courtside for the first little bit, it would have been worse. You know, I think being able to win on the Saturday, that just created the momentum for Mark to really go out and play, you know, just incredible tennis, to the form that we all know and I'm sure he'll continue on playing. It's just a fantastic feeling to finally get over the finishing line and hold a Davis Cup.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: For me, as about a seven, eight-year-old, I remember watching Davis Cup matches on TV. From that age, I felt like I wanted to be a tennis player. I had two dreams, and they were to play at Wimbledon and to win the Davis Cup. To achieve one of your dreams - dreams usually stay dreams, they're not achieved for most people - to achieve something that you wanted to as a seven-year-old is just amazing. It doesn't sink in just now. I think it takes a long time to really appreciate what you've done.
Q. I think you can all participate in answering this question. Obviously the focus of attention is going to Australia in a big way next year, with the Olympics. You have so many world trophies under your belts already, how do you buggers do it? Can you explain to us?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: It's where we get weaned on Australian beer when you're born (laughter). We have this complex that we have to prove ourselves because we're all set out as convicts. Just joking (laughter).
Q. John, we spoke earlier in the week about the crowd, how hard it would be for you guys. How fanatical were those Fanatics?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think you should ask them that because they had the feeling out there. I think it played a very important part, our Fanatics. In each of our Davis Cup matches, they sort of helped -- it's part of the spirit that we've developed as a team. As for the French crowd, as each day went on, I think we gradually learned how to use that as a force. So instead of being a negative, thinking of it as a negative force against us, we were trying to think of it as theater. We were part of the play. It was just fantastic to be out there in front of this noise. It's a simple way of turning what could be a negative force into a positive force that helps you perform at your best.
Q. What does this mean for the future, do you think, with the ages of guys, apart from maybe Mark Woodforde, that he may not continue, what does it mean? Could this be the start of a really good stretch for Australian tennis, do you think, next year even?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: We should be poised really for the next 10 or 15 years. This will encourage 10- and 11-year-olds who are great athletes to take up the game of tennis and want to emulate, you know, Mark and Lleyton and Pat. We should get some great sports people taking up the game of tennis. If we do the right thing, I think we'll have a succession of great players playing for Australia over the next 15 years.
Q. John, how does this rate in your career achievements? Can you talk about your own emotions?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it's something I've got to sort of sit alone and get a grip with it. I don't know. Maybe I'll be a bit -- you know, start to feel that a bit at the dinner tonight when I have to talk. It's an entirely different feeling. It's something that I set out to do with Tony six years ago. We've got such a close friendship that we've sort of stuck together to try to do this. Really, I actually was already thinking two weeks ago of how to successfully defend next year, because we're just going to do one more year. I think that's what we're putting the plans into place for that already.
Q. How does it look for next year? Just looking at the seedings, a lot to happen.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: We have quite a good draw. Play Switzerland first round. If we win that, we keep winning, our next three matches will be at home. There's the possibility of a finals against the United States, possibly Sampras and Agassi, at Melbourne Park next December. That's something that all of us would look forward to.
Q. John, the centenary of the Davis Cup this year, could you give us your thoughts on that and where you actually see it sort of going in the next hundred years?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Frankly, I won't give a shit (laughter). Seeing as I'm only 31 (laughter). This is an unbelievable competition. For something to have gone on for a hundred years, and when you look at the trophy, it just reeks of history. It's a very good question that you ask, and it's one that needs to be looked at very closely. How do we take this competition now into the next century so that in a hundred years' time, it will be bigger and stronger? I think the Davis Cup, there can be some sort of other format devised that may take us better into the next century than the one that's there right now. That is going to have to take some careful planning and thinking. But the potential is there for this competition to be way, way bigger than even it is now.
Q. Simply because of the way it is, being an individual sport, I mean, tennis players, the assumption is that they're selfish, it's an individual thing. Clearly this event brings out the very best in people. I wonder if the guys could give us a feel for the Davis Cup and what it means to them on this particular day.
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, like I said, as an athlete, the most important thing in an athlete's life, I think, is representing their country. To be here today, especially at the start of the week, just to lead up to the Davis Cup final, our preparations, you know, I think we all felt something, not only because we're in the Davis Cup final, but that something special was going to happen. We trained hard for it. I honestly think we deserved it. After these couple of weeks, just sitting here now, after the win with this trophy, you know, our names going on the trophy, like Newc said, it will be there for history. No one can ever change that. No one can ever rub our names off; we're there. Australia's won it. An incredible feeling. It's the best match I've ever played, but it's also the best feeling of a win I've ever had in my life.
Q. John, I know it's very early in Australia. Did you have some news from Patrick Rafter or perhaps did you try to wake him up?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No. Pat was watching the match. We rang him after Mark had won. All the boys spoke to him. We've been calling him, speaking to him each day. It must have been very tough for him sitting and watching; when, at the beginning of the year, it was his major dream to be able to win the final this year. He was very happy for us.
Q. Is it just possible if I could ask Lleyton, Mark and Todd the question that Mark answered, a bit about the Davis Cup and what it means to them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, I come from a football background. It's the only time, you know, being a tennis player that you get to come together as a team. You know, that means a lot to me. I played team sports growing up. I just like, you know, being in the changing rooms, getting all the boys pumped up before the matches. You have your bad days and have you your good days, but that's been the big thing for us this year. We've all stepped up at different times. That's the biggest enjoyment I have of playing the Davis Cup. It is sort of a team atmosphere and it's that team feeling in the changing rooms.
MARK WOODFORDE: Lleyton said it right. I think a lot of us, when we were youngsters, started off playing tennis in team competition. I don't know if it's the same in every country in the world that has tennis, but Australia certainly has a very proud history of team competition. We've all seen a lot of Davis Cup victories when we were young kids, it's always been highly profiled about the success. Just to be a part of it, I think that's why I enjoy playing doubles so much is it's that team atmosphere. It's not just you out there; you're relying on your partner to give you the moral support. It's the same in the Davis Cup. You know, it's not just you. It's three other guys and the captain and the coach, the trainers, the practice guys, and also the people watching back home. Davis Cup never fails to reach the pages of the locals back home. Here's something very, very different from what we experience throughout the rest of the year. If any of us have been asked to play for your country, you know, we've been quick to step up to the plate. You know, there's just no better thrill than, you know, getting a victory.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think from my point of view, Davis Cup has so much tradition and history, especially in Australia. I mean, my parents are a little older. They talk about listening to Davis Cup on the radio, the finals, around Christmas every year. Australia was always in the finals in the '50s with all our champions. There was Hoad, Rosewall, Newc, Rochey, Laver, all of these unbelievable champions that played for us. If you didn't step up to the plate and play Davis Cup, you're really being disrespectful to those great players, to what they did for the game. They gave us the opportunity really to have what we have out on the Tour today, the opportunity to make so much money, to play at such great events. From the days when they played, things are a lot better. That's what Davis Cup is about, it's about tradition and the respect of that trophy and the respect of the people that played before you.
Q. John, two questions. Firstly, can you just sum up what were the elements that gave the Australian team the edge over France?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I said it before the tie started, that I thought it was our destiny to win here. A lot of that was based on what I'd seen in the ten days of preparation leading in, plus I know what we'd been through in Brisbane, in Boston, in Harare and our three previous matches. During the year, there was a spirit evolving amongst our team and our players where we felt like we couldn't be stopped; that everyone was willing to pay the price that was going to be necessary to achieve that. So going back to talking about our destiny to win, it was based on really good judgment as much as anything else.
Q. The other thing I wanted to ask you, you mentioned before about the possibility of meeting the USA in the final next year. I guess it's a particularly exciting prospect because it's McEnroe's first year as captain, and the strength of their players.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yeah. If their best players play, that would be a great challenge for us. It wouldn't matter who we played. Just looking at the draw, it looks as if, you know, United States is the strongest side on that half of the draw. But it would be, I think, a real challenge for us to take them on at full strength.
Q. Having McEnroe sitting in the chair opposite you, would that add some extra edge to it?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Not really, I mean. Well, John, it's good that he's got the role as captain now. He's certainly a figure over there and a spokesperson for tennis. He believes deeply in Davis Cup. He played all the time. You know, maybe he'll put himself in the doubles. That would be good.
Q. Wouldn't you campaign to have the final, if it were to happen, on grass?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, we're obliged to play it at Melbourne Park.
Q. Even though, wouldn't you try to agitate to get the best surface possible?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, no. That's not too bad for us. We wouldn't mind that. It was like people saying that clay wasn't going to suit Mark. Probably a lot of people here now that have become believers in his ability to win on clay.
Q. Switzerland might be playing without five best players in February. How will it be for you to motivate your guys just to go there one week after the Australian Open and after such a great event here?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Maybe Rochey and I will play (laughter). We'll take them all skiing after the match.
Q. John, jokes about Foster's beer aside and all that, when you think about this win and you think of other things that Australian teams have done this year, rugby and cricket, does anything come into your mind about anything that's uniquely Australian that helps them get through in these sort of situations or what?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, it's a winning year for us. You know, everybody loves a winner. Everybody wants to talk to a winner. Things have just happened to click together, I think. Maybe it was a little bit of a snowball effect. I know that the boys all watched the cricket and got tremendous thrill from the World Cup semifinal against South Africa. Mark was saying the other day that he doesn't watch cricket that much, but it's one of the most exciting sporting things you've ever seen. Wasn't it?
MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yes (laughter).
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: That sort of thing can start a snowball effect. The rugby guys, you know, came through all sorts of problems through the year, didn't look very good in the first half of the year, then gradually started to pick it up. Their momentum really started I guess when they won the cup at the Olympic stadium, played great football there. Before that, they weren't looking that sharp.
Q. The French public was impressed by the strength of your team.
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: The public was impressed?
Q. The strength of your team now, if Patrick Rafter would have played, which one you would have -- who was not going to play then?
CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I choose not to answer (laughter). I take the Fifth Amendment.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
March 14, 2000
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
GREG SHARKO: With the win today, Lleyton improves to an ATP Tour best 21-1 on the season. His three titles coming into Indian Wells is the first time a player has done that since Pete Sampras in '97. Craig, want to start it off?
Q. Are you feeling at the moment the way you were feeling at the beginning of the year when you won Adelaide and Sydney back-to-back?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much. Last week was a big week for me, coming off a break there. I wasn't expecting much going into the week. I just got better and better as the tournament went on. I have this self-confidence back in me again that I did have over the Australian summer, going into the Davis Cup ties. You know, it's a great feeling to have, stepping out on the court knowing that you're hitting the ball well enough to match it with anyone.
Q. Did you feel a little shaky at times in the match today against Moya?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. He's a great player. He started off a little bit scratchy, then found his game. You know, his forehand proved to be pretty dangerous in the end.
Q. Were there times at all you had to keep telling yourself to calm down, relax, not be overconfident?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, but I think that's one thing that I've done well in the past. I haven't really gone overconfident into matches. I'm not sure how I tell myself to do that, but I think that's something that's been in me sort of growing up. I don't go into matches overly confident. I give my opponents a lot of credit, sort of, before the match.
Q. Pretty nice effort to get to match point there.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that was a good point. Nice little chip backhand.
Q. Were you stunned when he netted the volley?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. When I got to the ball - we played a good point - I had that feeling that this chip was going to work. I've worked on that shot a lot with Tony Roche and that. It paid off.
Q. Was there a turning point or was it just kind of grind it out from start to finish?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was pretty much grind it out. You know, there weren't too many turning points. Obviously, you know, just the one break in each set.
Q. Was this the kind of match that you play well in, the way the match went, as far as his style and your style? Was it hard for you to play against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's always going to be a tough match playing Carlos Moya in the first round, when I'm seeded. That's something you don't really expect too often. I think now that I feel a lot more confident that I've beaten Carlos Moya in the first round than maybe if I didn't play a player who's had the results of Carlos. You know, I feel good now going into the second round. But, you know, I don't think there's a particular style of game that I prefer to play against.
Q. When you're playing a player like him who you know is coming back from a bad back problem, do you change what you do at all, try to move him around more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I didn't really think of it all. If he's playing in the tournament, I expect that he's a hundred percent. I'm not going to try and play so he gets reinjured or something like that anyway.
Q. The point that Carlos disputed toward the end of the match, did you have a good view of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I jumped up in the air, otherwise the ball probably would have hit me, hit my feet maybe. I had to jump back as I was sort of trying to turn around. I knew it was bloody close, though. It could have gone either way.
Q. Was there anything that worked well for you today? Do you feel you played well enough all around?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I just played solid today. I went out there and I was solid right from the start. I didn't really change my game up much at all. Even though I did lose the second set there, I just tried to play the same game. I felt like I was hitting the ball well enough to break sometime in the third set.
Q. How about the court and the stadium, what was your impression of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Great stadium, nice court. I've got no complaints at all.
Q. You had a really long run at the beginning of the season when you won a couple of tournaments, then there was the Australian Open and Davis Cup. Were you sort of tired after that? Did you need to take some time off to recover?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't play a tournament for another about three or four weeks, four weeks I think. But, you know, obviously I was pretty mentally tired after all that period, just playing so many matches, playing every day. When you weren't playing, you were practicing. You know, it started building up, especially with that trip over to Europe, as well, to play the Davis Cup straight after I'd just lost the singles in the Australian Open. It was a hectic time of the year, but it was a great time of the year, as well.
Q. What did you do when you took the time off? Did you just put the racquet away for a while?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Played a lot of golf. Got to see some mates back home.
Q. Your record, 21-1, you've won all these tournaments. You're having a great year. Do you ever think about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I try and block it out as much as possible. Obviously, it's very hard. It pops up whatever interview you're doing, people off the street are talking about that person who has the record at the moment. It is very hard to block it out. Once I get into a tournament or step on the court, that's right out of my mind.
Q. You prefer not to think about it and get distracted?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I try not to think about it as much as possible.
Q. The first foot fault of him, it was a curious thing because the call came from the other side.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never seen that before. It happened twice. Actually, I don't really look at that kind of stuff. Then he did actually line up once, then he had to move his feet. He must have thought his back foot was across the other side.
Q. The call comes from the other side.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's got to come from the person on the center line. I've never seen it happen before.
Q. What was the direct reaction to you from home after Scottsdale? I heard there was a lot of television coverage.
LLEYTON HEWITT: From home?
Q. Yes. To you directly.
LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean? Like the feeling from the public?
Q. Messages and things like that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't received a hell of a lot, to tell you the truth (laughter). Yeah, a few people sent congratulation notes, articles that were in the paper yesterday, I think, or the day before. You know, obviously it's great to sort of be getting that good publicity back home. It's always nice after you win a tournament, sort of the public is really behind you, they know what's going on, whereabouts you're playing, the results you're having, as well. I think it's a good thing.
Q. When you're playing like you are right now, do you go out there kind of with the feeling that, "I can't do anything wrong"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I've got this self-belief in myself that, you know, I feel like I can step on the court, and if I play to my full potential, play my game, I feel like I can match it at the moment. You're going to have a lot of highs and lows in sport and in tennis. At the moment, I'm just sort of riding this high.
Q. Do you have fixed goals, Grand Slam goals?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no goals at all. My next thing is to try and probably crack the Top 10 on the old system as soon as possible. I'm 12 this week. That's a career best. As soon as I can do that, I'll sort of take it from there, but that's probably the next big thing for me.
Q. You're probably a big fan of the new system. Do you find the people in the public understand it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The new system?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I get asked a lot of questions about it. I suppose no one really understood why I was No. 1 in the world after two weeks in the year. It's very strange (laughter), considering that Agassi and Sampras hadn't picked up a racquet for the year. I get asked a lot of questions, family, friends, whoever just ask. The only rankings I see in the paper now is this race ranking. Some of the top players may not be in that, the Top 10 or Top 20. I think in the end it will all pan out. It's only because it's sort of the first year, starting off.
Q. What kind of ointment is that you smear on your face?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Zinc. Australian thing.
Q. Australian thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Pat Rafter wore it, as well.
Q. Do you have any zinc endorsements?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
March 26, 2000
MIKI SINGH: Questions for Lleyton.
Q. Would you take a moment and ruminate, with a record of 23-2, with the competition on this tour, to get off on that kind of start?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, I haven't really looked back on the statistics or the sort of results of my matches. I've just been going out there and taking it one match at a time. After I won Adelaide and Sydney, I was 10-0. I got to a winning streak of 13 during the Australian Open, then it started again at the Davis Cup and through Scottsdale. I feel like I've got a lot of self-confidence on the moment. I feel out on the court I could match up with basically anyone out there. Today was possibly the best ball-striking day I've ever had. Right from the word go, ready to sort of pounce on any short ball today. As well as I've hit the ball, I think.
Q. After the intensity of the pressure there was in Australia, expectations continued to grow, having come away from that, are you perhaps a little relaxed out of the Australian spotlight, can you relax and play your game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit in one way. Still I think a lot of people, even the people overseas now, whenever they talk about it, it's always this winning streak I was on and all this. I think a lot more people, the public and the media, expect me just to go out there and beat these guys very comfortably, as well, which I'm starting to get used to. I'm going in being the favorite in a lot of these matches these days, including some of the Masters Series tournaments as well. Normally every time I stepped into these tournaments, I was sort of the underdog coming through. Me personally, I love playing in Australia. Whether there is that added pressure, I don't really feel it in Australia at all.
Q. You took everything in stride while you were mounting this run of results. Did you surprise yourself that you were able to cope so well with what was a quite unrelenting pressure on you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. Obviously going into Adelaide, my main goal for the Australian summer was hitting the ball well enough going into the Australian Open. I had done well in Adelaide and Sydney, won Adelaide, quarters in Sydney, beaten good guys. Normally I had played Challengers leading into Adelaide, had some matches under my belt, when the Europeans didn't. This year I came in fresh, came away with ten good wins there. Obviously, I didn't expect to win Adelaide and Sydney, that's for sure. But, you know, if you look back at it, it was two great weeks. I was (inaudible) in the way I did handle the hype and media for those two weeks.
Q. Do you sense that crowds have a natural tendency to get behind you because you're not as big as Mark Philippoussis or Greg Rusedski, even Tim Henman, Pete Sampras? You're a relatively smaller guy, in the Michael Chang sense, you're going to have to fight for every point. Do you feel the crowd behind you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes. I think it does help. Obviously some of the fans like to see sort of that person sort of fighting like Michael Chang, running balls down, sort of David versus Goliath, I suppose. Some of the crowds particularly like that. Others like seeing Mark Philippoussis being breakpoint down or Greg Rusedski serve an ace. But I've had a lot of support wherever I've gone in my short career.
Q. Your game seems to still be evolving. I sense maybe it's part of the Rafter influence, you're coming to the net more often, looking for faster points sometimes. Is Pat working with you to become a little more aggressive inside the service line?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pat hasn't really worked on my game at all. It's more Darren and Peter Smith back home, Newc and Rochey. They're the guys who have been helping me. Most of all is Darren, for sure. Ever since I started working with Darren, he wanted me -- didn't matter whether I won or lost matches, it was to develop my game so that two or three years down the track, I was going to be a contender for Grand Slams. That's what we're still working on basically. Obviously I've had some great results with the game that I had at the time, but we're trying to develop that. I've still got areas of my game that I've got to work on. One of those is trying to become a more all-court player. It's definitely starting. It's on the right track.
Q. Might not be a fair question. You've already had this tremendous run, the best of entrants by a teen on the tour in years. In your private moments, can you envision yourself as the elite player, the player on the top of the tour? Is that something you can envision at this point in your life?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't think I'll be able to say that until I'm world No. 1. At the moment, I really haven't done a lot in Grand Slams yet. Even in the old Super 9's or the Masters Series now, I haven't had a lot of success in those. That's my goal at the moment. I've got a great record at the moment. Obviously for a person of my age, it's an outstanding start to the year. You don't want to sort of take that away from yourself. I don't look at myself as the best player in the world at the moment at all.
Q. Which of the Slams do you think you have the best chance in?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. Obviously I haven't had a lot of experience on European clay and grass sort of growing up. Probably the two more favored ones would be the Australian Open and the US Open at this stage. I can't see why I can't win matches and beat a lot of top guys at the French Open and Wimbledon as well.
Q. Just paraphrasing Sampras a little while ago, he suggested you and Philippoussis as two players that he feels could go through and win big titles in the future, as players to watch out for. Does that sort of thing make any difference to you or do you just flip it off?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always nice to hear comments like that from, you know, a guy like Pete Sampras, who is in my eyes probably the greatest player ever to pick up a racquet. You know, to hear him say things like that is obviously -- he obviously thinks a little bit about my game and a little bit about my future. Still I've got to go out there and do it. It's nice to hear things like that, but I don't get too overwhelmed about it. I don't go over the top about it at all.
Q. A bit of a turnaround from a couple years ago when he didn't seem to think had you a big weapon.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously I'm a totally different player from then to now.
Q. Do you have a court history with either Meligeni or Kafelnikov?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Court history?
Q. Have you played them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I played Kafelnikov twice, I'm two-nil up. Played Melingeni once, and one-nil up.
Q. Who would you rather be facing, the grinder or the big guy?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't mind. Whichever. That's out of my control.
Q. What if it goes 3 hours and 10 minutes?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Kafelnikov is very fit, as well. He plays as many matches as anyone on the tour.
Q. Would you like to play your best friend on court: Kafelnikov?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't mind playing Yevgeny. He's been fine ever since he said a few things at the Davis Cup in Australia and that. Sort of all got blown up pretty big at the time. It's all settled down since then. He's been fine around the locker rooms and the tournaments.
Q. Has Yevgeny said anything to you since then?
LLEYTON HEWITT: We say hello now and then. We're definitely not best mates.
Q. Your game sometimes has been compared to Michael's because of your speed, sometimes to Andre's. Who have you seen as you've developed your game that you admired?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a little bit of both of those guys in different ways. I'd throw probably Mats Wilander in there, as well. Growing up, Mats was sort of always one of those players I liked watching. When he got to No. 1, when he won the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, I was there to see that. I play a pretty similar game to his, as well.
Q. How long ago was it when you last ball boyed?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I never ball boyed.
Q. Do you think you will play the Davis Cup singles against Germany?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. We've got so many options at the moment. We've got three great singles players at the moment: myself, Rafter and Philippoussis. Probably a lot of it depends on how Pat's shoulder is feeling really. At the end of the day, I've got full confidence whoever Newc and Roche pick is going to be playing the best at the time, giving our country the best chance of going through to the semifinals.
Q. Want to lay a bet that you do or don't play Davis Cup for Australia in the next tie?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not a betting man. Sorry.
Q. In a few hours the Academy Awards for the movies are going to be coming on. I presume they showed them in Australia. Any recollections of watching them when you were a kid?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I've never been that big on watching the Academy Awards. Obviously, it's a big night, particularly in America I'd say. Obviously, you just see all the superstars and everyone sort of walking on that red carpet, all the photographers and everyone taking photos is probably the main scene of the night.
Q. This match today, you were just on fire out there, nothing he could do was going to stem the tide today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Right from the word go, I was on my toes, ready to play today. The best feeling I think I've had on court just hitting the ball. I was seeing the ball like a football again out there today. Even though I had those wins in Australia and that, I didn't do as much damage as I did out there today. I went out there and I put the pressure on him right from the word go. I didn't sit back and counter-punch and wait for him to make the errors. I went out there and dictated the points. That's what I'm most pleased about. I went out there and attacked today, and I'll get a lot more confidence from that match as well.
Q. A little surprised after the long match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. It was very, very heavy conditions the first round. That night was unbelievable heavy conditions. The balls were so heavy, they were fluffing up huge out there on grandstand court. It really wasn't a great atmosphere out there playing at 12:00 at night. I was thankful that I got through that one.
Q. If you could have any wish in the sport of tennis, play a player from the past, change a rule, have a victory, what would that wish be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Tough question. Probably to win the Davis Cup again. So far in my career, it was always my dream growing up. That was an unbelievable feeling winning the Davis Cup and being a part of that team.
Q. Would it be particularly sweet to win against the United States being led by McEnroe in Australia?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it definitely would be a huge tie if Australia played the US in Melbourne. A win is a win. I'll take it however I can get it, as long as I'm holding that trophy come December time.
Q. Where did you put the replica?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's in my bedroom.
Q. In America we have a tough time to get the general public taking Davis Cup seriously. It's so important in Australia. Any advice you can give us?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just think it's the greatest competition we've got. You don't get to come around as a team that often. Everybody gives a hundred percent for their country. Quite often the best matches you'll ever see are sort of the Davis Cup matches. It's a shame if the people don't come out and support their guys, particularly the United States team at the moment. Pretty awesome team.
Q. Australia did play in Zimbabwe?
LLEYTON HEWITT: First round last year.
Q. Were you there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I was the fifth player.
Q. What did you think of the atmosphere there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was very loud, obviously. Other than that, the Zimbabwe crowd, they had drums going. It was a good tie to be at.
Q. Are you thinking at all of a stateside second home?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Living in the states?
Q. Just as a second place.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's gone through my mind obviously a few times, but not at the moment. I've got no plans to do it.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
March 28, 2000
ATP: Lleyton's first Tennis Masters Series quarterfinal.
Q. Never easy, but didn't look like you were out of control in the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I got off to a good start in the first set, broke him the first game. I lost my serve, but played a good game with the breeze to break back sort of the middle of the first set. From there on, I felt pretty comfortable with serve, apart from the 4-3 game in the second set, down two breakpoints. Probably got a little lucky to get out of that game.
Q. When you play Yevgeny, is it a strategy or mental game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit of both, I think. You know you're always in for a tough match because he's such a talented player. Today he tried to sort of slow up the match a little bit more than he did the last two times I played him. Sort of once -- I think that was one of the main reasons I lost my service game to give back the break. After that, I sort of worked on my tactics and felt pretty comfortable with my game against his out there today.
Q. Mentally, you have an edge on him, do you think?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that. Definitely I think he hasn't played his best tennis. I think the time I played him in Paris last year in the Super 9, I think he played pretty well that match. I think we both played very well. I don't think today he played his best tennis. He didn't play his best tennis in Brisbane in the Davis Cup either. I feel like, you know, every time I step on the court with him, I've hit the ball well the last few times.
Q. Do you go in with a fair amount of pride based on what happened in Davis Cup, the controversy?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I try to forget about it as much as possible. It's just like another match for me. The big thing for me today was to go out there and try to make the quarterfinals of a Masters Series, which I've never done before. That was pretty big for me. That was sort of my goal going into the match.
Q. He seemed surprisingly passive in the first set, didn't seem like he wanted to step on the accelerator until the second set. Do you have any explanation?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean "go for it"?
Q. Hit a lot of balls down the middle, safe balls.
LLEYTON HEWITT: That's the way he was playing. I played it with him. That's all he did to me. Every time I was against the breeze, I tried looping the ball up high to my backhand. I did the same thing back to him. In a rally situation like that, I feel pretty comfortable that I'm going to come out the victor on most occasions.
Q. Almost as if he thought he could out-steady you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Like I said before, his tactics were totally different today than it had been in the past. Normally he comes out and goes for the backhand down the line. I gave him that today; he didn't really want to take it. Only when he was in desperate trouble, a set and a break down, that a couple times he game up with a great backhand. That was only with the breeze. I can't recall him doing it against the breeze at all today.
Q. Which of the Grand Slam events in your mind would be the most difficult for you to win given your style?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Very hard to say.
Q. Do you feel comfortable going into all of them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel confident going into all of them. Obviously, the Australian and the US at the moment are probably a lot easier for me because they are on hard courts, and I was brought up playing on hard courts. I see no reason over the years why I can't -- I had a good result at Queen's this year, making the semis there, pushing Sampras. We all know that Sampras is one of the greatest players, if not the greatest player, on grass. But I know it is a lead-in tournament. It's not Wimbledon. You know, I still feel pretty comfortable on that. You know, I won a clay court tournament last year. Every match I play on clay, I feel a lot more confident.
Q. Going to be either Philippoussis or Gambill the next round. Are you ready to absorb Mark's big game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: They both have very big games. Obviously it will be great for Mark to get through, going into the Davis Cup tie. Hopefully Pat is going to have a tough time with Andre later tonight or this evening. If he can get through, Mark can get three, three guys in the quarters. Newc and Rochey can feel pretty well. Hitting the ball well going into Adelaide.
Q. What do you remember about your match with Gambill at Scottsdale?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a chance. I was down an early break in the third set. I broke back. Then I had 4-3, 30-40 on his serve. I got overruled. I felt like I was very, very close to winning that match. You know, I think I'm a better player because I did lose that match.
Q. How do you explain beating Mark Philippoussis on grass?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean?
Q. You beat him on grass, he beat you on a hard court.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him actually here last year, where I lost to him on the hard court. He was too good that day. He served huge. He had just won Indian Wells, so he was obviously seeing the ball pretty well. But, yeah, obviously I feel pretty confident I'm seeing the ball well at the moment. You know, to beat guys like Tommy Haas and Kafelnikov the last two matches in straight sets, obviously I've got a pretty good feel about my game going out there on the court. Obviously I'm going to have to raise the bar again to play Mark.
Q. To follow up on this grass-court thing, the fact you've had some good wins and play well on grass; despite what some people might think about your game and record, do you actually make alterations, like shorten your swing? Do you make changes or just go with what you've got?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Try a little bit of changes. But mainly, yeah, the return of serve is huge for me last year on grass. At Queen's, at Wimbledon, I made the third round, then also in the two Davis Cup matches where I won both my singles in Brisbane on grass. I worked on the return of serve. I thought, you know, if I can take away their serve, shorten my swing, go at them, make a lot of returns, I felt pretty comfortable. Once you get the short ball on grass, you've got to take that opportunity to get to net, as well.
Q. Do you shorten your swing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Very little changes, but there are some, for sure.
Q. Like Andre Agassi, you seem to have that gift for picking the ball up off the racquet very quickly. Is it something that can be learned or improved by some kind of drill or training? Are you just born with it, and that's it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I was lucky enough to be born with it, I think a little bit. You know, all the squad coaches always said that my return of serve was always my best shot. They used to put me up against the older guys, the top squads in South Australia at the time, the 18-year-olds, when I was 12 or 13. I'd be trying to return their serve. I'd never step back to that challenge, as well. I felt pretty comfortable at that stage. I was seeing a lot of big servers. They weren't big compared to the tour at the time, but they were pretty big to me.
Q. Can you take us through a service return, what you're looking for?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm just concentrating. Obviously in the back of my mind, I've been thinking about the way or the placement that he has been serving his last few serves, where he's gone. That's just the sort of a thing at the moment that pops inside your head. You get that instinct where he's going to go sometimes. Sometimes you're wrong, as well. There's not a lot you can do about that. I try and pick the ball up as soon as possible and just go forward to it.
Q. Do you start with the backhand grip, is that your ready-- ?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much a forehand grip, actually. I don't play -- it's sort of in the middle, it's not one or the other. It's closer to a forehand grip than a backhand.
Q. Going into a match with someone like Sampras, how daunting must it be to face that particular serve on grass?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's very hard. But, you know, that particular tournament in Queen's, I faced Philippoussis, Pioline, then Sampras. Sort of built up, as well. It wasn't like I was playing small servers first and second round. Obviously, playing those guys is very tough. You know if you do get that opportunity, second serve on breakpoint, you've got to take it. You know you're not going to get a second look.
Q. What would it take to beat Pete at Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It would take a hell of a player. You know, you'd have to be playing unbelievable. Obviously, he feels like that's his court out there.
Q. The ankle braces, is there a weakness?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. If you recall, I twisted my ankle at LA last year.
Q. Both ankles are braced.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Just now for precaution.
Q. Security blanket more than anything?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much. There's no problem there now at all. I've been doing it ever since. It's just routine now.
Q. What was the reaction back home when you landed after the Davis Cup final?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was huge. I suppose that's sort of the ultimate for us. TV cameras and everything. We were all landing at different times. Obviously some of the boys went back to their homes in America. I was one of those people who went straight home. It was huge back home to win the Davis Cup, because we'd won so many other World Cups, as well. It was sort of topping off a great year.
Q. Adelaide, it will be great, playing in your home city.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be fantastic. I'm sure we'll get a great crowd out there. I think they're building a few more stands as well. Looking at maybe 8,000. I'm looking forward to it.
Q. What's happened to your volume of fan mail in the last year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that big. Obviously I get a fair bit of fan mail, stuff like that. You know, I'm sure it's not as big as Pat's or Mark's.
Q. How many proposals for marriage have you gotten?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't had any of those.
Q. Was the win over Martin in Boston, the US strategy, We both beat Hewitt and we win the doubles. You took it right out of the first match. Was that quite a jump for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: That was a big turning point for me. That was really getting into the big time. I think playing for your country, what had been such a talked-about tie. Everyone was saying, "Is Sampras going to play, is he not? Should we be playing in Australia or the US?" It was a huge tie to be playing in. I'm grateful that I got that opportunity. Obviously, it was a loss not having Mark on the team. I went out there, and I really knew that I had to stand up in that match. Newc and Rochey got me through.
Q. Five aces today. How close to a personal best is that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I think I served a few against Haas actually the other day. I'm not sure how many it was. It felt like a lot.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about all the success you've had this year? Could you have imagined you would be doing this well this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so, not at all. But obviously I had a great start to the year in Adelaide. My whole goal for the Australian summer was to be hitting the ball the best by the first round of the Australian Open. Obviously, I peaked a little bit early, but I kept it going right through the Australian circuit. I got that winning feeling, and I didn't want to let it go. I think that's sort of been the same way, you know, for the rest -- the last two or three months.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
March 30, 2000
GREG SHARKO: Lleyton advances to his first career Tennis Masters Series semifinal. At 19 years, he's the youngest semifinalist on the male side in the 16-year history of the tournament. First question.
Q. Was the hand sign something you planned to do?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean, "planned to do"? If I won?
Q. Obviously it means you cracked the Top 10.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, it was definitely a goal of mine. To do it on this trip, this three-tournament trip, it's fantastic. Obviously starting the year at 22, had to defend a lot of points over the Australian summer from just bonus points, Adelaide and Sydney the year before. You know, it's at unbelievable feeling to have done it so early in the year, as well.
Q. So what next?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Haven't had time to think about it yet.
Q. You continually were able to pin him back, make him playoff balance. Is that what you wanted to do or just the way the match developed?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was probably a tactic that I went out there with. Obviously, Jan-Michael is a big hitter of the ball. He's got a great serve as well. I knew I had to be seeing the ball very well out there tonight and try and pick up his serve as much as possible and take the opportunities every time I got it. You know, I felt like one area that I had an advantage was definitely movement. I had to use that to my advantage as much as possible and make him play as many shots off balance as possible. You know, I feel like I did that pretty well tonight. You know, really I only played one bad game on my service game. The first three points of that game, he actually did get a net cord in every point. You know, a little bit unlucky, but I didn't make any first serves either.
Q. You were quick enough to play that second lob on that remarkable point.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a big point in the tiebreaker, turned out to be. You know, it was a good point. I felt it was going to be whoever got that sort of mini break first was in a big advantage. Obviously with Jan-Michael's serve, if he got ahead, it was going to be very hard to break back. I think that was sort of a big turning point in that second set tiebreak.
Q. Pete is going to come out tomorrow and shorten the points, keep you from getting any rhythm on your groundstrokes. What are your plans for Pete?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm just going to go out there and give it a hundred percent, like I have in every other match. I'm going to go out there and play my game. Obviously I'm going to have to play my very best tennis if I'm going to come off the court a winner tomorrow. But I know that. We had a close game at Queen's last year. It's just great to sort of be on the other end of the court against such a great player.
Q. Do you like having a target up there at the net?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't really don't mind. I definitely don't dislike it at all.
Q. When you get on sort of a sequence of victories like this, how much does your confidence swell whenever you go out there to play? Do you begin to almost feel as though you're unbeatable?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about unbeatable. But I definitely feel like I've got a presence out there on the court every time I step out. I felt it back in Sydney, even after I won that Adelaide tournament. I went out there and I played every match on center court during the whole Australian summer. I just felt I had this presence out on the court. That was a big turning point for me. Even if the first round against Grosjean in Sydney, I had lost to him in the Davis Cup dead rubber there, but I still just had this self-belief and confidence just coming off the win in Adelaide. It really did wonders for me. It feels like that every time I step on the tennis court now.
Q. Does it hold when you go up against somebody like Pete or Andre, say?
LLEYTON HEWITT: All I can do, you know, I don't know how I'm going to feel tomorrow, but I'm pretty confident about how my game's going to play tomorrow. I feel that, you know, I'm not going to have a letdown in my game. Obviously if Pete is a better player on the day, that's too good. I can't do much about that. I'm going to go out there and be hitting the ball as well as I've been hitting it. I know that for sure.
Q. Is it a perfect opportunity playing Pete, given the run that you're having, to actually just measure yourself against the very best?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always great to play the best players. You know, especially in big tournaments, as well, because you know they're going a hundred percent. We're both going to be going at it tomorrow. You know, these are a good chance for me to match my game up against such a good player. He's possibly the greatest player ever to live. For me to step out on the court with him, 19 years of age, with this record at the moment, it's a good opportunity for me.
Q. You don't seem at all surprised about your run this spring. Seems like you were waiting for it to happen; you were ready for it.
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it probably really hasn't sunk in as yet. Obviously, I've had a great Australian summer - the last three summers really - at such a young age. You know, I think everybody sort of expects that now every time I go to Australia. That wasn't such a surprise, even though I did have a lot of wins under my belt. But obviously this stretch has been fantastic for me. To do it away from home, I enjoy these three tournaments, they're great tournaments to be around. They're well-run tournaments. I enjoy getting out there and playing. These three tournaments, I've looked forward to coming over and doing well. Obviously, I don't think it's sunk in that I'm in the semis of this one yet. Obviously, you know, I am in the Top 10, it's a good achievement.
Q. When you got over here from Australia, won at Scottsdale, when you got to Indian Wells, did you sense that people were coming out to see you as more or less a curiosity at first, "Who is this guy?" If that is the case, have you moved away from the curiosity stage to the established stage where people now know Lleyton Hewitt is a Top 10 player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think there are still a lot of people out there who don't know who was I was, away from Australia. Hopefully I am getting a bigger name around the world. I think a lot of people in Scottsdale sort of knew who I was from last year, making the final there. You know, the Scottsdale crowd was fantastic for me. The whole week I played there, they were really behind me, got behind me, helped me get through. I feel like I had good support in Indian Wells, as well. I'm not sure if they came out because they were sort of looking at, "Who is this young kid winning all these matches," or they actually did know some of my background. It's hard to say.
Q. Where are you playing in the buildup to the French and also for Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, I'm playing Rome, Hamburg, World Team Cup, French, Queen's, Rosmalen, Wimbledon.
Q. Can you just remind us how that match against Pete developed at Queen's?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I got an early break in the first set, won the first set. Tight second set. Lost my serve towards the end of the second set. I can't remember the actual stages. It was like a 4-3, 5-4 game. On serve till then. Right at the end of the second set, rain came. You know, it's England.
Q. Australia sometimes.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Come on, mate. We've got a roof. I probably had about a two-hour delay, came back out and played, broke first game of the third set. I led until 3-2, then Pete broke back. Had breakpoint at 5-All in the third. Had a mini break in the tiebreaker. Ended up losing.
Q. Your recollection is a bit hazy then.
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I don't remember every point, but most of them.
Q. Weren't you two points away from winning that before the tiebreak in the third set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I was still going to serve for it. I had breakpoint, he served a second serve which could have been called in, could have been called out. It got called in. It was one of those that the top players come up with on big points. I could have been a call away, but I still would have had to go down there and serve for it.
Q. How did you get thrown together with Darren?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Ever since I was pretty young, my dad knows his dad through football background. Obviously when his knees packed up, he was back in Adelaide owning clubs and bars and stuff like that. I think mom rang Darren up and asked if I could have a hit because there weren't that many hitting partners in Adelaide.
Q. How old were you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't remember. Probably ten. A bit older than that, 12, something like that. I just started hitting with him once or twice a week and gradually got more and more. The actual first week he traveled with me was to the Perth Challenger before I went to the Australian men's hard court, the year I lost to Enqvist in the final. It was the end of '97 -- '98, start of '99. Then I went right through since then.
Q. How do you think the reaction to your performance will be greeted back home? Have you had any idea how it's been so far?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, in one way I'm sure they're very happy. I don't know, probably they're a little disappointed that I won't get back there to practice on grass as much as possible. Obviously, I think the Australian fans and public are behind me, you know, a hundred percent. I think they're probably looking forward to me getting back there and playing the Davis Cup tie next Friday.
Q. It's going to be like from the frying pan into the fire. With Philippoussis having pulled out, the onus will be on you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Has he pulled out?
Q. That's the theory
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think he's having an MRI.
Q. Let's say he doesn't play. Suddenly the onus will be on you once again to kind of lead the charge, as it were.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I still think we've got a great side, though. I don't feel any added pressure. I've got a hundred percent support, confidence in the rest of the guys that they can go out there and win their matches as well. I don't feel like somebody's going to lose, so I've got to go out there and win my singles. That's one thing that has been a big thing for Australian tennis. We've always had these good No. 2's sort of backing us up in the Davis Cup matches, particularly the last couple years.
Q. How old were you when you broke a hundred pounds?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I have no idea, mate.
Q. Were you kind of small?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty below average my whole life for my age.
Q. Then you shot up height-wise?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. Getting there.
Q. At the start of the year, I think you were setting some sort of ranking goals for the end of the year. Do you think you'd be Top 10 before the 1st of July?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Will I?
Q. Did you think that was possible?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not before Adelaide I wouldn't have said because I was defending so many points. You know, I've got Delray Beach coming up pretty soon, as well. If I looked at my schedule, I would have said the big opportunity for me was Toronto, Cincinnati, Indianapolis. I'd say they're the big three weeks because I missed those last year. Even though I went to the US Open and made the third round, I wasn't a hundred percent there playing. I really only did it to test the ankle out and to make sure that I was able to play the Davis Cup the following week. You know, I feel like if I looked at my schedule, I would have picked out that sort of month as my big month to sort of chase a lot of points.
Q. What's the new target?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Haven't even thought about it yet. Obviously, probably next thing is to look at the Grand Slams, I think, really, and the rest of the Masters Series. This is only one Masters Series. There's still a lot to go.
Q. Is there anything you did specifically to put yourself in position to make this run or is it actually just part of a development on your part?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. When I went into the Australian summer, my whole goal was to be hitting the ball the best come the Monday morning of the Australian Open. Obviously I just love playing in Adelaide. Sort of it all started there really. I had a bit of a shaky start. Beat Mark Woodforde in the first round of Adelaide. After that, it just kept going.
Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
May 10, 2000
Q. So, you remember a guy called Sedgman?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes.
Q. Yes, so he beat me in this court, center court, a few centuries ago. I mean, what was the feeling, do you know this was a center court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah, I have been told that.
Q. What about a feeling? You know it was the longest court on earth at one time.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Was it?
Q. Yeah, before they put grass.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Q. I wanted to know if there's a special feeling, it's a very old court, goes back to 1934, some feeling there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a nice court to walk out on. I practiced on that court this morning. You could just tell sort of walking out there, you got all the statues around the court. It's a totally different atmosphere to any other court I think I've ever played on as well. It's very unique.
Q. Would you say the key of that match was your stamina at the end of the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. Definitely helped me. Obviously, I think everyone could see he was cramping a little bit there, 4-3, 4-all onwards and the last set, you know. It's very hard when you do start cramping. He didn't have an injury time, so, you know, it was obviously very hard to get rid of those cramps as well. So I was feeling not 100 percent but pretty good out there.
Q. It was a very long match on the surface which is not your favorite surface and it was very hot. How do you feel now, and are you looking forward to the other match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've actually pulled up pretty well. You know, I didn't cramp at all, and I feel, you know, pretty good. Obviously it's going to be hard work going out there and playing doubles this afternoon, so I hope Woodforde's on his game.
Q. You are playing obviously double to be more experienced on volley-volley game. So what are the things that suit you sometimes? You have a very good approach for inside-out, you try more to take a risk to the net - sometimes, at least.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm still working on that game and obviously it comes together, but it's very hard to do it on clay as well. You know, it's a totally different game than hardcourt. I felt like the last couple of the end of sort of the Australian Open series and then the American circuit there I was starting to come in a little bit more and putting my opponents under a little bit more pressure. You change to clay, it's a totally different thing. You have to work the point, be prepared to stay out there and work the angles and that. So it's just another learning experience for me.
Q. Can you tell me something about Masters Series Roma: The place, the people and something on the other --
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously, this is only my second time to Rome. I was here two years ago playing qualis, and it's great to come back here. You know, you feel very welcome, the hotel is very nice, the courts are, you know, kept in great condition, practice is very easy, transport, it's -- everyone makes you feel very welcome every time you come back here. It's very easy for the players. There's not a lot of things we have to sort of go out of our way to do, so it's very easy for us to just sort of concentrate on playing tennis. You know, if you did a survey, I'm sure most of the players would agree that this is definitely one of the tournaments you want to come back to.
Q. Tell at least one negative thing. This is very optimistic. Should be at least one negative thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't lost yet, I don't have a negative at the moment. You know, nothing comes to mind. Maybe the driving. (Laughter.)
Q. Too fast?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily the courtesy car drivers, but gee, we nearly had a crash this morning. A guy came out of nowhere, you know, wow! Some of the streets are very narrow, and they go very quick.
Q. They weren't built for cars, the roads.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.
Q. I think they were made for chariots.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, exactly.
|All times are GMT. The time now is 08:12 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.