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Old 06-29-2012, 08:37 PM   #136
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WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 4, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Gustavo Kuerten 6-3 6-4

CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt advances to the third round here. He will play either Hicham Arazi or Tim Henman. Questions, please.


Q. You waited around a long time, but it went pretty quickly once you got out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was an awkward day for everyone, you know, similar to last week in Toronto. So, yeah, these tournaments, every year you come to expect at least one day like this. Just got to be able to try and work through it. It's nice to get through and not have to worry about playing two matches tomorrow. But, you know, I was happy to get through in straight sets.

Q. Was this a case of knowing that you were coming up against, you know, a player you really respect and a real quality opponent and having to come up with a big performance?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in some ways, I guess. You know, Guga's obviously, you know, had a few injuries over the last couple of years, and that's why his ranking's down a bit. But, you know, he's the kind of guy that you've got to be very watchful about on any surface purely because he's so dangerous out there. I think he showed that, especially at the end of the match there when he sort of had nothing to lose and he was just ripping at every shot. There's very little you can do in that situation. So I was happy with how I went out there and played my game at the start. I felt like I was moving well, I was getting a lot of balls back. And any time I got into a rally, I felt like I was getting the better of him.

Q. Your consistency in the past few tournaments as far as advancing several rounds, what is that doing for you, you know, going into the later part of the summer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not hurting my confidence, I guess. But then again, you know, it would be nice to, you know, go a little bit further than the quarters at the French and Wimbledon. I ran into the two guys that went on to win the titles. But, you know, I'm winning matches. I'm doing something right, I guess. But you just got to take your chances when you get those opportunities. You know, against Gaudio I don't think I played my best match in the quarters against him, but, you know, he played extremely well. Against Roger, I felt like I played pretty well in that match at Wimbledon. So, yeah, I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough. Just against the best players in the world, as I said earlier, you got to just take those chances when you get them.

Q. Are you taking more of those chances than you were, say, a year ago, six, seven, eight months ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in some ways. I don't feel like I've been playing -- pretty much since the US Open last year I felt like I've been playing pretty well. I really haven't played too many bad matches. Indian Wells, Miami, I didn't play my best tennis. But, you know, the guys that beat me, you know, they weren't the biggest household names out there but, you know, they had to play extremely well to beat me on those two days. Apart from that, you know, the clay court season, I felt like I played pretty well the whole way through. And the grass court season, the same. So I don't feel like my game's that far away from really playing well.

Q. You're a guy who's achieved almost anything you wanted to achieve in the sport. What's your drive like to get back there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously Grand Slams are, you know, that's what I guess you make the sacrifices for, to try and win Grand Slams and to try and win as many as possible. So for me, you know, I try and look at my schedule. Everything goes around, you know, the Grand Slams and Davis Cup at the start of the year. Obviously, Davis Cup took a little bit of a wrong turn this year. But, you know, just trying to focus now on the US Open coming up. That's, you know, the last major. After that, be back at the Australian Open.

Q. How have you adjusted your game? I mean, actually it was a similar situation, I would say, probably for maybe Courier and Chang. They kind of had the precision and whatever, then when the big servers came out, they had to learn to kind of adjust their game and they kind of matured. Have you felt like you've had to adjust your game maybe for the Roddicks or something?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe a little bit here and there. But I think that's just sort of my game just developing, I think, over time as well. You know, I came, you know, on the tour at a young age. Even when I was No. 1 in the world, I still feel like there was a lot of areas in my game that I can improve on - obviously, you know, serve more consistently, trying to get more cheap points off it. I think I'm probably serving better at the moment than I've probably ever served right at the moment. But, you know, then again, yeah, you got to keep your strengths, you know, at that high level, I guess, the whole time as well and not start, you know, forgetting about those and just focusing on other small weaknesses in your game.

Q. Obviously you've chosen not to play in the Olympics. Do you think that will put you at a real advantage come the US Open, the way the schedule has worked out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not particularly, I don't think. I just feel for me it's better preparation for the US Open. I'm sure whoever wins the Olympics is going to be very confident going into the US Open because, you know, it's still going to be a strong field at the Olympics. But for me, the flying back and forth isn't the best thing to do before a major that I've played, you know, extremely well in in the past. And that's what it pretty much boiled down to for me.

Q. Is it because jetlag hits you badly or you've had sinus problems?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've had viruses and stuff in the past. I got another one last week after flying from Australia to Toronto. I think at the end of the day, after I've been here - what's it gonna be - for six weeks or so leading into the US Open, into New York, trying to build your game up week by week to get ready and acclimatize, for me, personally, I think the worst thing would be to fly over there and play and then come back and try and play at my best level.

Q. Taking that into account, you're one of the rare Australians who hasn't found a headquarters over here - maybe in Belgium - but most found a place that would alleviate some of the traveling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't spend that much time in America in my weeks off. It's as simple as that. There's only a couple of weeks here and there really, you know, leading into this whole trip where I go to places that I'm probably going to play the week after anyway. Like the week before the US Open I'm in New York training on the court. So I don't really need somewhere to go and, you know, spend that much time. Apart from that, I can't think of too many weeks that I'm, you know, at a loose end in America.

Q. How much time would you say you spend in like Belgium so that you don't have to go back to Australia, or not that much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit at times. It sort of depends on, you know, the season - leading into the clay court season, I guess. You know, if you got any weeks off during the clay court season, then it's just a base to go back to, so it's more convenient in that way obviously.

Q. Home's still Adelaide?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah.

Q. Obviously you could play Henman next. You've got quite a tasty little record against him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we've had tough matches in the past. Couple of them I've probably been a bit fortunate. It's been tough matches, could have gone either way. The two finals at Queen's I think. The last match I think we played was in Rotterdam in the semis there this year. I felt like I played pretty well that day. Tim didn't play his best. But, yeah, there's been, you know, some close matches in the past that could have gone either way. He's a tough competitor. Every time I go out there I've got to play good tennis to beat him.

Q. You mentioned that so much is sacrificed for the Grand Slams. Is that more important than making a climb back up toward No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If you win Grand Slams, you'll put yourself in a position to be No. 1. You know, I'm not the kind of guy that's gonna go out and play every week to get my ranking one or two spots higher.

Q. Maybe a little inside medical update on Kim's wrist, is she able to play at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, she can only hit forehands.

Q. She's not even hitting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, she hits some forehands now and then.

Q. She have any idea when she might play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Just I think, you know, pretty much after the US Open some time hopefully. But, yeah, depends every week.

Q. Any wedding plans yet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No.

Q. Not that you're going to tell us, or not at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no.

Q. He doesn't have to tell us where or when.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No (smiling).

Q. Continent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No (smiling).
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:39 PM   #137
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WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 5, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Tim Henman 6-1 6-4

CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton advances to the quarterfinals here for the third time in the last four years. He'll take on 2000 US Open Champion Marat Safin. Their head-to-head is 4-4. Lleyton won the last meeting in the Tennis Masters Cup Round Robin. Questions for Lleyton.


Q. I would imagine you're fairly pleased with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I played well. You know, obviously after Tim had such a late night last night and having to come through a tough match against Arazi, the first thing I wanted to do is try and get off to a good start and really stamp my presence down on the match. I was able to do that. You know, held my first service game, broke, held to Love the next two games. I felt that really set things up well for me there. Yeah, it was tough conditions. It was pretty swirly wind out there. I had to make him play a lot of balls.

Q. When you have such a good record against a good player, is part of that wanting to get off to a good start wanting to remind him why you've got such a good record against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess there's probably little mental games going on out there. I think after last night it was hard to, I'm sure -- getting to bed at I don't know what time, two or three o'clock, and then having to come out and play again today, and knowing that I wasn't going to give him too many cheap points out there so he's going to have to work maybe even harder than he did last night. So just to have that in the back of your mind and your opponent's mind, I guess, when you're going out there can only be a positive for me.

Q. Were you aware of him being tired?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I think he tried to, you know, finish points off fairly quickly. He obviously tried to play an attacking game. But that's his game, that's his best game. You know, when he's playing his best tennis, he's attacking a lot of the time. Obviously when, you know, he goes down a break in the first set, I felt like the momentum, you know, the positive energy really went on my side there. But then in the second set, you know, he started serving a little bit better. And the first game I had Love-40 and wasn't able to break. He sort of picked up his game in the second set.

Q. What is it about Tim that you like to play? Because you have his number at the moment.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know if there's things that I like to play. But as I said yesterday, in the past we've had a lot of tough matches. This was obviously, you know, a bit more convincing my way today. But, you know, I don't think there's one particular thing that really sets us, you know, apart or game set us apart that much. You know, I've never played him on clay. It's always been on hard court or grass. And, yeah, we've had some tight matches in the past.

Q. Is there an extra little bit of confidence you have going out there knowing you've never lost to the guy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It doesn't change. This is a big tournament and a spot for me to come through when I feel like I've beaten a couple of good players like Kuerten and Henman back-to-back. They're both class players. I've got a lot of respect for both their games, and both as people on and off the court. It was really just an opportunity leading into the US Open for me to go out there and beat, you know, a Top 10 player.

Q. At this point how much momentum do you feel going into tomorrow's match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I feel good at the moment. I feel like I've got better and better with every match. But Marat Safin, he's going to be tougher than all my opponents so far. He's got a great game. He's obviously got a lot of power. You know, he can hit winners from everywhere. I've got to go out there and play my game and try and make him play a lot of balls.

Q. When a guy does something like Tim did during the first set when he went to the umpire, does that say to you he's not confident? What does that say to you? What goes on there in your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm trying to block it out as much as possible. Obviously he thought he got a bad call. And, yeah, for me, I can't tell one way or another. It's a game of inches in a lot of ways. And whether that ball was in or not, I've got no idea. Yeah, I've just got to go back there and really try and turn my back and just focus on what I've got to do. That I think set up two breakpoints 15-40. I pretty much just had to focus on the job at hand and sort of can't let any distractions enter your mind.

Q. Does it say to you something like that's almost a surrender point where he's showing that he's frustrated?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think he can work either way. It's a lot easier to say in hindsight that maybe he was frustrated at the time. But then again I've had opportunities -- I've had matches where other guys have done very similar things, and I've ended up losing the match. So it didn't cost someone that on that time.

Q. Obviously on the court during the match you didn't show him a lot of mercy. Away from that, can you empathize with someone getting beaten in that way, sort of humbled like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know if it was that bad. You know, Tim's a great guy. I get along extremely well with him. It is awkward playing against him because there's not that many English-speaking guys out there. And I think Tim's probably the guy that, you know -- to practice with anyone, I'd probably practice with Tim more than any guys out there apart from some Australian guys. So, you know, it's awkward. I'm always talking to him in the locker room, playing golf, different stuff. It's probably hard for both of us out there. But I've had to play a lot of Australians in big matches in the past as well. It's something you've just got to try and deal with when you're out.

Q. Do you let him beat you at golf?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's better than me at golf (smiling).

Q. So he gets some satisfaction?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a lot better than me at golf (smiling).

Q. Do you ever look at the draw in tournaments like this and say, "I've got an easy draw," or, "I've got a tough draw." The top of the draw lost some seeds. You've got another seed to play. Is that good, bad? Does it make any difference?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In these kind of tournaments there's very few good draws. For starters, you know, I played Guga second round. You know, there's great matches in the first round. Hrbaty beats Federer. You know, and then you come into the seeds. And if you play against a seed like I did today in Tim, then you know they're great players. But if you're playing against other guys like Santoro or Robredo who get through in that section, they're in the quarterfinals. They're confident, you know. They've got very little to lose. So they're obviously doing something right to get through to this far in the tournament. There's not too many times that you look at the draw and you're thinking your section is opening up that much. Especially in this tournament where the Top 64 players are in the draw.

Q. This is a big tournament, but there's a huge tournament just a few weeks away. Are you at the point you'd like to be leading into the US Open? You say you're getting better and better.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I haven't put a foot wrong this week so far. I feel like I'm, as I said, I got better with every match. And US Open is still three or four weeks away. And, yeah, you won't know until that time comes, that Monday or Tuesday comes. But, you know, I'm pretty happy with the way I'm hitting the ball at the moment.

Q. How close to your peak level do you think you are?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I'm just trying to win matches at the moment.

Q. You're not thinking in those terms?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no.

Q. Take it day by day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yep.

Q. What are your thoughts on the US Open Series? Is it an improvement, is it necessary, is it good for tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say, I guess, in its first year whether it's going to be a huge positive for tennis. You know, the biggest positive I think that tennis needs that can help with this is getting more TV coverage in America, live TV coverage in America. You know, with such small tournaments like Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Washington coming up, those kind of tournaments, if that happens, then, you know, that's great for tennis in America. There's no doubt about it. You know, it's something that as a player I don't focus on, though. I'm more worried to get my game right for the US Open and preparing for that major title. If you could tell me I was going to win the US Open Series or the US Open tournament, I'd tell you what I'd take.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:02 AM   #138
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WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 6, 2004, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Marat Safin 6-4 6-4

CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.


Q. Marat was saying he felt like the conditions favored your game more than his in terms of the wind and the temperature, I guess. Did you feel that gave you an edge at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. You know, I don't think it probably favored one guy more than the other. You know, it's been swirling and a tough breeze, I think, all week, this week. We've had to deal with it every day and in every match. You know, I just felt like I handled the breeze well out there today, though.

Q. How much could you sense his frustration and uncomfort level out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He gets frustrated, you know, if he makes an easy mistake or hits a double-fault or gets a bad line call. But, you know, that's Marat. He's still a great player. You've got to be very wary of him because he's got so many weapons out there.

Q. It seemed like it was another very complete performance from you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like, yeah, I played consistent when I needed to. I attacked, I felt, when I needed to. I just tried to make him play extra balls out there and make him move a lot. You know, I felt that was probably my biggest advantage out there, if I was going to win. Didn't feel like I served great out there compared with -- you know, felt like I've been serving well in all the other matches this week. But my ground strokes, you know, helped me hold serve today.

Q. 42 percent of your first serves, but your serve wasn't broken. In this tournament you've only been broken once. What is it about your service game that is so steady?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I served extremely well this whole week apart from today's match. Today I didn't serve great, but I was able to back it up with obviously, you know, the first hits. You know, my second serve held up well. I may have only hit maybe one, two doubles maximum today. So, you know, I didn't give him a lot of opportunities to get the first hit in out there, which he likes to do.

Q. Kind of seems like an obvious question, but how much would it mean to you to win another Masters Series title, to win it here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It would be nice, you know, obviously with the field that you have and you've got to beat. I feel like, especially the last three matches, I've beaten guys that are world-class players. You know, they're out there and they're capable of beating anyone on any given day, all three of them. That's probably more satisfying at the moment. You know, just trying to take it a match at a time. Obviously the next match is going to be a different matchup depending on which guy I play. So, you know, if I get through to the final, then I put myself in a position to do well this week.

Q. If it is Santoro, he beat you last week in Canada. What was that match like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a weird match. I dominated probably a set and a half of it. You know, I got the first set under my belt, had all the breakpoints early in the second, wasn't able to capitalize. Then, you know, he made very few unforced errors, he served well. And in the end, you know, he played too good at the end of the match. And, you know, there was only a couple of points here and there when I ended up losing my service games in the second or third set that cost me the match.

Q. He's a lot different than most of these guys you have to face. Is there any transition you have to make going from Marat to him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It will be a totally different match. Obviously the power play of Marat compared to Fabrice's, you know, finesse around the court and great movement and, you know, using the angles a lot more and that kind. So, yeah, it is a different kind of matchup if I'm playing him.

Q. Can you talk about Tommy as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, Tommy, obviously, his favorite surface is clay, but he's got a good hard court game. He's an aggressive baseline player. And, yeah, he's done well on hard court in the past. He's had good wins this week against Ferrero, who's a good hard court player, and also Rusedski. So he's handling the conditions well, so...

Q. Would he give you more power to feed off than Fabrice would?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Robredo would, yeah. But, you know, he hits the ball a lot heavier, too, with a lot more spin off both sides. Fabrice is, you know, more an all-court player but a lot more finesse and angles.

Q. You had 13 winners today, 13 unforced errors. Was it a matter of just trying to get the ball back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, playing Marat, just try and make him play that one extra shot, I guess, with my game against him, and try and move him around as much as possible. He likes dictating play. So there's, you know -- every time I play him, he's going to have more winners but he's going to have more unforced errors, too. That's just the way our games match up.

Q. Any point or game that you felt the match turned on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Obviously, when I went up a break early in the first set, you know, that helped because I just had the momentum then. I could have broken again at 5-3 that second time at the end of the first set; wasn't able to do it. He came up with a big serve. And in the second set, you know, I broke him early again. So I always was, you know, that one game, one, two games ahead all the time holding that break. It's just a matter of trying to hold serve from then on.

Q. You broke him right after he argued. Did you feel like that's a point that would be a good time to do it, because he was frustrated?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't really come into my mind that that was a good time. I just try to take my opportunities, you know, when I get second serves against him. Obviously if he's pounding big first serves, he's always going to have that first hit and really be able to attack that first shot - that's if I get the ball back. So, you know, if I got into a rally, I just felt like, you know, that was my opportunity there.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:05 AM   #139
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WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 7, 2004, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-2

CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt is in the finals for the second time here, his first ATP Masters Series finals in 2004. He has a 3-1 record against Andy Roddick and a 4-3 record against Andre Agassi. Open it up for questions.


Q. When is the last time you played this well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've had matches this year I think where I've played as well as this. Yeah, I'm just, I guess, putting it together. I like this surface here, and being able to string matches like this together day in day out, especially against the three named opponents that, you know, probably had from the second round through to the quarterfinals as well.

Q. What are you the most satisfied about in your own game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I'm serving well. Yesterday I didn't feel like I served great but, you know, my second serve held up extremely well against Marat. Today I felt like my first serve came back together and I served well out there. Didn't give him a lot of opportunities on my service games, to really get into the games at all. I thought Tommy actually served a lot better than when I played him at the French Open today. And I was able to get into his service games, especially after I got that first break. I felt like every game from then on I had a bit of a chance. So I was obviously happy with my returning and being consistent out there as well.

Q. Can you remember another tournament where you've only lost one service game going into a final? You've only lost one.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I'd say at Queen's one year I probably have, but I'm not 100 percent sure. But I went through pretty comfortably one year.

Q. You've made at least the quarters in seven of your last eight tournaments. Tell me about developing some consistency. Is that what you're recognizing in your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, it's all come on different surfaces, too, so, you know, that's a huge positive for me. I think the clay court season this year, I played pretty much all the big tournaments and went out there and, yeah, felt like I played pretty good in most of my whole clay court season. Obviously, the grass court season, you know, losing to Andy in Queen's and then Roger in Wimbledon. So, yeah, I haven't had bad losses. I've been able to really, you know, build it up from there. Obviously, I like the hard court season. Last week I felt pretty good going into Toronto even though I hadn't played for, you know, three weeks after Wimbledon. But then again, you know, I lost to Santoro in an awkward match.

Q. You said something a year ago here about you weren't targeting getting back to No. 1. When you start to look at your goals, what's the next thing? Do you start to think about that now, do you think about Slams or what?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just Slams. Nothing's changed for No. 1. You know, as I said all week when I get asked, you know, I'm not going to go out there and play, you know, every week and run myself into the ground just to try and jump one or two spots in the ranking. It doesn't interest me at all. I'm going to prepare as well as I can for all four majors, you know, even though at the moment the French Open's probably the least high chance, I guess, out of the four. You know, I put the other three up there, you know, pretty equal I guess for me and my chances at those majors. But, you know, I'm going to prepare as well as possible for all four of those.

Q. Do you feel there is a time, maybe last year or this year, at any stage where your eagerness to win dropped a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't -- not eagerness to win, no. You know, I think, you know, I was still very competitive. Definitely haven't lost that at any stage, I don't think for a moment. I've always wanted to win and be very competitive out there every time.

Q. Given the way you reclaimed your consistency this year, can you think about how long you'll be able to maintain this as a career or how much longevity you'll have?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe next week, I don't know (smiling). Oh, mate, I've got no idea. Have to wait and see.

Q. You have a winning record against both Andy and Andre. In practicality, does that give you anything when you go out there tomorrow no matter who it is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. You know, Andy's obviously full of confidence at the moment. You know, he loves playing these tournaments, this American swing now. Defending champion. And, you know, it's not going to be an easy match for him tonight against Andre, though. For the first time in a while, Andre's pretty much got nothing to lose. I think everyone's probably expecting Andy to win. And Andre, he loves big matches, and he loves playing -- he's a showman out there as well. So I think he likes playing the center stage night matches. It's going to be interesting. But I haven't played Andre for a couple years now either, so...

Q. Why don't you care about being No. 1? Is it because you've already done it or is it something, you know...Why?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, if you get No. 1, it's awesome. There's no doubt about that. But I've been No. 1 for a long time and, you know, at the end of the day, if you win Slams, you'll get No. 1. You don't have to worry about -- Roger Federer is not worried about chasing No. 1. He gets it because he's won two majors in the one year. If you put yourself in a position and, you know, you win the US Open, the Australian Open, then you're going to be in the Top 3 in the world regardless.

Q. Patrick Rafter made a comment that he was worried about you as far as the long-term, burnout, with you being such an emotional player. What do you think? You're almost talking like you don't see the need to play every tournament every week. Are you starting to think in terms of the big picture rather than playing every week and maybe burning out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nothing's ever changed for me. I've never played every week. You know, I think being from Australia has probably helped that as well. You know, I like to go home now and then, and it's not possible for me to play week in and week out like some of the Europeans and, you know, some of the Americans can, I guess, with tournament schedules and that. So for me, it doesn't really interest me that much.

Q. How did you react to that comment, though?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't know it.

Q. Now that you're hearing it now, he's concerned that you're such an emotional player, it's hard to keep that throughout your career.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I guess I've been doing it since I was 16 on the pro tour. So, you know, as I say, you know, it depends a lot on a lot of things, not just how emotional you are. A lot depends on injuries and how much luck you have as well.

Q. After you became No. 1, didn't you cut back your schedule a little bit? Are you still trying to keep a reasonable number of tournaments instead of playing every week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, nothing's really changed since I first came on the tour. I haven't -- I've cut back, you know. I had the chicken pox there for a few weeks straight after I got No. 1 so, you know, obviously I couldn't do much about that. Take a couple of months off. You know, last year at the end of the year I took a couple of months off to focus on the Davis Cup final. You know, just been different places where I just felt like, you know, the best thing for me and my tennis and what my priorities are -- like last year at the end of the year my priorities weren't to win Madrid or Paris, it was to win the Davis Cup final for Australia. The best way for me to do that was to stay home and practice on grass. My schedule depends on what my priorities are at the time and I guess how my body's feeling at the time as well.

Q. When you go into a match like today, do you know how well you can play, or does it take you a couple of games before you realize you're really on? Did you feel like, "I really feel great today, I can beat this guy"? Or did it take you a couple games?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt good going into the match, I guess just on the way I've been hitting the ball both in practice and in my matches throughout this week. And, yeah, but I got a lot of respect for Tommy and his game. You know, when you start out, we're both holding serve pretty easily the first six or seven games. And I was just really trying to clean my service games up and wait for my opportunity, you know, to get on his service game. He made an error or two, and I got into the game at 15-All, and then I really just tried to capitalize on that right at that point at 4-3 in the first set.

Q. What would you say the main reason is for you playing so well at the moment? Is there anything, freshness?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. As I said, you know, I've -- I don't know. I feel like I've been playing pretty good tennis for the last few months, you know, for a while now. Yeah, so I don't think it's just freshness after having a couple weeks off after Wimbledon. At Wimbledon I felt like I was playing as well as I am here. I don't think there's been a huge difference just in the last couple weeks.

Q. Not to rush things along, what are you doing between now and the US Open? You're not going to the Olympics.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm having a week off then Washington then a week off so...

Q. Does the presence of Kim in the stands help a little bit or it doesn't matter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always nice, but I don't think it has a huge influence on how I'm playing out there. You know, it's great to have, you know, support around me. And, you know, the more people that I'm close to around me, the better off I play.

Q. Your parents are not here this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no.

Q. You touched on Andy and Andre a little bit. Can you talk about some of the matches you've had with them. I think Andy won the last one against you. It's been a little while since you played Andre.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Andy and I have always had pretty tough matches, I guess. We played a couple of times when he first got on the tour. I was fortunate enough to get those. The last one at Queen's, you know, I had an opportunity, I was up an early break, served for the first set and ended up losing it. Just played one loose service game really. You know, serving for the match, I was serving for the first set in that match. Andre, I haven't played for a couple of years. We've always had tight battles. Last time I played him I think was the US Open semifinal, and lost that one in four sets. That was a tough match. I felt like I had opportunities to go into the fifth set in that match. You know, two weeks before that I beat him here in the quarterfinals. So, yeah, we've always had tough battles. And, you know, depending on who I'm going to play tomorrow it's going to be no different.

Q. You're playing so well the last few months. Is there something you can pinpoint as to why your game has picked up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I just... I'm not sure. You know, at the start of the year I was playing extremely well, too. You know, the whole Australian summer I played extremely well right through. And, you know, the end of last year, my two Davis Cup matches, the semi and the final, I beat Federer and Ferrero both in five sets. Wasn't hitting the ball too badly then either.

Q. What do you think winning a Slam would mean to you being it's been a couple years? Would that change your confidence, your outlook on things, to do that again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You know, it's always, you know, a great feeling any time you do well in Slams, in particular win them. I don't think it would change, you know, when I won a Slam or not. It would be, you know, a great thing to happen, you know, any time - whichever out of the four Slams it would be.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 8, 2004, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Andre Agassi 3-6 6-3 2-6

CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton Hewitt.


Q. What's your feeling about your own performance today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit up and down, I guess, throughout the match. You know, the first set I had four breakpoints and wasn't able to take them. I had twice 15-40. I think the first one was at 1-all in the first set. I just really had to take my opportunities. When you're playing the best guys in the world, it's like playing Federer at the Australian and Wimbledon, you know. I had my opportunities, two or three points here or there, and I just wasn't able to take them. It was similar today, especially in the first set. If I could have got up early in the first set and started putting pressure on, otherwise I was really playing catch-up. And we all know how good Andre is as a frontrunner.

Q. You served well all week. What was the problem today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't serve great. First serves, I didn't make enough of them against a guy like Andre. Mind you, though, he returns that well that, you know, you either got to -- you slow it down and take the risk of him really getting on to your first serve, or you keep it up. I still had a fair few aces out there and not that many double-faults considering, you know, how low my first serve percentage was. But I could have definitely served better out there today, yeah.

Q. Obviously, a disappointment today. But can you just sum up the significance of this week for you, what you've done, what you've achieved?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's obviously disappointing at the moment straight after the match. But, yeah, it's been a good week. The guys that I've beaten this week are class players. And, you know, it hasn't been easy. Coming here and, you know, really felt like my game went up a notch with every match. And, you know, it's no disgrace losing to Andre Agassi in the final either; you know, he is a big-match player. I felt like I had opportunities and I wasn't able to take them. You know, fought my butt off to try and get back in the match. Yeah, I think it's a good thing for, you know, going in -- have a week off next week, Washington, week off, US Open. Hopefully, I can take the positives out of this week and use them in three weeks' time.

Q. Your first serve just wasn't there. How big of an impact did that have?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I just answered that question.

Q. Okay. I guess I just thought that -- can you talk about not getting them in...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I just talked about that. Thanks.

Q. What was your thinking after you won the second set? Did you feel like you were starting to control the match ever or...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Obviously, I felt like I had the momentum. But then again, it was like whoever was serving first in the set had control. They were always that game ahead, and they had the opportunity to go out there and go for their shots a little bit more in that returning game. That's exactly what Andre did in the first and third sets, and he did it well. He's a master at that. I felt like I was doing that a little bit more, I was getting through my service games pretty convincingly in the second set and that was opening up -- I always had that game lead to try and put pressure on him. You know, obviously, I just hung in there in the second set and tried, you know, hustling a few balls down there, then came up with a good get to get the break and serve out the second set. But, you know, in the third set he served extremely well. He hit a lot of first serves and a lot of serves right on the line there and corners and stuff. I just couldn't get into his service games.

Q. Andre is 34. He's playing three sets in a day match right after three sets in a night match. Are you impressed with his endurance and conditioning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I don't think anyone's ever doubted, you know, his fitness. And, yeah, it shows in the tournaments that he's won in the past. He's been able to win the French Open, compared to a lot of the guys winning the French Open these days, at an older age. And that's pretty much one of the most grueling tournaments there is for your body. For him to be able to do that, and he came back from two-sets-to-Love in that final. He's always played well at the Australian Open where it's extremely hot. I don't think he'd have a bad record over five sets throughout his whole career, no matter what his age is. He's in great shape.

Q. If you compare this match to the match in the US Open 2002, what was the difference then? Did you play a different strategy today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. That match was quite a long time ago now. You know, over five sets as well. Wanted to try and get off to a bit better start. I went two-sets-to-Love down that day in New York. Had opportunities in the second set. You know, I was probably the better player in the second set that day, and then he was the better player in the third set and I ended up getting that set. I didn't really focus much on that match at all. I was more trying to worry just about my game going out there today and, you know, trying to work things out as the match went along.

Q. Do you train this coming week before Washington or are you going to take some real down time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll see how my body is. I'll definitely be in the gym. I may not hit every day. I've hit a lot of balls the last, you know, couple of weeks anyway and spent a lot of hours on the practice court. There's no reason why I won't be in the gym.

Q. How much of an advantage do you have, do you think, about going into the US Open when most everybody else is in Athens? Is that a big thing for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. No, you know, for me, for me to perform my best at the US Open, I feel staying in America and playing another tournament on this continent and, you know, in the same conditions that I'm going to get at the US Open, I think that's better preparation for me personally. I'm sure whoever wins the Olympics is going to be full of confidence and going to be on Cloud 9 going into the US Open, you know, to have two major, major tournaments within three weeks, you know, two weeks, with a week's gap there. So whoever does well there, or gets a medal at least, they're going to be riding a wave, I guess, going into it.

Q. Travel-wise?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for me, personally, I feel like it's better preparation. But, you know, other guys, you know, I can't speak on behalf of other guys and what their travel situations are and how well they handle it.

Q. You talked about his serving in the third set especially. He had, I think, 16 aces last night. People don't normally think of Andre as a big server. Is he stepping that area up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he plays his serve -- he's always, I think, played his service games extremely well. He's played his service games his whole career, I think, for around his game, his base. He rushes through his service games extremely quick. He knows that if he can clean up his service games, he's going to put enough pressure on guys' service games to break purely because he's such a good hitter of the ball and such a good returner of serve. I think probably on this kind of court it helps him, his serve, I think more than maybe any other surface like a clay court or something. The ball's coming through. He hit a lot of, you know, close, close lines out there today, and that's the serve he's got. It's not a massive serve, but it's a very consistent first serve.

Q. You were obviously excited after you won that second set. What was it like trying to gain momentum out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's one of those matches, as I said, you know, he sort of -- I had the momentum after the second set. I felt like I fought extremely hard to get myself back in the match. Then the third set, he came out, held a quick service game first game of the third set, then I was sort of on the back foot the whole time. That's just how the third set felt really. I had, you know, the game that I lost, had 30-15 on my serve, and I missed two relatively easy forehands to go down breakpoint, and then play a long point, chasing every ball down and eventually miss one. You know, it was just sort of the way the match was going out there. You know, the next game, I think he made at least three, maybe all four first serves, and there's the break. Turn around, sit down and you're 4-1 down in the third.

Q. You were very frustrated at the end of the first set. Was it because he raised his level too high so you were not able to beat him, or you were not satisfied with your execution of your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just felt like I had chances throughout the first set and I just wasn't able to capitalize on them. And, you know, it's always going to be a bit frustrating. I had breakpoints early in the first set, and then throughout there I had a lot of 30-Alls on his service games. You know, and then even the service game I lost at 4-3, I didn't feel like I played that bad a service game and probably shouldn't have lost it. And, you know, that's the disappointing thing, as I said. When you're down that game during the first set, you can't afford to lose that game. And then Andre comes out, he's serving at 5-3, I had 15-40 to get the break back again and wasn't able to. I think, you know, just a little bit frustrated like anyone would be, having those opportunities and not being able to take them.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

August 31, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Before we pass it over to the US Open Series champions, Lleyton Hewitt and Lindsay Davenport, we just wanted to provide the background on the US Open Series. The goal was to try to present an opportunity for fans to better connect with some of the greatest athletes in the world, at least here in the United States, and provide better television for our sport. Through the collaborative efforts of the WTA, the ATP and the USTA, our friends at ESPN, NBC and CBS, we were able to launch the US Open Series this summer with 10 tournaments. We're pleased to have two great players, Lleyton Hewitt and Lindsay Davenport, both US Open champions, as the inaugural champions of the US Open Series. The USTA has awarded up to an additional $1.3 million in bonus prize money based on the top three finishers in the series, Lleyton besting Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi; and Lindsay besting Amelie Mauresmo and Elena Likhovtseva over the course of the summer. Both have had outstanding summers. Both Lindsay and Lleyton will compete for up to $1.5 million in potential prize money here at The Open. A million dollars is up for grabs in the main singles draw for men and women. By virtue of Lindsay and Lleyton's success in the course of the summer in the US Open Series, they will compete for $1.5 million. Without further ado, I'd like to throw it over for questions for Lleyton and Lindsay.


Q. You probably have more close friends in the States, Lindsay.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Maybe not (laughter).

Q. They may have been watching a lot of television over the summer where you were not, of course, able to watch. Have you gotten any feedback from friends about the US Open Series, the amount of TV it was on, the ability to sort of relate everything to the US Open?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, I heard a lot of positive things, that it was very easy to follow. They kind of figured out after the first week what time matches were going to be on. And, you know, even for myself, I mean, I'm a fan of men's tennis. You always kind of knew on my weeks off what time it was going to be on, and be able to watch. You know, ESPN did say their ratings were up, which is a fantastic sign for the sport in our country. You know, unfortunately, sometimes the tennis fan in the United States doesn't know that we play tournaments 45 weeks out of our year. I think this really helped them kind of prepare for the US Open and get ready for all the tennis that's to come and to get to know some of the other players.

Q. Lleyton, can you add anything to that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't have as many friends (laughter). You know, it's obviously I think the biggest question mark at the start, the way it could help tennis as a sport, was to get more TV time in America. I think that's a huge demand for tennis in America, to try and get in such a big country, and it helps when you got guys like Agassi and Andy Roddick up there in the Series as well. But to try to get that publicity out there, get more air time, for some of the smaller tournaments, not like the US Open is going to need it. You know, Long Island, tournaments like that, get the semis and finals on TV, I think it's a real positive.

THE MODERATOR: Television ratings on ESPN were up over 60% over the course of the summer. A good story in year one of the Series.

Q. Lleyton, did you find yourself paying attention to the Series as the weeks progressed? Were you following where you stood, all that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't really, but all the media were. You know, it was like after every match, I was obviously trying to prepare for the US Open as well as possible over the last four or five weeks. For me staying in America and not going to Athens, playing in Washington and Long Island, obviously helped my cause in the US Open Series. You know, obviously it was a good draw card I guess for Long Island to have me there playing as well, knowing if I won the tournament, I'd finish No. 1 in the Series. So, you know, I think it was good in the first year of the US Open Series to have that kind of finish anyway that the media could really build it on.

Q. Lleyton, at a time when more and more players in both the women's and men's side are getting concerned about injuries and fresh legs going into a Grand Slam, we're seeing fewer top players play the week before a Slam. You chose to play Long Island. Why?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me it was more about how I was feeling going into the US Open. Obviously, I didn't enter purely because if I had a good stint through Toronto, Cincinnati and Washington, if I played -- especially in Washington, if I played a lot of long, tough matches in the heat there, then maybe I wouldn't have been able to physically go that whole stretch. At the end of Washington, I really only had one tougher match where it went three sets. Apart from that, every match was just over an hour. I felt comfortable. I felt like I was starting to hit the ball well and just wanted to try and keep that roll going into the US Open.

Q. When Patrick Rafter won this tournament the first time, he played virtually every week leading up to The Open. You and Patrick are good buddies. Was there any influence there at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not in my decision to go to Long Island. I obviously heard from the past, I know Pat's played it quite a few times. I know from, you know, what he said in the past that it's a nice, relaxed tournament out there. You know, obviously getting away from that mental pressure of thinking about a US Open coming up the next week, to get some tough matches. That's what I felt like I wanted to continue after Cincinnati and Washington. For me it was good preparation.

Q. Lleyton, does it matter any more to you about winning an extra 500 grand? You won a lot of money, got a lot of sponsorship deals. Is that something that you think, "I know what I can do with that 500 grand"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't really think about it like that. You know, for me, this tournament, you know, it's all about trying to win that trophy at the end of the two weeks. You know, I've been fortunate enough, like Lindsay, to have won here before. You know, at the end of the day, the money means very little, if you can hold that trophy up in two weeks' time. That's why we're playing the US Open, is to try to win another major. Yeah, it's a great incentive and it's a great thing I think for the public out there, as well, just to build it up even more, the whole US Open Series.

Q. Lleyton, what do you like about competing in North America? Your record here is pretty strong, where some others who are not from the United States have suffered when they come to the US. What do you love about competing in North America?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if it's just one thing. I think there have been quite a few good Australians over the years, obviously Rafter and Philippoussis had a lot of success here in America. For me personally I like the court surface. I think it suits my game well. It's the kind of court I grew up on. I feel very at home over here. The conditions, if it gets hot, that doesn't worry my game too much. There's a lot of emotion playing in America. It's an electric atmosphere most weeks. I played a lot of night matches over the last few weeks. I enjoy playing in those situations when you're there under the lights. You know, it's really enjoyable I think for the way I play the game.

Q. Can you describe your favorite vacation that you've taken.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, we take lots of great ones. I'd probably have to say my honeymoon.

Q. What did you do?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We got married in Hawaii and stayed there an extra 10 days.

Q. Lindsay, you are probably on as hot a streak as you have been on in your career. When you think about whether or not you can win this tournament, it's not whether or not you can hit the ball well enough, but is that knee going to hold up. Can you enlighten us on the status of the knee right now? In your mind, can you get through seven matches?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I mean, it has a lot more to do with that. It has to do with how everyone else is playing, you know, the level of tennis that I bring to the court on that certain day. But physically I felt great for most of the year. You know, my knee is something I'll always have to take care of. But it has been no hindrance to me at all in the last few weeks. The whole summer I've played a lot of matches and a lot of days in a row. You know, I feel good. I think it's more about, you know, being able to play a hundred percent of your best tennis at a Grand Slam through the whole two weeks, and it's something I haven't been able to do in a number of years. I feel confident, though, with where my game's at this summer that this is as good a time as any.

Q. Is there anything now that the initial run of the US Open Series is done that you can see can improve it for next year?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know how it exactly worked on the men's tour. There were a few tournaments on the women's tour that didn't count. I personally was a little unclear of what tournaments were counting and what wasn't. But, you know, I'm sure they'll work on that for next year. Other than that, I thought it was great for its first year. I'm sure that they'll make the improvements for next year for our tour.

Q. Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I pretty much I guess knew the tournaments on the men's side. You know, I can't really think of too many problems that came along with the US Open Series in the last few weeks anyway. As I said earlier, as long as the TV ratings, as they said, went up, we're able to get those finals and semis and stuff on live TV in the bigger networks, I think it's a good start.

Q. Do you think anything would add to it instead of your playing for the extra money, you guys would play for that money but it would be donated to a charity of your choice? Would that add a different type of dimension or interest?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Personally?

Q. In other words, instead of you guys actually collecting whatever extra money, whatever money you make you get to choose a charity that would get it.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, you know, it all sort of came out of the blue I guess for us anyway, when the whole US Open Series came out. You know, at the start I wasn't really too aware of it. I was over in Europe at the time. The US Open and thinking about the whole hard court season seemed like a long way away still. You could add that dimension to it with charities and that. It's always going to work in a positive way like that, as well. You know, whether that's the best thing or not for the tennis, I'm not sure, or for the public.

Q. I think most reasonable people would say that last year you did not hit the form that you had in 2000, 2001. Right now you've won 15 of your last 16 matches. The only loss is to a pretty good player. Are you playing at a level now that is close to or equal to the level you were playing at when you won the US Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think over the last three or four weeks, there's definitely been days where I've played as well, if not better. But, you know, there's still days where, you know, you don't strike the ball quite as well as you'd like to. You know, I went through a good run in Cincinnati where, you know, I had to beat three top-class players three days in a row: Henman, Safin and Kuerten there. You know, in those three matches, I played pretty faultless tennis, I felt. But you've got to be able to do that for seven matches here, to be able to put it together. I feel like the year I won here, I got better and better as the tournament went on. You know, if you are struggling in any of these matches in the US Open, you've just got to find a way to win, try to get through to the next day.

Q. Todd Martin just announced his retirement. He was asked of all the shots he's faced in his 14-year career which was the toughest. You might think he would say the Sampras serve or Agassi return. He said the toughest shot that he's ever faced was your backhand pass. Could you comment on that, what that means to you that he would say that? Would you agree?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I haven't faced it (smiling). Yeah, well, Todd's played a hell of a lot of opponents in his time. So, you know, there's some awesome shots out there. I don't know whether mine's any better than a lot of other guys' out there. You know, Todd's obviously had a great career. As I've said, he's played a lot of opponents. Maybe it's the style of game that he plays that made my backhand pass, you know, a little bit better. But, yeah, as you said, Pete's serve, it's hard to beat that. A lot of Andy's serve out there. Different areas. Federer's forehand, stuff like that. Probably depends on the day and the surface as well.

Q. Richard Williams singled you out as the biggest threat to Venus and Serena. How do you feel about that? Do you see them as your biggest threat?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I see a lot of girls up there as threats. I mean, obviously Venus and Serena have had such a great career in the last five years, winning a lot of the Slams. They've obviously struggled a little bit since they've been back from injury. But I never discount them. Obviously Justine is a great competitor. You know, Amelie has been very close. She hasn't quite broken through yet to win a big tournament. But I think her time's probably coming. And Myskina is a great player. There's a lot of girls out there that are threats.

Q. Is he right that you're their biggest threat?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think so. I think there are a lot of us out there that can play well. Kind of depends who's playing well for these next two weeks.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:25 AM   #142
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 1, 2004, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Wayne Ferreira 6-1 7-5 6-4

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Really good win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Yeah, it's awkward playing Wayne, knowing that it could be his last Grand Slam, and he's played so many of them. I've had tough matches with him in the past. You know, I was very wary of that. You know, sometimes that's a good thing to have your first match, a named player going in there in the first round. For me, I'm just happy to get through it.

Q. Did you say anything to him after the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just said, "Sorry, mate." That was about it.

Q. He said he noticed the difference between you in LA where he beat you in the final till now. He said your confidence seems so much higher. He also said your serve is really on.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've been serving well the last few weeks, I think. There's no doubt that that's obviously helping me win more matches. You know, I ran down a lot of balls out there today when he probably thought he had, you know, good shots. I made him play those extra shots. But he's an awkward player to play against. Sometimes I felt like I got enough depth on the ball to his forehand, and he comes up with incredible forehands out there. Since LA, last year, I feel like a bit different player, as well.

Q. In what sense? Is it just the confidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think confidence. You know, obviously when you get on a bit of a roll of winning a lot more matches, as well, you know, you feel confident going out there. Yeah, I just felt like I moved the ball around a lot better today than I did probably against him in LA.

Q. Lots of matches coming in here. Does that count for you, count against you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, when you're winning them. It sort of comes back to the confidence sense, you know, you walk out there knowing that you've won that many matches going out there, you know, beating a lot of worthy opponents.

Q. Were you happy with the scheduling? Wednesday, two matches in the first week. Last year you got caught up in the rain delays. Do you need those two days off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no. I was ready for whatever. You know, I was prepared, obviously playing Sunday in Long Island, knowing that I was probably going to be Tuesday, maybe Wednesday. You know, it's obviously up to the referee. They have a unique system of playing the first round over three days here. It doesn't bother me. You know, obviously last year was unlucky for everyone. There's not much you can do about that.

Q. When did you last feel you were hitting the ball as consistently well as you are at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There's times -- obviously the Davis Cup matches at the end of the year I was obviously hitting the ball well. But I've been able to put it together day in and day out the last few weeks, the last couple of months really. You know, that probably goes back to a couple years ago when I was able to do it week in and week out and play that kind of tennis. Yeah, there's definitely been matches over the last few weeks that I feel like I've played as well as I've probably ever played.

Q. Do you think the serve is something in your arsenal that you've got now that maybe when you were No. 1 isn't quite as consistent as it is now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It definitely wasn't as good as I've been serving at the moment. There's no doubt about that. But I don't think I was -- I still had little areas in my game that I could work on at that stage, even when I was No. 1 and won here and Wimbledon. You know, that's the good thing about tennis: you never are a perfect player; there's always something you can work on. The serve was definitely trying to get a high percentage and win some cheaper points off that. I've been able to do that. Through the last year and a half, it's probably been a little bit patchy here and there, but the last couple of weeks it's come together nicely.

Q. Wayne strikes me as one of the good guys in your sport. He's tried to give something back to the younger players. How sad is it to see him retiring?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, it's disappointing. Wayne's had an awesome career. I get along really well with Wayne off the court, as well. He's a guy that I've practiced with a lot in the past. You know, he really -- I think he gets along extremely well with everyone, on and off the court. There's always going to come a time, though, when your body's just not quite the same and you've got to step away from the sport. He's the only person who knows when that time's right. But, you know, he's been a great ambassador for the sport of tennis for a number of years now.

Q. What are your thoughts on the US Open Series?

LLEYTON HEWITT: From what I've seen, you know, I think it was a good idea. My doubts at the start was, you know, whether it was going to hurt any tournaments in Europe, which I don't think would have been a good thing. From my understanding, I don't think it did. You know, the biggest positive I think, which we'll only know maybe this year or maybe in two or three years' time, that TV coverage to get more and more of those smaller tournaments, such as LA, Long Island, Washington, those kind of tournaments more air time on the big networks, you know, live. You know, if we can only not just get finals, but I think get quarters and semis. There's great players playing in it. Roddick is playing in Indianapolis. I was in Washington with Andre, guys like that. You know, I think if we can get more air time, it's just going to help in such a big country where sport is a big part of the life in the USA. I can't see why tennis can't get more and more air time.

Q. Do you feel that when you come over here, the sport doesn't get enough attention?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it definitely can get more. Obviously, the US Open, but that's one of the four majors. I think the other tournaments such as, you know, Toronto, Cincinnati, Indian Wells, Miami, they're big tournaments. They're nearly as tough to win as Slams these days with the fields you've got, 64 draw, cutoff at 60 in the world before qualifying, stuff like that. It's very tough to win those tournaments, six matches in seven days. I think they can definitely get a little more coverage, you know, to not only help those tournaments individually but help tennis in general.

Q. Have you ever felt so prepared for a tournament coming in, having a red carpet? Is it the way you want to begin a Grand Slam tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good, as long as you don't overdo it. It's been good for me. I don't feel physically down at all at the moment. I think probably when I won Wimbledon a couple years ago I had a pretty good streak going through there, as well, winning Queen's beforehand and feeling pretty confident going into Wimbledon that year. Yeah, it's hard to say. There's going to be tough matches every time you go out there. If you're not a hundred percent mentally ready for that, then you can slip up. That's the tough thing about tennis, you've got to keep coming back for seven days and keep being at the very top of your game.

Q. Can you talk about Arazi or Carlsen.

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're both lefties. Arazi plays with a little more finesse, a bit of flair out there, moves the ball around the court extremely well, got a lot of great touch, feel around the court. Carlsen's a bit more hit-and-miss. He's got a big forehand, big serve. Yeah, they're both the lefty swinging serve, stuff like that. Obviously, got to prepare to play one lefty anyway.

Q. When you talk about the improvement in your serve, you see the game changing more, the need for a bigger serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's definitely times. But then you look at guys, Santoro and these guys, who don't have big serves out there, can match it with the best guys in the world week in and week out on any surface. There's no doubt that it helps. If you got a Roddick or Sampras serve, no one's going to say no to that. But then again, if you've got Andre's returns... There's a lot of aspects of the game of tennis that sort of bring you together as a complete player.

Q. Everyone talks about the depth in the game, how it's improving. Half the qualifiers won their matches here. Is that underlying what people are talking about?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I didn't know that. There's no easy matches at all, in Slams, in Masters Series, in pretty much every tournament these days. Yeah, it's good for tennis, but it's tough for the top players to keep playing at their best week in and week out. You know, it doesn't really surprise me that qualifiers come through. They're match-hardened. For them to go on and make the quarterfinals, semifinals, that's a tough thing playing many matches. But to get through a few early rounds at slams, they're prepared, they've played in those conditions for three days.

Q. There's a lot of debate about the way you scheduled the end of last year. Do you think the fact you did what you did, you are now reaping the rewards in this particular run through the year, the fact you took that time off, recharged, was good for you and your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's probably worked as a positive. At the time I wasn't really -- I just was thinking about the Davis Cup final more than anything. I wasn't thinking that it might help me later on in 2004. For me it was all about putting my eggs in one basket and preparing as well as possible for that Davis Cup final. Obviously, it paid off for that. You know, in hindsight, it probably helped me this year. I feel strong now, towards the last third of the year, and put myself in a position to make the Masters hopefully at the end of the year. You know, see where I end up finishing.

Q. Seems like your ability to move into the ball, you're hitting it probably as good as I've seen anybody. Is that something that you've developed, comes naturally or something you've been working on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I guess it just comes naturally more than anything. Yeah, you obviously work on areas of your game when you're younger and that. I think I always played out of my age group in Juniors as well. I had to compete against a lot bigger, stronger guys in Juniors, growing up. Yeah, there's no doubt that that really helped me, you know, reflexes, my return of serve, stuff like that, because I had to work out a way of getting those serves back.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:28 AM   #143
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 3, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Hicham Arazi 7-6(7) 6-1 6-2

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. Lleyton, he's a dangerous opponent. How important was it to pull out that first set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. It's always nice to get it, especially against a guy like him who's very flashy and capable of coming up with great shots. So it's a little bit awkward sometimes when you get in a tiebreak against a guy like that. But I just had to hang in there. I'd only played him once before and lost to him about three years ago in Montreal. Didn't play a great match. He's got a crafty kind of game. You know, you really got to try and dictate play out there. He doesn't give you too many cheap points out there. With the left-handed serve, it's always going to be a little bit more difficult.

Q. Nervous start or tentative?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was holding serve quite well then I just lost my serve. One service game there, I just didn't play a great service game. Up one end was tougher today again than the other. But it was the opposite ends to what it was a couple of days ago when I played. So it was just getting used to conditions and that. I just didn't quite -- you know, wasn't as aggressive right at the start today as I was two days ago. But I felt like I really stepped it up early in the second set.

Q. You continue to sort of fly under the radar here. Is that okay by you and is it actually helpful?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know, mate. As long as you keep going, doesn't matter. Doesn't really bother me too much. Yeah, just see what happens.

Q. Well, would you prefer to be playing where not so much attention is paid to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate, doesn't bother me one way or another. I've been in both situations, and, you know, I think I've handled it pretty well in the past.

Q. You won the TD Waterhouse Cup last week. Can you talk about the situation. A lot of pros, name players, seem to lose in the first round there. Seems like they want to treat it as an exhibition, seems they don't want to go too far, don't want to tire themselves out before the US Open. Are you worried about exerting too much energy there, risking injury, before coming to this one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably goes through your mind a little bit but purely because I'd won a tournament the week before, made a final just before that. But then again, I don't feel like I wasted too much energy in Washington. Just felt like I really wanted to keep my game going and clicking along. For me, the most matches I can win, the better off I'm going to be, I think. For me, it was just try to continue that confidence and self-belief coming into a Slam.

Q. Are you a better player now than when you won the championship?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have some days when I'm maybe better. Other days, you know, it's pretty hard to be probably the way that I played in the semis and final here that year in 2001. There's definitely been matches throughout this year and the end of last year in Davis Cup where I played equally as well as when I won here a few years ago.

Q. Can you talk about your decision not to play the Olympics and given that a Chilean won it, is there any regret at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not for me. You know, for me, it was all about, you know, trying to prepare for the US Open and give myself as best possible chance of, you know, trying to win here again. You know, I've always had good results at the US Open and I didn't want anything to jeopardize that. You know, in the past I've had some viruses and, you know, few health issues and whatever after long flights and that. I really didn't want -- there just wasn't enough break to fly back after Cincinnati to Greece and then come back here right before the US Open for me personally. So my choice was to stay and, you know, acclimatize to the same conditions that I was going to be playing here in New York and so far it's paying off.

Q. Just to follow up on that, was there any pressure from the Australian media, the people, to play in the Olympics? Here in America, we only had Mardy Fish as the hope.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you had Andy Roddick there, so (smiling)...

Q. Even then, there wasn't an outcry.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think everyone knows how much I like playing for my country. You know, I think after I took eight weeks off last year to prepare for the Davis Cup match, one match, my ranking dropped ten spots, I don't think anyone questions my patriotism towards my country.

Q. Aside from the tennis, what do you like about being here in New York? How have you been spending your time off court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Stuck in traffic (smiling). No, you know, it's great. It's a big city. It's a great place to visit. But I really haven't done a lot of sight-seeing that much. Last week I was going out to Long Island every day to play out there. And, you know, this week I've just been -- you come here on your off-day anyway. By the time you get out here, practice, stretch, watch a match or two, have some lunch, it's time to go back, have a massage, and get ready to play the next day. Yeah, so I've done very little sight-seeing.

Q. You haven't played Lopez. What are you expecting from him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've only practiced with him once, I think, in the past. He's a big left-hander again. I seem to be playing a lot of left-handers lately. He's got a big serve, big forehand. He chips his backhand a lot. He's a dangerous player again because he's going to be flashy on my service games and on his he's just going to try to hold his serve. I've just got to return well, move well, and make him play those extra shots.

Q. Do you find it more difficult playing left-handers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. I haven't really had too much of a problem. I've been fortunate. If you play one sort of out of the blue when you haven't played them for a while, it can be difficult with the serve and adjusting to that. It might take you a set or two. But I played a lot of them. I played three in a row at Wimbledon, first three rounds. Now I've played a lot here over the hard court summer as well.

Q. What about the German guy? Know much about him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know anything about him. I'll be trying to find out something if he gets through.

Q. What do you think the main stumbling block has been for you in recent Slams?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just a point here and there, I think. You know, at least at the Australian Open and Wimbledon against Federer in both matches, you know, I was up a break late in the fourth set against Federer. If I could have pushed it to five sets, you know, you never know, having the momentum. You know, it's just a few points here and there. In the Australian Open I was a point away from being up a set and a break. French Open, Gaudio was just too good.

Q. You almost seem a little wistful when you talk about how well you played here two years ago. Are you concerned you might not be able to get back to that level in a big event?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no, I did it at Wimbledon. Not to worry.

Q. Can you talk about why you think the top men's players don't play doubles anymore.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't play doubles?

Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's just too demanding on your body, I think, especially in Slams. There's different reasons for every Slam. Wimbledon is best-of-five sets most of the time from the first round. You know, French Open, on clay, such a demanding surface. The US Open here, also with weather and stuff, if you get backed up and that, it just gets too tough.

Q. You mentioned the traffic to New York before. Did you get caught up in the Republican convention hoopla? Are you intrigued by our political system being in New York this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I've been in some traffic. I don't know if it's always like that or not.

Q. Can you please describe the best vacation or travel experience you've had, and say why it was the best for you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, anywhere in Australia (smiling).

Q. Well, Kim told me last year that the best one for her was Great Barrier Reef with you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was great. You know, I'd never been there before. Great Barrier Reef and, you know, it's one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's a pretty amazing place.

Q. When did you go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nearly two years ago now.

Q. And when will you go again, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. When I get some free time.

Q. Racquet technology keeps evolving. No one's put a stop to it. Is that an issue, or do you players just adjust?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess we just adjust more than anything. Not a lot we can do about it. It's changed a lot since the old wooden racquets, when McEnroe and Newk and all those guys were playing. So it's always going to adjust slightly. I don't think there's been any huge adjustments over probably the last five years or so.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 5, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Feliciano Lopez 6-1 6-4 6-2

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. Pretty impressive stuff. Must be pretty happy with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good. You know, obviously, when you never played a guy before, I knew he was gonna be dangerous out there. Just had to try and weather the storm and get on his serve as quickly as possible. Yeah, I really felt like I was on it right from the start.

Q. He said just now that even when he felt he was playing his best, the ball kept coming back. Is that part of the plan, keep grinding away?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was going to make him play a lot of shots out there tonight. He's a dangerous player if you give him enough opportunities. He's obviously got a big left-handed serve if he gets his first serve in. He's got a big forehand there. I just had to try and move him around the court and not just play to his backhand, even though it was his weaker side, obviously. Not just play into that corner of the court. Really wanted to make him move and open up his backhand by going to his forehand.

Q. You probably hit it more to his forehand than he's used to seeing. He was even cheating over to his backhand, kept thinking you were going over there. Got some real easy points hitting to forehand because he was leaning the other way. You obviously thought that through?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I was hitting the ball well enough at the start not to worry about what his strengths were. I was just going to play my game. I knew he was going to be hanging over there, looking, I was going to be going to his backhand. I just felt like I was hitting the ball well enough, my forehand down the line, my backhand crosscourt, that I was going to take him on even if it was his strength. Early on I felt like I was winning a lot of points off his forehand as well.

Q. 12 straight points. I mean, 3-Love up. Pretty dream start.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good start, especially against a guy like that who you've never played before. As I said, he's a dangerous opponent, if you give him a sniff. He's beaten a lot of good players. He beat Safin at Athens, I think, in the second round. He also, you know -- I know that he beat Flip in Madrid last year. So I was very, very wary of him going into the match.

Q. You looked like you were having some fun out there, a few smiles we saw. Is that the case?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was business as usual.

Q. You haven't dropped a set yet. This time last year you had a pretty poor first week in terms of scheduling and stuff. Is it fair to say you're in a much better place to make a real strong challenge in the second week this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't -- the scheduling was the same for everyone last year. And, you know, playing back-to-back days, sure, it's not the ideal preparation, but physically I felt like it wasn't the biggest problem for me compared to a lot of other guys last year. So, you know, I felt like I was hitting the ball well last year. Obviously, you don't want to waste too much energy and I don't think I've had to so far - which is a good thing.

Q. Pretty much a perfect week.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's been good enough so far.

Q. Are you one of those blokes that worries about not having been challenged a lot, or are you just happy to get through in three and keep going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not too worried. I think, you know, I've come through, I guess, you know, Wimbledon. I got through most of my matches fairly convincingly. US Open, when I won there, I had to really, you know, dig deep a couple of times. Five-setters. So, yeah, I think at the end of the day, just want to find a way to get through those matches. And I think I've had enough tough matches over the last few months, anyway, not to really worry about getting through in four or five sets.

Q. Do you know much about Karol Beck?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I know a little bit. I've seen him play a little bit. He played well on the grass this year. He's a very compact player. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes. You know, I've got to go out there, play aggressive and play my game.

Q. He seems to be a guy that gets a lot of balls back and runs around a lot, doesn't make too many mistakes, like you. Bit different from the guys that you've been playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it will be a different match compared to today's match, that's for sure. And probably even, you know, the Wayne Ferreira match. Arazi sort of got a lot of balls back, really didn't go for that many winners out there. Will be a little bit more similar to that. He's steady off both sides.

Q. What about your serve? Just keeps getting better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served well tonight. You know, I served well when I had to. And, you know, I mostly got a high percentage in out there I felt like tonight. I moved it around well. I don't think I was too predictable on my serve at all.

Q. You say a lot of times you've been working on your serve hard with your coach. What exactly have you been doing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just, you know, ball toss, you know getting in the mind frame of using my legs a bit more out there, pushing up through the serve. Just, you know, small reminders more than anything. But, you know, just trying to focus on that and get in a routine, I guess, so when you go out there in the match it's second nature.

Q. How important is it for you to regain that No. 1 ranking? Sort of how far along do you think you are on that mission?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's not something I'm chasing. I'm not going to go out and play - as I've said the last year or so - I'm not going to go out and play every week just to try and get my ranking a little bit higher. I'm not that kind of guy. I think once I've been No. 1 in the world, doesn't interest me to go out and play every single tournament week in and week out to try to get my ranking there. If you win Slams, you're going to put yourself in a position to be in the Top 2 or 3 in the world regardless.

Q. This little streak of 13 straight now, I know I heard McEnroe ask you a similar sort of question, is this as good as you've played since maybe you were No. 1 or since 2001, 2002?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's been patches over the last year and a half that I've played as well as I have. It's just at the moment I've been able to keep it together and play day in, day out like that. You know, as I said, the Davis Cup matches, I seem to be able to play some of my best tennis every time I step on the court. Yeah, there's been periods this year. Sydney, I played extremely well. Rotterdam I played exceptional tennis the whole week. You know, some matches on the clay and even on the grass where I've played extremely well. But, you know, the period on the American hard courts has just been -- I've been able to do it day in and day out, I think, which I've been able to keep that roll going somewhat.

Q. Is it just good vibes on the American hard courts? Is it the fact that you've always done well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. You know, I like playing in these tournaments. I enjoy it. I enjoy the US Open probably more than, you know, the leadup tournaments, obviously, the big major and that. But, you know, I don't think there's any real secrets about it.

Q. Obviously, in your quarter, there's no seeds left. But Tommy Haas came along today and looked really good. Could you talk a little bit about him and his comeback and if you've been paying attention to what he's been doing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, yeah, at the moment I'm just worrying about Karol Beck. But Tommy is obviously a Top 5, Top 10 player regardless of what his ranking is. It was obviously going to take him a little while to get back to where he was after shoulder surgery. The wins that he had, when he won LA, he beat Agassi; when he won Houston, he beat Roddick. He's a big match player and he's got a great all-court game. For me, it's not surprising to see him winning matches again at this level.

Q. How did you feel about the crowd tonight? Do you think they were against you or wanted to see more tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think they wanted to see more tennis, especially toward the end.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:35 AM   #145
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 7, 2004, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Karol Beck 6-4 6-2 6-2

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. I suppose you can only play who's put in front of you. It's very -- are you happy with the fact that you just haven't really been pushed that much so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the first set today the guy played pretty good tennis, I think. Didn't make a lot of mistakes out there. You know, I tried to step it up at 4-All, played a good game to break. After that he sort of went away a little bit. I put a lot of pressure on his service games. From the first game out there today. I had two breakpoints and wasn't able to take it. And, you know, I'm happy to get through in straight sets rather than going four or five.

Q. (Inaudible question regarding his form.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, there are definitely matches where your form probably doesn't keep up sometimes at the start of the match. You know, especially this is probably the first time he's been in a Round of 16 in a Slam as well. He's obviously going to be a bit anxious out there. Came out of a five-set match against Davydenko. So, you know, all those put aside, he probably really wanted to get off to a good start today as well.

Q. How much did it help you for being in the area for about a week before the tournament starting playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I would have been playing there or practicing here. You know, I got to get away I guess from Flushing Meadows for a little while and forget about that you got a Grand Slam and just work on little areas of my game and match conditions at Long Island, which is a huge positive, I think, for that tournament.

Q. I know you've spoken a little bit about the Olympics before. Have you noticed Mauresmo is the only one of the eight Olympic finalists who are still here? What does that say about having a big tournament right before a Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Maybe it speaks for itself a little bit. But, you know, it's always going to be tough, I think, coming off such a high for some of those, especially Gonzalez and Massu, you know, doing something -- you know, their country really never had gold medalists like that before. For them, being on Cloud 9, having to come out mentally. We all know how much tennis both guys played, especially Massu, to come back and win there, mentally it's got to be draining as well. It's not overly surprising, I don't think, for those guys to have struggled here in singles at least. For me to prepare for the US Open, as I've said all the time, is to try and get the same conditions that I've been playing in and not flying back and forth.

Q. Could you compare how you're playing at this stage to the way you were playing in 2001, Round 4, same round.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'll answer it for the 15th time this week. There's times when I'm playing as well as then. Yeah, at the moment, I'm playing pretty solid tennis day in, day out. You know, back then, you know, in the semis or final when I played here, I played pretty faultless tennis both those matches. If I can keep doing that in the next three matches, then I'll be close.

Q. What areas of your game do you need to step up? You need to improve in the last week to another level. Are you not satisfied with any aspect?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Obviously I'm playing big points and stuff like that. But a lot depends on the spur of the moment when you're out there as well against the best players in the world. At the moment I'm happy with where my game's at. I'm ready for the challenge to try and step it up a notch. More than anything, you just got to do it when you're out there, you know, playing against those better players.

Q. There's a lot of times today where it seemed like with him you just were keeping the ball in play and waiting for him to make a mistake, which he was doing a lot of. Is that something that maybe against a Haas or a Roddick or an Agassi or Federer, that might need to change.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in some ways. You can only play against who you go play against, look at each match differently. If I got to play Tommy next, be the favorite going into the next match, but from what I hear about the young Czech guy, he's a hell of a prospect as well. But, you know, Tommy is a class player. I've played him a lot in the past. You know, I've got to do small things maybe a little bit different, you know, against Tommy than you do against guys ranked 50 or something in the world. He's a class player who's been in the Top 5 players in the world before.

Q. Have you seen played Berdych? Have you seen him play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I actually haven't seen him play. Obviously, he beat Federer at the Olympics. He's young, I think, and, you know, got a big serve. You know, he'll probably give Tommy, you know, a little bit of trouble out there today. Whether he wins or not, I don't know. But he's got very little to lose out there. You know, he played a couple of tough five-setters to get to the Round of 16.

Q. What memories do you have from here from a year ago, and the injury? Was that something that just happened at the time or were you carrying it for a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it just happened at the time. I felt it a little bit in Los Angeles when I made the final there a few weeks beforehand. You know, I was just trying to -- at the time I was playing pretty good tennis, I felt. The match against Ferrero was one of my best matches last year, I think, ball-striking wise. He went on to beat Agassi in four sets the next day and ended up losing to Roddick in the final. It was a little bit disappointing that the injury came back, you know, halfway through the third set there when we were a set all. I kept fighting it out but he was too good in the end.

Q. How do you see tomorrow night, the Federer match with Agassi? Any feeling about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it doesn't really worry me too much. One of them's gonna come through. Good on them. But it's obviously going to be a tough match. No doubt about that. Two guys, you know, Federer plays that more style that Sampras used to play, and Andre's played against that style a lot of times. But, you know, it's hard to say. I know Indian Wells this year, I think that's the only time they played, a tough three-set match. Federer won. But then again in the Masters Cup final last year, Federer dominated in straight sets. It's going to be interesting.

Q. Any advice for him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think Roger is in pretty good hands right at the moment.

Q. One of the two guys you're going to play are both having a very good summer. You're having a very good summer. Do you feel a player who's not necessarily the best player in the world but who's hot is a tougher opponent than somebody like Roger, who didn't do that well in the Olympics, etc.? Would you rather play a hot player or a very good player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't matter. Everyone, you know, is going to be good on their day, especially when it gets this late into a tournament. But, you know, I don't think Roger's struggling. You know, he won Toronto and he's on a hell of a streak. For him to keep it up, he won tournaments on all three surfaces, three different surfaces after Toronto. You know, there's no doubt that he's had a bit of a letdown. That's probably helped him at this tournament, yeah.

Q. I know you're obviously working really hard with Roger the last 12 or so months. Do you think you can get any fitter than you are now? If so, how much more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I can get fitter, yeah. I'm fit at the moment, but, you know, I feel like I can definitely, you know, still get fitter and stronger. That's something that at the end of the year, that's really your only time that you can sort of put your racquets down for a couple of weeks and, you know, work on your body and fitness a little bit more than you can and just try and maintain it throughout the year.

Q. Do you remember having had a Grand Slam cruising, this long into a tournament, having pretty much not much in the way of opposition this deep?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I didn't lose -- well, in Wimbledon I didn't lose a set until the quarters. I lost two sets there and they're the only two sets I lost for the whole two weeks. That's probably as close as I've been this week.

Q. As a guy who's won majors on two of the three major surfaces, also played well on clay, do you see there's a possibility a guy could come out there and win a calendar year Grand Slam? What's the big obstacle there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think it's possible, but, you know, it's very tough to do. You know, mentally, to play that many big matches over five sets and not have a letdown throughout the year, it's a tough thing to do. I think that's probably more the challenge, you know. There's no doubt Roger's got a game where he can do that. He lost to Kuerten in the third round of the French Open, but he won, you know, Hamburg two weeks before that. So he can obviously play on all surfaces. And, you know, mentally, to come out and do that match after match in big matches is probably a tough thing to do.

Q. How tough is that Wimbledon-French double? Is that the real big obstacle there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Yeah, it's tough because there's a lot of great clay court specialists nowadays as well. I think that's the toughest thing. Guys like Gaudio, Coria, Moya, these kind of guys, and they put all their emphasis on winning the French Open. You know, so to come out and try to win the French and Wimbledon is probably tougher than maybe a few years ago, I guess, when you didn't quite have those clay court specialists so much.

Q. This is the third, I guess, Grand Slam that Kim's been hurt. She's not playing in it. Is it easier for you at a Grand Slam when she's playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it doesn't... You know, for me, personally, it doesn't affect my tennis I don't think one way or another.

Q. Do you think if you look back at last year, about this time last year, do you think you are more comfortable or at ease than you were last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't think much changed. You know, I was pretty comfortable where I was last year, and what I was doing. I'm pretty happy both on and off the court. Yeah, I don't think a lot's changed.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:39 AM   #146
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 9, 2004, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Tommy Haas 6-2 6-2 6-2

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. How tough was it out there, the conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was -- I would have said before the match they're the toughest probably conditions I ever played in were probably here when I made the semis against Enqvist at night. I don't know. I felt out there equally as bad as that night.

Q. What was that like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was windy. It was like a hurricane had come up, I think, as well. Similar conditions. It's always -- the present's always going to feel worse, I guess, at the time. But it was tough conditions.

Q. He was expected to be your toughest opponent so far. Is it getting to a point now where you're just playing so well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I think the wind today, obviously, you had to go out there with the right mindset, you had to be very patient, mentally tough out there and not let it affect you and realize that it was going to be the same situation for both players. I tried to stay as positive as I could out there. I reckon I did that extremely well today. I really didn't let it worry me at all. I took my time when I needed to and played percentage tennis.

Q. You had very few unforced errors.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was happy with the way I played. It's tough to go from playing one end compared to the other end with so different margins for error out there, going for your shots and choosing the right ones to go for. Knowing that Tommy is a real shot-maker out there, I was just trying to put pressure on him, make him come up with that extra shot all the time.

Q. When did you sense he was getting frustrated? Seemed like when you broke him at the end of the first set he seemed to lose quite a bit.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, when I broke him in the first set. I think it was to go up 3-1. Yeah, I could sense that he wasn't enjoying playing in the wind. He couldn't play his free flying game. And, you know, as I said, he's a real shot-maker out there. He started chip charging, coming in to serve-volleying, mixing up his game a lot more, which he doesn't feel comfortable doing all the time. It's not his A game. For me, that was a good sign that I was playing my game, getting on top of him. As the match turned around, he had patches where he tried to have little bursts here and there. I just really had to keep on top of those situations.

Q. It's been a while since you got into a semifinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always nice being, you know, in the last two or three days of a Grand Slam. And, you know, I've always played well here in New York. You know, I felt good coming in. It's not going to get any easier, I know that, and especially going back-to-back Saturday, Sunday, if I can go through. But I haven't put a foot wrong just yet.

Q. Where do you think you can improve your game? Let's say you face Roddick next. How would you improve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Today was -- you know, depending on the conditions, if you get a day like today again, it's going to be awkward. You've got to play percentage tennis. But if we get a calmer day, you can go for your shots a little bit more, obviously getting his serve back and trying to make him play as many balls as possible. He's playing extremely well and very confident at the moment, so he should be - defending champion here, going through the draw quite nicely. It's going to be a tough match and, you know, I just got to counterpunch extremely well and move extremely well.

Q. Do you think it will be an advantage for you that you've played mainly during the day, he's played all night matches. Does that work one way or another?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. You know, I don't think it will make a huge difference. You know, I think he enjoys playing the night matches. Last year when it came to semifinals and finals, he had to play during the day and he handled it pretty well. I think he's played one day match this tournament and he came through that pretty comfortably.

Q. In addition to the wind you were battling out there, it seemed to be a stream of planes. Does that bother you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not really. This week there's been a lot more, I think, than there's been in the past straight over center court, but there's not a lot you can do about it. Just block it out. Just one of those things.

Q. How much more satisfying is that win for you when you consider the conditions that you had to keep so strong mentally, to be so difficult controlling those returns and serves and all that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's satisfying getting through, you know, with a score line like that against a class player that I've got a lot of respect for. You know, I knew it was going to be a tough match going in. Obviously, the conditions, only this morning did I know that it was going to be those conditions, and make it that little bit more mentally draining, I guess, or mentally tougher out there. Yeah, it's satisfying to come through, but, you know, in the past I think one huge positive I've always had is my mental toughness out there and again today it didn't let me down.

Q. Could you talk about the prospect of possibly playing Johansson. You're obviously close to him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it would be strange playing him in a semifinals of a Slam. I've practiced with him a lot. He's got a lot of fire power, as much as Roddick. It's going to be an interesting match for him tonight purely because he's never been in this situation before. It was really just a matter of time. He can play. He plays well obviously on quicker courts. This suits his game well. I think he looks forward to big matches.

Q. Would you advantage yourself or him, the fact that you do practice together so often, or you have in the past over Christmas and stuff?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. We both know probably each other's games pretty well. I'm sure that me doing some training, Roger and I doing training with him over Christmas and stuff the last few years has helped his confidence, helped his ranking, I think, the last couple of years. That's good for him. His last six months have been pretty impressive.

Q. Is blood thicker than water? Who will your sister root for?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. We'll have to wait and see.

Q. You have an excellent record against Andy. Do you think he's a different player, say, from this time last year than when you were beating him fairly regularly?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's no doubt he's a better player now than he was then. Andy has a Slam under his belt. He's been No. 1 in the world. So, you know, he's got a lot more confidence and self-belief, I think, in himself from when he first came on the tour. He was probably a little bit more hit-and-miss. Whereas these days, week in and week out, he's reaching the semis and finals of most tournaments. So he's going to be tough in these conditions. He's going to be tougher than probably I've ever played him in the past.

Q. He used to get quite frustrated, especially against a guy like you who keeps getting it back. Have you noticed a maturity in him, he stays in the point longer than he used to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't watched that many of his matches against guys that play similar to me. I've only played him once in the last couple of years and that was Queen's. Grass is a little bit different circumstances. I had my chances in that match. Was up an early break, served for the first set. Wasn't quite able to come through. And lost a first set tie-break. He's going to be a tough opponent purely because he's got a lot of fire power out there.

Q. Can you talk about the crowd. You've played Davis Cup ties away, you know what it's like. In a sense, do you actually like the crowd being so for the other guy? Does it fire you up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think it fires me up any more but I've had to play in those situations a lot through Davis Cup ties. Obviously, when you play Andy and Pete and Andre here at the US Open, in the years past, so it's something you really just have to block out and focus on your game and, yeah, it's good to have a lot of emotion out there anyway.

Q. Do you see the level of emotion approaching what it was three years ago when you guys faced here, when you were younger players, the intensity level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe I guess. He's improved a lot since then, I think. You know, at the moment I'm playing as well as I did, especially the semiand final, if not maybe a little bit better. It's building into a good match. But his results have really picked up the last couple years.

Q. Do you feel like you can still read his serve pretty well even though he continues to serve huge?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh...

Q. You've had success against it in the past.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if I can read his serve, but, you know, Federer obviously handles it pretty well. There's not that many guys, especially over the last week and a half, that have handled it very well at all. He's obviously got a great serve and it's something I think he's improved as well in the last couple of years.

Q. Is this the freshest, I mean, I know at Wimbledon when you won, you lost a couple of sets in the quarters, but is this the freshest you've ever been going into the end of a Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It will be up there, I think. I haven't played too many draining matches. It's probably more mentally draining, I guess, than physically at the moment. My body feels good and you've got to feel good if you want to compete, you know, two days in a row, best-of-five sets against -- you know, look at the guys left in the field, they're some of the best guys playing, going around at the moment. If you're going to back it up two days in a row, you've got to be feeling very mentally and physically fresh.

Q. Do you spend any time with Joachim this week, family dinners?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot, no (smiling).
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:42 AM   #147
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 11, 2004, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Joachim Johansson 6-4 7-5 6-3

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. Were you surprised a little bit at how you were able to get yourself so pumped up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've had to play against other Aussie guys in the past. It's something that, you know, you just got to really put your competitive hat on out there and just worry about trying to get the job done and not worrying about who's on the other side of the net.

Q. Were you actually more comfortable playing him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. It's awkward. Obviously, I know his game, but he knows mine as well. It's awkward on, you know, knowing someone that you've practiced with a lot and going out there and actually have to play him. That's his biggest match and one of my biggest matches as well, in a semi of a Grand Slam. So it's a little bit awkward.

Q. Have you seen your sister yet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not yet, no. No.

Q. Were you worried about her feelings of being torn at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, she was going to be happy for someone and disappointed for someone no matter what. It's an awkward situation, but I'm sure in the years to come we'll probably have it a lot more than just this first time today.

Q. One of the things that Joachim said the other day was he had dinner with your mom and dad, Jaslyn. At some point were you thinking, "We might hook up at some point"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, I wasn't, you know, looking much past the guys that I had to play and just taking it one match at a time. You know, obviously once I got through my match and he had to play Roddick, then there was always going to be a chance in a two-horse race. But until then I wasn't really worrying about it too much.

Q. Were you feeling physically fresher out there than when you went to the Wimbledon finals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably. I feel good at the moment. I haven't spent a lot of energy out there. I feel confident where my game's at at the moment as well.

Q. What are you taking from the fact that you haven't dropped a set this year? Is that a big confidence booster?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. Whether I went through in five sets or whatever, just to get through to the final more than anything. So I won't be focusing on, you know, the fact that I haven't dropped a set going into tomorrow's match at all.

Q. Has something this summer changed for you, that you picked up and are really at the top again? Can you pinpoint something in your game or mentally that has turned things around for you so dramatically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I feel like I've played pretty well this whole year. You know, in most tournaments, obviously clay is not my strongest surface, but I feel like I had a good clay court season. Grass court, I felt like I played well. The two guys I lost to is Roddick and Federer in my two grass court tournaments. But I feel like, you know, this whole year I've played pretty consistently. I enjoy playing on the American hard courts here, and, you know, obviously, picking up confidence, you know, winning some matches as well, that's always going to help.

Q. At Wimbledon there was a lot of talk about a so-called Roddick-Federer rivalry. How did that make you feel, that people had forgotten you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Those two guys were making -- obviously Roddick won one here and Federer had won a fair few Grand Slams. They're playing No. 1 and 2 in the world. Didn't really worry me too much. You've got to get the runs on the board and go out there and make semis and finals of Grand Slams and really challenge the best guys out there.

Q. Did you feel it would be just a matter of time before you would be back in a Slam final or did you know you had to step up your level a bit to get here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Felt like this whole year I've been playing pretty well. The guys that I lost to in the Slams, I lost to both Roger in the Aussie and Wimbledon. Those two matches I felt like I played extremely well. Was probably a little unlucky that I drew him in the earlier rounds, Round of 16 and a quarter. I knew I was not far off the mark. As I said, I like playing in the US Open. I think the conditions, the atmosphere here really suits. I think the court surface suits my game. I felt confident, obviously, coming in, winning a lot of matches.

Q. Still, as your ranking fell a little bit and you had some losses, did you ever have any, within yourself, within your own mind, you might have doubts coming back to the very top, elite level to these Slam finals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not when you beat Ferrero and Federer in two Davis Cup matches at the end of last year. So, you know, they were the No. 1 and 2 players in the world at the time. Didn't really enter my mind too much.

Q. You've spoken a lot over the last couple of weeks

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who's that, sorry?

Q. I know you've spoken in the last couple of weeks about where your game is compared to 2001. Do you think things started to click for you, this turnaround, from last year's US Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I think this time last year I played extremely well at the US Open here. There was no shame in losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the quarters. It was an extremely tough match that could have gone either way. Then he went on to beat Andre in four sets and lose to Roddick in the final. Since then, I've played extremely well. Obviously had a big break between the Federer Davis Cup match and the Ferrero one. But I was able to do a lot of fitness work and I guess just freshen up as well for the whole 2004 season. I think that's been one huge positive going through this whole year.

Q. Were you surprised by how well Johansson played in this tournament, reaching the semifinals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, little bit surprised but not overly surprised. He's got a great game and he's got a lot of talent. He's obviously a little bit raw at the moment, you know. He just hasn't been in this position of playing in big matches. But, yeah, with this week he's going to go well and truly into the Top 20 in the rankings. That's where he deserves to be with his game.

Q. You won here 2001, just two days before 9/11. Today is 9/11. What does that mean for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a weird feeling. Obviously, I was on a flight straight after I had just won my first major when it happened. I didn't know until I touched down in Sydney anything about it. So it's -- it was a real weird feeling back then purely because we'd just been in New York and, you know, nothing had happened. Then you hop on a plane and, you know, the whole world's changed in a lot of ways. All the memories of that, I guess. That was two days after I won my first major, obviously, as well.

Q. Would you relish the opportunity to play Roger Federer in the final here, big stage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I look forward to playing a final against anyone in a major. Obviously, playing Roger, No. 1 player in the world, I'm going to have to play some great tennis to get on top of him. But I feel like I'm playing well at the moment and I give myself a good chance.

Q. Couple of people have asked you to compare your form to 2001. Does that make you want to prove a point at all, or does it annoy you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I feel like I'm wasting my breath, but that's about it.

Q. To get back to 9/11, the police and firemen were honored between the second and third sets of your match today. As much as you try to not think about anything but tennis, how hard is that today, to turn on the TV, you're seeing all kinds of tributes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's an awkward day, but, you know, we can't do much about it either. You got to play a semi of a Grand Slam on the same day. It's obviously awkward, TV in the locker room and everything are going through tributes at Ground Zero, stuff like that. Makes you think a lot about tennis as a sport and there's a lot more to life than just winning a couple of tennis matches as well.

Q. If it's Federer, is there an advantage, since you've won here and he has not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, Roger's such a good player and, yeah, if I've got to play him, he's obviously come through and beaten Agassi and Henman and won big matches here in the past. So I don't, you know, I don't think that's a huge advantage.

Q. What weaknesses in his game do you think you can exploit if you do play him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There's not a lot of them (smiling).

Q. If you have a good day tomorrow and end up lifting the trophy, what would that mean to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it would be great, you know, obviously, to win another Grand Slam. And, you know, that's where my priorities are - the four majors and Davis Cup. The last major of the year. Yeah, it's a great opportunity for me to go out there and actually play for the title here again.

Q. How do you manage to maintain the same hunger level year after year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I'm obviously very competitive and love getting out there and, you know, trying to improve my game as well. I think Roger has obviously tried to take the game to another level. You've got to keep working and work on your weaknesses and try and improve those to stay with the best guys and stay at the top of the game.

Q. Can you talk about the possibility of playing Henman.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I've obviously got a good record against Tim. We've had a lot of tight matches in the past. He's going to mix his game up a lot. He serve-volleys, he stays back, he chip charges. You know, he does a lot of different stuff against me out there. It would be a tough match. It would be Tim's first Grand Slam final. You know, who would have thought it would be the US Open before Wimbledon. But, you know, it's still not as much pressure on him here, I guess, as there is at Wimbledon.

Q. More confident playing him than Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, with records maybe, but they're both class players. I mean, in a big situation, I don't think records are going to account for a lot out there tomorrow. You've got one match and you've got to go out there and compete and handle the pressure and the expectation. And, you know, obviously Roger has been able to do that extremely well in Grand Slam finals.

Q. In terms of relishing the idea, not so much Roger, but the idea that you've got yourself on the stage, is this what you build it all for, is to play the No. 1 guy in one of the biggest stages in the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but, you know, final's a final. If it's Tim, it's still going to be a massive day for me tomorrow. You know, obviously playing Roger, with the way his ranking is, his form at the moment, going for his third Slam of the year, it makes it into a huge match. But playing Tim as well, in a Grand Slam final just to try to win the US Open, Tim will be going for his first major. Obviously, he's pretty hungry to get that one under his belt as well. So for me it's just a matter of trying to block out all the outside pressures and influences, I guess, and just concentrating on my game tomorrow no matter who I'm up against.

Q. During your two Slam runs and your years at No. 1, you were playing the big points great. Is it fair to say in your two losses to Roger at the Slams, he was playing the big points better than you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's no doubt there were only a couple points here and there. I could have been up a set and a break at Melbourne. Wimbledon, I was broken the end of the fourth set and wasn't able to consolidate that break and take it to a fifth set. That's what you have to do against the best guys in the world - whether it's Roger, Andre, Andy, whoever. You've got to be able to do that. There's only a couple points within a match. Whether that's going to be the same case tomorrow, whether it's only two or three points to change the outcome of the a match, but you've got to be able to step on those points and play the points well.

Q. You've probably played more than anyone going into the Open. Is that something you've learned from last season, you have to have a lot of matches under your belt to play well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. I just felt like this year I just want to continue my run. I felt like I was starting to hit some pretty good form coming in. I enjoy playing on the hard court season. I just didn't feel like, you know, Cincinnati and Washington had taken a real heap out of me physically. That's why I wanted to keep going in Long Island. Yeah, I think this year it definitely paid off, though, coming into the US Open.

Q. Is the way you played the last two matches enough to win the title irrespective of who you face, or do you have to lift it another notch or is it a case of gauging it as the match goes on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the way that I've played last couple of days, I'm definitely in with a shot; there's no doubt about that. But, you know, I think I can still improve on some areas. If I can do that, then obviously I'm going to have a better chance. But, you know, a lot depends on what your opponent does as well. There's only two guys out there. You know, playing Tommy Haas and also Johansson is a little bit different to maybe Roger Federer who's been out there and won Grand Slams. So, you really -- sometimes you can only do as much as your opponent lets you do as well.

Q. Johansson mentioned he is going to Australia. Will you be practicing together?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably at some stage. I'll probably practice my golf against him (laughter).

Q. Will you remind him of this day a lot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. He's already -- he'll probably -- he's already made a few comments to me in the locker room. He's not gonna get me a Christmas present. He reckons that was mine today, so anyway (smiling)...
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 12, 2004, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 0-6 6-7(3) 0-6

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. Can you talk about Roger's ability to go out and do three in one year. Can you just talk about his ability.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's playing incredible tennis, on all surfaces as well. You know, he had an incredible run, you know, leading up to Wimbledon and then straight after Wimbledon through to Toronto, then a little bit of a lapse which probably helped him here. But, you know, when he's, you know, playing like he did in especially the first set there today, there's very little you can do out there. He returned extremely well. It was hard to get any cheap points off him as well.

Q. Are you proud of your tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm happy. It's obviously disappointing, you know. Any time -- this is my first loss in a Grand Slam final. Any final is hard to lose. But, you know, I'm happy with the way I'm playing. You know, when I look back on the last, you know, five weeks probably especially, it's been great tennis for me the whole time. You know, when you put yourself in a position to play in Grand Slam finals, you know, that's what you play tennis for. So, you know, it's been a good two weeks.

Q. When you were up 6-5 in the second, did you sense that that could have been the turning point right there? Obviously a little shaky on his serve. Wasn't getting first serves in. Did you think to yourself, "This could be one-set-all"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it was only tough because the wind started picking up a little bit and he was playing with the breeze at that end, at 6-5. Then he started with the breeze in the tiebreak. It was hard to dictate play at the start of the tiebreak. He served extremely well. He made nearly all his first serves, especially at the start, when you're serving with the breeze there. I sort of just got behind the eight ball there in the tiebreak. I had to really try and get that first point, especially on my serve, then try and dictate play. He didn't give me too many free points out there. He had a little lapse there, you know, halfway through the second set, right till it was 6-5. Every game, I was nearly having breakpoints. You know, I was hustling and scrambling a lot of balls back. He came up with some big aces and stuff on the breakpoints there. But, you know, 6-Love, 2-Love, he was playing incredible tennis.

Q. Can you just describe what it was like to be dominated like that in that first set? I know you had two double-faults, but what was it like to have that happen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he -- you know, I felt like there was games in there where I had 15-30 on his serve once, I had 30-15 on my serves, 30-Alls, I just didn't take advantage of those. He's the kind of guy, played extremely well when I played him in Hamburg this year on clay for the first set. Played incredible tennis, very similar to today. When he's on fire with his forehand, it's very hard to get it to his backhand too often as well. He was obviously serving extremely well.

Q. He has so much going for him, dominant No. 1, great on really all surfaces, no real weaknesses. You're such a tremendous student of the game right now. Can you talk in terms of him with the other great players of the Open era. Does he have a chance, really, of becoming the best of all time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's definitely got a chance, there's no doubt about it. Especially the way that he's had this year as well, and, you know, he's, you know, always going to have a chance going into every major, even the French Open. You know, he lost in the third round this year to Guga, but it's going to take a guy like Guga or someone like that to beat him at every Slam. So, you know, you like your chances of him trying to pick up at least one out of the four every year for a few years.

Q. Slow hard court, who would you pick, Pete or Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate, it's hard to say. You know, we're fortunate that Roger could take, you know, after Pete's left, then Roger comes in. You know, that could help tennis in the big picture. You know, there's still a lot of guys. Obviously, Andy is going to be pushing. You know, a lot depends on the day as well. Pete had an awesome serve, you know. It's very hard for anyone to break his serve. Whether Roger could do that at the best, it's hard to say.

Q. Do you feel like anyone today, with him playing like that, could have done much better than you did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't think anyone in the -- anyone in the actual tournament (laughter). I don't know. Maybe. Maybe Pete Sampras, you know. As I said, it's very hard to, you know, obviously with their serve and whatever... But, you know, I just couldn't get enough cheap points off my service games to be able to put pressure on his. If I was able to hold my service games a little bit easier, then I would have been able to take a few more chances on his service games. So when he's up a break, especially, and he's a great frontrunner, he really gets confident.

Q. What's it going to take to get to his level? Can you get to his level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Keep working. You know, that's why tennis is so tough. I think every year it gets tougher and tougher. Yeah, it's something, you know, you've got to work on your weaknesses, small areas of your game that can make that small difference. Could be just one match, like a Grand Slam final here. So, you know, that's why you stay motivated to try and keep improving, keep up with the best players in the world.

Q. Do you think it's a fair reflection now that you're just behind Andy and Roger in the rankings, back to 3?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm playing well enough, I think, to definitely be in the Top 5. You know, I've had a pretty consistent year this year. The guys that I've lost to, I've lost to Roger in three out of the four majors. You know, who knows? If I could have met him a little bit later in the Aussie and at Wimbledon, then I could have maybe gone a little bit higher in the rankings. He's obviously the stand-out this year.

Q. What's next for you? Home? Marriage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Is that a good question (laughter)? I've got a Davis Cup tie.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that. Morocco going to be quite dangerous, aren't they?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, really depends who they field in their team. I assume Arazi is coming. I don't know if El Aynaoui is, after he had to withdraw here. I haven't really been thinking about it too much the last couple of weeks, but obviously on grass in Perth, it's an awkward few days because, you know, you know you can't win the Davis Cup this year but you've got to go out there and put everything on the line just to make sure you don't get relegated.

Q. Any contact, wouldn't have been, but do you know much about whether Mark will be fully fit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I really don't know. As I said, I haven't really been worrying about the Davis Cup tie until now.

Q. Obviously some sort of speculation, he's had such an average year, would you give him your backing to continue playing this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, if he's fully fit, you know. Mark Philippoussis is dangerous any time. He's obviously had to pull out here, so there's something wrong, whether he had a small tear or whatever, I'm not sure. There's obviously something wrong there. You know, if he's not 100 percent fit, then there's no point putting yourself through a whole week and a half of practice leading up to a Davis Cup tie.

Q. Do you think Roger can or will eventually win more than 14 Grand Slams?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I say, he's got a chance. Three in one year is always going to -- he's got a chance, especially the way his style is as well. He can play on all surfaces.

Q. Does he have a weakness?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Today he didn't have too many, but, you know, there's obviously, you know, a couple of games there where I had a window of opportunity where he started missing a little bit. If I could have held my serve easier at the start of the match, and, as I said, put some pressure on his service games, it could have been a little bit different. But that's why he's such a good player. He can come out and play a real flashy game on your service games, then free hitting on his so...

Q. If you were trying to describe to someone what it's like to face his forehand when he's hitting it the way he was at times today, how would you describe it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to predict, you know, where he's going on it. He moves into the forehand so well. He can -- there's not too many players who can actually hit the ball on the rise like he does. He takes it so early and hits it so clean. You know, he can hit with -- you know, there's a breakpoint in there where he came up with a short forehand crosscourt angle. It held up in the breeze and I couldn't get to it. Shots like that, you know, he makes them look a lot easier. They're not that easy to hit.

Q. When you had breakpoints against him, he seems to be so calm and comes up really with great shots.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a great serve to back him up as well. It's not a huge first serve but he hits the corners very well. I think in a lot of these matches in tight situations, his serve gets him out of a lot of trouble.

Q. The way Andy is playing, the way Roger is playing, do you still see a Grand Slam title in the future for yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. I played extremely well the last couple of weeks. You know, obviously, for me, you know, the French Open's probably the least highest chance, I guess, of winning it. But, you know, I'll keep working towards that and try to get better and better on clay. But the other three majors, you know, I give myself a chance every time I step on the court in those. You know, at Wimbledon I think there's only probably a handful of guys that are capable of winning that tournament. You know, the Australian Open and US Open, there's probably a few more. But, you know, then again, you get someone -- Andre went very close to beating Roger here. The draw opens up, matchups open up, you know. It just depends who you play in different matches and how the draws open up.

Q. What did you say to Roger when you shook hands?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I said, "Right on, mate. Incredible year."

Q. Up until the beginning of this year, you pretty much had his number. Now he's beaten you four straight times. Is his progress this year basically due to mental toughness, or is it just mental toughness and then the shots just happen to go along with it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think his confidence, especially with his style of game, if he didn't have the confidence with his style of game, such -- he goes for so many shots out there, you know, then you'd miss a lot more than he's missing. He's just so confident this whole year. He believes in his ability - and so he should, you know. But that's what's probably making it even tougher, I think, now, because he actually believes -- probably after Wimbledon, he won Wimbledon the first time last year. And then, you know, dominated the Masters Cup at the end of the year. I think since then he's just sort of picked it up another notch.

Q. Is the mental toughness the aspect that changed most about his game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Probably. Yeah, he just doesn't give you too many easy points. I think in the past he probably gave you a few more cheaper points. Probably especially on your service games. Where today, the first set, he gave me nothing.

Q. Down a set and 2-Love, were you thinking, "This guy has to cool off at some point," or were you just trying to hold on for dear life a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was just trying to hang in there more than anything. If I could -- at least in the second set I was just trying to keep within at least one service break and keep trying to put pressure on his serve. I felt there's going to be an opportunity where I'll get a breakpoint or two and I've got to try to take them. In the end I had quite a few breakpoints, three or four games in a row on his service games. I was only able to take that one at 5-4. But, you know, I was just really trying to hang in there, keep pressuring him, make him at least serve out the set.

Q. What do you make of the fact that Roger is doing all this without a coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know (smiling). You know, maybe he doesn't need one. I know he's got a close mate with him, he comes to all the major tournaments with him.

Q. Who is that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know who the guy is. I think it's a Swiss guy. But he's a pretty quiet guy, I think, hits up with him. Obviously knows Roger extremely well. You know, I think as a tennis player, you need people around you that you get along with extremely well, so...

Q. He has so much going for him, the way he constructs points, his creativity is incredible, the confidence and mental toughness. What aspect do you think is his very strongest? What impresses you, what one quality impresses you the most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably his shot-making I think. You know, his shot-making is second to none at the moment especially. He can, wherever he is on the court, he moves extremely well for a bigger guy as well. So, you know, he comes up with, you know -- it's hard to get him out of position.

Q. Can you think of any other player that you've ever played who even approaches that shot-making ability?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know Andre is obviously a great shot-maker as well. They're a different kind of shot-maker. Roger plays with probably a little bit more flair than Andre. He can come to the net, has a little bit more of an all-court game and uses his serve, bigger serve, more than Andre. Apart from that, there's no one that's probably close to Roger, I don't think.

Q. You came onto the scene at a young age and you were successful at a young age. Is it tough to -- I can't imagine that you've been double bageled before. Is it difficult to swallow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'm -- not really, it's obviously disappointing just to lose the match. You know, at the end of the day I go out there, give 100 percent, and, you know, there's not a lot I could do out there. Especially in the first set, I didn't even have that many real opportunities to get my teeth into the match.

Q. Can you separate the result today from the way you played, can you take away any sense of satisfaction from the way you played today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard. He didn't give me a lot of opportunities to dictate play out there today and get on the front foot. But, you know, in my other matches, I think I've played well over the last couple of weeks and the last two months or so. So, obviously take that away. But then again if you want to, you know, beat the best players in the world, you got to go out there and be able to do it against the best players in the world. You know, so that's something I look forward to, you know, trying out in the next major in Australia.

Q. You think people are being a bit premature in canonizing him at this point, comparing him to the best of all-time? The guy had a great year. He's solid. But a lot more goes into it in the long-term, doesn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I think he's definitely going to be one of the greats, I think. Especially, you know, he's still only 23 years old. You know, to go out there and, as I said, win three out of the four majors in one year, you know, as I said, it's impressive. He's definitely got to be up there with a chance of -- you know, what's he won, four majors now? Anyone who can win four majors is a great player. He's only 23 and he's obviously got a lot of tennis left in him.

Q. Having played seven matches here, would you put Roger in a different league? Does it feel like that when you play against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When he plays like he did today, yeah. He's in a different league to all the other players that I played this week - these two weeks.

Q. Having him out in front like that, perhaps a little bit ahead of the rest of you guys, Andy and so on, does that inspire you or does that kind of raise the bar for men's tennis, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It definitely raises the bar. He's taken it to another level. That's what motivates all the guys, to try and stick out with the best players in the world and compete over five sets in the biggest tournaments against the best players in the world. You know, Roger's such a big-time player as well. He plays some of his best tennis in the big matches. That's what, you know, guys like Andy, myself, Ferrero, these kind of guys really have to strive and improve to get to that level.

Q. Every so often in a sport a player comes along, like Tiger in golf, and changes the work ethic of his competitors, forces people to reevaluate the level at which they train and so forth. Is Roger one of those players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about training, you know, if you train harder or not. I think, you know, I know for myself and a lot of guys out there, I'm sure Andy trains extremely hard regardless. Working on different areas, small areas, your weakness, where you know that you've got to improve, then, yeah, sure. Everyone's going to try to keep improving little areas - Andy, myself, whoever. But training hard, I think we all train pretty hard regardless.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

TENNIS MASTERS CUP- HOUSTON

November 13, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt

HOUSTON, TEXAS

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton Hewitt, please.


Q. Lleyton, how does it feel to be back in the field for the year-end championship?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. It's obviously something you work towards for 12 months, coming here. It's a goal to get here. I've obviously performed extremely well in the Masters Cups in the past, and I look forward to hopefully a good week ahead of me this week.

Q. And how important was it to get that one tournament at least under your belt before coming in here after taking a bit of a break since Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a little bit important, I guess. You know, just to go out there. Even though I lost to obviously Marat in the quarterfinals, it was probably nearly the final, I think, at the end of the tournament. I had a good crack at it there and to expect to play my best tennis straight up there, you know, it was going to be a little bit unrealistic. So hopefully that's going to hold me in good stead this week. There's going to be no easy matches this week. You've got to go out there and hopefully get off to a good start.

Q. What about Moya first up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Carlos is going to be -- you know, we've had plenty of tough matches in the past. It's not going to be easy again Monday night. He played here last year so he obviously knows the conditions and the situation out there, and, you know, hopefully it's going to be a good atmosphere. To go out there, I beat him at Wimbledon earlier this year in the Round of 16s there, and I'm going to have to play one of my best matches to get through. But, you know, it's like every match this week; you've got to go out there and play some of your best tennis.

Q. Sounding a bit nasally.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit of a cold - obviously.

Q. I sat and watched your quarterfinal, or the Round of 16 with Moya at Wimbledon this year.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. Then I also watched the final against Federer, with Federer playing Roddick. Just going into how you match up against Federer, what Roddick did early, and what you did really well against him was continually attack his backhand, starve the forehand. Is that something you think is a good tactic?

LLEYTON HEWITT: On days, I guess. A lot depends on how Roger is going out there and playing, I guess, on the day. Obviously, when I played him at the US Open, his forehand was pretty awesome the whole match. He had a period there, maybe four or five games, where it went off a little bit, dropped his level. But he's got a hell of a forehand. Obviously, the backhand is not quite as strong. But that's one reason why he's able to really stand out the last year and a half, is because his backhand has improved a lot as well. It's not a weakness out there. Maybe it's not as good as his forehand, but it's still very hard to get cheap points off of. It's not an easy thing to do, obviously Andy has a lot of firepower as well, to go in there and put pressure on his backhand.

Q. Typically, when you break a player down, the way that you normally do, you attack the backhand, the forehand tries to do a little bit more because it's trying to cover for the backhand so that breaks down. The serve says, "Hey, guys, you're not doing so well, I'll try to do more." Then the last thing is the mind. Typically, backhand, forehand, serve and mind, how do you attack Federer and in what order?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not really sure. A lot depends on I guess the surface you're playing on as well. He plays extremely well on all surfaces. I felt like at Wimbledon this year, every match that I've played against him -- well, apart from the Aussie Open this year, he's come out and been on fire right from the start. He really lights it up as soon as he gets out on the court. That's where you've got to try to take your opportunities when you get them, try to stay with him and weather the storm.

Q. Against Nalbandian he served four aces, got out of that. He said that was the turning point.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think that was earlier this year, wasn't it? He went on to win the tournament from there. He's obviously -- that's what makes him one of the best players to ever go around. It's not an easy thing to come out there and do it against him. He's been playing, the last year and a half, I think the big points better than anyone I've ever seen. That's one of the reasons why he's won so many big matches.

Q. You know as well as he does when those big points come, they're the deciding factor in the match. What about throwing something different at him? What about serve and volleying?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a lot depends on the situation of how it's going. At the end of the day, it's only him, myself out there on the court. You've got to go with your gut feeling at the time. It's not the easiest thing to do, mix it up, especially if you feel like you're starting to get on to something out there. You know, whether you give him the serve down the middle or the serve out wide, sometimes you've got to take chances like that and sometimes it doesn't pay off. At the US Open, I got a second serve and, I went for -- I played a winner off the second serve. Didn't quite pay off for him. If I was able to get that point, then you never, I guess, you know exactly out there what's the exact right time, you know, to go for those shots. But at the end of the day, sometimes you live and die on the edge of the sword against a guy as good as Roger.

Q. Pre-match, do you do anything differently now than earlier in your career? I know you used to watch "Rocky" movies to get pumped. Anything special this week to get you in the right frame of mind when you step on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really this week. I feel like I'm pretty motivated the whole time, especially the last year and a half, I think. I've been pretty motivated to get back and play some of my best tennis. I feel like I've been able to do that. I've been as consistent, I think, this year, as I've ever been. This year I probably come into the Masters Cup, you know, not with that pressure and expectation of trying to finish the year No. 1 as well. Maybe I can go out there and enjoy myself a little bit more and work on areas of my game as well that's going to hold me up, you know, come January.

Q. With all the guys here, you used to be more animated, I think, on the court. Sometimes it comes and goes. I think that really, at times, pisses guys off. It's a great way to get inside their head. I mean, it's perfect. You keep thinking about that as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really.

Q. Not really?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll let you guys do it. I just worry about going out there and being myself out on the court. You know, at the end of the day, you know, if I feel like it's a time to get pumped up or show some emotion out there, that's when I play my best tennis. I'm not afraid to do that. It's got very little to do with my opponent's thinking or feeling at the time. It's totally got to do with how I'm feeling out there on the court. It happens. It's not something you plan to do; it just happens.

Q. So when is the last time you gave somebody the fist?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not for a long time. Not for a while now.

Q. Where did you pick that up from?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mats Wilander.

Q. Really?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. Do you know who actually created it? We just had a talk with Mats two weeks ago, reminiscing about the first time he did it. It was the semis of the Australian Open.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. No, I went to the Aussie Open every year. I used to sit up near all the Swedish group out there. I loved it.

Q. Is there still that many Swedes around the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A fair bit. Not as many as there was, you know, with Mats in it, Stefan, and everyone were at their best. But there's still quite a few. You know, if Jonas or Johansson now gets a go, then they'll come out of the woodwork. So that's good. Yeah, it was nice. It's an amazing following.

Q. It was.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It really is.

Q. Could you please wrap up for us the season so far for you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's been probably as consistent a year as I've ever had, I think. I lost to the four winners of all four Grand Slams. Obviously, Roger won three of them and Gaudio the other one. So I felt like I've had a very consistent year out there. I've been hitting the ball well on all surfaces, which is a good thing. Obviously, making the US Open final again and putting yourself in a position to try and take out a Grand Slam title, that was obviously a huge bonus this year. It's always nice to finish in the Masters Cup and realize, you know, how many guys try and actually finish the year and only eight guys can, to be a part of that, you know, very special group I guess at the end of the year.

Q. Some people think that you don't show it, that you're pumped up as much. What do you think yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment or...?

Q. Just in general on court.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I feel pumped up at times. A lot depends on the situation, I guess. But I would say I was pretty pumped up at the US Open, going through and not dropping a set, obviously, until the final. I was on a 16-, or 17-match winning streak going into the final. So I was feeling pretty fired up right through that stretch. Yeah, that's up to a lot of people to talk about, I guess. But at the end of the day I feel very motivated this last year and a half, and I feel like I've played some of my best tennis again.

Q. I think you're one of the last guys that can win against Roger. They showed your head-to-head. Can you describe him, what he achieved this year so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's had an incredible year. To win three Grand Slams in one calendar year is pretty amazing. He's the kind of guy that can play on all surfaces. I think he's won 10 titles on all different surfaces. He's always going to be a contender going into every Grand Slam for the next few years. There's not many people at the moment that have been able to work out how to actually beat him when he's been at his best, and that's something everyone else is going to try and motivate and keep working towards. Obviously, coming into here at the Masters he's got to be very confident as the favorite coming in here. Then again, there's no certainties. I look forward to obviously maybe having a crack at him here, obviously, in the Round Robin but hopefully in the semi and the final.

Q. You have the weapons to beat him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not this year. He's obviously got the better of me this year. But we've had some great matches in the past. Obviously one of the highlights for me was the Davis Cup semifinal last year against Roger coming back from two sets and a breakdown. You can't do that every week of the year. So, yeah, he's a great player. I just felt like in the past maybe I've just been able to put pressure on him and, you know, hang in there, wait for my opportunities in the past. But he's really taken that up another notch this year, and, you know, everyone's got to try to keep improving to try to stay with him.

Q. How do you see the match against Moya?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be a tough match. Carlos and I have had a lot of tough matches in the past. I got over him in a tight four-set match in Wimbledon in the Round of 16 this year. I look forward to the challenge. Every match this week is going to be extremely tough, though. Hopefully, I can go out there and get off to a good start. That's what you need in this Round Robin situation, to try and get through to the semifinals. So I look forward to the opportunity.

Q. Gaudio, do you think his experience maybe can come into play a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe a little bit. This is obviously a huge week for him, Gaston. Coming here, not being in this situation before, first time in the Top 10 for him, and to be here in the Masters Cup is probably just a dream in itself for him. So, yeah, he's going out there, though, with absolutely nothing to lose. We all know this isn't his favorite surface; obviously, clay is. But he's going to be a tough competitor. He's got nothing to lose out there. You got to go out there and just worry about your game and try and get the wins on the board.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

TENNIS MASTERS CUP- HOUSTON

November 16, 2004, RR

Lleyton Hewitt - Carlos Moya 6-7(5) 6-2 6-4

HOUSTON, TEXAS

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. Lleyton, apart from one little lapse in the first set, you were serving very, very well. You must have been very pleased.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't feel like there was too many lapses. Well, I don't know. I felt like I was a way better player during the whole first set. Things just didn't go my way. Obviously, had a set point there at 5-4, he came up with some big forehands. Yeah, he's a tough player to play. He's got a very underrated first serve. He's got a great first serve out there. He hits a lot of lines, a lot of big first serves under pressure. Just kept trying to hang in there. I played great at the start of the second set to try and get myself back in the match and get it one-set-all. Then the third set I felt like I was having all the chances out there again, but I was always that game behind. I just had to take my chances. I came up with a couple of huge, huge passes when I needed to in that game to break. You know, I'm pretty happy with the way my game is today.

Q. That running forehand, that was a fantastic shot.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. Well, couldn't do much else with it, really (smiling). I remember Roche always told me, "You got to curl those ones." That one just curled enough.

Q. How did it feel hitting that point, the one that brought up the breakpoint in the final set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it felt good because he had a game point earlier in that game. You know, I always keep fighting no matter what the score line is in the game. Even though it was on his serve there, I just kept hanging in there, waiting for my opportunities. To get a little point like that to set up breakpoint, it's a huge mental swing, I think, in the match as well for both players. He obviously thought he had the point won there at one stage. Next minute, I come back and, you know, we're 3-All and he's facing a breakpoint. So, yeah, it was definitely a turning point in the third set.

Q. (Question regarding Carlos not playing for a few weeks.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: He didn't look like a bloke that hasn't played for a few weeks. You know, he's a hell of a player, he really is. He's good on all surfaces. It was heavy out there, conditions. Late last night, also today, obviously very overcast. That probably helps him out a little bit as well. He can run around and dominate with that forehand. As I've said, he's got a great serve as well, so that helps him on a hard court.

Q. What do you think about playing this event outdoors this year? Is it an intelligent decision?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's a tough decision, I guess. This is the first time I was here, obviously. You know, I think they had a little bit of rain last year, but this is probably forecast for worse this year than last year. Yeah, it's awkward, I guess, with obviously TV and such a huge event, trying to schedule the match. That's the positive about playing it indoors. I don't necessarily disagree with it being outdoors. Playing indoors all the time, you know, that suits certain players probably more than others. So I don't disagree with it being played outdoors, just to throw a couple extra variables in there, I guess, with the wind, the weather and the pace of the court. But then again, obviously, I can see the other side of the coin. It's difficult to schedule that you're exactly going to be on. I don't know whether it was live TV around the world or not last night. To lose that TV time for three and a half hours, that's obviously disappointing for everyone.

Q. (Question regarding the Masters Cup being played indoors in Sydney.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. I think at the time, they probably weren't quite -- you know, you'd only just started the Masters Cup from where it had always been in Hannover, in Germany for a lot of years. I think they just thought at that time that they had to keep playing it indoors. It was just seen as an indoor event at the end of the year. Obviously, Houston has made different in roads with that last year, breaking through. I don't think it's a bad thing. There's obviously not a lot you can do about the weather, though.

Q. How hard is it for you to play 20 minutes, stop, play again, wait until the next day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, that's tough. It's tough for everyone. It's tough for Carlos and myself, and obviously tough for the crowd. But that's just like playing Wimbledon (laughter). No, you know, you got to -- yeah, it's not easy for anyone. Going to bed late last night, then waking up and having to come to play today and know you have to back it up again tomorrow, it's not easy, but, you know, there's no point complaining about it. You can't do anything about it. You've got to go out there and, you know, just focus on trying to get through that match and now look forward to tomorrow.

Q. Wimbledon, as soon as it rains, they cover the courts.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that's different. Yeah, and also Wimbledon we don't have to play night matches, so at least you get called off a little bit earlier. But, yeah, there's obviously -- the court gets pretty slippery out there last night, we both noticed, as soon as there's a few drops out there. So this kind of event you can't go risking.

Q. The race is on for you and Andy Roddick to finish the year No. 2. Is this a big deal for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes and no, I guess. When you've been No. 1 and finish No. 1 twice at the end of the year, you know, there's not a huge difference between 2 and 3. You know, it's just going to be a seeding at the Aussie Open. That's about the only difference. Obviously, to finish 2 behind a guy like Roger Federer with the year that he's had, there's no shame in that. But I don't think it's a huge deal for me to finish 2 or 3.

Q. What do you think of your possibility for semifinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, mate, I'm just trying to get through my Round Robin matches at the moment. If I get to Saturday, we'll see. At this stage you can't even think about semifinals and who opponents have played. It's only in the first match of the other group at the moment. It's a bit hard to start thinking about semifinals just yet.

Q. Three years ago you got a title in the Masters Cup in Shanghai. What do you think about the Masters Cup coming back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To Shanghai?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hopefully, I'm there (smiling). You know, it was an awesome event, it really was. It obviously helps when you win it. I have a lot of good memories of it. I think they put on a wonderful event there. I look forward to hopefully going back there. And, yeah, I'm sure, you know, they're probably going to learn things from last year in Shanghai and also I think a few people are coming here to Houston to have a look as well this week. So I'm sure it will be a great event next year as well.

Q. (Question regarding the mental aspect of playing Roger Federer.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really mentally. You know, it's probably a little bit how he's played. There hasn't been -- you know, the US Open he played pretty incredible, especially the first set. There really wasn't a whole heap -- I had game points in there to try to get on the board. I just wasn't quite able to weather the storm against him. A lot of this year he's been able to get out of the blocks extremely well against everybody and play some of his best tennis straight up when he gets straight out there. That's what you've got to be very wary of.

Q. How close do you feel you are from your best level of play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel like I'm playing well at the moment. Obviously, through the US summer I feel like I played extremely well that whole way through and, obviously, ran into a red-hot Federer in the final of the US. Since then I haven't played a whole heap of tennis, but I actually felt like today's match was - and even last night - I felt like I was hitting the ball extremely well. I think there's a lot of positives I can take away from that match and not only build on for this week, but build on for the Australian summer.

Q. How much more aggressive do you think you can be on the court, and do you need to be more aggressive the next few rounds?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I can definitely, you know, be more aggressive out there and take charge of, you know, the court a little bit better. I feel I did that well, though, against Carlos today. You know, that's probably one reason why I ended up winning the match, I think, because I really tried to dictate play a lot more. Obviously, against Roger, you're going to have do that; and against Gaudio, you know, he's going to stand a lot further back than Roger is, so he's going to give you more opportunities to do that. But it's definitely a part of my game that I feel like I can try and improve on to take my game to the next level.

Q. You served very well today. Did you change anything technically in your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually, I had a bit of a sore shoulder in Paris, so I didn't serve for about five or six days. Maybe that helped (laughing).

Q. You served many aces, many service winners, except the last game when you had a double-fault. How much was your serve a factor in this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was -- I didn't face a breakpoint all match, so, you know, I felt like I served extremely well - not only my first serve, obviously, I served a lot of aces, and a lot of unreturnables. I felt my second serve held up well against a guy that likes running around and cracking big forehands. It obviously played a huge part in the match, I think.

Q. Can you talk about the United States playing Spain in the Davis Cup final.

LLEYTON HEWITT: They can have fun over there. They'll enjoy it (smiling). No, you know, obviously, Roddick's the key, you know, I think. I think Fish is going to find it extremely hard playing against those guys on clay over there. You know, I don't think he's got the experience on clay to do it. I don't think there's probably anyone else, though, that does, apart from Agassi, obviously, that the Americans could put in. Roddick holds the key. Obviously, the doubles I think is a must-win for America - absolute must. Still hard to see -- you know, they've just got so much depth. Moya, the way he's playing at the moment, Andy is going to have his hands full on a slow clay court against him. Whether Ferrero is playing his best tennis or not, he plays awesome in Davis Cup. If he's not up to it, they've got Nadal and Robredo to rely on, so a couple of good backup players.

Q. How did you find playing there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It didn't bother me. I won my match.

Q. Tough crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that. Yeah, it was probably the toughest place I've ever played tennis in. I think there's no doubt you've got to be very mentally tough out there and be prepared for that, you know, because you're going to have absolutely nobody going for you and you're going to cop a lot of shit out there. I think Andy is the kind of guy, though, that he'll handle the situation pretty well. You know, he might even try them a little bit like I did.
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