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Old 09-01-2012, 04:23 AM   #312
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

An interview with: LLEYTON HEWITT

Friday, August 31, 2012

L.Hewitt/G.Muller 3-6 7-6 6-7 7-5 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Can you talk a little bit about the injury and how that impacted your play.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, don't know if I'd call it an injury. It was more just the toenails were giving me some issues out there. Yeah, just filling the sock up with a bit of blood. Just needed to get them taped and a little bit of padding to relieve it a little bit. Yeah, just got it sorted out.

Q. Does it seem like a million years ago or yesterday when you won here? You were on Court 11. Do you have to remind people that you were a champ here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, you come here as a wild card, so... At the end of the day I play wherever I'm put. Yeah, these are the tournaments that still motivate me. This is why I'm still playing, to play Grand Slams. Yeah, it was a great atmosphere out there, especially the fifth set today. The crowd support that I got was great.

Q. Blake is a wild card and they put him on show courts.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's American.

Q. Do you feel like you were almost adopted there by the crowd today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good. It was fantastic. Obviously put a bit more pressure on him serving second in that last set, as well. Up until the last game in the fifth set I hadn't had that many chances on his serve; whereas second, third, and fourth I had quite a few chances and couldn't quite take them. I was sort of waiting for the opportunity. In the fifth set I at least made him play. Got the return back in court and came up with one or two big passers.

Q. Very little margin for error; he played tight himself. You needed to take that rare opportunity, I suppose.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was frustrating because I felt like obviously I was down early. Fought hard to get back, played a good tiebreak, and turned the momentum. Then throughout the third set I felt I was the better player. I was getting more of the chances, but I wasn't able to close it out when I got those breakpoint chances. To lose that third set in another breaker was frustrating. I had to dig deep to turn it around again.

Q. Can you put in words about the drama of the fifth, what that feels like to you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean? Yeah, it's great. That's why you still play the game. It all happens pretty quick when you're actually out there playing. Sometimes you wish you had a few more seconds to just sort of soak it up and enjoy the moment a little bit more. It's all happening so fast out there. You got so many things going through your mind at different stages of the match. Yeah, even the change of ends feels like it goes pretty quick.

Q. We have the Clijsters retirement and the Roddick retirement. What goes through your mind when you hear about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe a little bit surprising that he's called it during the tournament maybe. Yeah, he's been battling some injuries, as well, especially the last year or so. Yeah, he's obviously fought pretty hard every time he steps on the court as well. For him, he obviously just felt like the time is right. Everyone is different. For me, I feel like I've done all the hard yards coming back from surgery. I sort of want to go out on my terms a little bit more.

Q. Happily married man, three kids, all that. What was it like with Kim? What was your favorite memory?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Not sure.

Q. What are your thoughts on her stepping away from the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, she's been a great player, you know, one of the best in the women's game. Yeah, she should have won a lot more slams probably than even the four she won. She easily could have won at Wimbledon. I think her game suited Wimbledon. The French Open she came close a couple of times. Yeah, she's been one of the greats.

Q. Any idea why off of hard courts at slams she never prevailed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, don't know.

Q. Looking forward to playing Ferrer? Do you give yourself a chance of beating him? How is the body feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, apart from the feet. It's not the actual toe that's caused so many issues. That's fine at the moment. But apart from that, the rest of my body felt good today. Lasted 4 hours, 35 minutes, so I felt in control. Possibly moved better in the fifth set than I did in the first set. I got out wide for some passing shots and that which gave me a lot of confidence. It's a big step up in class. It was a totally different match again. He's not going to be hitting aces, but he's not going to be missing any balls either. He's a quality player. Over five sets he's extremely tough. I'll go out there and I'll have a crack.

Q. How difficult is it with what Roger has done this year at the age of 31?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's an incredible effort. The way he obviously played at Wimbledon this year, yeah, he wasn't far off obviously beating Novak last year when Novak was playing so well here in New York as well. He really should have won that match; he was the better player. Roger's Roger. He's the greatest player of all time.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about your five‑set record. Today was your 49th, which is the most by a long way. It puts you second on the all‑time list of five‑set matches played and you have a very good record. What is it with you and five‑set matches? Are you pleased you have such a good record in the fifth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's something I don't really think about. Obviously I went through one stage in my career where I won a lot in a row. I guess at that time you think about it. But today it was more just playing in the moment and not worrying. I knew I trained extremely hard to get in as good of shape as possible. You still have little doubts, though, because I haven't played 4‑ and five‑set matches in the last couple years, not a lot of them. I trained as hard as anyone coming back from surgery. There's that mindset in the back of your mind when you're out there going into the fifth set that maybe you're due.

Q. What about previous matches, does it give you confidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes. Definitely. The more you win five‑set matches, when the match goes the distance, I think your opponents know that, as well.

Q. With Ferrer, you say he's not going to serve aces; what do you have to do? You have to be really aggressive against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've got to take it to him, absolutely. But I've got to pick the right ball, as well. He's not going to give you a lot of cheap balls. If I go out there trying to press too much, then that plays into his hands, as well, because he's such a good counter‑puncher and retriever as well. I'm going to have to serve well, take care of my service games, and take my chances on his.

Q. You played twice before, both at slams, grass and clay. How do you see him on hard court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's improved a lot. He's not just the absolute clay court specialist, especially in big tournaments now. This year at Wimbledon he had Andy Murray on the ropes. A couple years ago you wouldn't give him a look playing on grass at Wimbledon against Murray. He's improved right across the board. He's a quality player. As I've said, I've seen him play the Australian Open. I've commentated a few of his matches against good players. He's tough to beat.

Q. Do you see yourself as a broadcaster when you hang the racquet up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, don't know. Not sure. I've enjoyed the commentary I've done at the Australian Open, but it's only been a little bit. I don't know if I could sit in there all day and night every day. We'd have to see.

Q. You've been around Tony Roche. What does he bring in terms of his tennis or a person?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Rochey is a ripper. He's not only a fantastic coach, he's a great mate for me, as well. We get along extremely well. I can talk about anything with Rochey. I just love how professional he is. I can't see myself doing what he's doing at his age and been around it so many times. But he just loves it. He wants to be on the court. He wants to get the best out of all the guys. And it's not just myself, but it's the young Australian guys that were even in the crowd watching me today sitting alongside them with Patrick Rafter. It's nice to have him back with the Davis Cup for us. It's really important.

Q. Was there ever a stage with injuries and surgeries where you thought it might not be possible to get back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I had a lot of surgeons tell me I couldn't get back. I guess when the specialists are telling you that you start thinking bit, worrying about it, concerned about it. You know, that probably made me push a little harder.
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