Re: Lleyton's Press Conference
L. HEWITT/I. Kunitsyn
6‑2, 4‑6, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Always good to get the first match of the year out of the way. What did you make of tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was pretty high quality tennis actually for the whole two hours, three tough sets. It was a good start to the tournament for me.
I didn't really play too many bad points the whole match. He came out there with the attitude he had nothing to lose, which a lot of lucky losers do, and that makes it awkward playing those guys.
But I kept my concentration. I stuck it out. It was probably a 20‑minute period there through the end of the second set, start of the third, where he was playing some great tennis, and I had to weather the storm then.
Then I was able to jump on him when I got a small opportunity in the third.
Q. Your serve early on, he hardly got a look at it. Was that something you have been working on and you feel is improving as you get older?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I always got to keep improving my serve. Yeah, I'm a good enough returner that I'm going to get opportunities to break serve, so if I can take care of my service games then it makes life a lot easier.
I didn't get the highest percentage in early, but I was hitting my spots when I did go in. Then I sort of dropped away and his second serve return really picked up. That's where he hurt me a little but. He really took the second serve early and started dictating the point with that shot.
Q. Did you feel a momentum swing in the second set? Did you mentally just feel like you sagged a little bit or do you think he just picked up?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I felt like there was a small opportunity where I should've put him a away, and I missed a sort of touch drop volley at 15‑40 to go, I think, 4‑2 up in the second.
Right at the stage of felt like I was well on top. I was dictating play. I was attacking his serve. He wasn't being able to sort of run me around too much. Then I had one break point at 4‑3, I think, as well.
And then the next game he played well. I didn't make any first serves, it was really only that one service game.
But I didn't hit the ball poorly that game. He stepped it up. His confidence obviously grew from there on in. That makes it tough for me to then try and knock it back down early in the third.
Q. Explain the difference between how you're feeling today as opposed to 12 months ago when you were obviously still fairly hampered by injury?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the best thing for me is you just have a clear mind. You know, you sort of dreaded going on the practice court and how much pain you were going to be in on the match court.
To have that in the back of your mind was just tough. You couldn't go out there with a clear mind to enjoy playing tennis and competing knowing you were going to in pain every time you stepped out there to run for any kind of ball.
That's the best thing about it at the moment. I can just get ready for practice tomorrow and enjoy warming up without having injections and the rest of it.
Yeah, that's the nice part about this year instead of 12 months ago.
Rusty - always # 1 in my heart
Gael Monfils - Aleksandr Dolgopolov - Juan Martin Del Potro - Nick Kyrgios - Jason Kubler - Serhiy Stakhovsky - Gianni Mina - Martin Klizan - Benjamin Mitchell - Borna Coric - Francis Tiafoe - Noah Rubin