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Old 06-28-2012, 10:38 AM   #61
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WIMBLEDON

June 28, 2001, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Taylor Dent 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7(2) 6-3

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. One would imagine that Darren earned his pay today. What did he say to you during the rain delay? How did that affect your mindset?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, he came out, as I think everyone saw, he was on fire. Probably played a little bit negative at the start. Darren told me to just hang in there, try to weather the storm. That was basically it. "Try and be a bit more aggressive out there, you know, just be yourself." You know, I tried to come out there. I got on a bit of a roll. 5-All in the second set, I was down breakpoint, got out of it, played a good game to break. You know, kept it going. Obviously, was disappointed that I ended up losing the fourth set. Got a bit tight at the end of the fourth. The way I bounced back, it's as good as I have ever done.

Q. How come you weren't wearing your hat at the beginning of the match, which was unusual?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't wear it much last week. It's easy now, I don't have hair in my eyes. It was all right. You know, just felt like I might whack it on there. Needed a change.

Q. A bit of a lucky omen for you? Are you going to keep it on now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. No promises. We'll see.

Q. For three years you've been hearing negative people saying, "Guy has a great game, but when he gets up against the big hitters, they're going to demolish him." Do you take special pleasure in a guy like this, hitting big serves, sent most of them back, win it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely nice. Yeah, a lot of people start to think if you have a big serve, you're just about home. I draw confidence from guys like that, you know, especially Michael Chang a few years ago, now Andre Agassi. He's won, you know, Grand Slams on all surfaces now. You know, that's the kind of guy that I look to. He's beaten the best players on every surface, he's beaten the specialists on every surface. I draw strength from that. I go out there and I know that my rush return of serve is one of my main strengths out there. I look forward to playing those matches because it's sort of their strength against my strength. You know, it doesn't always come out my way, but on this occasion, the last few occasions, it has.

Q. Your thoughts on winning a match on Centre Court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's nice (smiling). It's nice to have won a singles instead of mixed doubles last year.

Q. What do you think would have happened had you not had that rain delay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, he had to go off a little bit. There's no way that he'd be ranked 143 or whatever he is in the world if he kept playing like that for three-out-of-five sets, three to five sets. You know, so he had to go off. You know, I raised my game, though, as well. Who knows? If I was still out there, when I was going to actually put the foot down was another question.

Q. What was it like to face some of those serves?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a big serve. Obviously you get frustrated. You get to 15-40s, get these opportunities, puts a 140 down the middle and you can't do a thing about it. You get frustrated. I've had to deal with that a lot of times in the past. It's something that you just have to try and shrug off, keep plugging away. I know I'm a good enough returner to get my opportunities.

Q. What was going on in your mind when he's throwing up the ball?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot (laughter). A bit of guesswork. I don't know. It's hard to say. Obviously, I'm starting to think about where he's gone in the past, trying to read his mind a little bit, as well. But, you know, I think I'm just fortunate enough to have pretty quick reflexes when it comes to a thing like that. I sort of react very quickly.

Q. Could you elaborate a bit on the Centre Court issue? Pat spoke before, it might be a bit of a phobia for you to have not won before. You spoke about being inhibited on that court before. How important was it for you to win today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't feel intimidated or anything out there. It's a court where you've got to go for your shots I think to pay off, and I haven't done that as well as I probably should have the last few years. I played a little bit negative when I've gone out there. It's a different kind of court. Court 1 is a lot higher bounce. It's better I think for a baseline player to play on Court 1 than Centre Court, that's for sure. You know, the ball stayed low. I think as we saw, Taylor Dent, I didn't know he could slice that well, but he has a very heavy slice. It's very hard, when they're coming in off that, very hard to pass. That's what Jan-Michael did, and that's what Boris Becker did two years ago when I played him. It's obviously a big relief, though, for me not to have to worry about it again.

Q. Monkey off the back a bit, is it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I didn't go out there with that in mind. I went out there to try to get into the third round of Wimbledon.

Q. What about when you started to tighten up the fourth set? Was it creeping into your mind then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. You know, all I was thinking about was trying to get a first serve in. Felt like I hadn't made a first serve for a couple of games. Probably only four or five points in a row when I didn't get one. That never came into my mind when I was out there.

Q. Fourth set, serving at 40-15, take us through the game, particularly the double-fault.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was probably a bit lucky to get up 40-15, actually. He should have won the first point, if I recall rightly. Got to 40-15. You know, probably should have gone the percentage serve. I went for a serve out wide to his forehand. He slapped it back. I was on the defense then. Sort of got it back. He chip-charged. You know, I missed the pass, backhand pass. Then I missed another first serve on the next point. He hit a great chip-charge actually on that one for second serve. I hit the ball long up the line in a passing shot. Two double-faults. You sort of live and die by it. I go for my second serve under pressure. I went for it. Breakpoint down then. Didn't pay off. It's won me a helluva lot of matches.

Q. El Aynaoui next round. What are your thoughts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Haven't really thought about it. You know, probably sit down and talk to a few people. I've never played him. Haven't really seen him play a lot. Obviously, you know, I think he won in straight sets today, so he's playing pretty good. It's going to be, you know, something I've got to go out there and just play my game. I think against a guy like him, he's not a grass court specialist. I have to go out there and attack right from the start.

Q. Do you think you can win the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a long way from winning. I've only equaled my best ever effort here. You know, another week and a half to go.

Q. Do you train your reflexes? Do you play video games? Do you do something for that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really (laughter). I've always been, you know, the smaller kid, I suppose, growing up, had to face the bigger servers, guys who were two or three years older. I never played my age group in Juniors. I always have had to -- you know, it's just come over time. I was a very good returner in Juniors, as well. It was one of my main strengths. I think that's got to do with practising with better players, bigger guys when I was younger.

Q. Do you have a certain pleasure in going against the grain? Pete and Guga are largely one-surface players to a certain degree. You play on all surfaces. You play Davis Cup and regular circuit. You play against bigger players. Does that give you a certain pride?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I enjoy it. There's no way I'm going to miss a Grand Slam. I love competing. I love playing the Grand Slams. That's the majors. When you sit down at the start of the year, you write down what you want to do for the year, the Grand Slams are penciled in, the Masters Series, and then the Davis Cup is there all the time for me. It's a little bit different issues I think for other guys. They have problems with Davis Cup because of the scheduling, because of coaches, because of all this other stuff, whereas I love getting out there, competing, playing for my country. For the tournaments, I think I'm fortunate enough that I've been able to adjust my game to be able to play on all surfaces. It's been a lot of hard work. It hasn't come like that (snapping fingers). I didn't know how to play on grass, I didn't know how to play on clay three years ago. It's something that Darren has really helped me with. Just being patient, thinking, you know, hoping that it's going to come with time. You know, I'm still learning a lot about clay and grass courts at the moment.

Q. Some say that grass already is your best surface. Would you agree with that at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, probably not. You know, I grew up on hard courts. I know how to play on hard courts a lot better than grass still. Hard courts, I know what to do under pressure a lot more than on grass. I'm still learning a lot. You know, Davis Cup ties have helped me in that situation, playing pressure matches on grass. The last couple years, it's probably been my worst surface really. I've had to learn to play on it.

Q. When you say hard courts, you're talking about dirt or cement courts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard court, US Open, Australian Open, Rebound Ace.

Q. Emotion clearly plays a big part in your game. Were you aware early in the second set you came pretty close with drilling the ball towards Taylor? Was that an attempt to try and intimidate him? Were you aware how close the ball came to him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When was that?

Q. Just after the rain break in the second set.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That was in a point, though?

Q. Right.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, I thought he was going the other way. It's as simple as that. I didn't think he'd stay in the same spot.

Q. How important is it to you to try to get yourself psyched up, get the emotion going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously for me to get the crowd involved, that's when I play my best tennis. It's shown in the past, shown in big matches in Davis Cup in Grand Slams before. You know, it showed today.

Q. You talked about learning still on grass courts. Could you put in words what you learned today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard. I haven't hard time to reflect just yet. I'll learn a lot from it. There's still areas of my game I have to work than on, I think. When I didn't serve well and get a high percentage in, it made life very difficult out there. That's one area of my game. I've got to come into the net a bit more. That's going to come with time. That's not going to happen overnight. I'm not expecting it to change in my next round against El Aynaoui. That's going to come in the next two or three years.

Q. Can you take us through one more key game, the break in the fifth set, particularly the last three points.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was hard. Just lost the set after being -- lost the momentum really. Got out of a good game, the first game of the fifth. Even the first point, you know, I hustled up a storm to get that point. I threw up a deep lob, which got him back on the baseline, ended up winning that point. The other ones, I just hit great returns on. You know, that's going to happen. I knew from there I was going to have to just hold my nerve and try and serve it out.

Q. A lot of people expected after this unusually long period in Wimbledon rain to speed up the surface. Did it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't notice a huge difference. Then again, as I said, Centre Court plays a little bit different to Court 1 which I played on the other day when it was very hot and dry. You know, it's hard to say. Definitely, Centre Court is a little bit more greasy and stays a bit lower than Court 1.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:42 AM   #62
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WIMBLEDON

June 30, 2001, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Younes El Aynaoui 7-5 5-7 6-4 7-6(4)

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Listening to the commentary of the game, everyone seemed to suggest whenever you were in trouble you had the ability to get out of it no matter what happened. Is that something different this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it was a tough match. It was a lot tougher than I thought. I (inaudible) really serve out there today. I was really struggling. You know, I felt like I started getting onto Dent as much as I could the other day. Dent is obviously a better server. Younes served great the whole match. Every time I got to Love-30 or 15-30, he put in two or three big serves. He was serving right to the lines. But I felt like, you know, I felt like the better player for the whole match. It was just a matter of time before I'd get those opportunities to break again. It happened in the third set there. I got fortunate at 4-All. Then in the last set I had another opportunity to break at 5-All. He served well again. I played a very good tiebreak.

Q. I know you treat everything as just the next step onto another game. What's the difference in getting the first time to this level at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, it's great to, you know, make it through to the second week now. It's fantastic. Especially with a lot of expectation on your shoulders, as well, coming into it. It feels good. You know, I'm going to have a tough match. Looks as though it's probably going to be Escude at the moment, the two Frenchies. Whichever I play, I'm going to have to step it up another gear if I'm going to get to the quarters.

Q. Speaking of tiebreaks, this is an area where you've had a bit of trouble, not just this year but in past years as well. Have you changed the way you approach tiebreaks at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually, I feel pretty good in tiebreaks. This year has been very kind to me in tiebreaks. You know, the way that I've played at Queen's against Henman in the two tiebreaks in the final there, I came out and played perfect. In Brazil, I played three doubles tiebreaks and two singles against Kuerten in that one. You know, I feel like, you know, obviously it takes a little bit of experience to, you know, set you up for winning seven points, win by two. But I feel like I've been able to do that pretty well. You're always going to lose the odd one. That's part of playing a tennis match.

Q. No different approach to them at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I go out there. You know, I try to get off to as good a start as possible. It helped today getting a mini break straightaway.

Q. How concerned are you by how hard you're having to fight to get through these matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, I feel pretty good out there. I feel like I've got a lot of energy. Playing on grass, it doesn't take as much out of you as playing on clay or hard court, I think. Especially in these conditions, I've played a couple of rain-delayed matches, as well. I've had delays in both my last two matches. I feel pretty good. I get a rest after this. I got to go for broke one week now. Hopefully I can get to the last of the week.

Q. I know you're a confirmed Aussie Rules man. We have to ask the question, did you watch this morning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I saw, 83, some of it. Rochey was in the changing rooms crying (laughter). It was very hard -- watching it. Every time I came in, he was going nuts. Obviously, a bit disappointing. The boys will bounce back, I'm sure.

Q. Whereabouts would you rate your form at the moment? Do you think you're playing as well as you have at other tournaments, US Open last year? Do you think you're playing well enough to win the whole thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've definitely got to go up, play a lot better if I have a good chance of winning it. I think I'm playing pretty good, though. The way that I've been playing on grass, you know, the last few weeks gives me a lot of confidence, as well. I've beaten some top players in the last few weeks, you know, survived a couple of tight matches already in the tournament. I've got those -- some of the tough ones out of the way. If I get in a tight situation, I know how to sort of react. Here at Wimbledon in the past I've maybe pushed the panic button too early.

Q. Guys were saying they were surprised you didn't go into the net more often. In hindsight, do you think you should have?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I probably should have. You know, it's tough when you're out there. The guy had an extremely good forehand. Obviously, his backhand was his more weaker shot. You know, it was hard to get to his backhand because he kept running around hitting forehands. You have to hit it basically on a dime, then come in on that. I could have taken a few more chances, yeah, for sure. You know, I didn't really want to come in on his forehand too much because it was sort of a hit-and-miss shot. He was hitting a lot of winners off it. Did make it hard for me from the baseline. I felt like I was winning my service games pretty convincingly anyway. Maybe I could have taken a few more risks on his serve.

Q. Did you feel comfortable going out on Centre Court today, more so than the other day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Always nice when you have a win on the board.

Q. Over the three years you've been here, have you felt constrained or intimidated by the Centre Court, all the history?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. It's a different kind of court. There's so much tradition, such a prestigious court out there. Such a great atmosphere to play tennis in. I've never felt intimidated when I step out there. You know, I'll be myself. Paid off the last couple of matches.

Q. Players say they never look at the draw or they're taking them one match at a time. You secretly suspect that they've snuck a peek down the line. I wonder whether Andre Agassi has been at all on your mind during the first week of the tournament.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I haven't seen one of Andre's matches. That's how much he's been on my mind. As I said, I have Grosjean or Escude. I'm going to have to play better than I did the last few days to get past that one. I've never been to the second one. My goal was to get through to the second week. Here I am. I'm going to take it one match at a time from here.

Q. You said before you couldn't serve today. When that's happened to you in the past, how have you gone about trying to rediscover how to serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I served very well.

Q. I thought you said you didn't.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I served well today. That's as well as I've served out on Centre Court today.

Q. Do you actually feel a part of the event now, after the last couple years? Is it a different feeling to be part of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a great feeling, you know, to get through to the last 16. This is when, you know, most of the top seeds start meeting each other. This is when, you know, the tournament starts all over again. You know, I'm feeling -- it's fantastic. I felt like I've been able to do it at all the other three Slams. Now to be able to do it here at Wimbledon, it means a lot to me to be able to play well here. It's an added bonus, that's for sure.

Q. Has fatigue ever been a factor in the last couple of matches? You played so much, quarterfinals French, back-to-back titles coming in, long match against Taylor. Do you feel tired at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I actually feel good. With the days off and that, it's been fine. I'm feeling strong. You know, I put in a bit of extra fitness work straight after I lost in Paris. After I lost to Ferrero, I was in the gym the next five or six days before going into Queen's. The goal was to be able to last, you know, four tough weeks, then be able to put the feet up another three weeks before playing the American circuit. So far it's paying off. Obviously, I was a little bit sort of tired going into Queen's at the start. Now I've sort of freshened up. That's good.

Q. Weight work or endurance work?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mainly endurance work - on the bike, running, skipping, stuff like that.

Q. With a player like Taylor, he's not going to let you get too much rhythm. If you wind up playing Grosjean, could you have some long rallies that will help you get grooved. Is that ultimately helping you in a tournament, or does it make no difference whatsoever?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Not with the matches that I've played over the last couple of weeks. Maybe if you hadn't played too many matches coming into a Slam, you're wanting to sort of get in a nice groove before the tournament, before you start playing sort of the big names in the Round of 16, quarters. I've played that many matches. I've played quite a few baseliners over the last couple weeks. I feel like I am in a bit of a groove. Playing Dent was sort of a one-off thing. I haven't played that many big hitters. Really most of Rosmalen was, you know, pretty baseline sort of tennis.

Q. Do you know your record against Escude, if it's him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I lost to him the first time. I think I'm 2-1 up. I think I've won the last two.

Q. How does your game match up against his, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. He's got an all-court game. He's going to serve-volley a bit, stay back a bit. He returns very well, he moves well. You know, I'm going to have to, you know, be prepared to return very well. He's got a pretty good first serve. I'm going to have to, you know, being seeing the ball well. I'm going to have to move well, you know, make some pretty good passes I think if I'm going to win.

Q. And Grosjean?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Grosjean, I've played a few times. I don't know the record. I think it's about even. You know, he's obviously very quick around the court. He's probably more of a baseliner than Escude. He's got a dangerously sneaky first serve. He wins a lot of points off his first serve, which a lot of people don't realise, I think. It's going to be tough either way.

Q. Did you know the Crows got beaten, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't know that.

Q. Two points.

LLEYTON HEWITT: At least the one result.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #63
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WIMBLEDON

July 2, 2001, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Nicolas Escude 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-4 4-6

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. Who would like to start.


Q. Did you have much juice in the tank in the fifth set or were things starting to take a toll?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually felt fine. My fitness really wasn't a worry. Obviously I was a bit let down after having won love, love, 30. Then, 15-30, he hit a great return. You know, I don't know how he hit that shot that he hit. That would have given me two breakpoints. I felt like I was starting to get on top, in control then. That put a bit of a dent in the confidence, I think. Then I played a couple of slack points the start of the next game. Then he sort of picked up again. He got on a bit of a roll from there.

Q. The start of the sets, a problem again for you instead of having a period where you relaxed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The first set, I didn't really have many chances. He came out and was too good at the start of the first. Second set, that's when I struggled a little bit, early in that one, for sure. I didn't hang with him. Then I still got an opportunity, though. I kept fighting that set. 4-All I had two breakpoints there. You know, didn't capitalize. You know, paid the price. It was going to be hard. He would have beat me if I got into a two-set-to-love lead.

Q. Did you feel at any stage of the tournament that you were likely to win it? You had a few struggles to get to this point. Did you ever feel like you had it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. That's hard to say. I'd never been past the third round. You know, it would be silly for me to think that I'm going to hold up the trophy next Sunday.

Q. Were you playing well enough to do that, did you feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I would have had to play a lot better, that's for sure. You know, I've had a glimpse of playing well over the last four weeks, but I would have had to do it every match for five sets, every set from now on, if you're going to win it. I would have had to play a lot better than I did today.

Q. Do you think Pat can win it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Pat's got a big chance. He hasn't been playing his best tennis so far, but I actually think that's better for him. I think for him -- you know, he struggled a bit more than he did last year through to this stage so far. But he's still there. You know, he hasn't wasted a lot of energy getting there either. You know, I think things are panning out nicely for him. You know, he's probably going to be my favourite. I'd like to see him win it.

Q. Obviously you've had two tournament wins, 15 matches under your belt on grass. You've come further than you have done before at Wimbledon. Has this just whetted your appetite now for next summer to come back and do a lot better and feel at home more on grass?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. You know, I've had a great grass court season. You know, it's over though, now. Not too much I can do about it. But obviously, you know, it comes and goes so quickly, the grass court tournaments. You know, I've done extremely well this year. But, you know, I'll be trying to do better in Wimbledon, in the major one, instead of winning the other two. You know, if that happens, it happens. But obviously my main focus is going to be Wimbledon.

Q. Do you think you maybe played one tournament too many?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, I don't. I think I feel good. You know, I feel fine. It's hard to say if I got through the Dent match or something a bit easier, I could have, you know, helped the body, as well. But, you know, you never know. You can go in and sometimes people will say you're underdone. Went to Queen's, lost first or second round, didn't go to Rosmalen. You can say you're underdone, you don't have the matches on grass. There's two ways to look at it. This year I took a chance by playing two tournaments. You know, I definitely hit some form on grass there for a bit.

Q. When you say you knew earlier on you would have had to have lifted your form to win this, can you put your finger on why you weren't quite at your peak?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. You know, I just didn't feel comfortable at all out there today. You know, I returned fairly well for most of the match. But I just didn't feel comfortable with my groundstrokes. You know, I don't usually have that feeling.

Q. What signal does it give to you to see Roger Federer beat Pete Sampras today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't know until I just came in five minutes ago. It's obviously a great win for Roger, there's no doubt about that. But, I don't know. I'm sure Pete's going to come back and be , you know, next year as high favoured as he's ever been. But I think it says a lot of things to other people, you know, that he is beatable here, as well. Obviously, he's had a great career here. He's probably the best champion, the best player ever to play here. But, you know, it's one day. I didn't see any of the match. I can't really comment on how it went, if Roger was too good, whatever.

Q. You withdrew from the mixed doubles with Kim. I heard her saying it was due to some pain in your knee. Was it really so? If so, was it still bothering you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've had a little bit of pain in my knee. You know, it really hasn't bothered me, though, too much. You know, it bothered me more in my first couple matches than it did the last couple.

Q. Is there a medical problem?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, they're not really sure. It's like patella-something. I got no idea. I haven't had any scans or ultrasounds or anything done. I don't know the exact problem. Just been getting treatment every day.

Q. Do you plan to have some scans or anything?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, the last two or three days I have been feeling a lot better, nearly 100%. I was a bit more worried at the start of the tournament. You know, we'll just see how it goes the next few days.

Q. Pat said before you're only 20, that everyone should be patient waiting for you to win your first Slam. Are you getting impatient?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. You know, when I first came on the tour, I had a bit of a slow start after I won Adelaide there. You know, Darren took me over the next year. You know, we weren't trying to win Grand Slams, you know, when you're 18, 19, 20. He was trying to work on my game when I was 23 going on till I'm 29, 30, trying to work on my game. I'm still developing the game. You know, that comes with fitness and weight work and everything, you know, the whole package. He told me that as soon as we started working nearly three years ago now. You know, so far, so good. You know, I've gone up the rankings; I keep improving every year. You know, I think my time's going to come. I can't put a finger on when it's going to come. Hopefully not too late. You know, I think, you know, everything's improving and I'm still looking forward to hopefully having that one day when I get that opportunity.

Q. Do you leave this tournament thinking there's any one part of your game in particular that you need to improve on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for grass, I think a bit more of an all-court game. You know, there's no doubt I have to try to come to the net more and be a bit more aggressive from the baseline. But, you know, that's a thing I knew coming into Queen's this year, as well. But, you know, that's something that's not just going to change over night (snapping fingers). You have to work, you have to play more matches and you've got to do it in practise. You have to go out there and practise. That's why the Davis Cup ties have helped me on grass so far and they're going to continue to help me when we play those ties on grass.

Q. Will you go out with more feelings of regret than achievement or vice versa?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, it's nice to have won a few matches on Centre Court. I'm pretty happy with that. Obviously, there was an opportunity to play, you know, a guy like Agassi in the quarterfinals. You know, I've just missed out on that. You know, the way that I was playing anyway, I would have got killed by him. Wouldn't have been much of a match.

Q. Do you think you played better at Queen's than you played here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I hit the ball better, yeah.

Q. You're having a break now, I believe. How long will you hang around? How long will you have off? What will you do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure yet. Got no idea. Yeah, I don't plan on playing again till Montreal. A few weeks off, which is nice. I've been going since Rome. It's taking its toll now. But, you know, I've got no idea what I'm going to do. Probably a lot of fitness work, hopefully stay healthy, get in the gym, work pretty hard so I can last the American summer.

Q. With your game on grass, do you have a preference at all playing a big server or a baseliner like Agassi?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it doesn't really worry me. In the past, you know, I really haven't minded playing the big servers such as Sampras, Rusedski, Henman, those guys. Last week in Rosmalen I played a lot of baseliners, as well. That didn't really affect me on an average grass court in Rosmalen A lot softer, a lot more dodgey bounces there. I don't really have a favourite, no.

Q. There's no bigger temptation of showing the big servers how to return?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all, no.

Q. You've had such great Davis Cup results obviously on grass, the two titles at Queen's. When you've come to Wimbledon, it's still alluded you to play quite that well. Do you scratch your head and wonder why that is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think I will this year. You know, if it keeps happening, you know, if I bomb out in the first couple rounds for the next six to eight years, then I'll start wondering. I'm still young. I've had my best result at Paris a couple weeks ago, and now at Wimbledon here. You know, it's going to come, but it's going to take time. As I said, you know, the changes that I'm trying to do to my game and help my game for the years to come, it's not going to happen overnight. I've got to be patient. There's nothing much I can do about it.

Q. Do you and Kim sometimes motivate each other by saying, "Let's see who is the first to win a Grand Slam"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. No, we're not like that. We don't really talk about tennis.

Q. Any holidaying in the next few weeks, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I got no idea what I'm doing. Just thinking about Wimbledon.

Q. Are you going to stay here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'll probably watch Kim play. I don't know if she plays tomorrow. I'll probably watch that.

Q. You talked about Pat's great chance now. Who will the players be putting their money on? Agassi?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The other players?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got no idea.

Q. You, Agassi?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me? Who would I put my money on?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Rafter. That's what I said. You know, I suppose it's a bit with your heart, as well. Obviously, I'd like to see him win. But I think, you know, he's had to work a little bit harder this year. I think we all realise how close he was last year. You know, he was a couple of points away from holding up the trophy. I think he wants it, this and probably the Davis Cup at the end of the year, the two most important things left in his career. You know, he struggled a little bit so far. But, you know, the draw's opening up nicely for him, I think.

Q. Do you think you'll stay as long as he's in the tournament and watch him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure. I haven't spoken to Darren yet. I'm not sure what's going to happen.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

August 28, 2001, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Magnus Gustafsson 6-3 6-2 7-5

NEW YORK CITY

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Is it fair to say that's probably one of the best matches you've been involved in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I thought I played pretty good actually. He's a tough competitor. That's as well as I've seen him play in a long time.

Q. Something you and Darren identify with this tournament, the importance of getting some early three-setters away, conserving energy for later in the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You always want to do that. It's not that straightforward, though. You obviously will put an emphasis on when you get on top of someone, you don't want to lay off the pedal at all. You want to go full on, get through as quickly and as easily as possible without losing as much energy. But today I thought I fought off that third set very well. Who knows, if I can keep winning, that may pay off down the line.

Q. Were you trying to play a sort of less emotional match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Just sort of normal.

Q. How are you feeling about your game at the moment, your leadup to here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not bad. You know, Cincinnati I played pretty well. You know, but the whole thing is building up for the US Open and then obviously the Davis Cup two weeks later. You know, here we are. I feel like I've had a good training week and a half since I lost in Indy. I feel like I'm hitting the ball a lot better than I was in the lead-up tournaments. You have to take it into the match, but it's good to be doing it on the practice court before a Grand Slam.

Q. Great run last year. Does any of that energy run into coming back? Talk about returning to this venue.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Always nice to come back to somewhere where you have good memories of. Obviously, not just making the semis, my best performance in a Slam in the singles, but winning the doubles, as well. It's fantastic. I have very good memories of New York. I've played very well here. Even the year before, I came back and made the third round, loosing a tight five-setter to Medvedev coming off an ankle injury. The last few years, I've got better and better here. Hopefully I can have a pretty good two weeks here this year.

Q. In your heart, how does this tournament compare to the others?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're all different. Obviously, Australia, playing at home, it's a totally different atmosphere than playing in New York. All the Slams are very unique in their own way. Obviously, the tradition of Wimbledon, all that. There's a lot of hype, a lot of emotion. It's a big buzz coming to New York, such a big city, playing a Grand Slam here. You know, I have great feelings every time I come back here.

Q. You get a lot of support from your Aussie mates.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Lot of Aussies out there. Half like playing at home, I suppose (smiling).

Q. How does your game compare from last year to this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think some areas I've been doing a little bit better. Other areas, not so well. You know, last year I think I got better and better as the tournament went on. I struggled my first round against Vinciguerra, got out of that match. I did it pretty straightforward, making the semifinals, didn't drop a set after that. Had a tight three-setter against Pete. You know, hopefully I can build up this year again and I can have some easy matches or easier matches like I did last year.

Q. A bit of extra buzz about seeing your name on the draw with No. 4 seeding?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, it's obviously nice to be ranked No. 4 in the world at the moment, that's for sure. But it just shows that I've had -- the last 12 months have been the best 12 months I've had so far on paper. You know, I feel like I've had a good year without being a fantastic, great year so far. I've been very solid in a lot of the Masters Series tournaments so far.

Q. Your success at Davis Cup, does that give you confidence coming into these best-of-five set tournaments? How different are they?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that's probably the big difference. Obviously, you know, playing five sets is similar. You know, when you go out there, you have the same sort of things in mind, when to get yourself pumped up, when to stay a little bit more calmer out there when you're playing five sets. You know, in Davis Cup, you know that in most cases, in my Davis Cup, I've only had to play the two singles. In Brazil, I had to play the three five-set matches there. It was a new experience for me. In Grand Slams, you have to do that every second day for seven matches. In Brazil I played the No. 1 player in the world. The next day, the other day, a guy ranked 80 or 90. Still tough matches. But you could be playing the No. 2 seed and the No. 4 seed back-to-back. Slams are tough that way. Davis Cup, you're playing for your country. It's a lot tougher in that aspect.

Q. Having had the week off, no tournament play last week, do you feel more energetic? Do you feel any different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Some weeks, going into Slams, sometimes I like to play a lot of matches, get it under my belt, be match hardened going in. Other weeks, I like to hit the practice court, hit a lot of balls, get that confidence from doing a lot of drills, playing a lot of practice sets against some of the better guys out here. You know, I think last year it did well for me having a week off, putting the racquets down for a few days, then working hard five or six days leading into it. Hopefully, it does the same this year.

Q. How is your health at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Up and down. The same.

Q. Same as it's always been?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the same.

Q. How about today, were you feeling it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't feel too bad out there. Have patches up and down. You know, sort of a mental thing. You have to try to block it out as much as possible, get the job done.

Q. On the ranking aspect, being seeded 4 means you're expected to get to the semifinals. You say it doesn't really matter, the No. 4 ranking. Does that put a bit of extra pressure on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not for me. You know, I go out there. Doesn't matter if I was seeded 16. You know, I'm just taking it one match at a time. I'm not looking to I should make the semifinals. You know, doesn't really worry me in that way. You know, obviously getting the fourth seed, maybe you'll get a little bit of help with the draw, as well, with playing other seeds. You can't take anyone lightly, as we're seeing at the moment with Ferrero, tough five-setter at the moment as well. All 128 players are very tough on their day. You have to go out there and, you know, hopefully it matches up well. If you can get a little bit of luck with the draw, having a few easier matches, maybe it pays up the track a little bit.

Q. How much difference do you think it makes 32 seeds as opposed to 16?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably the biggest difference is for the public. You know, they're not going to get the matches where, you know, for example Roddick ranked 18 at the moment, he could have been playing Kuerten, Rafter, myself, anyone first round. It takes those matches out of the game now really until the third round. You know, it's probably protecting those guys a little bit more, I think, the seeded players. You know you're only going to meet someone ranked 35 to 150 in your first two matches. But, as I said, I don't take anyone lightly when I get out there, no matter what their ranking is. I think for the spectators they may see those better match-ups because of that system.

Q. The injury to Philippoussis, the retirement of Stolty have shown how top-heavy Australian men's tennis is. From a Davis Cup perspective, how do you sort of feel about the prospect of even more responsibility down the track when Pat is no longer here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be tough. I don't know what the solution is really. You know, I'm going to go out there and I'm going to give everything I've got in my Davis Cup matches just like I have in the past. It's not going to change the way I look at going out there and playing for my country. Obviously, when I go out there and I have a guy like Pat, who is so good under pressure, has played so many big matches, played well for Australia, that gives me a lot of confidence that we're two guys going out there in the Top 10. That's a tough situation for the opponents to look at. When that does come, if Pat does retire at the end of the year or takes time off, whatever, you know, for the next couple of years at least guys like Wayne Arthurs, Andrew Ilie have to step up to the plate and hopefully Flip comes back as well. These guys have to step up at the plate and have a go. Obviously Wayne, especially on grass, but I think he also showed at Roland Garros this year on clay that if we get a quick clay court, he's going to be dangerous, as well. For the kids, you know, I haven't had a look. I know Newk and Rochey are putting a lot of hours in. Fitzy and Wally have gone to a few of the younger guys.

Q. Any guys 16 to 19 who you personally think are good?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's none that I know of. I know Pat has spoken -- I think he's from Sydney, not sure. Pat has hit with him a few times. Ralph someone. I'm not really sure what his name is. We've given him a few opportunities at Davis Cup ties. I know Pat has taken him aside when he's hit sometimes with him. He thinks he's got a bit of potential. I know Rochey thinks that as well. Hopefully a few years down the track he might burst on the circuit.

Q. I don't know that much about Aussie rules football, but your father played. Was he pretty famous at it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not one of the greats.

Q. Do people recognize him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In Adelaide.

Q. Only in Adelaide?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes.

Q. Has he given you any advice? Kim was talking today about how her father was able to give her some advice becoming a celebrity. Has your father been able to do that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. You know, when you're playing a top level sport, you know how to prepare for matches, the pressures that you are under when you're out there. Obviously he's been able to pass that on. He's been a big help just because I came on the tour at such a young age, as well. Sort of a little bit of a shock when you first come out here. Obviously I've had to learn for myself as well.

Q. Did he help you with how to handle the fans and media, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I think it's sort of, you know, you've got to learn by experience, as well. You make mistakes. You learn from them. Everyone deals with it. Everyone's different. Sort of he's helped me in some areas and then he's let me go in other areas. You sort of have a go by yourself and learn from it.

Q. Is there any particular reason for there being no players coming through in the Top 100 from that age group?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Obviously, you know, we've got a lot more guys playing doubles than we have playing singles. I'm not sure what the rankings are. 150 or 100 in doubles through to 400 in doubles, we have a lot more guys playing doubles than going out playing singles. Sooner or later I think the doubles is cutting back each year. If those guys keep their ranking in that situation, they have to have a go at singles. Whether it's easier to play doubles, only have to cover half the court or whatever, I'm not sure what they're dealing with. I think guys like Fitzy and Wally have to speak to those guys. I know they've been sort of trying the last half year they've been out there with the Davis Cup job now, looking at them and seeing if they have the potential to take it from the doubles to the singles, as well. Who knows, we could get someone breaking through. Pat was a little bit of a later bloomer, as well. Maybe some of those guys can come through and burst on the tour.

Q. Would you say you're a bit concerned over the immediate future of men's tennis in Australia? Only four of you guys here this week.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It would obviously be a lot nicer to have a few more. You know, for Davis Cup ties and that, I think we've still got those few guys who I think are capable of winning a lot of big matches for us. You know, a few years down the track, Wayne is 30, 31 now, as well, he's getting up there. But he has a body on him like a 28-year-old, 27-year-old anyway. I think he has some good years. Once he starts going, hopefully Flip is going to be able to play for a few years as well. We still need some younger guys coming up.

Q. Do you get a bit of a thrill seeing your face plastered on the billboards in New York City?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen it.

Q. You haven't?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I've seen a billboard, that's about it.

Q. Do you like the word they chose for you, "dynamite"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad, I suppose.

Q. Any other suggestion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't have any.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 2, 2001, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Albert Portas 6-1 6-3 6-4

NEW YORK CITY

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Given everything that's happened, can we get your thoughts on how you feel about the last two days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I've given my statement yesterday. I've spoken to James. James and I have both moved past it. I think it's time everyone did.

Q. Did you understand why people would possibly be upset by what you said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, as I said, James and I have moved past it. We are the ones in the incident. You know, I'm just thinking towards my matches now. You know, nice to get through today.

Q. When you came on court today, you weren't introduced. Did you find that unusual?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't even think of it. Wouldn't have known. It's something that when I'm out there anyway, I'm going through my warm-up. I'm not worrying about getting introduced or not.

Q. Were you conscious of any scattered booing throughout the crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I thought the crowd was pretty good. I thought it was pretty fair both ways. You know, at the end of the match, I thought the crowd was, you know, great.

Q. Your explanation was that you only meant the similarity was that the linesman was the same linesman that foot faulted you earlier. Can you tell us why you didn't say that to us in here on Friday, that that was exactly what you meant?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, I think everyone's moved past it. The ITF couldn't work out anything chargeable in it. You know, that's pretty much it. It was something that got very blown out of proportion, I think.

Q. To a lot of people what you said was offensive. Do you have anything to say to those people?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, I apologized if it came out in the wrong way. I said that right from the start.

MODERATOR: Any questions about the match today, please.

Q. Pretty happy with your form?


LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. Hit the ball pretty well. Got through in three sets.

Q. Did you step it up today from the first couple rounds?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, a little bit. I still have a long way to go, though.

Q. Considering all the publicity regarding the incident, were you expecting maybe a little worse reaction from the crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I wasn't really worried about it too much. You know, I was going out there, have a third-round match at the US Open. You know, it's a place where I've had a lot of good memories from last year, making the semis, my best singles result. I was just trying to get through to the fourth round. That's pretty much what I thought about the whole time. I wasn't worrying about the crowd too much.

Q. I don't think anyone considers you a racist. Let's face it, in two of the last three Slams, you've had an incident that's been pretty controversial. You've had incidents before. What have you learned from this? Are you going to try and change things in any way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they're different incidents for sure. You know, this one in particular, you know, I think it all got blown out of proportion. You know, it's something that for sure I don't think anyone wanted to go through. But I'll learn from it. Hopefully, it won't happen again.

Q. Do you think you'll choose your words a little more carefully in the future?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, as I said, you have to learn from your mistakes. I made mistakes on and off the tennis court. You know, if I'm going to be a better player on and off the court, I've got to, you know, learn from that. Hopefully, you know, that will happen in the not too distant future.

Q. How is it blown out of proportion? Both McEnroes were on TV saying it was Australian unforgivable comments, you're challenging this man's character based on his race. We're not saying you're racist, but that is racism.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It had nothing to do with his race. I think if you'll listen earlier what Brian Earley said, it had nothing to do with race. That's what the ITF has looked into. That's what they've come out of.

Q. What is the similarity you're talking about?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You have to ask Brian Earley. We've gone through the whole tapes. I've been through this three days straight now.

Q. Brian Earley is just going on your explanation. The question was, what is your explanation for what happened? Brian Earley just related his view of what you said.

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, all I wanted was the person changed off that line. I just wanted the person changed off that line. That was the whole thing.

Q. When you said "similarity," what did you mean? That's all we're asking.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's all gone now, mate.

Q. It's not gone. It's not going to go away. It will haunt you for months and months and months. Just say what you meant.

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, you know, I've spoken to James. I've spoken to the ITF people. We've all gone through it.

Q. Speak to your fans through the media. When we walk in the stadium, that's all that people are talking about. They want to know what you meant by that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: All I wanted was the line person changed, as any of you people would have if you got foot faulted twice at the same end and hadn't been foot faulted in the first-round match or today's match either. It's just a strange situation when you get foot faulted twice at one end and not at the other end.

Q. What did you mean by "similarity"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd like too to move on to today's match, if you could.

MODERATOR: I think we've taken this issue as far as we can in this forum. Can we have questions about the match.

Q. Can you talk about your temperament on court, whether it plays in your favor or sometimes its negative walks the fine line between blowing up at lines people and trying to charge yourself up to get through?


LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I like to get pumped up, I like to get the crowds involved in my matches. I play my best tennis when I'm fired up and ready to go for each point. You know, some matches that has cost me, especially in best-of-five matches, where you have to stay a lot calmer in the first few sets. I've run out of gas sometimes in the latter part of matches because of that. That's something I'm learning to, you know, deal with with every sort of Grand Slam, Davis Cup tie that passes.

Q. Are you trying to play with less emotion on the court? You were calm and composed today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't have much to get pumped up about 1-3-4. Obviously, I was down a break early in both the second and third sets, but I got those pretty much straight back before it could get to the next point.

Q. As a consequence of this experience, are you going to try to be less emotional?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, in five-set matches I'll get pumped up when I feel it's necessary for me to get pumped up on the court, you know, when I've got to sort of raise my game, try and get to that next level. You know, as I've said, I've got to try and do that more and more in the latter parts of the fourth and fifth sets when you really need to dig deep.

Q. Your thoughts about Tommy Haas. He's playing well now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's playing very well. We've had a lot of tough matches in the past. I was very lucky to get past him at the Australian Open earlier this year. He was all over me in that match. I escaped somehow in all three sets, got out of it in straight sets. He's come off a big win last week beating Pete in the final. I don't think he's dropped a set here yet so far. I'm going to have to play my best tennis if I'm going to get past him.

Q. Does it give you extra confidence to know you came back in every set at the Australian?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Against Tommy?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, it does. But still, I don't think he's going to worry about that when he goes out there in two days' time and plays me. He's a very classy player out there. He's got a great game. You know, he deserves to be in the Top 10 for sure. He's one of the most dangerous players out there at the moment who aren't in the Top 10.

Q. What do you think of the foot fault rule since it's such a motivator, since it arouses emotion? Do you think the foot fault rule is a valid rule? Do you think it should be discontinued?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Are you going to go and serve at the net or what (laughter)?

Q. I'm saying, if it causes such an emotion in you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't questioning the foot fault rule. I was questioning getting foot faulted. I have the exact same action when I prepare day in and day out on the practice court. I've done it in so many matches. To get foot faulted at one end twice, not up the other end in that particular match, not to get foot faulted out there today as well.

Q. You're pretty lucky because John McEnroe was one of the great players. Five years ago he was suspended from his breaking of the code. You broke it, but yet you're still playing. I'm saying you're pretty lucky in that way. I want you to know that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You can perceive it whichever way you like.

Q. What are your thoughts on how James Blake handled the whole thing since the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very classy. He's a classy guy, though. You know, I've known James since the Juniors. I've never been very close to him. I haven't seen him around a lot. He's going to be around for a long time. You know, he handles himself very well on the court and off the court.

Q. What was your conversation with James?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's between James and I.

Q. What makes Haas so difficult for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, he's got an all-court game. He's very big from, you know, all areas of the court. He has a great forehand, great backhand, big first serve, and he can come to the net, as well. You know, I've had a few wins against him, though, as well. In Rome I beat him as well there. Lost to him in the World Team Cup. We always seem to have pretty hard-fought matches out there. This is going to be no easier, I think.

Q. For year people look at Tommy's game, see how talented he was, what do you think has prevented him from having a break-out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. It's strange. I think he's got one of the best games on tour. You know, he started to come through. He beat me in the second round of the Australian Open maybe three years ago, went on to make the semifinals there. I think everyone thought that was going to be his big breakthrough there. It sort of didn't happen. I'm not sure whether that's mental or maybe he's had a few injuries along the way, as well. I'm sure if he keeps going the way that he's going at the moment, he can play on all surfaces, as well. It's another reason why I think he should be in the Top 10.

Q. What kind of reaction have you heard from any fans, negative or positive? Has anyone said anything?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't heard a lot. Basically, I went out there today, and that was my first time in the crowd, in the spotlight, I suppose.

Q. Pat and Pete might be playing the last match of the Slam tomorrow. Is there buzz around the locker room? Guys looking forward to seeing that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be the biggest fourth round probably at a Grand Slam that you'll ever see maybe. You know, to have Pete seeded 10 in a Grand Slam is very strange. But he's definitely not playing like that at the moment, the way I saw him play yesterday. Pat is playing exceptionally well, as well. It's going to be a great match. You know, it's probably a shame that if it is going to be Pat's last Grand Slam, that these two guys, one of these guys has to lose in the Round of 16, because it's more like a semi or a final of a Grand Slam. I think everybody is looking forward to watching it.

Q. Will you watch it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll definitely watch it. Probably on TV. Stay out of the heat.

Q. Is there an extra responsibility comes with being Top 5 in the world as a citizen of this tennis community?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so, for sure, just because you're in the spotlight a lot more.

Q. Are you playing as well as you were last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not at the moment, no. I feel like I'm gradually getting there. You know, I'm not quite timing the ball as well as I'd like to be. I'm through to the fourth round. I'm still hanging in there. There's still areas of my game that I think have to improve in a hurry if I'm going to be a real threat.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

September 5, 2001, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Tommy Haas 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4 6-2

NEW YORK CITY

MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. When did you feel that he would lose his edge?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, the start of the third set, he played, you know, a pretty slack first game of the third set. I think I broke to Love that game. Up till then, you know, I had a few chances to break late yesterday afternoon. At 2-1, I had Love-40. He came out and played five great points there to get out of that game. I had a couple of set points today at 6-5, as well, which I felt like I had my chance. You know, I played a fantastic tiebreak. I got up 5-Love extremely quickly, was able to sort of move on from there.

Q. You're okay with the postponement overnight? Fairly unusual decision.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. Well, you know, we both got told in the locker room before the match started, before we were going out, that we had the choice sort of either, you know, going out there and we may not finish due to, you know, the night session coming in, they had to switch crowds and whatever, or we could have maybe waited till after Guga and Costa on Armstrong, which would have made it extremely late, and both of us hadn't played on center court yet. The women's match before us went so quickly, so we took our chances of going out there. You know, in the end, maybe today favored me a little bit. But last night I still felt that I was starting to get on to his serve. Tommy is a guy who comes out and plays with a lot of confidence right from the first point. That's what happened yesterday when I got down an early break yesterday. But then I felt like I was starting to work my way into the match. That rain delay I didn't feel was going to help me that much. Today I could have lost my serve early. He was on fire at the start. I just tried to hang in there, hang with him. Knew my chance would come.

Q. Did you watch the Roddick match last night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. I just tried to eat dinner. Went out and had dinner. I left out of here, you know, reasonably late. I saw a few games, that was about it.

Q. Any thoughts on how Andy is playing since you last faced him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's getting better and better. You know, he's obviously got a lot more confidence now, as well. He's in the Top 20 now. You know, I'm going to have to play as well as I can play. He's proven to everyone that he can handle the pressure of being the next great hope. You know, he's in the Top 20. He's here. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match and I'm going to have to play a lot better than I've been playing if I'm going to get through.

Q. Do you think Andy Roddick will prove to be your foremost rival over the years, ten years from now when we're back here talking to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's certainly going to be up there. He's not going away, that's for sure. He doesn't have the game, he doesn't have the attitude which is going to go away. You know, he's here to stay. He's going to be up there. But I think there's a lot of guys. We still have Federer, Safin, these guys who are up there, have been there as well. Maybe Federer doesn't have as much power as a Roddick does, but he's still got a great game. There's a lot of other guys. Who knows? Andy has been able to come on the tour so quickly, it's unbelievable. Since one year ago, playing the Juniors here, now he's in the quarterfinals. Who knows? There could be other guys coming up from Juniors who will be able to do the same thing. This quickly, I'm not sure.

Q. When you look at men's tennis in America today, aside from Roddick, do you see anybody else coming up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I really hadn't seen a lot. Gambill has had flashes here and there. He's been struggling a little bit on the clay. Roddick has been able to show this year that he can match it with the top guys on all surfaces. He's got that behind him now. I haven't seen a lot of the guys. There's Ginepri, Blake, a few guys, but they're not as dangerous as Roddick at the moment. They're good players, they're going to be around the mark. I think everyone is sort of pinning their hopes on Roddick being the next Andre or Pete.

Q. Many concerns about backing up again tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I've had to do it in a lot of the Masters Series events, as well. Lucky I only had to play three sets out there today anyway. You know, I think I'll be fine. I'm young enough. You know, obviously it's a little bit of a disadvantage, but I'll go out there with the attitude that I'm fit enough, you know, I've got the miles and legs to be able to do it.

Q. What are your thoughts if it is a night match, seeing that he's played three night matches already?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it's probably odds on that it's going to be a night match with, you know, two young guys going at it, especially the young American guy now, and also that I'm the only guy who had to finish off a match today, as well. They probably want to give me a little bit extra rest, as well. It's a good chance it's going to be a night match. I've got to go out there and, you know, not worry about that. I've played here one night match last year when I played Enqvist. Obviously, I've got to try to get off to a quick start out there tomorrow night.

Q. Can you talk about your respect for Tommy's game? Ten years from now, hypothetical of course, would you say you see it growing into a great rivalry with yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Tommy's got a great game, no doubt about that. He came on the tour, you know, a few years earlier than me. But ever since I've seen him play, I thought, you know, he's definitely a big threat to win a Grand Slam. It just sort of hasn't really happened for him. I said a couple of days ago that he made the semis of the Australian Open, he beat me in the second round there. He just sort of hasn't quite got that breakthrough, you know, to get in the Top 10, Top 5 in the world yet. You know, it's strange. He's got all the shots. He's got everything. He can play on all surfaces, as well. You know, something's just not clicking for him at the moment. But it's just a matter of time, I think.

Q. Last time you told us you expected him in the Top 10. Considering his mental weakness today, might that be the clue why he didn't make it here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's definitely he's got to be a bit mentally stronger out there, that's for sure. But if he came out and won that second-set tiebreak, then I was going to be in a lot of trouble, down two sets to Love. It was just fortunate that I got off to a good start in that tiebreak, otherwise I'm going to be under a hell of a lot of pressure out there, trying to come back against a guy, you know, he's one of the best guys when he's leading, when he's a front-runner. He plays on a lot of confidence.

Q. A lot of people overlook Roddick's second serve, which I think has a big kick on it, particularly on this court. You played him twice now - one and a half times at any rate. What is your key with a two-handed backhand to handling that kick into the ad court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a great serve. There's no doubt about that. He's got one of the best second serves on the tour. It's big, but he can also -- you know, he pops it, but he can get that kick, as well. You're not sure if he's going to go for the big slider down the middle or the kicker out wide. You've got to stand in and try and take it as early as possible. But it is extremely, extremely tough when it does get up, you know, high with a double-hand backhand. You know, I was able to do it pretty well in Miami when I played him there. You know, the French Open is totally different. It's sort of, you know, that sort of kick serve works a lot more on the French Open clay just because it's a lot slower. But also his serve is not coming through quite as quick.

Q. Try to take that ball early?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You have to try to take it as early as possible. The same with guys like Rafter and Sampras, as well.

Q. How many times did he cross you up? You won the match fairly easily at Key Biscayne. How many times did he cross you up where you were expecting the kick, he comes down the middle instead?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't recall off the top of my head. Definitely, you know, he goes for it a few times. That's one of the main reasons why he's gone so quickly up the rankings - because he's got no fear up there. He pulls the trigger when he believes he needs to. You know, that's one good thing about him, I think. You know, he's not worried about, you know, what the other guy's going to do. He goes out there and, you know, wins matches off his own racquet.

Q. Obviously any time Agassi and Sampras play at The Open, it's a big event, transcends tennis. Do you look at it as something you'll make time for or go out of your way to see, or is it at this point just a match on the other side of the draw?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a bit bigger than a match on the other side of the draw (smiling). Yeah, it's a great match, there's no doubt about that. You know, these are two guys that I idolized growing up. You know, love watching those guys play, you know, Grand Slam finals and stuff like that over so many years. For them to play in a quarterfinal, you know, it's obviously a bit different for them. It's a bit different for the crowd, as well. You know, they're going to be going at it hammers and tongs out there. It's hard to pick a winner.

Q. You will watch it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'll definitely watch some of it. I don't know if I'll stay up and watch all of it.

Q. There were some comments Richard Williams made causing a bit of a dismay back home, about basically rejecting your explanation on the Blake match, going so far as to say your upbringing in Australia was the reason for those comments, that Australians, white Australians, have treated aboriginals like dogs. How do you feel about those sort of comments, even though you can't be held responsible for what he says?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't heard it. That's the first time I've heard of it anyway. It's something, especially with me, you know, I've got no problem with aboriginals at all. We've had them at school, we've grown up together. It's something that has happened so long ago, had nothing to do with me at all. I can't comment on that really at all.

Q. So talk about the keys to beating Roddick. Do you try to extend him in as many points as possible? Do you try to be aggressive yourself so he doesn't be the aggressive player and control?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got to try to find a nice balance between the two. I've got to make him play a lot of balls. Also I've got to go after it. I can't let him try and dictate play too much. You know, so it is tough to try and find that sort of happy medium in there. But, you know, it's sort of getting out there and just getting a feel for it. Once you sort of get into the match, then just on the right balls, I've got to, you know, stay aggressive and stay positive in myself and believe in myself out there. But I don't want to pull the trigger too much. I want to hold back a little bit and sort of try to make him play that extra ball.

Q. What would you say impressed you most about your win today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The way that I hung in there. You know, as I said, I felt like yesterday afternoon I was starting to, you know, maybe get on top of him a little bit. I had a few breakpoint chances there and I wasn't able to convert. Then today, you know, I was able -- put under a little bit of pressure early in my service games when I came back out. If I went down a set and a break, it was going to be pretty much all over there. The way I came back, dug down deep in the second-set tiebreak, was able to play one of my best tiebreaks I ever played.

Q. Is that just two matches for you that were held overnight because of rain?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In my career?

Q. The French Open and one here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, the two biggest. You know, I've had a few others I think, littler tournaments, but not in Grand Slams.

Q. Did you have any objection to that being stopped last night when there was still a fair amount of time left that it could have been played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We really had no choice. They came to us and they sort of gave us the option before the match started. You know, we were both happy with that, you know, to go out there and try and play the match. But we knew the conditions weren't promising going out there. The referee came in and told us that the rain is going to keep drizzling for another hour and a half. He told us pretty much there's no use and we don't want to get the day crowds and night crowds coming in and making it hard for them, as well. You know, it was probably a little bit harder on us, for sure. For everything else, TV, you know, the crowds, so forth, it was probably easier.

Q. Is it going to be possible for you to play another composed match in a night atmosphere out there against Roddick, creating such excitement?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I'm just going to have to try and block it out, go out there. I've been able to do it in big matches such as the Davis Cup in Brazil and stuff like that. I'm just going to have to try and think about that, draw a lot of strength from those kind of matches.

Q. Did you find Andy impatient in the previous two matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think, you know, he's pretty patient from the baseline. There's not too many times that he goes for, you know, a ridiculous shot out there. You know, he picks the times. I think, you know, nine times out of ten, he probably picks the right time to go for it. He's got those weapons that he's able to, you know, most of the time pay off.

Q. Which part of your game do you think you need to improve in order to win a Grand Slam title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I've definitely got to get more cheap points off my serve. You know, that's one of the main areas. You know, just keep coming to the net and trying to persevere with that. You know, sort of give myself another option. You know, I'm not saying I'm going to come out and serve-volley everything, but just to mix it up, you know, just to change it up. It just gives me another dimension to my game.

Q. Do you thrive on the Davis Cup-type atmosphere that you might be seeing tomorrow night? Would you rather play that type of a match where the crowd is into it, yelling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it doesn't really worry me. You know, it's totally different to Davis Cup. I love playing Davis Cup. It's the biggest thing for me throughout the whole year. But it's going to be a totally different kind of thing going out there and playing a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Q. Does it get you more pumped up because the crowd is so into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I love playing in front of crowds. No doubt about that. I've played my best matches in front of, you know, big crowds. It definitely doesn't harm me, doesn't make me too nervous. That's for sure.

Q. How much of an edge will Andy have, having played on the Stadium Court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's going to have a little edge just because he knows what it's like at night. It's probably going to be a bit different pace, a little heavier, I would say, out there. But, you know, I'll work it out after a few games.

Q. Are you going to be able to hit out there before tomorrow night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll see. I won't be waiting around tonight to practice under the lights.

Q. Should the No. 18 seed play that often on that court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If it brings in the crowds, I've got no problem with it. You know, coming up in Australia, at the Australian Open, I played a few night matches when - I think one year when I got wildcards into it. So, yeah, I think it's good. If the crowds like it, it's going to pack the stadium, you know, it's good for tennis.

Q. Could you talk about your recent evolution as the standard bearer of Australian tennis now that Patrick is probably going to take an extended break, maybe permanent, Mark obviously on the sidelines. A few years ago we were talking about you as juice boy of Davis Cup. What does that mean to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it's a great honor to play Davis Cup matches and see all the great champions that, you know, have played before me, being top Australian players. For me to be in the Top 5 players in the world, to represent my country, you know, it's fantastic. But it's obviously going to be a lot tougher in some of the Davis Cup ties now due to, you know, Pat maybe retiring or taking a break. And Flip, who knows how his knee is going to come up. We don't really have a lot of young guys coming up at the moment. You know, maybe it will be a little bit of an added pressure going in there. But I'm still going in there with, you know, a job to do. I go out there and, you know, I give a hundred percent every time I step on the court and that's not going to change.

Q. One of the big debates we're having is whether Patrick will actually come back. Can you give us any indication?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea. As I said, we're playing the Davis Cup basically for Pat this year, that's for sure. We want him to win the Davis Cup just because he missed out two years ago through injury. I haven't even spoken to him, and I won't speak to him till after that's done.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 6, 2001, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Andy Roddick 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-4

NEW YORK CITY

MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Do you want to talk about what was going on with you while the commotion was going on after the first point of the last game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What was going on with me?

Q. What do you do during that time, your opponent is getting upset over an overrule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's Love-15. I'm just trying to concentrate on the next point, trying to make a return. He was serving pretty big out there tonight. You just have to take your chances when you can. Didn't do much good on the next point anyway. I lost that one. But I've just got to try and block it out, try and focus on my game.

Q. How does it rank overall amongst all your wins?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's definitely up there. You know, gutsy performances, it's pretty hard to beat Brazil. The Costa match in Barcelona. Probably pretty close behind that, that's for sure. Especially it's in a Slam. You know, to come out of it against a guy like that who is so hard to break, especially when you get in a fifth set with him. I was down a couple of breakpoints there, fought them off well at 4-All.

Q. Do you also take more out of it considering what's happened to you over the past ten days, play like that tonight, rise above it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't really worry about it. I'm going out there, I'm doing a job. I wanted to make the semifinals again. I've had a consistent year this year without having a great or fantastic year. I've made a lot of semifinals in the Masters Series event, but haven't been able to make that next step up in the slams or Masters Series. Coming back here and having to defend a semifinal from last year, to be through the semis now, it's a big relief, it's great.

Q. He was saying that chair umpires should never make that call in that situation. Have you ever had a call like that go against you, an overrule, that you can recall?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've had overrules. I can remember an overrule in the final of Scottsdale to lose my serve. I went down a break, and Jan-Michael Gambill served for the match after that. It happens. But you can't say someone can't overrule it because of what stage of the match it's in. It's up to the umpire. He can't be biased and say, "It's tight, a close match, I can't call this one. I have to go with the line call." The way he sees it from the first point, last point, match point, he's got to go with his instincts. He obviously thought the ball was out.

Q. When you see a player go that crazy, you're tending to your own game, do you feel his concentration is going to be a bit shoddy coming back, you can take advantage of that, or do you concentrate on yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I try and -- obviously, he was going to be disappointed, but I knew he was going to be very fired up coming the next serve. So it was a tough situation because the whole crowd was behind him after that call, as well. He came out and played a great point the very next point. But I try and block it out as much as possible and just concentrate on my game, what I've got to do. I try and block out what he's going on about with the umpire.

Q. He was pretty angry about it when he came in here still, even said he felt as if the match was stolen from him in some respects. Can you understand that anger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's straight off after the match. He hasn't had time to reflect on it. We've been out there for three and a half, I'm not sure, maybe around that mark. It all comes down to one last service game where 4-All he has two breakpoints, facing a second serve on one of them, he thinks, "I'm about to serve for the match here in the fifth set." Two minutes later, he's down match point. He's got a bad line call at the start of that game. It's a tough situation. I don't think anyone can blame him for not being happy, that's for sure.

Q. Was the ball clearly out to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For me? I thought the ball was out. I wasn't sure if the lady on the line was blinded by me or she saw the ball in.

Q. There was a moment in the fifth set, serving to the ad court, missed the first serve. Someone in the crowd screamed out, "Foot-fault." You took a moment and then you missed your second serve, long for you. Can you talk about that moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Didn't hear it. I remember serving a lot of double-faults in the fourth and fifth set. I definitely didn't take my time extra if someone said something. I just went through my normal routine.

Q. Spectators were riding you very hard. Tonight. Did that bother you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I tried to block it out as much as possible when I'm out there. I actually thought the crowd was pretty good. I've played some Davis Cup ties. Yeah, that's pretty gentle. I had a lot of support when I hit good shots. You know, they obviously enjoyed my style of tennis, as well. It was two totally different styles playing each other. You have one guy who is very aggressive, plays with a lot of power. Then you have me, sort of counter-punching, running everything down, trying to guts it out. I think the crowd enjoyed that sort of match-up.

Q. Not to say that the call was a break for you, but when he got upset and all this happens at that point, do you feel that is a break for you, rattled him a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously better than being 15-Love, him serving. Having it Love-15, having that little bit of an opportunity. As I said, he's the kind of guy, a lot of other guys maybe, but with his serve, he can come out and serve four aces, it really doesn't matter. So who knows. He's the only one who can tell if it played on his mind at all. I still think he didn't play that bad a game. He won the next point. It was a 30-All game, pretty tight there. He didn't go for it as much on match point. He had a short forehand, and he didn't quite rip it as he probably would have at 2-All in the first set. I got a chance to hit that passing shot.

Q. Is it harder to back yourself up for your next match after a win like this? What sort of experience do you have there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know. I got a day off tomorrow. Obviously, I want to reflect on the match, let it sink in. This is a semifinal of a Grand Slam. You know, this is equal to my best performance in a Grand Slam. I'm going to go out there Saturday and give everything I've got again. Hopefully I've got enough energy in the tank. You know, I don't think it's going to be a downer. This is a great opportunity for me to go out there and, you know, really see what I'm made of.

Q. How did you learn last year's semifinal? Will you take that to the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll try to. Just the nerves, being part of Super Saturday here. Last year obviously I had a set point in the first set. I lost 6, 3, 6. A few tiebreakers there where I had chances against Pete. Totally different style of game playing Yevgeny.

Q. You compared the crowd atmosphere to Davis Cup. People are rooting for their country or against the country. Generally in the individual events, the crowd doesn't get against an individual, especially the No. 4 guy. Does it at all start to say anything to you about what's been going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If I was American, I'd be out there supporting him. If I was someone from the public, watching him play, he's a 19-year-old who has had some unbelievable results over the last time. He played with a lot of hype. Been in the public eye. If I lived here, I'd go out and support him.

Q. But they wouldn't boo you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just go out there. I think they're in their rights to (inaudible) as hard as they want for their guy. Probably 90, 95% of the people there tonight wanted Andy to win. I can understand all those reasons.

Q. There's been a history of there with Yevgeny, Brisbane, Davis Cup. How do you prepare to play Yevgeny?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player, especially in Grand Slams. He's a lot tougher in Grand Slams than week-in and week-out at the smaller tournaments. I've never played him in a Grand Slam. He played extremely well today in the parts that I saw. I'm going to have to be prepared to sort of match it with him from the baseline and take my opportunities when I can. As I said, he's had great Grand Slam results. It's going to be awfully tough.

Q. What are your thoughts on Yevgeny? Obviously, you had the thing in Brisbane Davis Cup. Sort of bloke you'd have like to have a beer with?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's been fine. We've practiced together a lot in the last few months actually. He's been fine in the locker rooms. He's actually -- I'm pretty happy with the relationship.

Q. 4-4, two breakpoints. What was going through your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Really just sort of hang in there. You know, I didn't know how many opportunities I was going to get. I definitely didn't want to make an easy mistake. Then I ended up going for it a little bit on one of the breakpoints. I hit a big forehand up the line. On the other one, I hit a pretty good first serve.

Q. Getting tight at the end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Definitely I didn't feel that tight when I had to go for it when I was down breakpoint.

Q. How do you feel you shaped up after this match, 3 hours and 40 minutes, not just the time of the match, but the emotion and all that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm going to have to put my feet up tomorrow. You know, it's definitely both physically and mentally draining out there tonight. Playing a night match, playing a guy who's had so much hype, playing with a packed house out there, as well. You know, it was really a good feeling to be a part of it and be up there playing in that environment. I've got to try and block that out now. I'm into a semifinal. I've never been past the semifinal here. Only my second time. I look forward to getting out there. Hopefully I'll be fresh enough to give it a hundred percent.

Q. How would you compare reaching the semis this year to last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think last year I was sort of gradually getting better and better a little bit with matches. Here the first few matches, I really didn't play that well. Even against Tommy, I didn't think I played that great of tennis. I hung in there well, I kept fighting, made him play that extra ball. But tonight I played some of my best tennis. Hopefully I can keep that going for, you know, maybe one, maybe two more matches.

Q. After having played not so well the first two or three rounds, do you think you're to the point where you could maybe win this thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a long way from winning. As I say, this is only my second time in the semis of a Slam. I lost that one in straight sets. I've got a lot of work to do before I can even get out there and play one match for a title.

Q. What were the parts of the game that came good tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Return of serve was fantastic. Couldn't return much better. My hustling around the court, my court coverage, staying aggressive on big points. It's been a big improvement for the first three or four rounds.

Q. Playing at night, any disadvantage for you getting used to the change in conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit different. I played enough night matches, especially probably at the Aussie Open more than anywhere, in big arenas. It's good lights out there. It's obviously a little bit different just with conditions and that, a little bit heavier at night. I felt like I pretty much got into it after a few games out there.

Q. Out of all the Grand Slams, the surfaces you played before, is this the one that fits best your style of play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably at the moment here or the Australian Open. I grew up playing on Rebound Ace. Even though I haven't had my best results at the Australian Open, I still feel very comfortable as soon as I get on Rebound Ace.

Q. What do you do tomorrow? Do you have a hit at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably have a bit of a hit, very light though. Won't be doing too much running. Sleep in as well. Probably have a massage.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:15 AM   #68
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 8, 2001, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-1 6-2 6-1

NEW YORK CITY

MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Who would you prefer if you had a choice to meet in the final tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I'm not really sure. You know, Safin is obviously a big hitter, got a big serve. Pete, the way he's playing at the moment, the way he played against Andre and Pat, he's going to be very tough to beat, as well. They both didn't have great lead-ups, US summer, coming into this. That just proves how much class they've got when it comes to Grand Slams and big matches. I can't even predict who is going to win this. Sort of suck it and see really.

Q. Obviously, you get yourself pumped up for a big match, semifinal. How strange is it to come in it, have an opponent play so flat? Is it tough to adjust to that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. But I knew I had a job to do. You know, I just kept going after it out there. You know, it's hard to sort of keep your concentration, though, when you're about to serve for it to go two sets to Love up, and you know he's not playing his best tennis. You think he can only get better out here. Yevgeny is that kind of guy. If you give him a sniff early in the third set, he's going to stay out there and fight it to the very end. I wanted to sort of keep the momentum going early in the third set. I was able to get up that early break, sort of finish it from there.

Q. Coming off a five-setter, then the devastating result you had here today, can you feel any better or more prepared no matter who it is you face tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, but, you know, I prefer to be out and finished, sit back and watch those guys grind it out. Even though I didn't get through, I had to play the late match. It was a lot later because we had the women's final in between the men's two semis. That's maybe one of the reasons why Pete wasn't up for it so much the next day. Definitely it's in my favor, but also I had a long match, I've had a couple of long matches, throughout the tournament. Had a long match against Andy, you know, a couple of days ago, as well. You know, I was happy that I could get out of this one relatively quickly.

Q. Very eventful two weeks here. Can you just talk about your emotional highs and lows, how you're feeling now, what's left in the tank going into the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel good. You know, I've been -- I wasn't hitting the ball well really at the start. I hadn't had a great US summer, even though I sort of fought through Cincinnati to make the semis there, you know, lose to Pat in the end. But it just wasn't clicking. I came here, I was fighting through my matches, but it still wasn't really there. You know, I stepped it up really against Tommy Haas, best match, maybe a little against Portas, but against Tommy I stepped up and played. Against Andy, that's when I played some of my best tennis. I tried to take that confidence into today. I'm definitely going to still be on that high from the last two or three matches that I played, you know, very consistently out there. I've been moving well. You know, I'm going to try to take that into tomorrow's final.

Q. You served for the match, you thought you had an ace, celebrated, the chair umpire called the let. What were you feeling at that particular second?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I had to try and concentrate. You know, another first serve. I still went for it. You know, I've never been in that situation, serving to try to get into the first Grand Slam final. Find yourself 40-Love up. Gets back to deuce. You know, I played a little bit tentatively there. But then I felt like, you know, I went out there and I hit some good shots on the next match point when I had my fourth opportunity.

Q. Did you say anything to the chair umpire when he called the let, like, "I can't believe this just happened"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I just asked him. It was like the crowd and everything sort of happened all at once. I didn't hear the actual -- normally I can hear it if it's going to clip the tape. I didn't actually hear it. That's why as soon as he said it, it was one of those serves that could have touched the net.

Q. It's not unusual for athletes or even teams of athletes after a very emotional victory to come down a little bit, not be able to get up for the next match. What's your plan for staying emotionally stable after a match like this so you can come back in the next match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, you enjoy it sort of for an hour or two after the match. You know, you reflect on the win. You definitely don't go out and celebrate. But you reflect on it and you enjoy it, but then you've sort of got to think ahead. Still two matches to be played here if I was going to win this tournament. I knew that I had a good chance against Yevgeny today, and I didn't want to let it slip. Never made it through to a Grand Slam final. Now that I've given myself that opportunity, it's sort of the same thing. I'm just going to carry out the same sort of strategy that I did after the Roddick match.

Q. After the commotion and controversy in the second round, how have you been able to focus? What have you done? Does that seem like ages ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't feel like ages ago. You know, I've just blocked it out. I've just gone out there and taken it one match at a time. You know, I know if I play my best tennis, I'm capable of winning big matches. I've been able to do it in Davis Cup ties. You know, I've probably thought about those Davis Cup ties I've been through, the Barcelona match against Costa and Ferrero, then the Brazil match where a lot of things were against you. I went out there, played my best tennis, came out on top. That's what I've been thinking about for the last week and a half.

Q. How upset and frustrated were you during those three or four days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I really didn't have much control of it after that. I just tried to block it out as much as possible. As I said, I was playing in one of the four biggest tournaments we wait for throughout the year. I didn't want to let something like that sort of, you know, block my tennis game. I haven't let that happen. It's something I can be proud of.

Q. You've been known for your mental strength for a long time. Has there ever been a time in your career when you allowed distractions to get inside your head? Have you learned something from that? Are you able to tunnel through those things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't really remember a time when I haven't been mentally tough out there. You know, it's something I've done, coming through the Juniors. Haven't been as big and strong as a lot of the guys. I never played my own age group in Juniors. I was always playing one, two, maybe three years above my age. I had to find a way to have an edge over those guys because I wasn't going to overpower them or serve bigger out there. So obviously my movement was one of those. The other thing was being very mentally tough out on the court. I've been able to do that. That just came through into the senior ranks as soon as I got my opportunity. I qualified when I was 15 for the Australian Open. I believed I was able to match it through those quallying rounds. The next year I felt like I was able to win the tournament in Adelaide. I didn't doubt myself, whether I was playing Agassi or whoever I was playing through that whole week. That's one of the main reasons why I've been able to get in the Top 10, the Top 5, at such a young age.

Q. Is that something your dad taught you or you learned on your own?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit of both. You know, that definitely helped me in that area, that's for sure. You know, I think I've learned sort of throughout myself that I needed some way to beat those older guys in Juniors. This was one of the ways. I've had a few coaches and squads as well tell me that along the way.

Q. Considering that obviously when you were 15 years old, you play your first professional match against Bruguera in the Australian Open, was a big occasion, you mention now Davis Cup ties, you have been to other occasions. In your singles career, this probably will be the most important match of your life.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, apart from those Davis Cup matches that I've played, it's on par with those. But, you know, in my personal career, it's definitely going to be the biggest match tomorrow. I've won maybe nine tournaments, I think, but I haven't been able to crack it in the Masters Series or the Grand Slams. Last year my best result was the semifinals here. I've made quarterfinals, Round of 16s pretty consistently this year. I said coming in here, it's been a good year without being a great year. It's getting a little bit better now.

Q. I know you've been a big fan of Rocky movies. The parallel here is Rocky came back and won his last fight. I'm wondering if maybe you'll take in a Rocky movie to prepare yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. I haven't watched one for a long time, but everyone keeps talking about it. I've watched it many times, I know every word in it. I won't have to watch it. It's a great movie. Very motivational.

Q. Did you ever visit the steps in Philadelphia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never been to Philadelphia. If I went, I would.

Q. If somebody didn't know you were an Aussie, would look at your Australian Open and US Open results, comparable surfaces, you clearly really responded to the situation here. Can you comment on that? What's your take on why you've done so well here and struggled more at home?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. This year I felt like I was hitting the ball great going into the Australian Open, as well as I've ever hit the ball. I had probably one of the toughest draws you could get in a Grand Slam. I had Bjorkman, to play Tommy Haas, to play Carlos Moya. I got out of the Bjorkman match in a tough five-setter. I beat Tommy in three extremely tough sets. I eventually lost to Carlos Moya 7-5 in the fifth after having a lot of chances in that match. I felt like if I could have gotten over that hurdle, the draw may have opened up for me, as you saw Clement and Grosjean in the semifinal there. You know, in terms of playing my best tennis, I think I've hit the ball as well in Australia as I've been hitting it here. Things just haven't broken through for me. You need that little something to open up in the draw maybe for you to get through. The other thing, maybe I've taken a week off the last two years before the Grand Slam. In Australia, I haven't done that. Maybe that's an option I have to look at down the future.

Q. You mentioned playing up as a junior, Barcelona, Brazil. There's been this tournament this week. As kind of a feisty fighter, does it sort of help you to have a big obstacle in front of you where the odds are sort of against you? Does that help you in any way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if it helps me. It's something that I don't, you know, turn away from. I enjoy challenges. I enjoy going out there, you know, sometimes being the underdog out there. I think that's one reason I've never doubted myself in those situations. That's what's come through in Brazil and Barcelona where I've played those big matches, where the crowd has been against you, you're playing better players on their home surface in front of their home crowd. I've still been able to have that self-belief in myself every time I've gotten to that situation. It's a little bit the same here, I suppose, the last couple days.

Q. You defeated Corretja in the Australian Open like today Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Have you been in the situation, on their side, in some of the matches? Do you think how the opposition feels in a match like today or against Corretja in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I haven't lost that convincingly, I don't think. I was down 5-Love in the first set against Haas, but I got out of that in the Australian Open this year. You know, it's obviously tough, though, there's no doubt about that. You know, Grand Slams are what you live for, that's what you play for. You know, Yevgeny, he's been there and done it. He knows what it takes to win Grand Slam titles. Obviously, he had an off day. Everyone has those kinds of days. He's going to bounce back, no doubt about that.

Q. A big part of Yevgeny's win over Gustavo was his play around the net. He was very aggressive. You dominated him the few times that he did get to the net today. Did you sense passing him or forcing errors at the net today got into his head, maybe made him a bit more passive than he wanted to be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I'd seen a few of his matches, a few points of his last few rounds. He looked to be coming in, looking for that opportunity to come to net more and more. You know, I wasn't surprised when he tried to do that early. I believe my passing shots are one of my best strengths. I went out there and I knew I was capable of passing him most times he came in. Got off to a good start. Then I think he really wasn't sure what to do out there. I think that was half of his game plan, to try and throw in that surprise tactic of coming to the net, sort of rushing me, putting me off a little bit. Didn't worry me. I got lucky on a few passes maybe, and he missed a couple of volleys there. He really didn't know where to go from there, I don't think.

Q. Patrick Rafter, for example, he would just keep coming in, be in your face.

LLEYTON HEWITT: But, you know, Pat is a lot better at net than Yevgeny is, as well. That's his natural game. Yevgeny's natural game isn't to come in. He was doing something which, you know, in the past few matches may have helped him a little bit, but it's something that maybe you can't rely on in pressure situations.

Q. There's been analysis in terms of why your Grand Slam record wasn't better, even though of course you are 20. Is this sort of justification of your methods, the amount of tennis you play, which of course is being questioned? What would winning a Grand Slam title mean to you, also?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously a big step, making the final of a Grand Slam. You know, I felt like it was, you know, just a matter of time. I'd made so many semifinals. In Masters Series, I've beaten so many of the big guys in smaller tournaments. When I started with Darren, we weren't looking at trying to win Grand Slams at the age of 18, 19, 20. We were looking at 24, 25, 26, so on. I still have areas of my game to work on that's going to make me a better player. To answer your second question, you know, it would be a dream. I haven't really even thought about it. Up to here, I didn't really give myself a great chance going into the tournament of winning it. To be in this situation now, it's hard to reflect on it. Hasn't really sunk in that I'm going to be in a Grand Slam final tomorrow. You know, I'm going to go out there, give everything I got, leave it all on the court, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about what you learned from last year's semifinal. What do you think is the most important thing you'll take away from this semifinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just the way that I, you know, handled myself out there today. You know, I was able to, you know, get on top of him early. I played to my game plan perfectly out there today. Everything went my way. Hopefully I can take, you know, that experience if I make a few more semifinals in Slams, take that into those.

Q. You said something about Pete and Safin weren't playing well coming in here. There was some report that came out about this virus, the fatigue thing bothering you. Is that still true? Is that still a factor now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Comes and goes. It's been a thing no one has been able to put their finger on. There's days when I feel better; there's days when I don't feel so good. It's something that over the -- it's been going on for, you know, 13, 14 months now. It's something that I've just had to learn to block out. You know, the last 12 or 13 months has been my best tennis results. I'm currently No. 4 in the world. That's my highest ranking. You know, it's something that I've just got to try to fight through, for example.

Q. Against Roddick, long match, you felt pretty good?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually felt pretty good in that one. It's something that I can't get ahold of. They're not sure if it's allergy related.

Q. What did you take away from last year's semifinal loss to Pete? If you do play him tomorrow, what will you do differently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a big match player, there's no doubt about that. He's one of the greats. You know, I didn't take my chances when I had him last year. I had set point in the first set. Short forehand, just missed it wide. Then he played too well to break me. Wins the second set. Third set, I lead a break, let him back in. Had chances in that third set tiebreak, as well. Just a matter of handling my nerves in those pressure situations. If I play him again, I have to take my chances because he doesn't give you a lot of them.

Q. Going to be a different ballgame tomorrow. Will you seek any sort of advice? Who will you talk to to try to put you in a frame of mind of what you can expect when you go out on court tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Might have to talk to Kim. She went through a big one. You know, I might talk to Pat overnight. He's probably the best guy, knows this place better than anyone. He knows the last day of a Grand Slam here in New York better than anyone else. I'll probably give him a call and see how he handles it, how he does so well in US Open finals.

Q. Where is he at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. I haven't spoken to him. I guess he's in Australia, but I'm not sure.

Q. Did you hear The Crow's results?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not good. I'll have to try to do better.

Q. In these days of 140 mile-an-hour serves, guys are 6'4", Pete at 6'1" is pretty big, as you have come up in the last couple years, was there a time when you thought, "I'm not going to be able to reach the top because the game has servers that are too big, I can't compete"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It's something that I drew confidence from guys like Michael Chang and Andre Agassi. Agassi has won every Grand Slam on every surface. That just goes to show, he beat Ivanisevic in the final of Wimbledon, where a lot of people would have probably doubted that a guy standing at the back couldn't win Wimbledon against a guy with such a big serve as Goran. Andre has been able to win on every surface. You know, he moves so well. I think that's one reason. Obviously, he hits the ball extremely hard from the baseline. Michael Chang, he got to No. 2 in the world, had so many chances of winning more Grand Slams. He is a very small guy, but was very quick around the court. He was very mentally tough out there, as well. They're the kind of guys I draw a lot of confidence from.

Q. Such a big part of your game is your legs. What do you do on an off-tournament week when you have time to train? How important are your legs to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're very important. You know, my movement is one of my main areas of my game. It's like a weapon. You know, I've got to take good care of it. When I can, I do a lot of running at home, 400s, sand hills, that kind of thing.

Q. You said a number of times, "I've got to block this or that out." What do you do to relax between matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, not a lot. I've been just getting massages every day, chilling out back in the hotel. You know, go out to dinner, just have a quiet dinner. That's pretty much it. Haven't gone to see any movies. Just listen to music, stuff like that.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

September 9, 2001, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Pete Sampras 7-6(4) 6-1 6-1

NEW YORK CITY

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. As a Grand Slam champion, you have to take your hat off.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Take my hat off? My hair's not done (laughter).

Q. Well done.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Thank you.

Q. You must be delighted with your performance today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It hasn't sunk in yet. You know, walking out there to play Pete Sampras in your first-ever Grand Slam final, it's, you know, something that you'll never forget, that's for sure. Obviously, I had a few nerves coming in there playing possibly the greatest player ever to live in probably my biggest ever match, you know, in tennis. I got off to a pretty good start, then got broken straight back. You know, just sort of settled the nerves. That was pretty good.

Q. You weren't awed, were you? You've been talking about your firmness of mind and how you can block things out, and you have blocked things out. I don't really believe you were awed out there. You just went right after him from the first game.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've looked forward to this moment. You know, it's something that, you know, you dream of doing, walking out there and playing in a Grand Slam final, you know, playing that seventh match of two weeks. I didn't want to let the chance sort of slip by, that's for sure. I was definitely up for the match. I felt I'd been getting better and better each match that I played. You know, I definitely gave myself a big chance today, the way that I was hitting the ball, every second day got better.

Q. How crucial was that first tiebreak in terms of establishing some sort of psychological lead anyway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was huge, no doubt about it. You know, I was under a fair bit of pressure on my service games throughout the first set. I was able, after dropping it in the second game, able to sneak out of those service games. It was pretty big. I started as well up the better end. I started the tiebreak. I knew I had to get off to a pretty quick start, otherwise Pete was going to be on me in the second half of the breaker. Changed ends at 3-All after doing a double-fault. Still gave myself a pretty good chance, knowing I played a great passing shot at 4-3 to get the mini break. I was able to hold on from there.

Q. Was that better than Brazil or on par?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think they're two totally different situations. You know, Davis Cup, you're playing for your whole country. You're playing for your nation. You know, still I knew all the Australians were behind me when I went out there to play today, as well. I think it's on par with when I beat Kuerten in Brazil.

Q. Did you have any problems with the wind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was tough. It's one of the toughest condition days that I've had to play in and had to deal with. I felt like I got better and better. But early it was very tough because, you know, Pete hits the ball so heavy. He's got a big serve. I really didn't get too many chances up the end when he was serving with the wind. He didn't give me too many chances on most of those games. I was trying to fight my butt off to hold serve that first set up that first end. It was extremely tough in that sense. Then I started passing well after that.

Q. Did you watch the US Open final last year and see how Marat handled Pete? Did you ever think, "I might be able to do that someday"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I watched probably a set I think before leaving. I was out of here. But, you know, Marat handled himself great in his first Grand Slam final, as well. You know, I just knew, believing in myself, that I was capable of doing it out there, handling the pressures that come with going into your first Grand Slam final. You know, I've been through a lot of things for a 20-year-old, and I've played a lot of big matches, especially in Davis Cup ties. I've come out of those, you know, pretty well so far.

Q. Were you nervous last night? Were you thinking about the match? Did you sleep well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was nervous. You're not human if you're not going to be nervous going into your first Grand Slam final, but I'm sure any Grand Slam final you'll be nervous. It was very hard to sort of eat too much, as well. I didn't really feel like eating this morning or even having a bit of lunch and stuff today. You know, it was probably the fact that you have to play Pete Sampras in your first Grand Slam final as well. There would be a lot of easier guys to play. You know, he's a big match player.

Q. Has the aura of Pete Sampras now changed with his two losses in the finals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at all. You know, he's a great champion. I think, you know, when everyone was starting to write him off, especially after he lost in the Round of 16 to Federer at Wimbledon, I think he's come out and proved a point over the last two weeks. He's capable of winning Grand Slams still, that's for sure. You know, I've still got as much respect for him as a player, on and off the court, you know, as I've ever had.

Q. You said last night that you were going to ask Patrick for some tips. Did you end up doing that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I spoke to Pat, yeah.

Q. Did he give you any tips?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He told me go out there and enjoy myself. That's all he told me. He said he felt exactly the same way as I felt, you know, going in the night before he had to play a Grand Slam final, him a few years ago. He said that Newk and Roche had told him in the past, he asked, "What do I do now?" He just said, "Go out and enjoy yourself." I asked him the same thing, and he told me exactly that. I tried to take that into my match today. In the back of your head, you're still thinking it's a Grand Slam final out there you're about to play.

Q. How is this going to change your life? How do you think it's going to change you when you go into Grand Slams in the future?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Haven't even thought about it (laughter). You know, I'm still going to be the same person. I'm going to go home, I'm going to hang out with my mates, then I'm going to prepare for a Davis Cup tie in two weeks' time. It's not going to change anything in that way. But, you know, it hasn't quite sunk in. It's an unbelievable feeling to have won a Grand Slam now. You know, it probably takes a lot of the pressure and expectation off your back, as well.

Q. You're not old enough to have a beer here. Is that going to be a problem?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know (laughter). You know, it hurts when back in Australia I can have one a couple of years ago, and I can't still have one here, so...

Q. Other than the winning point, what was the biggest point for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, probably the passing shot that I hit at 4-3 in the breaker to get that mini break up. I think that first set was pretty crucial. I felt if I could get that first set and try and get on top of him, I had a lot better chance than if I lost the first set.

Q. What is it about your personality that allows you to block out the distractions, the pressures?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Got no idea. You know, I just grown up doing it, I think. It's something that I've had to deal with growing up in the Juniors back home in Adelaide when I was playing against older guys. You know, I was No. 1 in Australia a couple years out of my age. Everyone was out to beat you back then. I had to deal with those pressures and I had to be very mentally tough. I've been able to take that. I've got stronger in the head as I've got older, as well, I think.

Q. Marat last year just seemed so stunned with his own performance. He described it as an out-of-body experience. Looking back, he can't believe that was him on the court. With you, it seems like this is sort of almost a natural progression. Do you recognize the guy that was out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, a little bit. It's come in stages, which has helped, that's for sure. I first came on the tour, you know, I qualified for the Australian Open. That was a big shock then. Sort of gradually built up higher and higher. My ranking has gone higher and higher each year. After this, I'll probably be No. 3 in the world. It's career best. You know, that's been a good thing. I haven't been sort of having those highs and lows all the time. I've been gradually getting better and better. You know, the results that I've had in some of those big matches has definitely helped me in big matches in Grand Slams, I think. You know, there's no doubt that in my mind beating Guga in straight sets in Brazil was, you know, I could not have hit the ball any better out there. And that gives me the confidence in big matches when everything's against you, to go out there and do it in times like today, you know, the last three or four days when I've had, you know, pretty tough guys to come up against.

Q. Did you get any advice from Kim before the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Go and enjoy myself. That was basically it. She'd been through a lot. She knew it was a big occasion. Obviously, she came so close, two points away from the French Open. She knows what it's like to be in that situation. I can tell you it's a lot easier being out there playing instead of sitting in the crowd and watching that French Open in Paris.

Q. Pete called you the best returner in the game. What do you think about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's a big compliment. You know, return of serve is one of my strengths, that's for sure. But, you know, I've had to work on little areas of my game because I don't have the biggest game, you know, with the serve. I'm not the tallest and strongest guy out there. So I've had to work on little areas of my game to sort of be able to counter-punch those bigger guys. The return of serve has been something I've had to work on since I was 9 or 10 playing in four- or three-year age groups playing the bigger guys. I've always been a big returner of serve. You know, to be the best in the world, that's a big call though, when you have especially guys like Andre Agassi. I rate him the best in the world.

Q. It's been a long time since an Australian has won the Australian Open. Quite a while since an Australian has won at Wimbledon. You guys come in here and won three of the last five. What's the deal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got no idea. It's strange. It really is strange. When I first came on the tour, if anyone told me where I was going to win my first one, I would have predicted the Australian Open just because I've grown up there, I always play well in Australia. You know, hard court is very similar here, as well. I try to take that same confidence, you know, growing up on hard courts, into here. It's very easy when I get in pressure situations, I know what to do on hard courts. These courts are pretty similar to the ones in Australia.

Q. Maybe a little less pressure here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I haven't really -- I don't think I've, you know, lost in Australia because of pressure. You know, I lost this year because I had a very tough draw. I played a lot of matches going in probably, whereas the last two years when I've done well here, I've had a week off before, both Slams here. Maybe that's a thing I have to look at going into the Australian Open.

Q. You say it hasn't sunk in yet. Watching you when you lifted your trophy over-the-head, I wonder if the sense of the occasion really hit you then. What was going through your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I looked at the names on the trophy, it was sitting in front of me. To see the guys who have held up this trophy, to now have my name under those guys', it's an unbelievable feeling. It's something words can't describe. You dream of winning a Grand Slam, you know, when you're a young boy sort of looking up. I've been to so many Australian Opens, watched so many great players win there. You know, it's these moments you dream of. For me, you know, to come through at such a young age, it's fantastic.

Q. Who were your greatest heroes in Australian tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Australian tennis? You know, it was a strange sort of time when I was growing up. Pat Cash was sort of really the only guy when I was growing up. I was pretty much about on the tour when Pat started to win the Slams. Pat Cash obviously. Just for a guy to sort of idolize.

Q. Other players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I loved watching Mats Wilander play, no doubt about that. He plays a similar game to me, as well. I love Stefan Edberg as well. For some reason, two Swedes, I like them.

Q. What kind of messages of support did you get from Australia before the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got a couple of faxes the last couple weeks from John Howe. Starting at the top, that was pretty impressive. That meant a lot to me anyway. From my football team, that was all right, especially after their loss on the weekend. Everything has been very positive from all the fans back home, through my mates that I used to go to school with and I'm very close to and speak to every day. You know, they've sent their best wishes. Everyone who I know back in Adelaide.

Q. You have something of a mixed popularity amongst the Australian public since you came on the scene. Are you hoping now this sort of silences your critics, that everyone will embrace you more now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it would be great. You know, I love playing in front of my Australian fans, no doubt about that. I can't wait for two weeks' time to get back there and play in Sydney. You know, I'm sure that everyone in Australia was fully behind me today. That's the type of country we are. We love, you know, supporting top athletes, you know, seeing another countryperson in a final. It's like other guys, me watching the cricketers, stuff like that, the rugby. I'm sure everyone was behind me back home.

Q. Throughout sporting history, there have been figures with great talent. Also some have had a fiery personality. They've spent practically all of their careers listening to people tell them they should behave this way, that way, don't do this, do that. You almost fall into that category now. You've come through it all magnificently. Do you think any of this will ever change you, or do you think it's something you'll decide whether you're going to be different in a match or with a crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I go out there and I get pumped up on a court when I feel like it's necessary to get pumped up. You know, the last three or four matches, I really haven't showed that much emotion out on the court. It's been some of my biggest wins out there. You know, I've had to learn how to play best-of-five-set matches, as well. It's a lot different when you come on the tour, get very pumped up after each point out there. It's only in a three-set match where it's totally different. When you get to the Grand Slams, you can waste some of that energy on not the right points. That's something I've had to work on. It's been getting better and better I think with every Slam that I sort of play in that way. You know, I still feel, you know, like today when I won the first set, I felt that was a big occasion. I needed to get myself pumped up. I needed to sort of get my supporters behind me at that point because it was, you know, a pretty big turning point, getting first-set tiebreak. I feel like when it's necessary for me to get myself pumped up and play my best tennis, you know, that's when it comes out.

Q. Match point, you fell to the ground. You got up and were almost subdued as you went to the net. Was that out of reverence to Pete, or was it a little bit of pity for him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's more no one likes to lose, I'm sure, Grand Slam finals, even though I haven't experienced it. The sort of shock of winning a Grand Slam sort of sent me on my back, on the floor. You sort of realize, "I've got to go and shake Pete's hand." That was pretty much it. A sign of sort of respect, I think.

Q. You've had obviously expectations throughout your career. You talked before about the methodical progression of your game to this point. Is it still a bit surreal to be sitting here in front of a final press conference at this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is. I can't believe it's sitting here. I don't know when it will sink in, if it ever will. I hope so. You know, just to have won a Grand Slam now, at the age of 20, four years ago I was here playing Juniors. I lost in the Round of 16 or something. My badge, I still have the junior photo on the front of my badge here. It wasn't that long ago when I didn't talk to any of you guys. No one was out there watching. I was playing Taylor Dent out here a few years ago, and no one could care less. Now in front of everyone, I have the world's TV cameras on me, in front of me. I went and told Kim, "I'm not going to wake up, this isn't going to happen." It is unbelievable at the moment. I'm sure that's what sort of Marat felt at the moment, as well.

Q. To have done it against Pete.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's what I said. I'm standing there about to collect the trophy and hold up the trophy. I'm standing there and Pete's there holding up the runners-up plate. It just didn't quite click for me (laughter). But, you know, if there's ever anyone that, you know, you'd want to play in a Grand Slam final, if you were going to win, it was one of the greatest players ever to live.

Q. Was there a moment when you thought you were thoroughly in control of the match, not just ahead?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. You know, you're trying to block it out as much as possible that you could be winning the tournament here in such a big event. I really wasn't thinking. I even had to look up at the score board a couple of times just to check what the score was. "Is this really two points from the match here?" Really hasn't sunk in that I was that far ahead. I was still taking it one point at a time, one game at a time.

Q. You had the first break of 87 games of Pete's service. You broke him, after 87 consecutive games.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I knew he hadn't lost a lot of service games in the whole tournament. He had this incredible roll going on his serve. You know, it was important to try and get out of the blocks quickly. You know, if he gets ahead, he's going to try and bury you, that's for sure. He's that kind of player. If he gets on a serving roll, he's going to be tough to break. It was important to try to get an early break, but then I gave it straight back the next game. It was a bit of a dogfight to try to get out of that first set.

Q. To some extent, now that you just won this, your life is going to be turned upside down. Everybody is going to want a piece of you, offers to show up everywhere. Who are the people in your life that you would take advice from? Would it be Patrick Rafter, the older generation? Is it your family? Is it your coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it will be a lot of those. Obviously my coach and my family. Then, you know, Pat, because he's been there and done that. He knows what it's all about. He's really taken me under his wing ever since I came on the tour, helped me out a lot. You know, I owe a hell of a lot to him, you know, for me sitting here right now. He's helped me out. A lot of people wouldn't understand, "Why is he helping out this 15-year-old kid when he's playing all these big matches?" He helps out a lot of junior tennis in Australia. The other two are probably Newcombe and Roche. They're the two older guys that have been there and done that, as well, that I'm close to because of the Davis Cup. I owe them a lot, as well, for helping me out and taking me under their wing as well in the Davis Cup team.

Q. After the Blake match, did you learn anything from that incident?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, it wasn't a good situation. It wasn't a good situation to put myself into during a Grand Slam tournament either. It's something that is going to be one of the toughest things that I had to block out during a tennis event. You know, I really have to be proud of myself for the way I've done that under, you know, so much pressure, so many people looking at you, I suppose. You know, to be able to do that at 20 years of age, it really shows how mentally tough I've been over the last couple of days.

Q. Is that the worst moment in your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's one of the worst, yeah. You know, I didn't mean anything bad by it at all, and it all got blown up. I copped a lot of flak for it, for something I didn't mean at all. It's something I was obviously disappointed by because, you know, I knew I was really innocent in the whole thing. That's why I tried to block it out as much as possible and just concentrate on my tennis. You know, who knows, I just think I've done that really well over the last week or so.

Q. John Newcombe said that press conference for you last Friday must have been a nightmare for a 20-year-old. Was that a fair comment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It wasn't too enjoyable. It's something that I'll learn from. You know, the media side, if I didn't deal with it properly or whatever, then I'll learn from that. You know, you've got to go through some rough times, as well, to become a better person and better player, on and off the court. If I had to go through it, you know, maybe I'll be stronger for it and, you know, maybe this is one of the signs of it.

Q. You said yesterday you were looking in terms of winning your first Grand Slam at 23 or 25. In view of this, what are your wishes now? What do you think your ambitions will be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea (smiling). It's too early to say. You know, obviously I want to keep winning them. It's a good feeling. But it's not quite that easy. You've got to beat seven world-class players over five sets in two weeks to be able to hold up the trophy again. You know, it's going to be very tough. Obviously, going into the Australian Open next year, there's going to be a lot more expectation now coming off this win. I feel like it's a similar surface. I've played some big matches at the Australian Open. I'll be ready to go as soon as that starts.

Q. Did you have any idea that Paul McCartney was watching?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No clue. He was there?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Good (smiling).

Q. What are your thoughts on the upcoming Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, every time it gets close to Davis Cup ties, I get excited. For this whole tournament, I've had to try and block out that. The more I won, the later I was going to get to Sydney and start practicing on Rebound Ace and get ready for that. I've tried to block it out as much as possible. Tomorrow morning, that's pretty much one of the -- all I'll be thinking about is that Davis Cup tie, trying to get into another final. You know, the last two years in Davis Cup for me, ever since I started, my first tie was in Boston here in America. Ever since that, I love playing for my country and I love getting out there and competing. That's something that Newcombe and Roche and Patrick Rafter really helped me with. Obviously, it could be Pat's last year of playing Davis Cup matches. We didn't quite get over the line last year. We're sort of playing for Pat this year. I think that feeling came through in Brazil, the way I played, handled myself down there.

Q. How are you health-wise with this condition? Has it been affecting you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It comes and goes. There's times when I could be out at dinner, and I feel like I'm shortage (sic) of breath. No one has a real, you know, reason for it. They're not sure if it's an allergy-related kind of thing. It's hard to put your finger on. You know, I've been feeling pretty good out on the court at least every time I've got to my matches, and I've been able to block it out. I definitely haven't been out of energy in any of my matches, which is a good thing.

Q. What do you plan for this evening? Taking a beer is not possible.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea. I'll definitely catch up with all of my friends and family who are here, have a nice dinner. Hopefully, you know, talk about the nice things that happened over the last two weeks, you know, what could happen maybe in the future.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:28 AM   #70
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 11, 2002, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Carlos Moya 6-4 6-4

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

MODERATOR: Lleyton wins his last 13 matches here in the US, going back to last year's US Open. He moves into the second round. Questions.


Q. Couple of moments there having to come back, breaks down in both sets.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's tough. I felt like the balls are flying a little bit more today rather than in practice because I felt it was a little bit hotter out there today. Just trying to get my control early on. Once I got on it, I felt like I played a pretty good second half of the first set. Then Carlos sort of found his range a bit better with his forehand and his first serve. I didn't really have too much of a chance after getting the second break in the first set. And then I fought hard to get that break back in the second. Then I felt, you know, pretty much in control from there.

Q. Can you remember playing as a former world No. 1 in the first round of a tournament before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I played him here two years ago first round.

Q. You as No. 1.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Me, no. I haven't had that many matches yet (laughter). Yeah, as I've said in the past, these Masters Series tournaments are extremely tough, especially, you know, I find this one of the toughest because it's such a small draw, but everyone comes and plays this one as well. Sometimes on the clay, not everyone comes over, not all the top players go over and play those Masters Series. I find Indian Wells and Miami, everyone in the top 64 or whatever it is, top 60 in the world, so it's extremely tough matchups. You just sort of take it one match at a time, try and get through six matches.

Q. Are you beginning to really enjoy being No. 1 now, sort of getting any benefit from it in terms of any added confidence? You always played with tremendous confidence, as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's nice to know that you're able -- towards the end of last year, I played so many big matches. In most of them, apart from probably the first day of the Davis Cup final, I was able to, you know, win most of my big matches. I've got a lot of confidence going into it, no matter who I'm playing, really doesn't matter what surface now, I feel, you know, extremely confident. I feel like I can play my game and I can match it with, you know, anyone in the world. It's a good thing to have when you go out there to play.

Q. Do you feel you've reached a stage in your game where you almost play on autopilot, you don't have to think about what you're going to do, it comes to you naturally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. But you always have your days when the timing is not quite there. Obviously, the start of the San Jose week, my first week back after a while, I didn't really feel like I was timing the ball that well at the start of that week. If I kept plucking away, trying to get through those tough matches early, sooner or later it would click. It did halfway through the week there. You know, I sort of know my base now at least, the base that I've got. But, as I said, you know, sometimes it slips off and you have to work on little areas of your game.

Q. Have you done anything different with Jason or is it a question of carrying on basically what was a winning policy anyway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit different, but it's been a totally different situation. Normally, I come into these tournaments with a lot of matches under my belt. Normally I play heaps of matches in the Australian summer, a Davis Cup, I come in match-hardened. This year it's a totally different situation for me to be in. We worked pretty hard in the gym just before. After I felt like I was nearly a hundred percent when I got home with my fitness, when I was able to get out and do stuff. Since then I've been working extremely hard on the court, little areas of my game. I think it started to show last week. When I was playing the bigger matches, I started going out there and winning the match off my racquet. You know, I served extremely well at the end of last week.

Q. After the disappointment of having an early loss in Melbourne because you were sick, presuming that probably left you a bit stronger for this part of the season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's hard to say because I'm the kind of person that I love to play a lot of matches as well and have that match fitness, that match toughness in. So I had to find other ways to try and get myself up to that fitness level where, you know, I just basically lost everything I'd sort of gained throughout the end of the year and the Masters Cup and the Davis Cup and the US Open last year. I really had to go back to basics and just start doing strength work. I lost a little bit of weight. I had to start putting it on again. You know, it was tough times at the start. But I felt like I've gradually built it up, built it up a little bit more every week. Out there I feel like I can go five sets, the distance.

Q. How far did you get down in your weight? Are you back up there again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't weighed myself for the last week or so. I think going into San Jose, I was pretty much back to it. I probably lost two or three kilos, that was about it. When I got back into it, I felt like I picked it up again pretty quickly.

Q. What do you regard as your perfect weight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably around 70, 70 kilos. You know, over the next couple years, I don't know whether to pick it up even a little. A few more I think would be ideal. Yeah, I still feel like, you know, I've got to No. 1, I've had an incredible run the last six months or so, but I still feel like there's areas of my game I can work on. You know, being 21, having so many years left in the game, hopefully, it's a great thing to have in your corner, to have little areas that you feel like you can even, you know, hopefully go up another peg.

Q. What do you do to put on weight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I do a little bit in the gym. I don't lift that much. You know, not a hell of a lot. Just a little bit of gym work basically. Yeah, nothing, you know, no bodybuilding stuff.

Q. Your success in America, is that just coincidence or is there something about playing here in the States that really suits you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. I really like the American hard courts. There's no doubt about that. It suits my game, suits my style of play. You know, I've always done pretty well, like in Scottsdale, I've done well in Indian Wells here last year, Miami I've made a couple of semis back to pack now. Obviously, the US Open a semi and a win. You know, I think obviously the American crowds, as well, to me, I spoke about it last week in San Jose, they get very fired up, a lot of emotion. That's the kind of tennis that I play, as well. I like to get out there and get pumped up and play with a lot of emotion. You know, when you go out there, I was telling you, San Jose, playing against Agassi in the final, we had a packed house. Even though everyone is not going for me, there's that electric atmosphere in there, whereas in the first couple early rounds, playing during the day, there wasn't the biggest crowds.

Q. Why did you take Scottsdale off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just felt like -- last year I felt it was a little bit tougher coming from San Jose, indoor tournament, then going straight into Scottsdale. I made it through to the semis of Scottsdale last year. Didn't really have to play in too much wind. Then I played Clavet in the semis. It was a blustery day. I just couldn't control the ball. I preferred to -- it was a little bit of hit-and-miss really. You know, the way that it turned out with not playing a lot of matches over the Australian summer, I felt like, you know, if I did lose early in San Jose, then it was going to be tough, you know, maybe I would have taken that wildcard into Scottsdale to get the match practice. But I was planning on sort of having a pretty good Australian summer, a lot of matches, then have one week on. I had Davis Cup, as well. Hopefully I was going to play in Argentina, have a week off, San Jose, a week off, then the two Masters Series I thought was a pretty good schedule.

Q. Are you changed your schedule European schedule going into the French from last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure yet. Really don't know.

Q. What is that based on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: How I go here probably the next couple of weeks. Yeah, I think Monte-Carlo is probably an option this year. I've never been there in the past. I feel like, you know, I really will consider it.

Q. Would you drop one to make up for that or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Really don't know. Rome, I've done well there in the past. Hamburg, I've done well, last year in the semis. Hamburg is a tough week though physically on your body with those Masters Series balls that they're pursuing.

Q. Queen's again, I hope?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Queen's, yeah, I'll be there. Don't mind that place (smiling).

Q. I heard you were invited to the Lakers game. Did you accept that invitation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. When was it? Yeah, against New Jersey. Was it Tuesday night? Yeah, Tuesday night.

Q. What was that experience like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was great. I went to a Lakers game about three years ago here. I drove down there one night when I lost in the first round back at the old place. You know, it's incredible to see those big guys jumping around. They're twice my size, probably four times my weight. Yeah, I was a bit disappointed not to see Kobe Bryant playing.

Q. Did you get a chance to meet any celebrities while you were out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't meet anyone. Goran was about the only guy.

MODERATOR: He got to see the Warriors also. Probably got to see the worst and the best.

LLEYTON HEWITT: The crowd was a little bit different at both games.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:31 AM   #71
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 13, 2002, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Andrei Pavel 4-6 6-3 6-0

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

MODERATOR: Lleyton advances to the third round, will take on the winner of Jan-Michael Gambill and Jiri Novak. With the win today, he's now won 14 straight matches in the US going back to last year's US Open. Questions.


Q. Talk about the conditions out there today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't think too many matches today are going to be too pretty out there. It's tough conditions. You've just got to try to hang in there as much as you can and adapt your game. Yeah, you're not really worried about playing with too much rhythm out there. You're just trying to find a way to win for yourself. You know, it's basically playing ugly and trying to get through today.

Q. Why in these last two matches have you sort of started a bit slowly?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Today it was more with the wind, I felt, swirling a little bit around. I just wasn't confident, you know, going out there and hitting the ball straight up. Yesterday I thought -- two days ago I thought Carlos came out, and he was very aggressive right from the start. He sort of put the pressure on me a little bit. Two days ago, it was a lot easier to get back in the match than it was today.

Q. Was the dust a problem at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. You know, down the far end, you know, in your eyes the whole time. So it was getting pretty tough. What I saw on the TVs when I came in, I think the outside courts are going to be a lot tougher, as well. With the Stadium Court sort of surrounded a little bit out there, it's probably a little bit easier.

Q. The most different and difficult conditions you have played in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's up there. US Open two years ago when I played Enqvist in the Round of 16, we played a night match. It was a cyclone, it felt like out there. Today and that match back then at Flushing Meadows were the two, the worst conditions I've had to play through. Just as I said before, you have to try to adjust your game. You don't try to pound winners left, right and center. You have to try and play smart, play within yourself a little bit.

Q. Do you change the spin you put on the ball?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You're changing everything. Especially on center court today, it felt like the breeze was coming straight down the court, as well. The court is on a little bit of a slope, as well. It was tough conditions. Especially up the far end I was playing, it felt like if you couldn't win your two games up the end with the breeze, you were starting right behind the eight ball straightaway. That was important for me to hold my first service game in the third set down at the tough end.

Q. Let's say you do have to play Gambill next. You beat him the last time. He's been a player that has sort of had your number in the past.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, he's a tough player. Big game. When he's on, there's not too many players who he can't beat, I don't think. He's had a few niggling injuries I think over the last couple of years. That's probably why -- I'm not sure if he's sitting around 20 or not at the moment. He's got a lot of potential. He's got a big game. But, yeah, I felt like I played really well in San Jose a couple of weeks ago against him in the semis. If I play like that again, then I'm definitely with a good chance.

Q. Unusual thing to have a No. 1 seed play at 10:00 in the morning. Did you ask for an early match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I didn't request anything. Right now I won't complain, though. I'd rather be in talking to you guys and having lunch than getting ready to play this afternoon in that weather. I'm not complaining. Doesn't worry me too much.

Q. What do you do for the rest of the day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. I would have thought about maybe playing a few holes of golf. If the weather stays like this, won't be playing too much. Not a lot, just put the feet up.

Q. You mentioned at your last tournament how very much you like In-N-Out Burger. For your lunch, are you going to seek one out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I won't. I'm not sure what I'll have. I'll have to go down there. Something healthy, I think, considering I'm playing tomorrow again.

Q. Who do you consider your biggest threat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, in this tournament or left in the tournament or what?

Q. On the ATP.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's not one player that I'm particularly worried about. There's a lot of guys out there who can play the game, who are capable of getting to No. 1 in their own right. That's talking about a lot of the young guys coming up. There's Safin, Haas, Federer.

Q. Do you consider yourself older when you say the younger guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'd probably put myself in that category. We're talking about -- you can never count guys out like Agassi, Sampras, Henman getting up there, as well . You never count those guys out of it. They're contenders I think for the Masters at the end of the year. Roddick, Haas, Federer, Ferrero - all these guys - I find these guys are going to be holding up the Grand Slams in the years to come.

Q. Do you like more a defensive game or an attacking game, serve and volley? What is your preference?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Me playing against or me personally?

Q. Personally.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I play mainly from the baseline. I don't know. That's the way I grew up. That's how I played. I'm not the biggest guy around.

Q. Sampras was saying the other day that it's harder to stay at No. 1 than to get there the first time. Granted you're not going to be there forever. There will be times when you drop away from No. 1. For you to get back there, do you think it's going to be as tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. You know, I'm not really worried about it. I've been there. At the moment I'm still sitting there. I'm loving it there. You know, if I do lose it or when I do lose it or whatever, you know, it's not that big a deal I don't find for me. I think, you know, when the time comes, you never know what's around the corner I don't think either, injuries, whatever. So I find I go out there and play my game. Nothing's really changed since I've been No. 1 with my game except believing that I'm able to match it with the best players in the world week-in and week-out on most surfaces.

Q. The fact that you've done it has taken the monkey off your back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. If I get to (sic) No. 1 in the world, I'm not going to go and cry about it. As I said before, you know, it's every kid's dream. My dream growing up, you know, was to win a Grand Slam, to get to No. 1 at some stage, and to win the Davis Cup. You know, for me to be able to do it last year by the age of 20, all those three things, it's incredible. You know, you've really got to sit back and, you know, enjoy those memories and moments. But also I feel like I can do a little bit better still as well.

Q. Has your lifestyle changed since you've been No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't like too many changes. You know, I don't think my head's sort of gone off my shoulders just yet anyway. So I'm still levelheaded about it all. It's great to have had the wins that I had at the end of last year, to have played as well as I did in that last quarter of the year. As I said, I still feel like I've got, you know, things to achieve in this sport.

Q. The early hard court season has a history of players getting hot. You've already won San Jose, off to a good start here. Do you feel now that you're off for a good stretch, do you feel in your gut you can put together a kind of streak and do really well in these two big hard court tournaments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. You know, I feel like I'm capable of it. I feel like if I hit the ball, then I've got a chance of beating anyone on any given day. There's a lot of tough players left in this tournament. Miami, you start all over again. The more confidence and the more wins I'm going to get, the tougher it's going to be I think to beat me, as well. You know, obviously your confidence is going to grow the longer you can sort of keep that winning streak going.

Q. How long does the confidence from the San Jose run stay with you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think, you know, you've always got it in the back of your mind, the way that you played there, you know, the way that you know you are able to play. Especially coming off a two- or three-month break, knowing you can perform at that level. You've sort of got a little bit of a mark you know can you go up to when you need to.

Q. Have you talked to Patrick Rafter in the last couple days? Do you think he is retired?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't know. I don't think anyone knows. I don't think he knows.

Q. You haven't talked to him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've spoken to him a few times. I've got no idea what his future plans are with tennis or anything.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:33 AM   #72
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 14, 2002, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jan-Michael Gambill 6-2 6-4

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

MODERATOR: Lleyton wins his eighth match in a row on the season. He's into the quarterfinals here for the second straight year. Tomorrow he'll take a 4-1 lifetime record into the quarterfinals against Enqvist. Questions for Lleyton.


Q. What goes through your mind when your opponent flings his racquet six games into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a good feeling. You know, he was very frustrated I felt right from the word "go." In the first game, he was up 30-Love. He hit two bombs. I got back to 30-All. I could already see the sort of frustration on his face at that point. Yeah, it's a good feeling going out there and seeing that up the other end. You know, I'm trying to concentrate as much as possible on my game, my confidence, whatever out there. But, you know, if you can look over the net and see him getting frustrated at such an early point, maybe he's thinking about the last match we played a couple weeks ago in San Jose.

Q. Is that the quickest you got an opponent to throw his racquet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. There's probably been quicker. Yeah, pretty quick.

Q. How satisfying is that when you consider that he had beaten you on three occasions out of the previous five you played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a good feeling. What is it, 3-All I think now. It's a good feeling. I felt like, you know, I was playing well, especially the Scottsdale final when I was pretty young. That was one of my first finals. I lost that one in a tight three-setter after a dodgey line call there. Then I lost to him at Wimbledon where I thought he was just too good. I thought I played, you know, reasonably well, and he just outplayed me that day. Then I lost to him in Miami last year where, you know, I had the momentum, and there was a huge turning point in that match where he hit a pass, scary pass, passed me on the run. Sort of changed the whole momentum of the match. It's nice, I've been up the last two times, San Jose and Indian Wells, for the match against Jan-Michael. I feel like I've played some of my best tennis against him.

Q. Did you use the wind when you were serving? Didn't look like much of a serve.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Use?

Q. Your service.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What about it, though?

Q. Did you use the wind when you served? Didn't look like much.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, a little bit. Not a lot, though. It was pretty windy out there again today. I just tried to concentrate on the basics. Placement against him, he's the kind of guy if you get it in the zone, he's a very good returner in the zone. Once you sort of get him in the body or moving, that's where he's more vulnerable.

Q. He had 30 approaches. Did he try to play you that way in San Jose or was that different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. He changed his game. I think it probably even more so changed during the match out there. Once I got up that early break, you know, got the double break in the first set, he felt like he wasn't able to win that many points from the baseline. So he tried changing up his game. You know, I was aware of that. Yeah, it made him, you know, concentrate on trying to pound that first shot maybe a little bit more and getting to the net. He's not the greatest net player around the game. When I did get, you know, in position to make a pass, then, you know, I felt pretty confident at times. You know, I think it did help his game though a little bit, sort of trying to attack and going for his shots a bit more.

Q. When you consider the disappointment of Australia, the time you had to take off, has it impressed you that you started to play so well so soon after the break, winning San Jose, the way you're playing here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it's a bit of a surprise. Yeah, if I go back to, you know, how I was feeling, you know, the end of the Hopman Cup, that whole week leading into the Australian Open, pretty ordinary, lying on the couch, on your bed, in the hotel room, not being able to get out of the hotel room because you're a danger to everyone. You know, I was feeling pretty ordinary at the time. You know, I've come a long way, I think, the last couple of months. I've put in a lot of hours on the practice court when I was able to, you know, go out and start practicing again. You know, Jason and I have worked a lot in the gym, on the practice court, as I said, just on little areas of my game. Trying to get that fitness level back up to where it was, was tough, but I felt like I was able to do it pretty soon afterwards. It definitely held me in good stead in the Agassi match last week in San Jose. If I wasn't close to a hundred percent fit in that match, then I wouldn't have won. It's as simple as that.

Q. Can you talk about playing Enqvist tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I lost to him the first time. I wasn't sure it was 4-1. Lost to him the first time. I got him the last four, apparently. You know, he's a tough player to play. He's a little bit similar to Jan-Michael in a lot of ways. He's got an extremely big serve, got big groundies. He struggled with injuries the last, you know, couple of years. But I think he's back. You know, he's had a pretty tough draw here, playing Johansson first round, Federer today. He's come through it pretty comfortably. He won a tournament I think in France a few weeks ago. Also chopped up the two Pommies in the Davis Cup tie to win it for Sweden. You know, he's had some good results. He's going to be extremely tough tomorrow.

Q. You were saying the other day about the fact that you like to play a lot. When you look at what's happened the last couple of months, you took a week or two off before the US Open, produced the goods over there. You had the time off earlier this year, produced the goods in the first two tournaments back. How do you explain that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think when you take -- in some ways it's good. For me, especially, when I take that week off, you know, especially in this case, the first couple of matches I find the toughest. The first couple of matches in San Jose was, you know, extremely tough, trying to get back in the match. You can play a lot of practice sets, as I did going into San Jose. I thought I was hitting the ball great. But, you know, just getting in that match situation with a little bit of pressure out there on the line, it was -- you know, that feeling was starting to come back. It was tough the first couple of matches. But as soon as I got on a roll, you know, as soon as it really hit the quarterfinals, it was business time of the tournament, I just got better and better. So I think, you know, the break definitely helps in some ways. You know, maybe you're a bit sharper towards the end of the tournament. But I think it's maybe a little bit tougher at the start of the event.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:35 AM   #73
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 15, 2002, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Thomas Enqvist 6-4 6-4

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

MODERATOR: Lleyton improves to 32-4 since the beginning of last year's US Open. He's now won nine matches in a row for the 2002 season. It is his 9th career Tennis Masters Series semifinal. Questions for Lleyton.


Q. We saw the softer side of yourself, when the ball hit the girl. You tried to play around the post?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I actually tried to go over the net (laughter). I miscued it. Thomas was obviously in a pretty good position, though, at that point. I miscued it a little bit. As it turned out, if it was a little bit wider, it probably would have gone around the post and close to in. It was unfortunate, the angles, came off and sconned her.

Q. What did you say to her?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just asked her how she was. She looked like she had a delayed reaction a little bit. First off it had hit her, I don't think she realized what had quite happened, then she probably felt the pain. I just asked her if she was all right. She said yes a couple times. I think she was trying to hold back the tears on national TV.

Q. Stats to one side, do you think you have Enqvist's number?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say, to have a guy's number who is such a great player and such an explosive player, as well. But I've definitely, you know, had the upper hand the last few meetings. I lost the first time in the final of Adelaide when I was defending after my first win. Then the next year I actually got him in the final, so that was a nice feeling. Since then, it's sort of been, you know, a little bit one-sided my way, which is nice. I just felt confident. I felt like I saw the ball extremely well out there today. I was reading his first serves pretty well. I was able to move the ball around. I moved extremely well. It's just one of those matches that I played my game and maybe looked at a few areas of his game and it matched up well.

Q. The announcer on television said you had a walk of invincibility. What do you think of that comment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. A bit silly maybe. A bit silly. You know, I feel good out there at the moment. I feel confident. I feel -- I'm just taking it one match at a time, though, because a couple of months ago I was feeling pretty ordinary. I didn't really expect to come back and play this well and have these kind of results straight off, and win - what is it - nine matches in a row now. Obviously, I'm getting more and more confident. Fitness level-wise, I feel pretty good out there.

Q. Can you talk about the possibility of playing Pete again.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, you know, if I have to play Pete, it's going to be, you know, another tough match. You know, he's playing well. You can never write Pete off, that's for sure. And, yeah, he'll be probably looking to get some revenge from the US Open final, as well. I just go out there and play my game, yeah, basically not worry about his game too much. I'm going to have to return extremely well, make a lot of balls back.

Q. Has not losing another match for the rest of the year crossed your mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. It's a bit hard to do that.

Q. Do you think the break you had at the beginning of the year was, in a way, good because it took you off the game, your mind off the game for a while?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. You know, it's frustrating as well, though. You know, maybe in hindsight, it may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, I don't know. It's hard sitting back and watching the Australian Open, and knowing that, you know, the way I was playing going intoo it, that I was a contender. You know, getting struck by an illness a week or so before the tournament was disappointing to me. I felt like I really had good rhythm. I won both my matches in the Hopman Cup before I had to pull out of there. I really did feel good. But it was really only the sort of energy level that really hurt me.

Q. Do you feel in a way a little more fresher than the guys who played maybe more than you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I spoke about it the other day. I feel like in some ways I like playing a lot of matches, being match-hardened. It's been tough the first couple rounds in both these last two events that I've played, you know, because you don't have that match fitness, that match toughness yet. So I feel like I get better and better as the tournament goes on. And it's going to take a while to get that back after a three-month break.

Q. How far down the road do you think you are in this comeback to where you were at the end of last year, let's say at a hundred percent, as an example? Where would you say you are now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I'm playing pretty well. I feel like fitness level, you know, I haven't played a five-set match yet, but I've played, you know, an extremely tough final in San Jose which nearly went three hours, that's probably equivalent to, you know, most five-set matches. I'd say against Andre, I actually came out pretty well I thought at the end of that match. I had, you know, stuff left in the tank. You know, it's hard to sort of rate yourself where you are because some days I'll wake up and I feel I have a bit more rhythm, playing better, seeing the ball better than other days. Today was a lot better, I think the best match I've played during the week, the last matches against Gambill and Enqvist.

Q. Would it have any special meaning for you to beat both Andre and Pete in a three -week period of time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't even look who's up the other end. You know, a win's a win.

Q. Taking that a bit further, I know you get up for every match that you play. When it's somebody like Andre Agassi or Sampras, or that caliber, do you get up even more for those?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's not something that I focus on, playing Agassi or Sampras, one of the greatest players ever to live, "We've got to get up for this one." I think you're up within yourself because you know you've got to be up playing those guys because if you're slightly off, they're going to make you look silly out there. They're that kind of players. They're, you know, extremely tough. If you're not on the top of your game, you know, you can't go with those kind of guys. Some of the other guys you can maybe get through not playing your best tennis. With those two, you know, you can't. But I don't think it's something that I think about, "All right, you've got to, you know, get up even further for this game." I go out there and I give everything I got every time.

Q. Can you talk about Rainer in case he does upset Pete today, Schuettler?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never played Rainer. I think he's one of the, you know, players who's probably improved the most. I think he started off really well in the tournaments in Doha, Dubai, stuff like that at the start of the year. He's a tough player. He made the semis I think last week in Scottsdale, so it's no surprise to see him do well here I don't think. He's a totally different kind of player to Pete, though. He's very quick around the court, returns extremely well, big groundstrokes. But, you know, it will be a different match-up for me whichever one I have to play.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:37 AM   #74
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 16, 2002, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Pete Sampras 6-2 6-4

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

MODERATOR: Lleyton advances to his second career Tennis Masters Series final, his first since Stuttgart 2000, and he's 3-0 up against Henman and 2-1 against Martin. Questions for Lleyton.


Q. It seems like you're getting better every single match now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was tough playing out there today. You know, you can't really rate yourself too much on today's performance. It's sort of a little bit of a one-off. You've got to go out there and, you know, change your game a little bit, just play the percentages. You know, I had a windy day a couple days ago, and I think that helped. Obviously, Pete played in a lot of wind last night, as well. But tough conditions out there. There was like gold stuff going across the court into our eyes the whole time. It was weird.

Q. He called you the best wind player in the game.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hopefully we have a hurricane tomorrow then (laughter).

Q. Are you pretty comfortable playing in the wind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just try and play the percentages a little bit more. I still believe that I can, you know, play sort of my style of game without changing too much. But, you know, I think you can't go out there, you can't go for the big shots as much, you can't panic out, you've got to wait for the right balls. You can't go out there and serve big serves the whole time. You've got to get, you know, more placement percentage, stuff like that. I was willing to do that. You know, there's a couple of times that I played in my hometown of Adelaide, it's been extremely windy during that tournament a couple times. Maybe that's helped me in the past, playing at the time big matches for me in windy conditions.

Q. He actually said you were the best wind player in the history of the tour.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It gets better and better, doesn't it (laughter)?

Q. You get heavy winds in Adelaide most of the time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. Not a lot, actually. Yeah, not like that today. Actually, the two worst conditions I've played - the three now - have been here in America. I don't know where I really learned it from.

Q. Pete was saying that when you played him at The Open, it was pretty windy.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. Yeah, it was a lot windier than people saw I think through the TV or also, you know, in the stadium. Down there on the court, it was, you know, sort of dug in, that center court at Flushing Meadows. It was swirling a lot that day. I think we both struggled, both lost our serves first couple of games there in the final. It took us - especially me - probably the end of the first set for me actually to get my rhythm going and start returning really well and passing well. I definitely thought about that match going into today's match. Just when the wind -- I knew when I warmed up this morning, it was going to be blustery out there, tough conditions. I tried to draw strength from those matches that I played at The Open.

Q. Did you feel you were in control all the way today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt pretty comfortable. It obviously helps when you get up an early break in the first set against a guy like Pete. When you get to the end of a set, he's done it so many times where it looks close at the end of the set, he just goes up that extra gear. He's got the kind of game that can do that. It was nice to get up an early break. In the second set, I think I had chances, could easily have been up 4- or 5-Love. I had some breakpoint chances on most of his service games, yet he was still getting -- he was finding a way to get out of those games, you know, try and keep that pressure on me.

Q. How bizarre was it when the sign blew down?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was weird. Yeah, I haven't had that happen to me too often.

Q. Why didn't you stop right when it happened?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you can't. We played this game too long. You can't just stop the ball. You've got to wait till the umpire says something. If he doesn't call let or play to, you can't stop the ball, otherwise you'll lose the point. You know, it was a tough situation. I spoke to the umpire after. He came up to me after the match. I apologized because he had to turn the mic off because Pete complained earlier because it was making the noises out there while it was on with the wind. It was sort of too tough for him I think to get it on in time. Then he looks and we're sort of still hitting. I'm looking over at the umpire. He's looking back at the thing that was blowing over. It was a big debacle I think for one point. But there's no point it should be called play to in that situation. It made a huge bang. It was a weird one.

Q. He said when he got up this morning he looked out the window, I assume the palm trees were waving, and he didn't like what he saw because he doesn't consider himself a good wind player. Did you look out the window and what were your thoughts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't complaining. You know, I looked out and I saw the palm trees, you know, waving around a bit. It didn't worry me. It was a lot windier than I probably hoped for, though, because it's not probably enjoyable to watch, I don't think, it's not too enjoyable playing when you've got crap blowing in your eyes every second point. It's a tough situation. We just had to try and play through it as best as we could.

Q. Was it ever sandy enough on the court that it jeopardized footing at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Not too bad. It was more, you could see right from the word go, when I was in the warm-up, like gold stuff, specks coming across the court with the wind the whole time. That's a tough thing to play through, especially when you're down the far end, the wind is coming, you get it in your eyes, as well.

Q. You returned his serve about as well as anyone ever has. What's your approach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I just, you know, same as returning anyone's serve. I go in there and, yeah, obviously with Pete, he's got such a big serve, you've got to take short swings. I try and attack it as much as possible. I don't like getting too far behind the baseline returning it, otherwise it gives him that extra chance to get closer to the net as well when he's serve-volleying.

Q. Are you guessing where he's going to go with the first serve or do you have a pretty good idea or reacting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just reacting. You know, it's definitely not guessing. If I was guessing, I'd get a few more on there.

Q. There's some guys that serve so hard that you almost have to guess. With you, it seems like you're willing to wait till the ball comes over.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's pretty much just reaction at the end of the day.

Q. It's obvious that Pete's not getting any younger as the months go on. Could you assess how his game has changed now compared to the US Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a tough day to assess Pete Sampras on today's performance because, you know, he said that he's not a big fan of the wind and the conditions we had to play in today. I still feel, as everyone saw at the US Open, he's capable of beating the big guys back to back in a big tournament like the US Open. I don't think anyone can write him off or count him out, that's for sure. And I'd be the last person to do that. You know, I've got so much respect for Pete, the way that he played those big matches against Andre, Pat, Safin, everyone at the US Open. You know, he was a real credit to himself I think because I think a lot of people had written him off.

Q. How do you feel about getting to the final? Is it a case of trying to keep the lid on it because there's still another match to go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it is just another match today. I won't be going home and cracking open the champagne, that's for sure. It's great. You know, it's been pretty frustrating. I made a lot of semifinals in the Masters Series, haven't been quite able to make the finals. It's a good feeling to make one. It's been a long time, since sort of Stuttgart when I had had a chance to beat Ferreira in the final there. I was still pretty young at the time. I lost in a tight five-setter. I feel like I'm a lot better player now than I was then.

Q. Isolate Henman and Martin, look ahead to either one.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, both are going to be extremely tough. Tim, he mixes in the serve-volley with staying back. He's more patient than he used to be as well. He moves extremely well. He's got an all-court game. Todd's got an all-court game, as well. He's got a probably bigger, more direct serve, probably more powerful than Tim. He mixes up serve-volleying, staying up as well. Todd's got great returns for a big guy.

Q. Is it pretty fair to say that the work you put in the last six weeks, everything is coming together, there aren't too many parts of your game you're concerned about?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I still feel like I can get better in little areas of my game. But it's nice to see that. Obviously, it's been a fair bit of time working on the serve, trying to get a high percentage in, serving to spots, to targets. I've been able to do that pretty well over the last couple of weeks that I've come back. You know, that's a pleasing thing I think. You spend a lot of time out there grinding on the practice court before you come into the tournament, you haven't got that match fitness under your belt, you know, it's a nice thing to know that you can do something in practice and then take it out into the match court.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 17, 2002, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Tim Henman 6-1 6-2

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

MODERATOR: With his first career Tennis Masters Series title, Lleyton has now won his 14th overall career title, and he also has won 18 matches in a row going back to the US Open in the United States. Questions for Lleyton.


Q. How do you serve 46% serve in a set and yet dominate the set like you did in the first set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, wasn't all about my serve. You know, Tim couldn't do much with my second serve, so I was always in the point anyway. We were both a little bit nervous at the start, but then I sort of got on a roll. I've played some big servers in the last few matches - Gambill, Sampras and Enqvist. I felt like I was in a good rhythm, seeing my returns and feeling it out there. I didn't give him any chance on his service game. I think that builds up with one of his main strengths. I was sort of taking it away from him a little bit out there.

Q. Can you talk about how satisfying these last two events have been, considering where you were in January?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a bit of surprise really. You know, I worked extremely hard, a lot of hours on the court, in my backyard when I was able to pick up the racquet again after a few months off. Then to come out and to play the way that I have, you know, be mentally tough out there, you know, the fitness level back again, you know, it's a great feeling.

Q. How much confidence are you taking out there right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, a lot of confidence. You know, I step on the court and I believe I can win every time. That's a good thing to have, especially when you're playing against guys the caliber of a Henman or a Sampras or, you know, Enqvist.

Q. How much more faith do you have in your shots than you did, say, nine months ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, I still feel like I'm just about playing the same. I've just got that little bit more confidence. I think I've worked on areas of my game a little bit more which, you know, have come out in the big times, under pressure situations in matches, MVP conditions, rather than just practice now. Obviously, my serve has been one of those. You know, it's good to have, you know, something you can fall back on that you know you've been on the practice court doing a lot, and it will come out in the matches.

Q. Obviously seven or eight months ago you'd had some fabulous results and some wonderful performances in Davis Cup. Now you've just been on an incredible run, starting with US Open, Sydney, two tournaments here. Are you in any way either surprised or particularly impressed at yourself at how much you've emerged as a dominant player on the men's tour?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's a little bit surprising I think for anyone to start doing it at the age of 20. But, you know, dominating, that's a big word. Yeah, I wouldn't say dominating. Yeah, I give myself a chance every time I step on the court. You know, I feel confident every time. You know, I have been playing strong in the big matches when it counts the last few months. It gets to a big match, a big time sort of show-time match and it doesn't worry me at all. I go out there, I play with no fear. It is a little bit surprising, though, that I've been able to win, this is my 14th title, in such a short time. It's good.

Q. You've had also big wins against Andre, incredible win against Pete, now Tim. What player would you fear the most in a big match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, there's no one I really fear the most. I take everyone on the day really. I think it's a case of that because, you know, on a different day I think Tim's going to be extremely dangerous. Pete can be dangerous, you know, if he's serving big. Andre, he's always dangerous. You know, I think a lot depends on the day with a lot of these guys, the conditions, the surface, stuff like that. But, you know, in the last few months, confidence as well has a big part to do with it, and I've had it against all the big guys. There's not one player that I, you know, fear the most.

Q. Besides your serve, what else have you beefed up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just, you know, I've sort of just got my base there, my groundstrokes and that, just been consistent, something I can always fall back to. If things aren't going right, I can always fall back to my solid game, which is, you know, just try and dictate points from the back of the court and, you know, not make too many cheap errors. You know, I've been able to do that when I had to. After I lost the first set against Pavel, I was able to go back to that and try and step it up again. It was really the only time I had to do it throughout the week, you know, when I was in a little bit of trouble.

Q. What does winning this tournament mean to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It means a lot. You know, these tournaments are so tough, you know, as tough as slams. It's only the best-of-five set format is the only tougher part about a Slam. You still have to win six matches in seven days in this tournament. In this field, there's not too many players missing here. You go to some of the clay court Masters Series, or the indoors, and some of the top guys don't go. So you're playing a little bit weaker than a Slam, but not in this one. This is an extremely tough field. You've got to be playing well to win it.

Q. You're definitely the boss on hard courts now. Did you settle a game plan for the clay court season already? How far do you think you can go on clay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't set really any game plans. I feel like, you know, hard court is still my favorite surface at the moment. You know, it's hard not to be. But there's no reason why I can't do it within the next two or three years on clay, I don't think. My game suits clay. It's a matter of, you know -- growing up in Australia, we don't see a clay court. It's been a gradual process for me. I feel like the more bigger matches I play on clay, the better off I'm going to be. But, you know, obviously the main goal is the French Open, one day to hold up that trophy. I think it's within range. Whether it's this year, though, that's a big question.

Q. You said two or three years. Do you think this year is a little bit early?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Could be. You know, obviously I've been getting better and better at the French, there's no doubt about that. But, you know, if I play like I did against let's say Guga in Brazil, if I play like that every match, then I'm sure I can win the French - I know I can. But whether this year's going to be the one for me to put seven matches together, best-of-five sets on clay against those caliber of players - Ferrero, there's so many good clay-courters - you know, I'm not quite sure if it's this year. But I'm going to give it a go anyway.

Q. Do you think maybe sometime in the next couple weeks you're going to wake up and you would have actually lost a match or do you think this can go on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll lose a match sometime. Can't tell you when it's going to be (smiling). You know, I'm just feeling -- as I said, it's a strange situation. I feel confident out there. You know, sooner or later it's going to stop. Someone is going to be better than you on the day. You know, won't be a huge set back for me anyway.

Q. Have you felt any better at any other time in your career about your tennis than you do today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Felt pretty good after winning the US Open and Masters Cup, getting to No. 1, you know, beating Guga in Brazil. There have been times when I felt as good. But, you know, when today comes, you can sort of look back at all the last ones, think, "Gee, I've done well over that period, held it up for that period." There's only been the one hiccup at the Australian Open. If you count the two Hopman Cup matches, there's another two wins there. I feel great. If I didn't have the hiccup in the Australian Open, who knows what the situation would have been now or whether I would have had a chance of winning the Australian Open.

Q. You just mentioned some really special moments, US Open, No. 1, Guga. Is beating Guga in Brazil the most special or do I have that wrong?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough to beat your first Grand Slam, winning the Davis Cup in France, getting to No. 1, beating a guy, my closest mate on tour, to get to No. 1. They're all up there. I don't think you can really pinpoint one out. Obviously, winning a Grand Slam, the US Open, you know, the Guga match would have been better if it was in the final of a Davis Cup rather than a second round.

Q. I asked you the other day if it occurred to you that maybe you could go undefeated for the rest of the year. You dismissed the question by saying that that would be awfully tough. Why would it be so tough if somebody is playing as good you did in this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The rest of the year - maybe through Miami hopefully. The rest of the year, I've got to go apply on clay, then I've got to play on grass. You know, sooner or later you're going to have a slip-up, I'm sure. That's why Sampras or Agassi's never done it either.

Q. Why are you setting your sights so low Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah (laughter). No. 1, you should be able to play like that every day.

Q. Do you ever reflect back on the Roddick match at The Open, how close that was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, it was a big match. I felt like I played pretty well for the whole match. It was a great standard of tennis. It was a lot of emotion out there. You know, I felt like, you know, I gutsed that one out, got through it, went on. I played well from sort of the Round of 16 onwards. After the rain delay against Tommy Haas, I won the next three sets after dropping that. I extended it right through. That was pretty much the start of it.

Q. For the standard of the tournament, do you regret that the final is not best-of-five?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. It's definitely disappointing I think just because I don't know if they've ever played best-of-three here or not.

MODERATOR: Since '84 it was the first time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's sort of been best-of-five for so long. What I've read, I think it's just for TV. It's strange waking up and playing at 10:30, as well. I don't think that suits both players. After trying to get up for a big semifinal, you sort of want to have a bit of a sleep-in, just calm everything down before going out there and playing at 10:30. It's tough. Sooner or later you have to start looking at the players and what's best in the players' interest. I know TV is a big part of it, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Q. You're not turning into a morning guy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I've been waking up early anyway. It wasn't a huge, huge problem for me. I played a lot of 10:00 matches actually this week.

Q. When you're so much into the match, do you hear anything from the sidelines?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I hear Jason and Kim and my mate Hayden (ph), Kim's coach in the crowd, saying, "Come on." But nothing too special out there. I'm trying to block out most of the thoughts and just -- you're so into the match yourself that you really only hear your own thoughts going on inside your head anyway.

Q. That's a fairly unusual winner's trophy in front of you (referring to the Pacific Life Whale trophy). What are your thoughts about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It looks nice. It's strange, saw it come out on the court. But, yeah, it's nice. It's unique anyway.
__________________
Rusty - always # 1 in my heart

Lleyton Hewitt


Gael Monfils - Aleksandr Dolgopolov - Juan Martin Del Potro - Nick Kyrgios - Jason Kubler - Serhiy Stakhovsky - Gianni Mina - Martin Klizan - Benjamin Mitchell - Borna Coric - Francis Tiafoe - Noah Rubin
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