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Old 07-03-2012, 02:57 PM   #271
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

WIMBLEDON

June 25, 2009, R64

Lleyton Hewitt

LONDON, ENGLAND

L. HEWITT/J. Del Potro
6-3, 7-5, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.


Q. You told us your game plan the other day, and it seemed to go pretty much a hundred percent to the script.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I knew what I wanted to do, but whether I could go out there and execute it, and, you know, the opportunities for me would be there, especially to take advantage on his service games.
Yeah, I executed perfectly. Hit the ball great. Served unbelievable for most of the match. Yeah, took it to him right from the start. So, you know, I was pretty happy with the way I played.

Q. Just from your reaction, that seemed like a pretty special win.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it was a big win. I wanted to beat a top-five guy. These are the places you want to do it, too. Yeah, I've got a lot of respect for Del Potro. He's a great player, and he's only going to get better.
Yeah, he's a future Grand Slam champion on possibly any surface. You know, I knew it was going to be a tough match today, but I was up for it from the start.

Q. The crowd seemed to be on your side. They gave you a great ovation there at the end.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it was great. It was a lot of fun being out there. I guess, you know, kind of the underdog out there a little bit, as well. A lot of Aussies out there. It was good fun.

Q. Did you feel like the underdog? Are you surprised to have won?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not surprised I won. I knew I've never played Juan Martin before, but I've practiced with him quite a few times. Yeah, I felt like I'd seen a lot of his big matches, as well. Yeah, he's an exceptional player, he's a very talented player, but he's still a little bit raw. I had to try and take advantage of that as much as possible.
Yeah, I just played a really smart match.

Q. Kind of been waiting for a day like this for quite some time, haven't you, when everything works exactly the way you wanted it to work? How good did that make you feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's great. Especially, yeah, the body felt great as well. So I felt like I could actually go out there and compete a hundred percent, lay it all on the line. That's what I like to do.
You don't want to go out there and have excuses. Yeah, I wanted to lay it out on the line, playing one of the best guys in the world, and see how you go.
You know, I felt like I was able to do that. You know, I competed as well as I've ever competed.

Q. Is the hip completely fixed now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's been great since I really got on the clay, you know. So around Houston time haven't had any problems with the hip at all. Leading up to that, yeah, just the hard court, it wasn't actually the same problem.
At the start of the year after the surgery it was more scar tissue and that from the operation and having to keep doing a lot of rehab on it and that.
But, yeah, since the last two, two and a half months, it's felt great.

Q. How long before you've been able to play completely injury-free like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's been a while. Yeah, it comes with age, though, as well. You get a lot more niggles. Yeah, you just got to do the recovery. It seems like you gotta ice a lot more spots on your body these days than I had to eight, ten years ago (smiling).

Q. John McEnroe on the TV said it's the best he's seen you since 2002. Would you follow that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about 2002. The end of 2004 I played extremely well. The start of 2005, I played very well, as well. Yeah, probably since 2005, yeah.

Q. What do you feel when he says that you were an idol for him, and it was funny when you said, C'mon the first time he was in front of you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Juan Martin gets on really well with my physio, as well. My physio was born in South America. I've actually spent, yeah, a bit of time practicing with him and that.
My physio had told me that he did look up to me growing up. So, yeah, that's not the only reason I've got respect for him (smiling). He's a good bloke, but he's a very down-to-earth guy. I did know that going into the match, though, as well.
But as I said, he's going to win Grand Slams, there's no doubt about it.

Q. How important is support from Bec and your family?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's always important. I've got a great group of people around me. It makes life easier for me to go out there and do what I love and compete as well as I can.

Q. Can you take us back one year ago just before your surgery? Did you ever have the temptation to say, I had a great career, I have a good family, it's enough, or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I guess in the back of your mind a little bit, because I didn't know how the surgery was gonna go. I didn't want to spend a whole heap of time, you know, playing with the pain that I was playing with, you know, for about six to seven months last year. It wasn't that much fun going on the court and not feeling a hundred percent. So it was in the back of my mind.
The surgery was something that, you know, to go on with life I wouldn't have needed to have it done. You know, it was only if I wanted to be a professional tennis player that I'd have the surgery done and try and get back to as close to a hundred percent as possible.
Once I made that commitment to have the surgery and go through the tough rehab, being off the tour for that long, the motivation was there. You know, I think it probably hit home more when the US Open was on last year after I'd had the surgery and I was sitting back at home just twiddling my thumbs, changing nappies and stuff, but not doing a lot of other things.
I was really missing, you know, not being at the US Open, which is one of my favorite tournaments, so...

Q. Because of the weight of public expectation, is it in some ways easier for you to be playing here than at the Australian Open? Can you relate to what Andy Murray goes through at Wimbledon during this fortnight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess a little bit now more so. The Australian Open's always going to be a focus, no matter what my ranking is probably. Whereas here, you sort of go under the radar a little bit more if your ranking is down a little bit lower.
Yeah, absolutely I know what Andy Murray's going through, though. He's got a good head on his shoulders, though. To me, he handles it extremely well. Yeah, I thought Tim Henman handled it unbelievably well, as well. I think you're lucky you had a guy like Tim and now you got a guy like Andy that can handle the pressure and the expectation.

Q. What possible semifinal opponent for you now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Long way away from that.

Q. Roger is going to be a father in just a little while. If you could give him one piece of advice of being a touring pro while being a dad, what would you say?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope Mirka's a good wife (smiling).

Q. Mostly be on her shoulders?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no. Bec has been unbelievable for me. Made life a lot easier. I'm sure Mirka will be that kind of solid rock for Roger, as well.

Q. And you're pretty good at changing those nappies?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Bec's better, but I'm not bad.

Q. While you were on court, Elena Baltacha crashed out. Just Andy Murray left. Do you agree it's him flying the flag, and Britons should be doing better here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard to say. When most of your players coming in needing wild cards, then it doesn't surprise me. You know, it shouldn't surprise anyone.
Yeah, it's a little bit the same at the Australian Open. Obviously, Dokic had a great run this year. We've been fortunate enough the last few years. We've still been able to have one or two players get through to the second week in the Australian Open.
Whereas in the past we had three or four people get through in the men's and women's. Yeah, we're going through the same situation.

Q. Does it feel kind of weird coming out of tournaments when you're one of the older guys with players looking up to you as opposed to years ago when you were the guy looking up to other players? Does it make you feel old at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit, I guess. Yeah, just when you look at the age of guys, Del Potro is probably around 20, I think. And, yeah, Murray is not much older, and Nadal and these guys. A lot of young guys out there.
Yeah, that just happens, I guess. I've been around for quite a while. This is about my 10th time here at Wimbledon, so...

Q. Have you set yourself that target? What would be a good Wimbledon for you this year? What would you be happy with?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't even focused. Obviously with the change at the start, I just wanted to get through Ginepri and focus. Obviously, at the start I thought I was going to be playing Nadal, and then it was Del Potro. You know, I haven't looked past Del Potro at this stage. Now I'll start focusing on my next opponent.
But I knew today was going to be a big match for me. You know, I focused all my energy on trying to get through today.

Q. Taking all that onboard, do you still feel you're a good enough player to go all the way in a Grand Slam tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. I think there's been patches this year when I've played extremely well. It's taken some of the best players to beat me in the bigger tournaments.
Yeah, I think if draws open up and the body feels good and I can play, you know, execute that kind of style of tennis for over five sets, there's no reason why I can't put a bit of pressure on these guys.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:03 PM   #272
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

WIMBLEDON

June 27, 2009, R32

Lleyton Hewitt

LONDON, ENGLAND

L. HEWITT/P. Petzschner
7-5, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.


Q. It was hot out there. How hot did it feel on court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I've played in a lot hotter. Nice conditions to play in. Really nice. Be happy if I stays like that.

Q. Do you think the heat was a factor for your opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think it played a bearing. Three straight sets anyway. I don't think either of us got tested, you know, physically.

Q. Fairly evenly matched throughout almost all the three sets. But your experience, do you think was what won you over and he was frustrating himself and that affected his game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough opponent. He's very flashy out there, hard to get a read on him. I played him a couple months ago on clay in Munich. First time I've ever really seen him play. I think he won a title indoors at the end of last year.
He's a tough player to play against. He's got a sneaky first serve and big serve first, good all-court game, nice slice backhand, and he moves well. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy match out there today.
I was fortunate. I wasn't quite able to break halfway through the first set, and then I was able to get the break the end of the first set to go up 7-5.
Played a great tiebreak. That was the key to the match in the end to go up two sets to love.

Q. You beat him in Munich in straight sets as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I beat him in three sets. Lost a set there.

Q. What's the difference then? How did you beat him if he's such a great opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no, he's a good player. You know, he's got weaknesses in his game, as well. You know, on the big points I knew that they were going to be the key today, and I was able to take those.
It would have been a bit nicer to have broken when I had the opportunity earlier in the first set and also in the third set. First game of the third set, I had a couple of breakpoints. He played the breakpoints pretty well today. In the end it was nice just to win in straight sets.

Q. When you were having hip problems and surgery, how realistic did you think it was that you'd be in a position like this going into week two at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I gave myself a very good chance. After the surgery, my surgeon was very confident that I'd get back to, you know, full fitness. You know, I don't think we expected to go out and, you know, put a lot of damage I guess in the Australian Open, a couple of my first tournaments back. It was gonna be six or twelve months after the operation that I was gonna start feeling better and better.
Yeah, I was prepared to do all the hard work to get to this stage of the big tournaments. It's nice to be in the second week of a slam.

Q. How do your emotions and feeling of accomplishment compare now, having done it after what you've been through, with when you were a much younger player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess when you're at the top of your game and you're No. 1 in the world, you kind of take it for granted, Round of 16s of slams. When you're unseeded, it's not always that easy to get the easy draw to come through the Round of 16 and make the second week of these kind of majors.
That's what's pleasing this week, is to come through and do it against worthy opponents. You know, and not drop a set so far is nice, as well.

Q. How much did the support you had out there help you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was fantastic. It was a great feeling out there. Obviously Sam played the first match out there, as well. It was a good day for Court 2 to get a lot of Australian fans out there.
So, yeah, I had the whole crowd behind me, which was great.

Q. Three straight-set wins. How does progress the second week this year compare to previous years, and in particular 2002?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, 2002, I only lost two sets for the entire tournament, and they were both to Schalken in the quarterfinals. Apart from that, I didn't drop a set, so obviously I played pretty clean tennis that year.
Yeah, it's important to play clean tennis to obviously save energy. At the end of the day, you've got to just find a way to get through the first week, as well. You can't win these tournaments in the first week, but you can obviously be knocked out.
It's important to try to find a way through. You know, I've been able to do that so far.

Q. Parallels with 2002 at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really thought about it too much. Obviously I have great memories of this place every time I walk in the joint. So, yeah, it's a fantastic place to come back and play.

Q. There's always a lot of talk about the surface, how it's changed over the years. Where do you lay in sort of on this question of it being slowed down from the way it used to be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's as I said a couple days as ago, I think it's a little bit slower. Whether it's the balls or not, I'm not sure. Then again, guys are still serving 138s, 140s. It still feels pretty quick out there in those conditions.
I think when guys are playing from the back of the court so much, as well, yeah, there's a lot more rallies. But then you have a match like yesterday with Karlovic and Tsonga, and there was hardly a rally in the whole match. So if you're a good enough server, you can still hit through the court, that's for sure.

Q. Going back to the group of fans, do you know any of them? Are they just sort of a little group?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I only know one or two of them I think that follow the Fanatics there, come to a lot of Davis Cup ties and that. So there's a couple of people in there that sort of lead that. I think they camped out again last night to watch obviously myself and Sam play today.

Q. There was a point when one of the stewards apparently asked them to quiet down a bit. I presume you wouldn't want them quieted down at all.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, I don't know. I thought they were fine out there today. Yeah, I felt the whole crowd was really into it. It was a good atmosphere.

Q. Does it get distracting when they start singing pop songs and stuff?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really for me. I'm used to it. It's all the sort of same songs that I've heard so many times in Davis Cup, so for me it's sort of it's a background noise, a lot of it. And I feed off 'em when I need to.
So I think I use 'em -- yeah, for me it works perfectly for me because I can feed off 'em when I need to.

Q. It's been pretty rare that someone has finished the year No. 1 and regained it. You have a unique perspective on that. What are the variables that make that so difficult?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. It is an extremely tough thing, you know, just to get to No. 1. But obviously to get it back, I guess, normally you got to play quite a lot of tournaments as well to be able to get it back, I think.
Obviously, Roger would be extremely close to getting it back from Rafa now that he's not defending here. Yeah, it would be a great achievement, as you said.

Q. Is it injuries? Is it mental?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Both probably. A bit of both. Yeah, I don't know. I think the game keeps changing and keeps improving, as well.

Q. You haven't played Stepanek for quite a while. What do you expect from him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a different kind of match. A little bit like today's match. He mixes in the serve-volley, chip-charge. He comes in. He's a good all-court player. Yeah, he's dangerous from the back of the court as well. Sort of flashy from the back of the court, similar to today's opponent a little bit: an all-court player, moves extremely well. Yeah, he's very comfortable on this surface, as well.

Q. He talked about struggling through his match on a bad knee, getting his doctor in from Prague. Can you let that enter your head?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I won't be focusing too much. I didn't see much of his match today at all. So, yeah, obviously to last five sets against David Ferrer you must be feeling not too bad.

Q. Do you feel fit enough now to go deep into the second week? Do you think your body is up to doing that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I hope so. I've done all the hard work back in December, yeah, not only for the Australian summer, but to last throughout the year, as well. So, yeah, I feel confident my body can hold up.

Q. You mentioned the amount of work you've had to do. Having had the career you had before having serious surgery, it would be very easy to go, That will do me, and walk away from it. Where does the hunger to do all that hard work come from?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I still think, you know, when I look at the guys in top 5, top 10 in the world, I still feel like I'm good enough to be up there. I think that's probably the motivation.
Playing in these tournaments, as well. You know, growing up, these are the places you want to play at. I've been fortunate enough to play well at a lot of these big tournaments. The passion and hunger's still there obviously. The day that that's not there, it is time to hang up the racquets.

Q. Do you set your goals down in terms of getting back in the top 10, or is it the slams?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, it's more focusing on the slams, trying to get the best out of myself at those slams. If I'm able to, you know, do well at those slams, the ranking will take care of itself. Obviously, I'd like to get back in the top 20 as soon as possible.

Q. What is your sense of appreciation for Roger's accomplishment as he approaches the possibility of breaking Sampras' record for majors, given your experience in majors?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's amazing what Roger's done. Every record that he's equaled or broken is amazing in itself. Yeah, the way that he's been able to go out and be so consistent in so many Grand Slams back to back is, yeah, an incredible effort. It's hard enough just to do it for a couple years. He's been able to do it for, you know, five or six years now in a row.
But, you know, something like 20-odd Grand Slam semifinals in a row which is, yeah, a little bit unheard of. Yeah, physically you've got to be extremely strong to be able to do that, but obviously mentally as well. Not to have lapses in the first week of a Grand Slam, it's not that easy.

Q. When you watch him play, what do you appreciate most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a great all-court game. He's a very smart player.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:06 PM   #273
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WIMBLEDON

June 29, 2009, R16

Lleyton Hewitt

LONDON, ENGLAND

L. HEWITT/R. Stepanek
4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.


Q. What happened there with your thigh?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just a bit of a strain midway through the first set. Was just, yeah, causing me a couple of issues out there. I wasn't quite able to move the way that I would have liked early on in the match.
You know, it was frustrating through the second set. So, yeah, just got some treatment. Yeah, tried to forget about it as much as possible.

Q. It was like a different game from then on.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, I was able to start dictating play a little bit more and sort of put a bit more pressure on his forehand. He was hitting his backhand extremely well. He was attacking both sides off it and returning well if I missed my first serve.
My serve definitely picked up from then on in, though. I was struggling a little bit pushing off with my left leg on the serve. Got better as the match went on.

Q. Did the treatment do the trick, or were you pushing through a bit of pain in the last three sets?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Still a little bit of pain. Had to get more treatment during the rain delay, as well. Just, yeah, tried to give myself as much chance as possible to go out there and compete.
Yeah, still a little bit of pain out there. But it was enough to get over the line.

Q. Sometimes if you cool down during the delay, it might come up again

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Wasn't sure whether it was going to work in my favor or not, to tell you the truth. Wasn't a lot I could do. I was able to see my physio, as well, obviously in the locker rooms and then. He knows my body as well as anyone. Yeah, I have a lot more trust in him, as well, knowing what's going on.

Q. Will you have to have any more treatment? Are you confident it's going to be all right for the next match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope so the way I finished off today. Hopefully I didn't do any more damage to it, you know, from that first twinge when I first felt it, yeah, late in the first set.
Yeah, well really we'll do all the same treatment we were doing and everything. Obviously we can work on it today and tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be very close to a hundred percent by Wednesday.

Q. What was going through your head? You're two sets down, probably hurting a bit. Are you thinking, I might be out of here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It was tough 'cause I was trying to block out my leg more than anything and focus on not looking at the big picture, trying to get back in, and yeah, winning in five sets.
I was more trying to get the third set under my belt. I really wanted to try to get up a break. Even though I lost the first two sets, in the second set quite comfortably, I felt like I had chances on his service games and I was going to have a lot of chances on his service games.
I just wasn't quite returning the way I would have liked the first two sets. I felt like I if I could start getting into his service games, and put pressure on that, then, yeah, hopefully my whole game could pick up. That's what started happening. I started returning a lot better and I started putting a lot more pressure on his serve.

Q. Are you starting to feel the invincibility of the days when you were first in the world?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Right at the moment I'm just taking it match at a time. Yeah, obviously when you're making the second week of Grand Slams, you know, all the time then sort of on autopilot a lot of times.
You go out there and you trust what you do. Yeah, that's why I've tried to play a lot more tournaments the start of this year to get back in that groove of playing a lot of matches. Obviously winning, you know, these tight matches against quality opponents, that gives you a lot more confidence.

Q. Going back maybe 18 months, two years, do you think you would have been able to pull out a comeback like that with the state your body was in back then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've always been fit enough an hungry enough to keep fighting and that never-say-die attitude. Probably more so only that last that year, that eight months whatever with the hip, six to eight months that I was playing and not feeling a hundred percent. Just wasn't a hundred percent sure whether the hip would hold up more than anything. And then other muscles around the hip would start shutting down.
So, you know, it was probably more a question mark just in that period last year.

Q. You made a point of going over to thank your supporters. How much of a role did they play in lifting you today, and how much have they helped you through the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they've been great. Yeah, they've been fantastic. I draw a lot of emotion and energy from those guys out there, as well. Yeah, the rest of the crowd, as well, seemed to be all going for me, as well. It's been nice playing Court 2 the last couple of matches. It's been a good arena to play at. I've had a lot of crowd support.
Yeah, especially in today's match when you've got to dig deep, try to find a way out of it, you know they're going to be there for the long haul.

Q. Given the Australia/England thing, do you particularly want to play Murray?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, doesn't bother me. At the moment, I'll just start worrying about Roddick leading at the moment. You know, I'm not worrying about Andy Murray too much yet. I'm worried about Andy Roddick.

Q. How do you feel about Andy Roddick? Can you turn around that result from Queen's, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Queen's was only one or two points in the match. You know, I felt like I had the better of him in the actual service games that we were playing. I didn't face a breakpoint in the whole match. Had one breakpoint opportunity on his serve. Wasn't able to take it. Two or three Love-30s on his service games.
You know you're going to get aced out there. You know he's going to come up with big shots. You've got to weather the storm and take those small chances when you get the opportunity. That's what it comes down to playing these big matches at the end of these tournaments.

Q. With Andy Roddick, you're both veterans on the tour. Probably nothing that is going to surprise him about you, and vice versa. How do you go about preparing matches against an old rival like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'll probably focus more on my game than probably his. As you said, we both know each other's games pretty well. We played at Queen's on the same surface, similar conditions only a couple of weeks ago.
So, you know, I'll just try and work on my game and make sure that I'm executing how I want to, and obviously I'm gonna have to go out there and try and take care of my service games quite comfortably, as well. You know, just wait for those opportunities.

Q. The fans today, are they the same guys that have followed you over the years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A few of them are. Obviously a lot of expats living in London that have sort of joined in with a couple of the regulars. Yeah, a couple of the guys I know as part of the Fanatics that are at all the Davis Cup ties. There's a couple there that I know.

Q. You haven't got them tickets?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, they've camped out the last I keep getting text messages from Wozza saying the boys are camping out every night. I think they're already starting to camp out tonight for Wednesday.

Q. Is he here, Wozza?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, Wozza is not here.

Q. Do you think it gets annoying or a bit unfair for your opponents when you've got them being quite as loud as they were today, being told by the stewards a couple of times to tone it down?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, I've played in a lot more hostile places I think than playing here. I think they've been great. It's been a good atmosphere. Yeah, for an opponent I'm sure they're not thrilled about it, but, yeah, going against them. But then again, they're not in their face either.

Q. Bec sort of left. Not sure whether she needed a comfort break. She came back at the start of the third. Are you superstitious who is in your entourage, where they are?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. She might have been seeing the kids. I don't know what she was doing. Yeah, doesn't bother me at all.
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WIMBLEDON

July 1, 2009, QF

Lleyton Hewitt

LONDON, ENGLAND

A. RODDICK/L. Hewitt
6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Hard to combat that service game of Andy's?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know you're going to get aced a lot. I knew that going into the match. Yeah, you're gonna get some breakpoints and you're going to see them go pretty quickly as well.
It was a matter of trying to hang in there as much as possible and make him play that extra shot. I was nearly able to do it.

Q. You were clutching your leg at times. How big a factor was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was a little bit sore stretching out, on my serve as well. That was probably the biggest issue. But, you know, still was able to go the distance and go five sets.

Q. Double-faults early on. Was that an issue with your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it wasn't yeah, one of the worse things was trying to push off from my left leg. So, yeah, just grabbed, you know, a lot when I tried to push off sometimes. Yeah, I didn't serve quite as well as I would have liked.

Q. In a few days when the disappointment of this match subsides, how do you think you'll look back on the Championships as a whole?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, there's a lot of positives to take out of it. The guys that I've beaten. Yeah, especially the Del Potro match, the way that I actually went out there and took it to him. Yeah, played great tennis for three sets against a worthy opponent.
Yeah, even losing to Andy today. Yeah, he's one of the best grass court players out there. He's been to a couple of Wimbledon finals, a few semis here as well. Yeah, it's not a bad loss, but I would have liked to have snuck through.

Q. You've seen Andy Roddick's game in all the different stages of his career. What are your thoughts on the way he's playing right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a huge difference really throughout his career. His strengths are still the same. His slight weaknesses are still pretty much the same, as well.
Yeah, he's maybe trying to stand up in the court a little bit more than he was a couple of years ago, you know, especially returning serve probably, not trying to get dictated too much behind the baseline.
Yeah, he mixes it up well as well. When you got a serve like he has he can take a few chances, a few risks on his opponent's service game.

Q. What are your thoughts on the matchup, Andy versus Andy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's gonna be a tough one for Roddick to win. I think, you know, when I've seen Andy Murray at his best, I think he matches up extremely well against Roddick.
Yeah, it's going to be an interesting match. A couple years ago I saw them play here because they were in my section, and Murray took care of him convincingly. And Murray's a lot better player now than he was then.
Roddick's gonna have to play a helluva match to beat him.

Q. How much does a five-setter like that take out of you physically and mentally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it takes it out. Obviously Roddick will be on a high as well though, getting through. But physically he's gonna have to recover, you know, quickly.
I mean, Murray I don't think, had too tough a time out there today, so he's gonna be feeling pretty fresh.

Q. A lot was made of Murray's recovery after the game on Monday, the fact he was 22. Andy Roddick is only four years older. Will that be a significant factor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think it will be a lot. Yeah, Roddick has a lot of easy service games as well where doesn't have to work for every point out there either.
So it's probably slightly different than playing a guy recovering that had to play five sets of grinding from the back of the court against another baseline player.

Q. Andy said after the match that maybe going back five years, six, I don't know how many years, might have been a bit sort of fi or scrappy between you two. But I think his quote was, We're just a couple of old married dudes now. It was a different sort of sense of the match. Did you feel that as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think we re both we were giving everything we had out there. Yeah, I don't think we left -- either of us left anything in the locker room, that's for sure.
So, yeah, I don't know. I guess -- I'm not really sure what he means by that. Yeah, as I said, you know, I think we were both going pretty hard out there.

Q. Take us through the break game late in the fifth.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I couldn't take my chances when I needed to. Yeah, I just missed a couple of short forehands there when I had the opportunity to come in on his backhand.
Then on breakpoint I actually played a good point, and he came up with a good pass. Yeah, he hit a lob at my feet. I had to come up with a half volley. Wasn't able to hit the half volley, sort of half volley dropshot, short enough. So he got up there and hit a good pass.

Q. Compare Andy's serve to the other great serves that are in the game today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's definitely one of the great servers out there. Yeah, he's up there with the best of them. Karlovic, obviously he's a different kind of server, though. Just the way that the ball's coming down from his height, it's so different to anyone else out there.
It's very hard to compare his serve with anyone's. Apart from that, Roddick's is as good as anyone.

Q. The umpire missed a call or the linesman didn't make a call, and Andy was disputing it at the change of ends. Did you get a sense he got a little distracted at that point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I didn't really know what was going on. Yeah, I think Andy was more just frustrated that he didn't break that game, you know, was letting his emotions out during the changeover. Didn't worry him too much.

Q. Did you have trouble with your grip there a few times?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was just a little bit sweaty. Yeah, just struggling a little bit a couple of times.

Q. You've moved forward in the rankings now. Look forward to the next slam, the tournaments in between?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously the US Open will be the next focus. Yeah, for me it's just about getting my body right and being able to compete there again.
You know, it was disappointing that I missed it last year. Yeah, it will be nice to go back to Flushing Meadows. It's one of my favorite tournaments obviously. Special place for me to go back to. It's nice going back there not having to defend any points either.

Q. Do you go back there with more belief than you might have had after this sort of week and a half?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. I think just knowing what I'm capable of playing like and the standard that I'm able to play over five sets against the best guys in the world, back-to-back matches in Grand Slams.
And, yeah, as I said early in the week, I've had to put myself out there and try and play a lot of tournaments this year to get back in that routine of playing a lot of matches.
Even though I lost this one today, I came through the tight match against Stepanek, the clutch match against Del Potro. Even though I played a lot of those years ago, you still got to get back in that routine.

Q. A lot of players have had serious setbacks and great comebacks late in their career. How does this period now where you're fighting back compare with the early days where you had all your great triumphs?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I guess now sort of for me it's more looking at the last phase of my career and trying to get as much out of it as possible. Yeah, doing all the hard work to get as much out of it as I can the next few years.
Yeah, right at the moment, after the surgery, I knew it wasn't going to be easy to get back, it was gonna take time. Yeah, now the body's feeling good. It's time to keep pressing on.

Q. In some ways is it even more satisfying now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, yeah, I guess after having a surgery and you're not a hundred percent sure you're never a hundred percent sure after a surgery how well you're gonna feel after that, how quickly it's going to be able to come back and whether you're gonna be able to compete with the best guys in the world.
You know, I feel now that I'm able to do that.

Q. Has your performance here suggested that you're ahead of where you perhaps expected to be, or have you sort of performed as you expected to coming in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, coming into this particular tournament I felt pretty good physically, and I knew mentally I'd be able to hang around for five sets against the best guys.
Yeah, it's more just an extra added belief now that I can go out there and you know you can do it more than anything.

Q. If you'd played Murray, it would have been a nice Ashes appetizer. Who is going to win the Ashes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Feeling pretty confident at the moment. You guys don't talk about the last one. You just keep going back to '05. Everything on the TV is '05. There was one in between that. Everyone's forgotten.
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ROGERS CUP

August 11, 2009, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt

MONTREAL, QUEBEC

J. FERRERO/L. Hewitt
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. How tough is it to get out there and play these days? Do you find it difficult or...

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not that tough. It's still -- I'm still very motivated, and when the body is feeling good it's a lot easier.

Q. Body is feeling good now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a slight tear last week. I have been out of practice since coming here, arriving here. So, yeah, I wasn't expecting a whole lot out there today.

Q. Were you pleased with the way you fought in the second set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually felt like my ball striking was pretty good out there. As I said, I haven't been out to play any practice sets the last three or four days since getting here. That's been hard going out there just today straight into it and see what happens.
In the back of my mind, I didn't want to do any more damage to my leg, either, obviously before going into another Masters Series next week but more the US Open in a couple weeks' time. So my movement was -- he moved exceptional out there today and I didn't move so well, and that was the difference.

Q. Do you think you'll be able to step it up the next couple of days in terms of your practicing? Did you feel like the leg wasn't affecting you too much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it was affecting me a little bit more today than I would have liked; that's for sure. It's more now that hopefully there is no more damage done, and I can get ready for Cincinnati next week.

Q. Have you been watching Kim's comeback at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no.

Q. Before this week, your last couple of losses were in tough matches against very good players. What do you think the difference is between winning those matches and not being...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Both those against Del Potro and Roddick, the last couple since Wimbledon could have gone either way. Yeah, I was only a point or two in each of those matches.
As I said, I did the injury against
Del Potro last week, so for me it was a good effort just to have got that close in the end.
So that was frustrating, because I was a set and a break up and feeling really confident, and then he goes on and wins the tournament, so...

Q. When you keep getting injured like this and try to come back, do you feel like you take a lot of steps back every time or...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes, but, you know, since through I guess from Houston, yeah, so far through to Washington I've been, touch wood, it's been pretty good, and I've played some good tennis.
You've just got to get those matches under your belt, especially since the second half of last year I didn't play any matches. It's not easy to just step in and play your best tennis straightaway against these guys. All of these tournaments are extremely tough fields. You're going to have your work cut out in every match.

Q. What's the toughest part, physical or mental?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, a little bit of both, you know. Obviously if you're physically struggling, then it becomes a mental battle as well to go out there and compete and lay it all on the line every time. That gets frustrating if you can't do it.

Q. Is it frustrating to know guys you beat four or five years ago you struggle with now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's only a handful of them, I guess. Obviously there's a lot of younger guys coming up nowadays that are a lot better than they were five years ago.

Q. For a player like you who has been at the top and trying to get back, when you see a situation like Federer or Nadal, does that limit your expectations going into a Grand Slam or a tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think you still focus on who you're up against, obviously. But 9 times out of 10, if you're going to win one of those big tournaments, you're going to have to beat one of those, most likely one of those two guys to win the tournament.
It's obviously going to be a tough challenge, especially the way they've been playing the last four or five years now. But, yeah, that's the motivation, as well. Try and keep improving, and they take the game to a new level and you've got to try and keep up with them.

Q. I know it seems like Rafa and Roger take a lot of the attention and kind of everybody else is in the shadows. Does that make a difference at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You know, there has been since I first came on, I guess Agassi and Sampras were the great rivals, I guess. It's good for the sport to have that kind of rivalry, as well.
Some of the matches that Rafa and Roger have played have been incredible tennis, especially to be able to do it in the Wimbledon final last year but then the Australian Open final this year as well. To be able to do that in those great matches, they deserve the limelight.
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WESTERN & SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 18, 2009, R64

Lleyton Hewitt

CINCINNATI, OHIO

L. HEWITT/R. Soderling
4-6, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Thoughts on your win this afternoon? You saved a couple match points in the second set tiebreak.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good. It was always gonna be a tough match against Soderling. He's been playing great the last three or four months. Such a big hitter out there. He wants to play on his terms and he wants to dictate play. Sort of had to weather the storm out there today and wait for my opportunities.
Second set tiebreak could have gone either way, obviously. You know, I played a good game the first game of the third set to break serve, and served well for the rest of that set.

Q. What were the pleasing aspects of that performance, say, compared to last week in Montreal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My body felt a lot better. That was the difference. Yeah, gave me a lot of confidence to be able to actually go out there and compete. Last week in Montreal I couldn't compete, which is frustrating.
So, yeah, I felt it was a very high standard match. Both of us hit the ball extremely well. We both hit it extremely clean. He's the kind of guy who's gonna hit a lot of winners out there. You sort of got to make him play that one extra shot a lot of times. You can see the confidence. He's swinging at the hips and swinging very freely at the moment.

Q. So this leg problem that you talked about after your match in Montreal, that's gone? You're a 100%?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Getting there. Feel a lot better than last week, that's for sure.

Q. How do you define success at this stage of your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure. For me, it's still yeah, obviously this year has been a bit different coming back from the hip surgery. Probably didn't have, you know, quite the expectations that I've had on myself going into, you know, matches I guess since I was world No. 1 and in the top 10 for a lot of years there.
This year are has been a little bit different. For me, it's been more about getting the body as close to 100% as possible, but more preparing for the four majors and trying to get my ranking up there as quickly as possible.

Q. How are you happy with where it is right now, 42?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I have no points to defend. I didn't play this time last year. So, yeah, so far this year, you know, I've got better and better as the year's gone on. I was happy winning in Houston on clay there and not dropping a set. But then Wimbledon was when I played some of my best tennis.

Q. Today I believe Soderling had 50 unforced errors, and you had only had 11. Can you talk about your focus today and how you were able to minimize those?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, that was always gonna be the matchup though, really. He would have had 50 unforced errors and probably so many more winners as well. Yeah, it's a big difference. Both our games are so different, the styles of play out there.
So for me, as I said, it was more about weathering the storm and trying to get that extra ball back in play and make him come up with the extra shots. In the tiebreak, obviously if he's serving he's gonna be tough to beat.
When I was able to get those small opportunities in his second serve, then I really had to take 'em.

Q. Just your thoughts, you know, next opponent, Benjamin Becker.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, gonna be a tough match. Never played against him before. I think this surface probably suits his game, the style of play he plays. He got through his first round quite comfortably, so I won't be taking him lightly.

Q. Speak of Federer, you two have experienced a lot of same things: you been No. 1, not been No. 1, married, father. What do you think keeps him going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I guess when he's feeling good and that he's obviously you know, I guess the records and still Grand Slams, I'm guessing anyway.
I think when you've been to No. 1 and you've obviously won slams, that's sort of where you want to play your best tennis, I guess. You know, I'm sure the same is for Roger.

Q. So you think the taste of success is what keeps driving him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, in the majors I think, absolutely.

Q. Andy Roddick, you played him three times this year: twice on grass and once indoor. Have you sensed that he's improved and doing things better on the court, making better decisions? What's your take on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe a little bit. It's hard to say. I don't think it's been, for me personally, a huge difference. He's probably hitting his backhand a little bit better. His strength has always been his serve and the way that he can take care of his service games and obviously use his forehand extremely well as well. He moves around the court well for a big guy.
I guess just, yeah, winning some tight matches gives him confidence as well. He probably lost a couple of those matches early last year, and then makes it tough to get out of that situation.
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WESTERN & SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 20, 2009, R16

Lleyton Hewitt

CINCINNATI, OHIO

L. HEWITT/S. Querrey
6-1, 2-6, 6-3

MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. How tough were the conditions out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, tough conditions for both of us. Yeah, got really gusty breezes out there, and it was hard to know really at which end or which way it was coming from a lot of the time. It was more having to play smart tennis out there and play the percentages a little bit more.
I was able to play a really clean first set there, but he obviously picked up his first serve in the second set and put me under a lot more pressure and started going for a bit more.
It was a tough third set to get out of.

Q. You must be pleased with your return. You seemed to return well in those conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I put a lot of pressure on his serve. I was happy the way that I hit the ball out there today. I played a smart match against him and tried to keep him off balance as much as possible. Yeah, put a lot of pressure on him. I came into the net quite a bit as well.
Yeah, try and make him come up with the big shots on the big points. That was probably the difference.

Q. This tournament can be really hot and perhaps a lot more humid than what it was. Have you found it not being so taxing, the conditions in terms of how you're feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. The past years I've been here, 2007, the last time I was here, was an extremely hot year here.
So, yeah, it's been nice get through the quarters and not waste a whole heap of energy. Obviously the first match was a tough, grueling match against Soderling where I had to retrieve a lot balls and, yeah, grind out a lot of points out there. The last two matches haven't really taken a whole lot out of me.

Q. Roger Federer talked about playing you and how much he enjoys. He even said today that to play you would be the match he would've wanted to play because you've had such a long rivalry over the years. Do you see it the same way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. He's the benchmark. He's obviously the in-form player at the moment and the guy to beat on any surface, especially after winning the two last big majors.
So, yeah, we have had so many big matches over the years in a lot of situations, whether it's Masters Cups or Davis Cups or Grand Slam semis and finals. It's always a privilege to play Roger, especially at the business end of the tournaments.
Obviously bot our focuses are gonna be on the US Open in a week's time and trying to hone our game as well as possible for that. Yeah, if I can go out there and execute, hopefully it's a good match.

Q. If you can beat him, the confidence will be lifted not only for this week but also for the US Open.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. As I said, he's the benchmark. He's where it's at. He had tough match today against Ferrer, who obviously pushed him to 6-4 in the third. Hopefully I can go out there and do the same tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Roger? Kind of building on what you said, you grew up together. Are you guys friends off the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I guess in this sport you don't get that close to your opposition quite that much, I guess, purely because it is such a one-on-one battle.
Yeah, the respect that I think that Roger and I both have for each other is huge. We have grown up together and played a lot times together. He's a great guy. He's very down to earth for the success that he's had.

Q. Looking at the head to heads, 2003 was obviously a pivotal match that you came back and won. Since then, he's pretty much dominated that. What are you gonna need to do to play him to turn the tables on him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Something different, obviously. Yeah, he's had the wood on me the last, yeah, quite a few times now since then.
Yeah, he obviously want wants to dictate play and play on his terms. And he's very good that, and possibly as good as anyone out there. I'm gonna have to try and mix it up and go out there with a good game plan.
When I last played him back two years ago here, it could have gone either way. I led a break in the third set there and ended up losing a tiebreak in the third.
So hopefully, yeah, I can get my teeth into the match and play on my terms.
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WESTERN & SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 21, 2009, QF

Lleyton Hewitt

CINCINNATI, OHIO

R. FEDERER/L. Hewitt
6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Tough match obviously. What were you trying to do going into the match tactically to try and get back on the winning side against Roger, obviously a tough opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's always a tough opponent. I was more not worrying about Roger's game too much and more going out there and trying to execute my game still.
And, yeah, still with the US Open in the back of my mind as well. Yeah, today still it was slightly tough conditions. Not quite as gusty a breeze as yesterday, but still wasn't easy.
He served extremely well, especially, you know, the small chances that I had, the Love-30s and 15-30s, he hit the targets every time. When he's playing well, that's what he does. It's very hard to get into any sort of rhythm on his service games.

Q. Was the difference just the serve? I think you were only broken once in each set. You seemed to serve pretty well yourself.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served in patches. I didn't get as many cheap points as I would have needed. Against a guy like Roger, you've got to get a high percentage of first serves in just to take the pressure off him dictating off the second serve. Yeah, he served well throughout the match and didn't give me too many looks.

Q. Is there a bit of a mental block in terms of the record now, thirteen in a row, and you've had some close matches and haven't got over the line?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. When you go into a match like today, as I said, I was more focused today more on trying to keep my rhythm going that I built up this week instead of actually worrying about Roger's game too much, especially a week out before a slam.

Q. What did you think about the rhythm you built up this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good. Three solid wins. Two of the players have been in very good form, Soderling and Querrey. To come through those tight matches as well when it counts and just get those matches under my belt, that's important going into a major.

Q. In the beginning of your series with Roger you were dominate early. I know he's gotten better and you've get gotten better, too. Can you think of what you did when you won against him that you weren't able to do today in terms of how well you played against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. He's obviously got a lot better since those years, and obviously a lot more confident as well. You know, yeah, he dictates play so well I think. It's very hard to dictate against him.
Yeah, even Nadal, as good as Nadal is playing on his terms, he doesn't always get to play on his terms against Roger either. So that's probably the biggest difference I think in the last six or seven years.

Q. Serving at 2-3 in the first set, you thought you had leveled; he challenged, overturned the call, and went on to break. Was that a significant momentum change, or did you quickly forget about that and move on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it didn't obviously you can't do much about a challenge being overturned or whatever, so it was no big deal. Yeah, when Roger challenged I thought the ball was gonna be close anyway. I couldn't tell if it got the line or if it didn't.
Yeah, that just comes with the game.

Q. Prior to your match with Sam, he said that you and Safin probably wouldn't be seeded at the US Open and you were two people he wanted to avoid in the US Open. How did you feel your chances are in the Open obviously coming back from the injury last year? Are you satisfied with the game where it is right now? And then also, what do you think about the Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I'm happy. Yeah, for me I didn't play this time last year, so everything is a bonus right at the moment. Up until now it's been more trying to get into that routine of playing a lot of matches. I've been able to do that this year and been able to play well and push the top guys on all surfaces.
Yeah, US Open is somewhere I've played extremely well in the past. Yeah, I'd like to think if things fall my way I've got an outside chance there. Hopefully I can get deep in the second week.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #279
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

U.S. OPEN

September 2, 2009, R64

Lleyton Hewitt

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

L. HEWITT/J. Chela
6-3, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Another battle brewing with your old foe.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think both of us just went out there and tried to do what we needed to do out there. I went out with a good game plan, what I wanted to do, how I wanted to execute. I did it pretty well.

Q. What about your net advances, 88%. Seemed to get there a lot.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was trying to put a bit of pressure on him out there. He gives you a lot of opportunities to do that, step into the court. I didn't want him to get away with too many short balls out there, let him know that I was going to step on him.
He was going to have to come up with extremely good passes. It was going to be hard for him to do that all day.

Q. Roger is probably a bit more capable of swatting those past you. Can we expect to see that against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'll sit down and try to work out the best way of going about it. Obviously he's going to come up with a lot better passes than Chela. Totally different style of game, totally different opponent.
I'm going to go out there and try to work out what I think is the best way for me to go about it is. Yeah, and you're going to have to execute it extremely well against Rog.

Q. What about your new coaching arrangement? What has he brought to the equation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've been working with Nathan all of this year. Yeah, week in, week out, I just feel like it's hard just coming to the slams and working with someone different all the time. Yeah, Rochey and I get along super. We know each other so well. I got so much respect for Rochey. It's hard.
I haven't been back to Australia all year either. We haven't been able to do the weeks that we sort of have been able to do in the past, I guess.
Yeah, Nathan is a positive guy. He's spent a lot of time around Rochey as well, the Davis Cup ties. Yeah, he's positive. We get along extremely well, which is a huge bonus.

Q. What about your mindset playing Roger? Been a long time since you were able to beat him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's not a lot of guys that really have been able to beat him - especially here. He started his run here in 2004 in the final, so it would be nice if I could finish it (smiling.)
Yeah, he's obviously extremely confident at the moment. Coming off the last two majors, as well. Yeah, it's going to take someone to play a great match against him, especially three-out-of-five sets.

Q. Fatherhood distract him at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It hasn't so far. Yeah, I don't think it will too much.

Q. You're so familiar with each other. When you prepare to play him, is it actually easier or harder, because you're not scouting him? I assume you don't scout him. I assume you know his tendencies. What is it like when you have an opponent as familiar as Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is totally different to going out there and playing a lot of other guys. Yeah, for the main part, especially because I've been on the receiving end of the losses for the last, yeah, lots of times.
So it's a matter of, yeah, going out there and trying to work out the best way of going about it. Not too many guys, as I said, have been able to have that success and found the perfect recipe of playing Roger. Rafa is probably the only guy that does have a great record against him.
Yeah, that's probably the hardest thing, I think.

Q. Is it more of a mental preparation for you than a tactical one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still a little bit tactical as well, trying to work out the best way of doing it. It's a lot easier said than done, too. You got to go out there and execute it against possibly the greatest player that's picked up a racquet.
Yeah, for me, though, this is why I still play the game, to have challenges like this.

Q. Your competitiveness is well-known. When you're preparing for Roger, the quality that he brings, are you different the day before? Are you exactly the same? Are you sleeping as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm still pretty much the same. Yeah, I think we're going to have two days off now. Yeah, it's slightly different, I guess. I'll probably have a more relaxed hit tomorrow than I normally would, you know, leading in.
So tomorrow will be, yeah, just a routine rhythm, hit tomorrow. The next day I'll start focusing on what I've got to try to do. Yeah, still pretty similar, though, playing Roger.

Q. Have you spoken to Roger about becoming a dad?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. When I first saw him, I think it was in Montréal, we just had a very quick passing chat. Yeah, he was extremely happy, happy with life at the moment.

Q. How did it affect your sort of tennis at all, just your life in general, when you obviously had your first child?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it didn't affect my tennis, I didn't feel. Obviously traveling and stuff is a little bit different, I guess. A lot of it's around what was best for the baby at the time more so than your preparation sometimes. That's just part of it. That's what you deal with.
But then again, you go back to the hotel room and you're not thinking about tennis, scouting tennis as much. The kids don't care if you got a match the next day or not. It's a lot of fun.

Q. Do you think he's free rolling now? Won a slam. Now he's got kids.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I think for him, yeah, he was probably always going to get the 15 once he got so close.

Q. The French as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the French was probably the biggest relief for him. I don't know. I haven't spoken to him about it. Yeah, I think he really wanted the French obviously. He'd come so close. He has been the second-best clay courter for so many years. Only one guy stood in his way. I think that was probably a huge monkey off his back.
Obviously, to get the 15, yeah, as good a player as he was playing over the last few years, even as good as Nadal was, yeah, I could still see Roger, he was going to break it at some stage.

Q. Is it possible now that he's even more stress free, could he be more dangerous?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes and no. Yeah, who knows. Yeah, those years that he was only losing three or four matches in a year, it's hard to be that good and keep that up. He's getting a little older. He's had a couple back niggles the last couple years as well. That's going to come, as well. Yeah, his record speaks for itself.

Q. Having watched him over the summer, tough spring for Roger, his confidence dipped. When you watch him play or are preparing for him, can you see certain strokes that have come back that he didn't rely on as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think more confidence more than anything. I think when he's serving well, it sort of brings the whole package together, as well. He gets a lot more confidence with his backhand. His forehand's always so dangerous.
There has been times earlier this year, probably played a couple average matches for his standards. His forehand, actually he made a lot of easier mistakes off his forehand. He's probably tightened that up a little bit.
The French Open, he didn't play his best tennis. He really, from what I saw, played a great match in the final. He handled the situation incredibly well. Up until the final, he just found a way to win. He actually wasn't playing great tennis.
I think, as I said, that monkey off his back sort of opened it up for him after that.

Q. Is this the best sort of surface to meet Roger on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Don't know. Yeah, I don't mind playing on grass. I know the record he obviously has at Wimbledon. I love playing on grass, as well.
You know, obviously this surface he's been hard to beat for anyone. Yeah, it's probably hard to probably nominate the best surface against him.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:24 PM   #280
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

U.S. OPEN

September 5, 2009, R32

Lleyton Hewitt

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

R. FEDERER/L. Hewitt
4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. What is it that makes him just so terribly difficult to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's so good at dictating play, playing on his terms. You know, it's very hard on his service games to try -- you're sort of trying to hang into his service games. Yeah, you can't really play the style of tennis that you want to play out there. That's the hard thing.
When he is able to play the way he wants to play and dictate terms, he's going to be very tough to beat.

Q. You obviously have a long history with Roger, including three matches here now. When you come into a match like this, how hard is it to let go of what's happened in the past and come in with a clean slate?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not that hard, really, because, yeah, not a lot to lose out there. Obviously he's got a lot of pressure on him, and every time he steps out here at the moment purely because he's won so many big matches out there and everyone expects him to keep winning.
Yeah, in terms of that, obviously, you know, how capable, how good he can play if he's on, but you've got to try and take those small opportunities when they come. You're going to get some out there but you're not going to get a lot, obviously.
Today at one set all, I had breakpoints to go 3-1 up and breakpoints to go 2-Love up in the third set, and he came up with big serves at the right time. That's why he's No. 1.

Q. How are you playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was pretty happy the way I played today. I'm pretty happy the way that I played the last couple of weeks. Yeah, Wimbledon I played extremely well. Disappointing, because the draw could have been slightly more favorable, I could have gone deeper in tournament.

Q. But you're better than you have been. You're better than you have been in a long time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm more fit. You know, when the body is feeling closer to 100%, then it's easy to go out there and compete.

Q. It does?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, yeah, absolutely. I did all the hard work after I had surgery the end of last year to get back and put myself in a position like this.
Part of making those sacrifices to come back and do it all again, you know, you're going to lose your ranking and you're going to have to come up and play the higher seeds earlier in the tournaments.
That's all part of it. But, yeah, I feel like I'm on the right track to getting back to where I want to be.

Q. How much can you tweak match to match against a guy like him in terms of strategy and tactics?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can do it a little bit, I think. As I said, it's very hard because he wants to dictate play so much, and he doesn't give you the opportunity to try and do different things against him too much.
So, yeah, as I said, his service games he plays at his pace, and, yeah, he's got a great serve. It's not the biggest serve out there, but he hits his spots and he hits them extremely well to set up his next shot.
That's what he does so different to a guy like Roddick who is going to hit through you a lot more on the serve; whereas Roger sets up his serve obviously for his strengths.

Q. What about the forehand? Do you try to play it a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, every time he broke me though he hit his forehand extremely well. I served there a couple of times at 5-All in the third set, and, yeah, he had a cold winner on the edge of the line up the line. Yeah, so you still got to be careful with his forehand, because it is so dangerous.

Q. You've played a lot of the greats over your career. He's got the record for maybe right now. But where do you put him up in terms of competition with the players you've played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, he's as good as there is, there's no doubt, that I've played.
He's got the most all-court game I think than I've ever played. Obviously Agassi and Sampras were both greats, and I was able to play both of them when they were still at their best, winning Grand Slams, both of them.
You know, Roger has been able to take the game to a new level, and, you know, I think the most complete player for sure is Roger.

Q. McEnroe couldn't believe how well you moved after your hip surgery, given what happened to Magnus Norman and Gustavo Kuerten. Was your surgery similar to theirs?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. I don't know what they had, but I didn't feel that mine was career-threatening at all. Both those guys -- I played Magnus when he -- after he had that surgery, and I felt bad for him. I felt bad for him. Yeah, he was a hell of a player, but his body just couldn't compete anymore. That's the toughest thing.
Whereas I always felt like, and my surgeon felt like I could get back to my best if I wanted to.

Q. McEnroe also felt you were well on the way the you played today back into the top 10. Can you drop back into the top 10? Is that your aim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. It's an aim, but then again, for me, it's you know, still going out there in the Grand Slams is what I want to play well at. It would be nice to get into the top 10 and have to come up against these guys later in the second week. Hopefully that's going to pan out for next year.
This year has sort of been more of a rebuilding year, I guess, trying to get the matches and get the match toughness under my belt.
First four or five months is always going to be tough after the surgery. You're never going to expect miracles straightaway. I've been able to battle through. I've laid it all on the line, especially the last two majors, and played extremely well. It's taken a couple of the best players in the world to beat me.

Q. Do you think your game is anywhere near its peak? I mean, obviously you were No. 1 in the world for two years straight six years ago, but is your game anywhere near that level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I think the game is always improving and changing. Roger took it to a new level, and then Rafa came, and believe it or not, took it to a new level again. Roger has had to better himself to stay with Rafa. You have a guy like Murray and Djokovic is hanging around there. Roddick has had to make himself a better, more complete player, as well.
Yeah, that's just part of it. I think that's what motivates the great players to try and keep improving and stay at the top of their game.

Q. I know it's no fun when you're out of the tournament to think about these things, but how do you see the event now sort of shaping up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen enough of the other guys' play. Obviously Roger's -- yeah, he's going to be very hard to beat again purely because he plays so well out there on center court here. He's got the record to prove that. He knocked off Murray and Djokovic quite comfortably in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago. I think if he plays those guys he's going to be feeling confident.
Nadal, still a slight question mark over him, I guess. Yeah, he's going to compete all the way, and it's going to take someone to play a hell of a match to beat him, as well.

Q. What do you think about Del Potro?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a smokey. I like the guy a lot, great game. Great head on his shoulders and he competes extremely well. I don't know where he is in the draw, who...

Q. Murray.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Murray section?
Yeah, it will be a tough one. Obviously they played in the final in Montreal and Murray just got him there. I think Murray has had the edge over him a little bit in the past, but Del Potro, if the draw opens up, he can definitely make a run.

Q. Watching Safin heading to retirement, seems like he lost a little bit of fire for the game. After all these years for you, do you still feel like you have as much desire for the game as you had back in 2001 and years ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. If I didn't, then I'd be hanging out with Marat. (laughter.)
Yeah, for me, yeah, I had to make the tough decision after the surgery, or to have the surgery done. I didn't have to have it done if I didn't want to keep playing professional tennis. I could have gone on being fine in everyday life and got around the golf course fine.
Only had it done to have these challenges to get back competing against these guys week in and week out. Tournaments like this, this is what motivates me, playing in these big matches against Roger and having a crack at him. That's where the motivation is.

Q. Do you feel as though you might have a point to prove to anybody out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I know what I'm capable of doing, and the people around me know that, as well, so get out there and do it.

Q. I imagine you think that Roger is still beatable down the track if you play him again.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so.

Q. What was the nature of the surgery?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just had a tear in my labrum, and then I had to have some bone shaved off, as well.

Q. Does it seem to be a long time till the Australian Open right now, or does it seem like time to really get your game going before the new year starts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, doesn't seem like that long away really. I think after the US Open my focus is obviously on the Australian Open now.
To tell you the truth, coming into the last six months of this year I was focusing on the Australian Open as well, trying to get my ranking into a position where I can do some damage in the second week of it.
Now it's about getting my body in as good of nick as possible and make sure I can hold up.

Q. What does the fall look like in terms of getting your ranking up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really put a number on it. Yeah, obviously I have no points to defend from a few weeks ago at all. It can only go up. I'm not going to play every week though, that's for sure.

Q. What is your schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At this stage, I'm playing three tournaments in Asia, don't know after that.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

SHANGHAI ATP MASTERS 1000

October 13, 2009, R64

Lleyton Hewitt

SHANGHAI, CHINA

L. HEWITT/J. Isner
6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. He obviously poses a different threat than a lot of players. You must have been well pleased with the way you coped with it and imposed your own game today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. You just look at his results against a lot of top guys, especially on the U.S. hardcourts where he's had a lot of success earlier in the year and obviously leading into the US Open and at New York, beating guys like Roddick over five sets. So I knew it was going to be a tough match. I knew I was going to have to try and get a lot of balls back.
The biggest difference with he Karlovic's serve, just the bounce, it takes you a few games to get into it and just get a read on that serve.

Q. I was going to ask you, do you play him the same way you play Karlovic? We might group them the same just because of height, but they're different, are they?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, both their serves come through at a different height to anyone else on the tour purely just because where they're serving from. You know, the bounce that they get is incredible, so obviously their angle serves are more hard angle hit rather than a swinging angle hit.
So if they're serving well, it's obviously tough to get into games against them, but it's a matter of just taking your chances when you get into it against those guys, and, you know, I did that exceptionally well today, especially in the first set.

Q. You've never been a player who sort of struggled for motivation, but when you come to the end of another kind of long and arduous year on the tour, what are your ambitions and desires looking ahead?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, it's more about this whole Asian swing, just working on little areas of my game to try and make me as good a player for January as possible.
You know, I haven't really focused on, you know, a whole lot on the tournaments that I'm playing. It's more a focus on what I, yeah, little things I want to work on out there and improve on my game and try and become a better player for January and then, you know, have a real crack next year.

Q. In February, I think it was, you dropped outside the top 100. Since then it's been a strong upward curve. You must be pretty proud of where you are just outside the top 20 now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, this year was always going to be tough purely because I didn't exactly know how the hip was going to bounce back. And I always wanted to play the Australian Open, but it was probably and I was probably always going to play the Australian Open after the surgery, but I was never going to be close to 100% going in there and obviously not having the matches under my belt.
And from then on I played extremely well. This time of year obviously I've got no points to defend, and then, yeah, in January I've basically got hardly any points to defend, as well.
So, yeah, I've got better as the year has gone on. My hip's got a lot stronger and better as well, and that makes life a lot easier on the court.

Q. What are you doing schedule-wise? Are you going back to Europe?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know what I'm doing after here yet, just take it a week at a time at this stage.

Q. What would be a realistic target for next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure yet. Yeah, right at the moment, I'm only really focusing until the Aussie Open and then take it from there, but yeah, I'm obviously going to be seeded at the Aussie Open, which is going make life a lot easier for me hopefully.
I feel like I can do some damage in that tournament if the draw opens up, as well. Yeah, I haven't really looked past that, but I think in the Majors this year, that's when I've played my best tennis this year, and it's taken the best guys in the world to beat me in all four Majors this year.
Yeah, there was no shame losing to González obviously at the Aussie after what I'd been through, and since then, to lose to Nadal, Roddick, and then Federer at the US Open.
Yeah, if I keep putting myself in that position, yeah, hopefully I can, you know, get through against those big guys.

Q. But you very much think you have another Grand Slam in you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, absolutely. I think if things fall the right way, and yeah, I played -- Wimbledon this year I played exceptional tennis. US Open I played pretty good tennis, as well, for the three matches I was there.
Yeah, I just have to take those small chances against those guys, against Roddick in the quarters at Wimbledon and obviously Federer in the third round of the US.

Q. Can you remember this time last year what stage your rehab was, whether you're even running by now? And secondly, how are you going to build up for the Oz? What are you going to play leading up to the Oz?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, this stage I wasn't running at all. I would have been on a bike but not doing a lot.
And swimming but not allowed to use my legs in the pool, so... (laughter.) Basically it was with a little floaty thing between your legs, and trying to get my upper body, be able to do something at least; otherwise you go crazy.
In terms of leading into the Aussie, I'll be playing the Hopman Cup in Sydney. I feel comfortable with those two events.

Q. I'm from New Zealand. I'd just like to get your thoughts on the current state of Australasian tennis, and can it get back to the glory days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, it's always going to be a little bit tougher nowadays just with the amount of countries and so many countries with great players out there these days.
It's getting tougher and tougher to be able to produce, especially the amount of players, you know, that Australia had at the top of their game, but obviously we can definitely do better than what we're at at the moment. That wouldn't be hard.

Q. You always play against taller and bigger opponents, but do you feel the altitude of men's tennis getting even higher, to a new high in these recent few years, especially when we have a new Grand Slam champion around two meters now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's a lot of big boys out there and can hit the ball extremely hard from, you know, obviously not only the serve, from both sides these days.
These guys don't have a lot of, you know, huge weaknesses out there really. You know, you look at the big guys and a guy like Del Potro who moves extremely well for his size. Even Roddick, as big a guy and strong a guy as he is, he moves exceptionally well.
Yeah, that's why the game is always getting tougher. It's always going to another level and you have to work extremely hard and stay hungry and motivated to be able to keep up with the best players.

Q. You played a match today with it's not a lot of rhythm in a match against a big guy like that. Your next match, no matter what, will have a lot of rhythm whether it's Monfils or Mathieu. How do you work on the transition like that? Because it's really two completely different matches. How are you going to prepare that and who would you prefer to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, both guys are similar kind of players, I guess. Monfils and Mathieu, they're both big hitters from the back of the court. Obviously both have got big forehands, able to both move extremely well.
Um, Monfils probably has got a little bit better serve I think than Mathieu, but Mathieu, yeah, probably stands in a little bit more aggressive on the return of serve.
Either match is going to be, as you said, a totally different match to today. Last week I played four tough matches against different kinds of opponents, as well. It's just something you go out there and handle on the day, but yeah, it's going to be a step up from today.

Q. Andy Roddick was very outspoken in his opinion that the top players are playing too much tennis. Is that something you agree with? And do you think your career might have panned out differently had you not had to play as much tennis as you have?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah. You know, I've always thought the season is extremely long, yeah, especially if you're going into the Masters Cup and you've qualified for the Masters Cup. And then, you know, those years that I was No. 1 or in the top few in the world, I had Davis Cup finals to play, as well. Yeah, I've always argued that, and I never really got anywhere.
So, yeah, it's obviously, yeah, frustrating, and not to have guys like Federer and Murray at these tournaments. But yeah, they have qualified for the Masters Cup. That's the pinnacle of our sport behind the four Grand Slams, and that's what you want to play for.
And obviously, you know, you play the whole year to get to that stage, so yeah, you can't blame them for obviously looking after their bodies and trying to get in as good a shape as possible for not only that tournament, but obviously the Australian Open is the next Major. And in terms of, you know, with a guy like Nadal now sort of in the situation that I was in back years ago playing, there's a good chance that he's in the Davis Cup semis and finals most years, it's not easy.
Yeah, I think something's got to be done at some stage, because you want to have the best guys playing in a lot of the big tournaments.
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SHANGHAI ATP MASTERS 1000

October 14, 2009, R32

Lleyton Hewitt

SHANGHAI, CHINA

G. MONFILS/L. Hewitt
4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. How do you explain I mean, it seems as though you had the match in control in your second set, and then it all shifted. Were you tired, or how do you explain the shift in momentum?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it wasn't in the second set. I was down a break the whole time in the second set, so there was a lot of momentum that flows out there in the match, and I had chances early in the third set. I was up a break and then had chances on his service game. I wasn't quite able to get it.
Then had game points. He came up with a couple of good passes on game points for me to go up 3-1 in the third, and then he got a little bit more confident and started going for a few bigger shorts. He served a bit better as especially the third set went on.
And that was probably the biggest difference, yeah. He was able to get some cheap points off his first serve.

Q. Do you think that you may have had some dips?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. You know, I felt like if I could have executed the way I wanted to and the way I did early in the match, then it was more a matter of execution out there. I just wasn't quite able to do what, you know, obviously I was able to do early in the match.
Yeah, he's a strange player. He's very up and down the whole time, so you're never 100% sure what you're going to get from him.

Q. Is that pretty difficult to play? How do you treat someone like that? Because he can be so dangerous and yet sometimes so poor. For you receiving it, how do you deal with that, or are you just looking after yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you just try and concentrate on your own game more than anything. You can try and stay as solid as possible right through and not have those, yeah, up-and-down patches.
Yeah, as I said, it was basically -- I just didn't serve well enough and get enough cheap points when I needed to, especially when I was up the early break in the third set.
Yeah, but you just gotta stay mentally tough in those situations.

Q. When he is playing really well, hitting the ball really well, how good is he?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, that's a hard one, because, you know, I don't think I've ever seen him play a perfect match, you know, and that's just him. That's how he plays.
It's like asking Nadal, you know, to serve volley all the time, as well. They have strengths and weaknesses. His strength is obviously he can play incredible tennis, but very rarely is he going to play like that. I've never seen a whole match of it.
So, yeah, he gives you a lot of chances out there. Yeah, he drops the ball short quite often, and he's obviously got great defensive skills, and, yeah, that's what he relies on a lot.

Q. The fact that he's coached by your former coach, is that something you think about at all before the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not for me. You know, it's a matter of I've played Gaël twice before and we've had tough matches. Yeah, I knew it was going to be a tough match. He obviously he made the semis last week at Tokyo and won a tournament two weeks ago.
I was more trying to focus on obviously, you know, what I could do to try and, you know, get the upper hand out there today.

Q. What do you need to do to win matches like this consistently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I think the more, yeah, positions you keep putting yourself in yeah, it's only a few points out there again, but you've got to keep putting yourself in that position to be able to come through them.

Q. (In Chinese) Your last match. Are you disappointed? What's your plan for the future and what's your next stop? Where is your next stop? Basically, what's your expectation on this whole year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm obviously disappointed. Any time you lose you're disappointed, so, you know, in terms of the rest of the year, we'll just wait and see what happens.
Yeah, I haven't really set out anything, because I said, you know, yesterday, the Australian Open and building on early next year is the priority for me.

Q. You said the other day you thought you still had a Grand Slam in you. If you look back to when you were No. 1, has the game changed much in those intervening years? Do you need to be a different player now to win a Slam to when you last did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The game's always changing. Roger you know, obviously when Pete came in, he took it to a new level and Andre was able to keep pushing him to a new level.
Yeah, I think it's always -- the game's always changing, and then obviously Roger took it to an extraordinary level there for a few years, and Rafa sort of made him push to get better, as well.
So, yeah, I think you're always going to become a better player if you're going to stay with the best guys into the world. There's so many big hitters out there these days, as well, that are able to go out and do damage. I think in men's tennis, the depths are incredible as well. These kind of tournaments, 56 draw is no easy round, that's for sure.

Q. Marat Safin has played his last game in China today. He lost. He's obviously not that much older than you, another former No. 1. He's decided to call it a day. Has it ever crossed your mind to quit, pack up? If not, what keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It hasn't really seriously crossed my mind. The only small thing that came in was obviously before I had surgery last year, you know, that was obviously a tough seven months playing injured and not really knowing 100% what was causing the problem, as well, and whether the surgery was going to fix it 100%.
So that was, you know, the only small doubts I had in my mind in terms of me -- I think once I made the decision to have the surgery, then that pretty much showed, yeah, the motivation was still there.

Q. Going back to the question before last, would you say therefor that you're a better player now than you were when you were No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At those times, yeah, probably a different player, I think, a little bit different player. You're always trying to add new, other dimensions to your game, I guess, and, yeah, just surprise people, as well, and keep improving.
As I said, you've got to keep improving, and so there's days I think where I played better than I did, you know, seven, eight, nine years ago, but there's other days when it doesn't come off sometimes, and you don't quite look as good.

Q. There was a lot of talk about the calendar, and we spoke yesterday about Andy two days ago who gave a press conference and he spoke about it. Now you heard what happened to him yesterday, so it's another big player that dropped out of the tournament. Does what happened to Andy yesterday, does that make you reflect even more on that topic, or do you want to comment about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. For me personally, no, because I have no idea actually what happened to Andy, and I know he pulled out, but, you know, whether that has anything to do with the calendar or not, that could be two totally different things, as well.
But, you know, obviously, yeah, we're all human and we're going to get injured at times, and no one is Superman out there, so you can't keep putting your body through it all the time at these levels.
I guess the biggest thing is that the players know their bodies better than anyone, and especially the top guys, you know, what your priorities are. And the tour needs the top guys, so I think the biggest thing is when -- the players shouldn't be obliged to play all the tournaments every week, because they know what it takes to be the best players in the world.
That's something that Federer has been extremely good at, but you shouldn't go out and try and make these guys play every week.
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MEDIBANK INTERNATIONAL

January 13, 2010, R16

Lleyton Hewitt

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

L. HEWITT/A. Seppi
6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Was that okay, or would you have preferred longer on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was perfect today. Yeah, just what I needed. Yeah, I knew going out there, I could see in the early stages the conditions were gonna be tough for all players out there today. It always does get a little windy here at Homebush anyway.
But, um, it was more trying to play the percentages, especially early on and just get a feel for it out there, and I felt like I did that really well.
Yeah, obviously throughout the first set I didn't give him any cheap points and I really made him come up with -- you know, if he was gonna win a point, he had to play a bloody good point to get past me.
I felt like I was returning extremely well and putting a lot of pressure on his second serve when I got the chance.

Q. How did you pull up, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel good. Feel fine.

Q. Obviously a much-anticipated game next against Baghdatis. The fans are looking forward to it. How much are you looking forward to it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I haven't really thought about it, to tell you the truth. I was just concentrating on Seppi the last couple days and what I've needed to do and get try and get ready for the Aussie well more than anything in the back of my mind.
So obviously tonight I'll start thinking about Marcos. Yeah, he's had a couple injuries and he's bounced back well from those. He dropped down and played quite a few Challengers throughout last year to get his ranking back where he is at the moment.
Yeah, he's always a class player. Great ball-striker and moves well from the back of the court. Yeah, he's had a couple wins this week.

Q. Be happy not to finish the match against him at 4:30 in the morning this time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, over three sets, that would be a way, wouldn't it? Have to rain for a while. (Laughter.)

Q. Does that stick in your head though, that match? It obviously does for a lot of people given the timing and everything else, but it was an epic clash in all respects.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. It was different. Hopefully it never happens again to anyone. Yeah, I would have wanted to wipe it out of my memory box if I'd lost the match in five sets. But obviously winning an epic match in your home Grand Slam, yeah, stuff like that always stays in the back of your mind.

Q. You had the two good wins in Perth and the win here. Is it just setting up the right messages for yourself and everybody else watching you as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, today was a step up again. And, yeah, Perth after a few months off was always gonna be tough early on as well.
This is my first match outdoors for the year, so it was a tough match outdoors in terms of the conditions and getting used to that coming from indoors last week at the Hopman Cup. I handled the conditions well.
And, yeah, it can get windy and blustery as well in Melbourne on center court, and it swirls quite a bit down there as well. Yeah, it's all good preparation for Melbourne.

Q. Have you heard much about the World Cup of Tennis? Do you know much about it, or are you sportive of the concept? What do you think it might do to Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't heard anything about -- anything to do with it at the moment. I'm probably not the best person to ask. Don't know anything about it.

Q. It's a 32-nation competition supported by the likes of Federer coming into play the next couple of years, a knock-out-style tournament played over ten days. A little bit of talk that something like that would potentially long-term replace the Davis Cup.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, as I said, it's hard just off the top of my head now to -- yeah, as I said I don't have a clue about what you're talking about, so... (laughter.)
Yeah, I had I would have to sit-down and look at it the whole thing before I made a comment.

Q. Do you think the Davis Cup the way it's structured right now bears perhaps replacing in the next few years? Restructuring?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. It would have to be something a lot better if it was gonna take it away from the Davis Cup. Obviously Davis Cup has meant a lot to me over the years for me personally and for our country as well.
Yeah, I would have to know the ins and outs of everything if I were gonna compare it to the Davis Cup.

Q. The back holding up okay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's fine. No worries.
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MEDIBANK INTERNATIONAL

January 14, 2010, QF

Lleyton Hewitt

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

M. BAGHDATIS/L. Hewitt
4-6, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. That's obviously not the way that you were wanting it to end. After getting the first set there, you a good position in the second set. Where did it go wrong?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, he picked up his game, for starters. Yeah, he started to cut out some of the cheap errors he was making, especially on the big points. He served a lot better as the match went on and my serve probably went off a little bit. Yeah, didn't quite hit the spots when I need to do, especially trying to consolidate that break early in the second set, which would have been good to try and to keep that momentum.
Yeah, his ball-striking got better as the match went on.

Q. The lifting in intensity and your inability to go with it, do you think that's sort of good for your preparation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Ah, yeah, as I said, the first set and a half I was hitting the ball pretty well, and I was happy with my ball-striking. Even after that, my ball-striking wasn't too bad.
Yeah, as I said I didn't quite execute what I needed to do. Yeah, gave him a little bit of confidence halfway through the second set, towards the end of the second set, and then he really started to fire up and find his spots.
Yeah, as I said, I didn't get too many look-ins on his service games either.

Q. He was getting a lot first serves in.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah.

Q. Does a result like that leave you disappointed, or what do you take from it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not that disappointed, really. I was trying a few different things out there today and mixing up the game a little bit. And, yeah, hopefully it'll hold me in good stead for next week.
I still gotta go out there and trust, yeah, how I was playing. The first set and a half I played well. You know, tried mixing it up a little, bit serve and volleying, slicing a little bit more, and doing a few different things.
Hopefully it'll payoff next week.

Q. How did you find the conditions? Windy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. Yesterday was a lot more windy than today. Better conditions for ball-striking today.

Q. You prefer it a bit hotter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably. It was pretty heavy out there today. You know, it was hard to really get a lot off the ball, especially if we were just in a rally.

Q. It's been two years since you played Marcos. Did you see any differences in his game, any areas that surprised you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I've played him in a couple of big only two times I played him before was in Grand Slams over five sets, so slightly different. Yeah, he's always been a great ball-striker. He's a bit of a momentum player as well. If he's serving well, his whole game sort of comes together. If his first-serve percentage can drop off, he can start throwing in a few doubles, and, yeah, make those cheap errors like he perhaps did in the first set a couple times.

Q. Looking ahead to the draw tomorrow, you're obviously in a better position than last year with the ranking now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. In the hands of gods. I can't do much about it. Just a matter of, yeah, wait and see. I don't want be looking past the first round.

Q. Probably nice not to draw someone higher up.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm obviously not gonna draw those guys in the first rounds. That's something I don't have to worry about tonight.

Q. Couple of foot faults there at crucial points cost you. Frustrating that they came in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: On the second serve it was frustrating, because I don't reckon I've ever been foot faulted on a second serve before. So that was frustrating, especially serving for the first set. I was able to block it out though and still grind it out.
I had to save a breakpoint in that game as well, so I was obviously happy to have dug out that first set.

Q. Serena is not the only one to get foot faulted.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. It happens to a few of us.

Q. Any messages to your fans out there from today's match that you want to pass on in light of the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Umm... (laughter.) Obviously it's gonna be a great atmosphere. You know, I love playing in Melbourne. It's a place I've been going to -- I get goose bumps walking into Melbourne Park, so for me to play on Rod Laver Arena again is gonna be a lot of fun.

Q. Today's loss. Is it a hiccup rather than a major drama?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely not a major drama the week before a Slam. Yeah, a lot people question whether playing four or five extremely tough matches in heat is the best preparation anyway. For me, it's not a huge drama.

Q. Niggles okay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, fine.

Q. How many more Melbourne Parks do you think you've got in you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Playing or spectator?

Q. Playing.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. No idea.

Q. How much more, Lleyton, have you got to step up now, even though you're gonna get a good first round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You always gotta step up in Slams anyway. That's what I pride myself on, and always tried to play my best tennis. After you come back from injuries and you've been world No. 1 and won Slams before, that's what drives me, tournaments like next week.
Yeah, I'll be doing everything in my power to get through the first week, and we'll see what happens.

Q. When will you go to Melbourne?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably Monday.
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

January 17, 2010

Lleyton Hewitt

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. How are you feeling ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year? Happy with your preparation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I've got the matches under my belt that I think I needed. Yeah, going into the Hopman Cup, I hadn't played a competitive match in two and a half, three months. It was good to get those three tough matches, then another couple of tough matches in Sydney. Some indoors in Hopman Cup, then a couple of outdoor matches.
So yeah, all things are pretty good at the moment.

Q. Some of the other top players seem to prefer the exhibition events before the Aussie Open. You seem to prefer having competitive matches. Do you think that makes a difference?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for me it's a little bit of both. Obviously, the Hopman Cup is an exhibition at the start of the year. I play a tour tournament the week after. I've always played well in Sydney. I always enjoy playing at Homebush. The conditions there, obviously I've been based in Sydney for a few years as well, it's like home for me going out there and playing at Homebush. I just feel comfortable with the environment there. It's always nice to go back to somewhere you've played well in the past.

Q. What do you know of your first opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot at the moment, so...

Q. How do you go about getting the homework done?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My group, you know, Heals will have a look at probably some tape, find out as much as we can. I've spoken to a couple of people that have played him already the last year or so.
Qualifiers are always tough. Over five sets, though, I'm going to get a feel for him. Throughout the first set anyway. So it's a little bit just getting a feel for him once I'm out there.
But going out on the court, I'll be concentrating on my game. If I take care and execute the things I want to do, then I got a good feeling I can get through it.

Q. People talk about the danger of playing those qualifiers; three matches under their belt. Is that an issue, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, they're always tough because they've come through quallies and they've done it the hard way and they have won matches. You know, a lot of times it's quite close matches in quallies as well. A few three-set matches, they've been in that situation, they're used to the conditions, they've got very little to lose when they get in the main draw. For them it's a main bonus just to get into the tournament. So you can't take any of them lightly.

Q. Your thoughts on the draw? Looking ahead, it probably hasn't been as kind to you as it could be. Pretty tough quarter of the draw. Your thoughts on what lies ahead?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got to get through my first round and see what happens after that. But, yeah, Grand Slams, there's no easy draws, mate. Everyone is here to win. You have to win seven matches to win these tournaments over five sets. Anything can happen.

Q. You love this tournament. You've been coming here since you were a kid. At this end of your career when you come here, does it ever occur to you this might be the last one you play or do you sort of presume you'll be back next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not something I'm thinking about. I haven't thought about it in the past. This year's no different (smiling). I'm not thinking about that right at the moment.
Yeah, it's still a great excitement every time I come here. I love walking down the corridors, walking onto center court. Yeah, I've played so many big matches, but not only in this particular tournament, in Davis Cups as well, Davis Cup final out there on center court. Yeah, I've got a lot of great memories from this place, playing at Melbourne Park. They all come back when you walk through the corridors out on center court.

Q. How do you feel physically? You've had a couple of niggles over the summer. Are you feeling a hundred percent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just had a bit of a back spasm in Perth obviously. Yeah, I was in a match that didn't really matter at all. I wasn't going to make things worse in that match.
Yeah, Sydney I felt pretty good. I hit the ball extremely well yesterday in practice. Couldn't have been happier the way I hit it. As I said, I've done all hard work. Now it's a matter of going on the match court, hopefully executing and doing the things that me and my team will talk about before the match.
If I play my game and play as well as I know I can and the way I'm hitting the ball, yeah, I've got a chance.

Q. We always ask this time of year the conditions, the speed of the court, the balls and everything. How do they compare to last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's probably hard to tell a little bit. The balls could be a little bit not fluffing up quite as much as last year. It's hard to tell, though. Center court gets resurfaced a lot later than a lot of the other courts, as well. Yesterday was really my only first hit out on center court, on any court at Melbourne Park.
Yeah, it's hard to tell. I'd say it's probably a medium-paced court.

Q. Are you looking forward to the Hit for Haiti this afternoon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's something I got asked about late yesterday afternoon. Yeah, it's always nice to try and raise some money. Obviously it's going to a great cause, as well. There's a lot of good players put their hands up to help out, especially only a few hours before a slam starts as well. So it's a big effort.

Q. How are you a different player now than to the way you played in 2005?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure. Not a whole heap, I wouldn't say. Yeah, you're always trying to improve and work on little areas of your game. But, you know, obviously I had a few setbacks with injuries and having surgery and stuff like that. So, you know, your training sometimes alters a little bit compared to some of the stuff you may have done before.
But it's a management thing as well. As you get older, you start getting a few niggles, you have to work around that. In terms of playing, I still know my A Game. Yeah, if we're trying to add a few little things on the side of that, that's more to help out and maybe not be as predictable.
But as a whole, I've still got areas of my game I feel like I can take to another level.

Q. Shorten points or anything...

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I'm still as patient I think as anyone out there. I like to think I play the percentages as well as anyone, as well.

Q. A lot of people have been talking about Rafa this year after the last six months. Do you think a lot of that aura he had over players is dented? Does he seem more beatable than he has in the past?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. The guys he's only lost to have been quality players. Obviously, Davydenko got his number a couple of times towards the end of the year. Davydenko was playing incredible tennis. He got Roger's number, a lot of the top guys.
Rafa lost to Del Potro. Del Potro went on to win the US Open in that same tournament. He's not losing to bad players. Yeah, he's always going to be around the mark. He's a quality player. He's one of the best players going around. Yeah, it's going to take a good player to beat him.

Q. Have you given Peter any tips on how to tackle him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I've spoken to Pete a little bit about it. Just more about, yeah, this is what you play for. A guy from Victoria that, you know, grew up playing juniors here in Melbourne, would have aspired to one day play on center court at the Australian Open, get a night match on the first night against one of the greatest players to play the game, this is what you play for.
So he'll enjoy it. He'll put up a great effort. Yeah, hopefully he can surprise a few people.

Q. Do you think Davydenko might be the biggest threat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think his best result is a semi. He hasn't made a final yet. I think there's a question mark over him in terms of that, to put seven five-set matches back to back against quality players.
But he's obviously hitting the ball extremely well, there's no doubt about that. Whether he can do that back to back, match after match, that's another question.

Q. There's always a lot of expectation put on you this time of year. Do you think this year some of that has shifted to Sam Stosur?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't focus on it at all. Yeah, obviously since Pat retired and Flip had a few injuries and hasn't been playing the slams, obviously the focus, because I've sort of been the only guy until this year in the top hundred in the world, as well, and getting in straight off ranking. Yeah, there's obviously going to be more expectation.
But for me it's still the same. I still prepare exactly the same as I would for any other tournament. I try and do all the right things. You know, I don't feel any more expectation.
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Lleyton Hewitt


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