Here's the interview of Lleyton after his match against Melzer ^_^
Q. I guess you could have won that in three, but you also could have lost the first set. Pretty tight either way?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I played well. I felt like I played better than I did in my first round.
He's an awkward player to play. I played him in Hamburg for the first time. He mixes it up. He mixes the pace up. He hits a lot of dropshots. He's a left-hander, as well, so obviously the serve is a little bit different.
Very good to get that first set under my belt. Obviously beat him in straight sets in Hamburg, keep that momentum going from that first one. Good to come back from 4-2 down in the first set.
Q. Every time you broke him, he broke you almost straight back. Was that a concentration thing or something your serve is troubling you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's pretty much only the once I think in the third set that he broke me straight back after I broke him in the second set, but I was able to break him again and hold it out.
No, I don't think -- you know, I could have served definitely better out there. Probably didn't get as many first serves in as I would have liked. But, you know, I felt like I mixed it up well. The breakpoints that I was down, you know, throughout the first and second set, I was able to get out of them. I felt like I served well on the big points.
Q. Are you feeling better for the fact you played more on clay leading in than you have in the past? Do you think it's made a difference to you to where you are right now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel pretty confident where my game's at at the moment. This time last year actually, even though I lost to Robredo, I felt like the first two sets in that match were the best tennis I ever played on clay, when I won those first two sets.
I feel confident maybe overall more, maybe moving a little bit better on clay this year purely because I've spent a little bit more time on it.
But, yeah, every time I come to the clay court season, I think it's always going to take me a few weeks to get to my best.
Q. Just talk about the difference between the third and fourth sets, how you were able to turn that around, walk away pretty easily in the last set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't feel like there was a huge difference out there. I had breakpoints in the first game of the third, and the third game of the third set. I actually felt like I was really getting on top of him there. He came up with some big serves. I think he came up with a net cord on one of the breakpoints there. I actually felt like I was holding my service games a lot easier at the start of the third set.
You know, I went up a break in the third set. Didn't do that much wrong. He came up with a couple of big shots. You know, probably just didn't quite stay as aggressive as I could have at the 5-4 game when I lost my serve to lose a set. Then again, he came up with some big shots. He really had nothing to lose after being down two sets and a break.
I felt like it was important, any time I got those breakpoints early in the fourth set, to take them. I was able to do that early on and sort of roll on with it from there.
Q. How much is coming to the net helped you on clay? You had pretty good percentages, it's a grind on clay, play a lot of points from the back. But shortening points and closing things out during a tournament of this length, how big is that?>
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's obviously a good way to win points a little bit easier, instead of staying out there grinding. I still feel it's an area of my game I can still work on and get better at.
You know, it's a lot easier I think doing it in practice, you know, then when you got to get out there and do it in the match. Especially in Grand Slams, it's a little bit tougher to make yourself do it all the time.
But I feel overall, I'm doing a little bit better than I've done in the past.
Q. How do the Slams for you compare? Which one is the toughest? Clay is a different surface for you. You must have a lot of pressures on at the Australian, the US Open is always a tough grind. How would you rank them?>
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously the clay court, I think, being at the French Open, to win seven best-of-five-set matches on clay is probably one of the toughest for me personally. For a lot of other guys like Ferrero, it's a little bit easier than the other Slams. So everyone is different.
The other three, I'd say, are pretty similar. Wimbledon you can probably get, you know, some easier draws now and then. But a lot of the clay court specialists are a lot better than grass these days, playing from the back of the court, than they used to be. You know, so there's still some opportunities to get through I think some easier matches, you know, maybe at Wimbledon than you can here, depending on the draw. I think there's so many tough players. Every round is tough here, lucky losers coming through, qualifiers, whoever.
Q. Just the grind of seven clay court matches is the toughest than the distractions of New York or what you have in Australia?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously playing your home Grand Slam, you know, there's always expectation. Yeah, you're on center court a lot more I guess every match. That's something -- after I've played it seven or eight times, you come to deal with that, though. I've played enough Davis Cup matches home, it doesn't really faze me too much.
Q. Hanescu was up a set and a break. Can you talk about the prospects of him in the next round, if it is him?>
LLEYTON HEWITT: If I play him, I played him once only, I think in the US Open first round, night match, last year. He's a tough players. I think he's probably better on clay than he is on hard court, as well. He's had a lot of good wins just before that time I think when I played him, and a lot more since then. He's got a nice backhand, very smooth from the back of the court for a big guy. Obviously, his weapon's his serve.
Q. If it is Verkerk?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played Martin last week in Dusseldorf, had a very tough match with him. 7-5 in the third. Yeah, he likes playing at this place. Especially last year, I'm sure he's got good feelings about coming in here. I've played him in Sydney on hard court, and I think he's a lot better player on clay than he is on hard court.
Yeah, it will be a tough match. In some ways, they both play a little bit similar games. Obviously, they like dictating play from the back of the court with their big groundstrokes. But, yeah, they can come to the net, and obviously their serves, as well.
Q. A few weeks ago in Rome, there was a hotel fire, luxury hotel. Could have been much more disastrous. That hotel had no fire sprinkling system. When you go into a hotel on the road, is safety a factor for you? Will it be in the future?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably more so now. You don't really think about it too much. I'm sure you guys don't think about it too much either when you're traveling, as well, until something like that happens.
It's like the September 11th thing, you don't think about planes, traveling, security, until that happens sometimes. You know, sure, I've spoken to a couple of guys. They were awfully close to...
Who knows what could have happened. I think you think about it a lot more after something like that does happen.
Q. Coming back to the match of today, he's Austria's No. 1, a lot of expectations on him, as well. He seems to be talented. He had you sometimes with his strokes. What is your opinion on his game? How far can he go?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good player. He's a very good player. He mixes it up very well. He's got a different kind of game out there. He's probably a little bit loose still out there, you know, on some big points.
But, you know, he's had some good wins, especially this year. I know he beat Henman in the first round in Miami. He obviously beat Safin and some guys pretty easily on clay in Hamburg before I played him. I think he's just going to get better and better.
He looks like he can play on all surfaces, too.
Q. Have you been made aware of the details of the US Open series program, the six-tournament buildup in which you can double your winnings at the US Open? Are you familiar with that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know the whole details. I know enough, I think.
Q. The money involved, would that cause you to reassess how many tournaments you would play leading up to the US Open? How seductive is the money factor?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for me personally, I wouldn't change my schedule. I'll do what I think's in the best interest of, you know, how I'm going to perform the best at the US Open for that fortnight. I'm not going to go out there and chase whatever tournaments it is.
So me personally, I won't be changing my schedule around the US Open series. But, you know, I think, who knows, if it's going to be a great success or not. I think the positive will be if we can get more television on -- tennis on television in the United States. From what I've heard, I think a lot more of the tournaments and finals especially are meant to be on TV live, which will be a lot better, I think.
Q. The first men's tournament on that series is LA. You've signed up for that tournament. What do you like about LA and California?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. The tournament, I've only played it -- the first time I played it, I actually made the quarters, twisted my ankle against Andre. I like the tournament. The night matches there are good fun, good atmosphere, good crowds there. Yeah, I just feel like it's a good place to start before the Super 9's, before the two Masters Series leading in. Played well there last year. I was unlucky not to win it.
Yeah, I like going back there. It's a smaller tournament, but it's a well-run tournament, as well.
Q. It seems you have the game to play on clay very successfully. What do you think is missing compared to your big successes on other surfaces so far?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think naturally, you know, especially hard court, I think my game, you know, naturally I grew up playing on hard court. Grass, I had to adjust my game a little bit, I think. But probably clay more so I've had to adjust my game. It's going to take time. It doesn't come as naturally, as easy, I think, as the other surfaces. Plus some of these other guys, you know, they wake up and they train on clay every day of their life.
Q. Given that Michael Chang won, your games aren't completely similar, but wasn't big, no huge weapon, there's no counting you out of winning a title like this, is there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. I think Michael was obviously an exceptional player. I think the game's changed a little bit. You know, obviously with probably the power and that a little bit more. I think Michael beat Lendl in the final. Yeah, Lendl hit the ball extremely hard, from what I've heard from a lot of guys.
Yeah, I don't think with my style of game I can totally be counted out. I think there's a lot more clay court specialists these days, though, that are probably the favorites to win here.