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Old 06-29-2012, 01:53 PM   #106
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WIMBLEDON

June 23, 2003, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Ivo Karlovic 6-1 6-7(5) 3-6 4-6

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

MODERATOR: Who is first?


Q. Did you know anything about this guy at all? Had you ever seen him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd never seen him play. I'd seen him walk around a bit before. You know, obviously tried to find out as much as possible. Yeah, knew he had a big serve, and that was obviously his weapon. Yeah, that's pretty much -- you know, I'd never seen him play a match before.

Q. How were you feeling with your game coming into this Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I felt like I, you know, practiced really well over the last week and a half, felt like I was hitting the ball well. You know, felt like I was hitting the ball pretty well out on the court there today. You know, I was seeing the ball well. You know, could have easily been 6-1, 4-Love up. You know, I just didn't take my chances. I had 1-Love in the second set, 15-40, and then 2-1 in the second set, Love-40. You know, if I get on top of him, makes life a lot tougher for him to come out and, you know, keep serving. I gave him those chances, and to his credit he picked up and his whole game got a lot better.

Q. People talk about the historic significance of the defending champion going out first round. Has that hit you at all or are you just thinking about having lost a match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for me it's pretty much, you know, playing Wimbledon and losing first round. You know, sure, defending champion. But at the end of the day I'd be disappointed losing Wimbledon first round any time. You know, that's what you've got to deal with. You know, it's very hard at the moment to try and say you're going to try and learn something from it, but hopefully I can. You know, when I look back at it, probably have a bit clearer mind, see where things went wrong and where hopefully I can improve for the future. But, you know, at the moment, it's pretty disappointing.

Q. You had a problem against Norman, and this guy was tall. Do you have a problem with guys this height?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think anyone's going to have a problem trying to get back those serves all the time. Against Norman, I ended up finding a way to break him down, you know, play his weaknesses and get on top and win the match. Over five sets, it's a lot tougher, I think. But then again, I had a lot of chances today. You look at the stats, he broke (inaudible), I lost the match in four sets. I didn't quite take my chances when I had them. I had a breakpoint early in the third set and in the fourth set as well, he hit two aces. Wasn't a whole heap I could do out there at that stage.

Q. What surprised you most about his game and how far do you think he can go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the way that he was able to pick his serve up. He wasn't serving great, I didn't find, for probably the first set and a bit. And then when, you know, I missed those opportunities early in the second set, his whole game sort of came together. He didn't make as many easy mistakes. He picked up a lot better, on half volleys and low volleys than he did early in the match. He made a lot of mistakes on those points. You know, he pretty much cut out his double-faults, as well. He hardly served a double-fault from probably halfway through the second set.

Q. Does coming in as defending champion bring any extra pressure for you? Did you fell that out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. You know, I went out there, I knew it was going to be a tough match. I knew that I had to play as well as I could to win. You know, early on it looked pretty good. I was feeling pretty good out there. I guess it's how things can change around pretty quickly out there. You know, I felt like I was the dominant player for a set and a bit. Even the second set, I had set point there at 5-4 on his serve, had a second serve. You know, if I took that chance, been up two sets to love, there's probably a good chance I wouldn't be out of the tournament. I don't feel like I had too much extra pressure coming in, winning it last year.

Q. What will you do for the rest of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, got no idea. Haven't even thought about it.

Q. Top players like to have a very controlled kind of environment around them so things are regular every time they go out to play, no changes in their routine. Right now there have been some changes in your life, change in coaches, a lawsuit. Do you think perhaps even subconsciously those things are taking you out of your comfort zone?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all.

Q. Did you do anything differently this year coming into Wimbledon? Did you come over later or was it the same preparation as previous years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I came over, you know, obviously after Kim played her final at the French. Last year I probably came over a little bit earlier. The year before that, though, I came over the same time, Kim had made the final of the French. I don't think that's got a whole heap to do with it.

Q. What about the courts, do you find the courts are different from last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. They're pretty similar. I guess, you know, they'll quicken up as the tournament goes on. But for the first day, I don't think it's any different to any other year.

Q. It looks like on some of the big shots, normally in tournaments when you're winning, you'd go for your shots, make them. Today and Roland Garros, looked like you were a bit hesitant, not sure of yourself on the big points. Do you find that help happening?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. There wasn't really too much I could do on the breakpoints I had. Probably one breakpoint at 5-4 in the second set, and I had set point second serve. I went for it up the line, just shanked it wide by a couple of centimeters. Apart from that, he hit a couple of aces, he hit big serves. I was lucky to get my racquet on them. On the big points, today's match-up, you don't get any rhythm out there. It's hard to say I didn't go for it enough on the big points.

Q. At 5-5 in the second set, there was an announcement by the public address while play was continuing. Didn't you ask for a let on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I asked after the point, I just said, "What was the ruling on that? What's the rules?" He said, "We got to keep playing." That was it. I found it strange. I think we both did. We were sort of half hitting the ball up the middle of the court waiting for the umpire to play two or a let. I've never had anything like that happen before.

Q. Do you let a loss like this stay with you or is it gone by tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it will be longer than tomorrow (laughter). I'll be disappointed for a while. You know, every loss I guess is different. I've had some Davis Cup losses that probably stick around, you know, fairly long. I'm sure this one's not going to go away, you know, by the end of the week.

Q. When Sampras lost to Edberg at The Open early in his career, after he lost to him, he felt terrible, couldn't sleep. Does that kind of thing happen to you? Can you get rid of those losses? Do you lose sleep?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't know. I think every loss is different. You know, I think I can still sleep. But, you know, you wake up frustrated sometimes I guess in the morning. You know, you're not still in the tournament. But I think that's the same with anyone. While the big tournaments are still going on and you're not in them anymore, I think anyone's disappointed. Probably sinks in tomorrow or the next day, probably more so than even today. I'll be pretty disappointed I guess for a while.

Q. With hindsight, do you think you and your team did enough homework on your opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I don't think I could have done much more. Didn't have, you know, any different secrets that I wasn't aware of.

Q. Can you size up your season thus far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, you know, this has obviously been disappointing. The French for me, I didn't find that disappointing. I felt like the first two sets against Robredo in the third round I probably played the best tennis I've ever played on clay. He went out and knocked Kuerten out, should have beaten Costa in the quarterfinals, led two sets and a break. You know, obviously on the tournaments earlier in the year I played pretty well in Scottsdale, Indian Wells. My Grand Slams so far probably have been disappointing in some ways if you look at the results. You know, I don't think it was a terribly loss to El Aynaoui at the Australian. He had to play his best tennis to beat me. Robredo had to come back from two sets to love down. I wasn't able to, on my least favorite surface, keep that standard up against such a good clay court player for five sets. That's probably where I lost the French Open a bit. This has been probably the most disappointing out of the three Grand Slams so far.

Q. He's the biggest player in the world. Is there an imposing feeling when you go out and have to look up at the guy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, obviously I played Dick Norman last week. It's no different to playing guys likes Safin. They're pretty imposing, as well. You know, there's weaknesses because of that height, as well, and you've got to try and open up their weaknesses more and try and close down their strengths. I wasn't able quite to do that today.

Q. Your opponent was obviously playing the best tennis of his life today. Did you ever think his standard was going to drop?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's probably hard to say. As the match got on, he got better and better as the match went on. That's where I come back to having my chances early in the second set and not consolidating them. If I was able to do that, you know, I might have been in a totally different position. If I could have, you know, kept on top of him, kept pounding him into the ground, I could have broken down his serve maybe a little bit more and got to look at a few more second serves. But he got more and more confident. It was getting tougher and tougher as the match went on. I think he found his rhythm on his serve and he started serving a whole heap better.

Q. Knowing yourself and your character, how do you think you'll react to this and push yourself forward for the remaining months of this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope I can learn from it. I hope I can go out -- there's one major left, the US Open, a place I'm familiar with and had good results there the past four years. You know, last three years I haven't lost before a semifinal. Yeah, it's nice to go to places where you play well. And obviously going back on hard court, you know, I guess that's the big one for me for the rest of the year, the US Open, the last Grand Slam. You know, I've got to try and get this out of your mind as much as possible. Then, again, maybe it can make me more hungry for that last Grand Slam. I'll have to wait and see.

Q. When you experience this, do you ever think you feel you may have something to prove to yourself at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really to prove to myself, I don't think. You know, I don't feel like I have to prove to anyone, you know, really.

Q. What do you think about coming back here next year, strike threat permitting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I get fired up to play Wimbledon any time. 12 months from now, I can't say how I'm going to be feeling coming in. Hopefully I'll be as eager as ever, I'll enjoy coming back here ,and hopefully I can go a round or two better.

Q. Can you believe the players would strike Wimbledon? They did it 30 years ago.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd find it very hard to believe.

Q. Can you compare the intensity level you carried into this match with the general intensity of last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The intensity level is very similar. Not a whole heap different.

Q. Will this alter your summer schedule at all? Do you know what you're playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, haven't thought about it. Yeah, at the moment I'm playing LA, the two Masters series and the US Open. You know, I haven't even thought about it at the moment.

Q. First-round loser, you walk away with 8,000 pounds. Can you appreciate the other players -- the Grand Slam tournaments are accused the not spreading the wealth. Your check is a lot smaller than you're used to. Can you sympathize with the players on the tour that say the Grand Slam tournaments aren't generous enough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't know what it is. Eight thousand pounds, whatever, for most guys playing in the challengers and satellites, it's a bit of a dream to get in the draw and get that much money, to be guaranteed that much money. You know, obviously for me it's a little bit different. I'm not going out there thinking about what I'm playing for today if I get through to the second round.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:56 PM   #107
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WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 12, 2003, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Xavier Malisse 6-3 4-6 2-6

CINCINNATI, OHIO

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Disappointing day. What do you think happened?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just didn't feel great out there today. Don't really know why. I felt even in the first set, didn't feel like I played great tennis. You know, Xavier, he was struggling out there a bit. You know, he gave me a couple easy service games. And, you know, early in the second set I felt like I had a chance, and I think I had a breakpoint maybe to go 3-1 up in the second, and he hit -- made an ace on that point. After that, it was pretty much downhill for most of the match.

Q. So you didn't feel good about your tennis or just...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I just physically didn't feel great out there today.

Q. Were you feeling hot, overheated?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was more my legs. I just didn't feel real great.

Q. Where do you go from here? Do you get ready for the Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea, mate. Doubles tomorrow.

Q. Are you scheduled to play next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, week off.

Q. You think you need it? You've been playing a lot of tennis.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What, the doubles or week off?

Q. Week off.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't played that much tennis, you know. I had a good week in LA and made the final, had a couple doubles matches, then only two matches last week. You know, it would've probably been nice to get a few more matches under my belt, but I won't be playing next week.

Q. Any pressure from the ranking, any pressure to stay No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When you're 5, it doesn't mean much.

Q. You've been playing some real good tennis for the last two years. There's got to be some pressure that goes in during that period.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Now and then, I guess, but I don't put any added pressure on myself. You know, I know that when my game's at its best and I'm feeling physically 100 percent, then I feel like I can beat up on anyone out there on any given day. You know, just, you know, last two weeks, actually, the two matches that I've lost have been extremely tight matches; it could have gone either way. You know, I just haven't been taking my chances. Today was, you know, a totally different situation, though, than the last couple weeks. I just didn't feel great out there - physically out there today - and that really hurt my whole game.

Q. So it was the physical game, not mental game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: More today, yeah.

Q. More today the physical side?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. This physical problem, you haven't had the flu or anything?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't had anything, no. I just didn't feel 100 percent. I don't think there's something, you know, you can sort of put it down to, "This is wrong with you." So, you know, hopefully I can go out there and, you know, get my game right for the US Open and see what happens.

Q. How do you approach this US Open? In previous years, you've played a lot more and you were getting further in tournaments. This year, you haven't played as much. You've had kind of up and down results. How is it different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, I'd probably like to have a few more matches going in. You know, I still feel like when I'm hitting the ball at my best. I've been practicing pretty well. I've spent a lot of hours on the practice court the last few weeks as well. Grand Slams are different, though. If you can get through a few matches and, you know, the draw opens up and you get confident, then I think everyone knows ... You just got to look at a guy like Sampras last year, and even the two times I've won Slams, and I've got better as the tournament's gone on. So you just need a little bit of luck early and you get through those opening matches, and you never know what could happen.

Q. Looking from the outside, it seems like this year's US Open is pretty open. Do you feel that way about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. There's, obviously, Agassi, Federer, Roddick, Ferrero, you know. He's not known for, you know, quicker hard courts, but he's very capable of playing well. You know, he's probably one of the best clay court players that can adjust and play on hard court.You know, Moya. Even a guy like Coria, he's gonna be tough. He's very quick, he moves great, you know, great defensive game as well. And all those guys are gonna be tough. Nalbandian, these kinds of guys as well. I think a little bit is going to depend on the draw. Hopefully, I can still be in there in the second week and give it a good run.

Q. In the overall picture do you feel that paring down your schedule this year is a good idea? Will you keep doing that in the future?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure. I'll sit down and work it out. You know, it was more -- I probably was gonna play a little bit more, and then I pulled out of a few clay court tournaments before the French just because I felt physically a bit drained, mentally a bit drained after the Davis Cup tie. Pretty much I just wanted to go home and have a few weeks off. So that wasn't even really scheduled. That was sort of spur-of-the-moment, how I was feeling after the Davis Cup tie in Sweden.

Q. Do you think you've not fully recovered from that stage, from that tie?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I felt like I played pretty well, actually, the French Open, even though I lost in the third round. I had a great match with Robredo, was the better player for most of the match. The week before that I beat Moya, Blake and Novak in the World Team Cup. Sort of since then, I've struggled a little bit, I guess. Obviously, the hiccup at Wimbledon. I made a final in LA, should have probably won there. Then the last two weeks. It's been a little bit up and down.

Q. I think most of us guys want you to do well because if you're doing well, it's easier to make publicity for the sport. A few are possibly worried that the legal things that are going on behind the scenes may be affecting you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't heard anything about the legal things pretty much all the year, so... A few people can -- probably don't know much about it.

Q. You're talking to us now, so we're happy about that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that?

Q. I said but you're talking to us now, so we're happy about that. We get a chance to talk to you about your tennis and your future in tennis.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah? Oh, good.

Q. You're one of the rare Australians who hasn't chosen to find a place on this side of the planet. How much do you think that maybe takes out of you physically, commuting back and forth more than most of the other players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not that much, I don't think. In America, I, you know , I just don't see I have weeks off to spend in America. You know, the only weeks that I have off are after Wimbledon where, you know, I went to Belgium the last couple of years for two or three weeks there. Obviously, I go to Belgium for weeks off when I'm around Europe. When I'm in America, you know, the only weeks that I have off is the week, you know, next week, which I'm gonna be in New York practicing probably. And apart from that, I'm playing Scottsdale, Indian Wells, Miami normally. So with Davis Cup ties in that, you've sometimes got to go home anyway. That's when I try and take a little bit of a break, after Davis Cup ties.

Q. Will you sit down and have a discussion on some of these issues before the US Open, try and work out what's happening to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean, "issues"?

Q. The issues relating to not feeling good physically.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, that was just today. Hopefully, that's not going to be a general -- you know, I've been feeling pretty good the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, that won't be a problem in a couple weeks' time.

Q. What about your confidence? You seem to have lost that killer instinct you had on the court. What will you do to get that back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think, obviously, going into Grand Slams, if you can't get up for Grand Slams, then you pretty much shouldn't be playing the sport. I don't think killer instinct or, you know, going out there in that fighting spirit is going to be a problem in New York at all.

Q. Did the incident of last year come through your mind at all when you got back here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really - apart from media trying to bring it up. No, I'm not meaning you, but in other interviews that I've done (smiling).
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:59 PM   #108
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US OPEN

August 25, 2003, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Victor Hanescu 6-3 6-2 6-2

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Questions.


Q. Pretty convincing. How are you feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a good one to get under my belt, I think. You know, obviously turned out to be a late night with all the ceremonies. That's why I wanted to try to get out there and get off to a good start, put up some pressure on him early. I was able to do that. Only lost my serve once for the night, sort of the second game where I was 30-Love up. I lost a little bit of concentration there. Apart from that, I played pretty well.

Q. Fitzy said you have been hitting the ball exceptionally well in practice. You agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've been hitting the ball well. I've got to take that over into the match court, match situation. I felt like tonight was a start. Obviously, I'm going to have to play a lot tougher and better players than I did tonight. Hopefully as the two weeks goes on, you just got to sort of deal with whoever is put in front of you. This guy, to his credit, he would have been in qualifying a few months ago. He made third round in the French, and Wimbledon, beat some decent players in the French especially. For me to take care of him that easily, I was pretty pleased.

Q. Why is it not transferring always into match conditions? Has that affected your confidence a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, not really actually. I feel like, you know, this is a different tournament to Cincinnati or Montreal or even LA. Obviously, this is a Grand Slam, this is what you play for. This is the big time. This is what gets you motivated. You want to go out there and save your best for these tournaments. Thankfully tennis, we have four Grand Slams, not like the Olympics, obviously for athletics and that, they've got to wait four years to get their big chance. We get a few every couple of months. For me, it's a good opportunity to forget some of those losses. I feel like I'm hitting the ball a lot better in practice. Week and a half after Cincinnati, I was sort of, you know, going into LA and that anyway.

Q. Where do you think you need to improve your game, lift the level to win a Grand Slam again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I feel like I'm hitting the ball pretty well at the moment. You know, I think you need a little bit of luck with the draw probably opening up a bit and taking your chances when you get them. You know, I feel like even the matches I lost over the last couple weeks, I feel like I've played a set, set and a half of real good tennis. I just haven't taken my chances. Probably especially obviously losing to Mirnyi and the final. I had match points in LA. Apart from that, I played a pretty good tournament.

Q. Do you feel any different when you get in New York, the site of your first Grand Slam title, atmosphere?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a nice feeling, I guess, to know. But, you know, I look forward to, you know, all Grand Slams. I think it's a buzz walking into any one of the four Grand Slams. Yeah, I still have to say probably just the Aussie, because I grew up there. When I walk in there, it's probably even more special. But to come back to places that you've played well at, especially big tournaments, it's always -- probably gives you a little more confidence when you get out there and the memories come back.

Q. Fitzy said to us the other day that he thought you were trying from now on to play more aggressively on short balls, perhaps volley more when you can. Is that the case? When did you sort of come to that frame of mind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not something that I'm really working on. I'm trying to work on little areas of my game, you know, in the future. I think, you know, obviously when I'm playing well, I take advantage of short balls and am aggressive. You know, I think still obviously first serve percentage and stuff like that, getting cheaper points on my first serve, that's one of the main key aspects. Even when I was No. 1 and won two Slams and the Masters and everything else, that was still an area of my game I felt like I could work on. Still at the moment, that's an area. So it's just little things, trying to piece it all together, I guess, trying to get it together so everything's working for these two weeks - if not these two weeks, then hopefully Davis Cup or the Australian Open.

Q. Given the consistent success you've had the last two years, summer has been kind of up and down results-wise. Has it been frustrating for you? How do you deal with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With losses?

Q. Just with trying to deal with inconsistent results after being so consistent for two years.

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, we're fortunate enough as tennis players, you lose one week, you've always got another tournament to sort of redeem yourself, I guess. You know, that's the good thing. As I said, we've got four majors. Obviously, my goals at the start of the year, the priority are the four majors and Davis Cup. I'm fortunate enough that after my Wimbledon loss, coming through the American stretch, I've got the US Open to look forward to, then obviously a semifinal in Davis Cup back home, the possibility of playing a final in Davis Cup. I think those things sort of try to put the losses to the back of your mind because it makes you go out there and work even harder to try to perform better in those bigger events.

Q. Are you fairly happy with the draw?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm taking it one match at a time at the moment. Hyung-Taik Lee, he's a tough player. He's played well on these courts before at this tournament a couple years ago.

Q. Not being the defending champion this year, does it feel better, less pressure?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I guess people are probably talking more about the guys who are in better form going into it. It doesn't bother me really, you know, either way. I felt like last year, even as the defending champion, I put up a great effort. I felt like I had a bloody tough draw last year. When you look at playing Blake in the third round, to play Novak, El Aynaoui in the quarter, then Agassi. In the end, I probably ran out of a bit of steam against Andre. I gave everything I had. Hopefully this year I can just go out there and give everything I got again. Hopefully might be good enough.

Q. Could you give a comment about Pete Sampras' retirement?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a great ceremony. I was watching it in the locker room, in the gym. For us I think every tennis fan, to actually witness that tonight, I think is incredible. As they all said, everyone who went out there kept saying the kind of guy like Pete Sampras only comes around once probably in our lifetime. I'm fortunate enough, I can boast that I was the last person to beat him here. I'm pretty happy. You know, yeah, if you could write a fairytale ending, I think this is pretty much it. Beating his long-time rival in the US Open final, doesn't get much better.

Q. A guy like Hanescu, was it good to get a guy like him, a little awkward, get into a rhythm? As the match went on, you get better and better.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I got better, but he's an awkward player because he doesn't give you a lot of rhythm either. Yeah, he had a great backhand up the line. I felt like I was setting up a lot of points. Out of the blue, he'd come up with a huge backhand winner as good as anyone. It was just sort of awkward. He had service games where he was kicking most of his serves in, then games where he had bigger serves. It was an awkward game, but I felt like I was in control. I hadn't seen him play. I watched a few practice sessions. For me to go out there the way I did and start, I was happy.

Q. You came to the net 23 times, you won 18 of those points. Pretty impressive stat.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously he doesn't have -- when you rush him, as you said, he's not the most fluent guy moving around, so it was always going to be tough. I tried to put a lot of pressure on his second serve, as well.

Q. Are you sort of one that gets rattled or loses a bit of self-belief if things aren't going particularly well at work or in your career, or are you able to say, "I'm still the bloke who won two Grand Slams and was No. 1"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think when I've had little hiccups, I think I've bounced back from them pretty well. I'd like to think that I'm pretty mentally tough, probably one of the more mentally tough players out there, I'd say. I think with my style of game, you know, that's one advantage or one edge that I probably have over a lot of guys. That's one of the reasons why I've been able to get and do everything and achieve everything that I've had to so far. You know, you still need goals, I guess things to motivate, dreams to follow, as well.

Q. You said you were working on little things in your game. Some people say if you have some small problems in your game, you have less margin for error than other guys in the Top 10.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Less margin for error?

Q. If a few things are off in your game, some will say you have less margin for error than some of the other guys in the Top 10. Is that fair?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think everyone has strengths and weaknesses. That's the great thing. You look at a guy like Marat Safin. He's built possibly the perfect tennis player. He's got every shot in the book. Sometimes little things let him down. You know, there's always those things I guess which aren't quite working. That's the great thing about tennis. It's on a daily basis. If my strengths aren't working, I've got to go back to my more percentage game, I guess, try to make them play a lot more and keep running and use, I guess, my basic strengths.

Q. You just mentioned dreams to follow. Is it as straightforward as winning more Grand Slams or something beyond that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, pretty much. Obviously, you know, I'm not looking too far ahead, looking at winning this one. I'm taking it one match at a time. That keeps driving you to try to get better in Grand Slams, keep winning matches in Grand Slams. Obviously the Davis Cup coming up is very high on the list.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:03 PM   #109
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

US OPEN

August 28, 2003, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Hyung-Taik Lee 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-4

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. He was really going for his shots. Hard opponent to get a rhythm against.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I knew he was a talented player. I actually watched him on the TV a little bit when he won Sydney earlier in the year. Yeah, he's a shot-maker. He plays very flashy. He's a great mover. He hits the ball very flat out there. Felt like actually the better I played, the better he played. I think, you know, the standard sort of showed. You know, the best game of the match was obviously the last game. I would have liked to have went out a little bit easier. But, you know, still happy to get through.

Q. Was that a step up from your first round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The opponent was a lot tougher today. You know, he's had big wins. As I said, he beat Ferrero in Sydney, Roddick. He's beaten a lot of tough players. I didn't take him lightly at all. You know, I just didn't feel like I was probably as aggressive at the start, and that's probably where I changed the match around in the second set.

Q. Even though it's only the second round, it seems like it's a nice evolution to move from a fairly easy first-round match? Only four sets, but felt like it was five.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a tough match. Yeah, even in the first set, I was down a break twice and I had to fight back from it. You know, in the end, 5-All, he hit sort of a shank dropshot. Then he played a good game to break me at 6-5. Yeah, it was tough tennis. I felt like when I stepped it up, you know, took the initiative a little bit more, you know, I played some of my best tennis in the second and third sets. In the fourth, he started serving a lot better.

Q. How would you describe your form, the way you think you're playing in this hard court swing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played some good matches. In LA, I played pretty well the whole tournament, I felt. Against Ferreira, I didn't play my best tennis, but still a point away from winning. Where did I go then? Montreal, played great against Bob Bryan the first round. Second round against Mirnyi, one of those matches where he served big, I lost five in the third. I lost five in the third to Ferreira the week before, five in the third to Mirnyi. Went to Cincinnati, didn't play a great match against Malisse.

Q. What was your sort of mental attitude coming in here? How did you feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, you walk into this place, it's not like walking into Cincinnati or Montreal. This is a Grand Slam. You know, this is what you play for. This is what tennis is all about. Yeah, not many people will remember what happened in Montreal or Cincinnati if you go out and win this tournament. I walked into the place, trained as hard as possible the last week and a half since I lost in Cincinnati. You know, I felt like I've given myself every opportunity of playing well here, whether it happens or not. I've started well enough, got to keep going.

Q. You practiced a bit with Federer.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I practiced one day with him.

Q. Is it good to practice with a guy that good?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously I hit with Flip down in Florida for a few days down there, then came here. The guys I pretty much hit with, Federer, Flip. That's about it pretty much. You know, but they're two classy guys. Henman, as well. It wasn't like I was hitting against the best players. I felt like I was grinding, getting my game going coming in here anyway.

Q. Even when you were No. 1, I think you probably said many times you wanted your first serve to get better. Is that an area you'd like to improve in?


LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I didn't serve great today. I felt like my ball toss was all over the shop today. It's an area that, yeah, I want to work on. Then again, you're sort of between a rock and a hard place a little bit. You go for it. A guy my size, you either can kick it in, get the point started, get a high percentage in, or you can go for it and try to get a lot of cheap points. You're going to have a lower percentage. There's some matches I feel I served great in the past. When I won here two years ago, towards the end of the tournament, I probably served as well as I ever served, even at Wimbledon last year. I do have times where I feel like my motion is good. Right at the moment, I don't feel that comfortable with it. But I'm getting through matches. If that comes together, I feel like I'm playing pretty well.

Q. What is a happy medium, you play more difficult opponents, come against people like Agassi with a great return, what's a happy medium? Do you go for it more then, just get them in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll do it depending on how I'm feeling, how the match probably starts a little bit. Yeah, Andre is probably one in a million, return of serve, as well. If you got to play him, it's going to be tough no matter how well you're serving - I think for anyone. At the time, you play with instinct once you get out there.

Q. You've done great without a huge serve. Have you thought about tinkering with technology, longer racquet, trying it out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I've picked it up before. It just doesn't feel right to me, picking it up. You know, I think for what I'd get out of maybe helping my serve, I'd probably lose in -- you know, I think it would probably take a while to change, if you were going to change to something like that. I don't know how easy -- when you sort of hold it, volleying with a longer racquet, it feels a bit weird. It feels like it gets in the way. It feels a lot more than an inch, inch and a half longer.

Q. Three match points, failed on, is there a danger of frustration creeping in at that point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. For sure, I think for anyone. It's hot enough out there, you want to get back in the locker room as soon as possible. Especially when I played a good game to break, to finally break at 4-All, to come out. Yeah, I felt like I played a pretty good game, yet I wasn't in the locker room. He really stepped it up. As I said before, the better I played, the better he ended up playing. You know, he took it to me. I just had to hang tough there. Obviously, I came up with a huge backhand up the line on one of the breakpoints.

Q. With time you get experience, savvy about how to play. Is there something about the Lleyton Hewitt of 2001 that you would like to have back, something that you sort of miss a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really (smiling). You know, I still feel like I've got all the weapons and all the strengths that I had back then. You know, right at the moment, I just feel like I'm not quite peaking at the moment. I think one match can turn that all around.

Q. None sort of that reckless, fearless stuff of youth?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think too many guys would have gone for the backhand up the line on breakpoint today.

Q. There are wins and wins in guy's careers. Hindsight, this might be an important one for you, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's pretty important to get through any early rounds of Grand Slams. You know, I know that as well as anyone after Wimbledon. You know, for me to keep fighting, obviously you could have got down a little bit on yourself, after losing the first set and having chances. I had to put my head down and grind back. In the end, I'm happy to come through this one. I can't look too far forward, though.

Q. Yesterday Scott Draper was saying to him the only difference in 2000, 2001, under pressure you hit every line. He said maybe now you're missing it by just a little bit. That's enough to lose a point here and there. Is that sort of the way you see it? Is it that simple?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think there are times like that, yeah. I feel like I'm hitting the ball as well as I've ever hit it in practice. I just got to try and take that over to the match court. Yeah, tennis is such a funny game. I felt like I've had a lot of breakpoints; even today I had a lot of breakpoints, didn't quite capitalize on them. I think probably in the couple years before that, I probably made a lot more of those chances. That's something that you can work on, to a certain extent, but there's still a little bit of luck involved, I guess, seeing whether the guy makes a big first serve on a breakpoint or not.

Q. Is it fair to say the one thing you probably miss this year is being right at the heart of a Grand Slam, right in there challenging?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I think if I get towards the quarters or the semis, that's probably when I'm at my most dangerous. You know, I know what you got to do to win slams. I think if -- I've always said, even with my game, I guess, is my personality to a certain extent, if I can get through the first couple of rounds, sometimes they're the toughest. If I can get through this one, obviously get myself into the second week, hit the ball, have that confidence going, I've been in that situation before.

Q. Talk about the long-term absence of Marat, what that's done for the game, the negative impact?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it hasn't done much positive. I think at the end of the day, you just got to look at how many tournaments he's had to play. Yeah, in my opinion, he's one of the best players around when he's on. He has the perfect physique for tennis; I think, he's got every shot in the game. It's disappointing that he's hardly been able to play since the Aussie Open basically. You know, the game needs a guy like that around. He's a great personality for the game of tennis. I think at the end of the day, you look at how many matches he had to play last year. You know, I lost to him in the Paris final, he played incredible tennis, had to fly straight off to Shanghai, he plays in the Masters Cup, has to fly back to Paris to play in the Davis Cup final on a totally different surface. That takes a lot out of you, both physically and mentally. For a guy like him, it's disappointing. I think there's got to be a way that the ATP or the ITF or everyone has to sit down and work it out and get the schedule. I think the reason I got the chickenpox at the end of 2001 was because I was run down from playing so many matches and a Davis Cup final.

Q. You having been No. 1, Kim being No. 1 now, what are your thoughts on her being No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's an incredible effort. What comes with being No. 1, for me it was just a dream to grow up and be No. 1 for a week. For her to hold No. 1, it's something no one can ever take away from you. I know both of us, when we were growing up, our dream, our goal, was to one day be No. 1. There's not too many couples that can say they've both been No. 1.

Q. With you inviting Fitzy onto some of your practices here in New York, what are you sort of looking for by way of feedback to you and Roger? Is he helping with any tactical things here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's more for a Davis Cup point of view, I think, as well. He's been out scouting a lot of -- obviously watching Roger play a fair bit. He's going to be the main guy in the Davis Cup tie coming up. You know, he wants to get a feel, I think, of little things that he can say on the court - positive reminders and stuff like that that he can say to both Flip and I that are going to trigger something when we're out there. I think it's great that Wally and Fitzy are both here. I know that both Flip and I are pleased to have them around. We enjoy their company. I think we both enjoy -- the more support we have from the Davis Cup guys, the better.

Q. You and Karlovic, when you pass him now, do you have a nodding acquaintance? Do you ever talk about what a goofy kind of match it was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really seen him actually. Haven't spoken to him. Haven't seen him. I haven't played in any tournaments until here where he's at.

Q. Your next opponent, Stepanek or Santoro?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're both weird kind of players a little bit. Stepanek, he's had a great couple of years. I played him in the Aussie Open I think in the third round. He started really well, sort of lost his way halfway through the first set. I was able to get confident and play some of my best tennis in that match. He returns extremely well. He moves very well. He has an all-court game. He mixes a lot. Hasn't got the biggest serve, but it's a very effective serve. He likes coming in and playing with a bit of bluff, as well. Santoro, we all know he's a different kind of player. You got to go out there, though, and back yourself, you know, take your A game. If you're a little bit off, these guys can make you look silly out there. I've got to go out there and stay aggressive and play my game.

Q. What means more to you this year, Davis Cup or the individual tournaments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, they're both -- obviously, Grand Slams and Davis Cup, it's very hard to separate them.

Q. Has this year been different in any way with your priorities?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd love to win the Davis Cup. It's probably sitting number one at the moment. Haven't won it for a few years, so...

Q. If you do well here and you do well in Davis Cup, in a sense would you feel like the rest of the year has been a success, forget about the rest of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If we win the Davis Cup, I'll be happy. You know, if I can do well here, it's a bonus, as well. Obviously, we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, though.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:07 PM   #110
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US OPEN

August 30, 2003, 3th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Radek Stepanek 6-1 3-0 Ret.

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Is that a positive to spend 30 minutes on court in the middle of a Grand Slam for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I would have liked to have kept going. I felt like I was in a pretty good routine out there today. I was hitting the ball really cleanly. It was a big step up from my first two matches. It was in the right direction. You know, in some ways you want to keep going; in other ways you want to save a bit for the second week.

Q. Did he give you any indication that that was going to happen? Was he moving badly?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I couldn't tell anything. But, yeah, I didn't have a clue.

Q. Would it be fair to say, certainly the first set, into the second set, it's as good as you've played maybe since Scottsdale or Indian Wells?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was up there. I probably played maybe my best tennis that I've played all year in the World Team Cup, to tell you the truth. I beat Novak, Blake, and Moya all on clay. This was up there with that probably today.

Q. Got to make you feel good.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I was seeing the ball. I was very aggressive. I served great, I felt, out there today. You know, I just had good rhythm on everything.

Q. Will you attempt to make up for that lost time on court today by doing more practice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I went and hit a few balls straight after the match. But not a lot. Just sort of, you know, grooving it a little bit, trying to keep that rhythm going.

Q. Who did you hit with?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Roger.

Q. Paradorn, you've played him a number of times now. Talk a little about what sort of an opponent he's going to be.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player, extremely talented. He's got every shot in the game. You know, he's a very aggressive player. Obviously got a big serve, probably a big forehand. He moves great around the court. He can come in and volley, as well. You know, the matches -- I think I've only lost to him once. The matches that we've had were probably -- we played in the semis of Paris Indoors last year in a tight three-setter, I got up. Before that, he was sort of not where he is quite at the moment. We had a lot of tough matches in the past. I don't expect any different on Monday.

Q. How will you change your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't change a lot. I'll go out there with my game. If I have to alter things during the match, so be it. At the start I'll just go out there with my game plan and see what he's got on the table.

Q. Are you pleased with the progression?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not out of the tournament yet, so... Yeah, as long as you're still in the draw. Everyone's happy at the moment. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well.

Q. You talked a lot about getting through the early rounds of a Grand Slam to make the charge for a title. Do you feel like you are now past the early rounds and are ready?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think when you get through the first week, it's a huge bonus for everyone. As I said in the past, you can't win the tournament in the first week, you can only lose it. You've just got to find a way to get through those matches and put yourself in a good preparation-wise. You know, I still feel like I've got plenty left in the tank, as well, going into the second week.

Q. Are you surprised at all sort of how the tournament has shaken out? Top seeds are still in. Does that surprise you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, every Grand Slam's different. You know, I think a lot of the top guys had tough matches, though. Agassi probably hasn't had too tough a match the other night. Vinciguerra apparently played pretty good. Roddick had a pretty tough match last night. I know Moya had a very tough match against Draper in the first round. Ferrero has had a couple tough matches. Obviously, that little bit of inexperience by the lower-ranked players over five sets...

Q. In Cincinnati you said you felt a bit tired, your legs were quite heavy. Is that completely gone? There's no sign of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt good in my first three matches. Obviously, it wasn't an issue today. I'm feeling good.

Q. John Newcombe said after the first set that, "Lleyton could be back." He thought you played well. I kind of get the sense you don't think you've really been away. Is that fair? Are you frustrated that everyone seems to have an opinion that you're down in your form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I guess when you look at the results I've had over two years, they're not quite up to that form. Probably everyone's expectations just rose that much over the last couple years. Hitting the ball-wise, I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. There's just a couple of things in my game, you know, that I've got to probably alter. I've been able to, you know, work on little areas of my game. I feel like I'm, you know, hitting the ball well at the moment. As I said, you know, my first two rounds, I didn't feel like I played exceptionally well. I feel like I've been hitting well in practice. I need to take that on court.

Q. Last night Ljubicic took offense to Andy Roddick's tactics on the court. First of all, has that ever bothered you? Two, he said Andy is not well liked in the locker room.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't see anything last night. Andy seems fine with me. You know, I've never had a problem with him. You know, I think he hangs around with most of the American -- young American guys anyway. I don't know him that well. I've never had a problem with anything he's done on court.

Q. That American brashness that can come out here, maybe the European or Australian players might take offense.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. Not that I'm aware of.

Q. Do you think there's a line on a player's actions on the court that at times can be influential when it comes to a linesman? That's a lot of what Ljubicic had a problem with last night, that a certain action that Andy did on court might have influenced a linesman's call. Do you ever feel that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I can't say that I've really felt that way in my matches. You know, I've seen times in other matches I think, you know, when I've been watching on TV and that, when sometimes maybe it has happened, where a linesman, overrules, whatever. What I heard of last night's was obviously on a huge point. Most of the time they're not on that big a point, whereas that could have gone to the fifth set. I haven't seen the call or anything, so I wouldn't have a clue.

Q. Have you ever been in a match where you felt like a certain action might have influenced a call that went against you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not an action, no. I feel like there's been times where I've had close calls go against you, which you don't agree with. But I've never felt like an action or player or anything's turned a call in my matches.

Q. Yesterday, I asked Mark Philippoussis on a scale of 1 to 10 where he would place himself. He said a 7. Considering about the way you said you feel about the way you're playing, where would you place yourself on that scale?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, 7 is good, too (laughter).

Q. The other night when you were playing your first-round match, John McEnroe said during the commentary that he had spoken to your dad, and your dad said maybe the problem is maybe Lleyton is too happy. Do you feel like you're too happy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Some days I feel happier than others. I don't know where that's come from. You know, as I said, I don't think "too happy" has got anything to do with it. I still feel hungry and the will to win is still there, so...

Q. You came to this tournament with people saying you have been in a slump. You described Wimbledon as a hiccup. Is it a slump or a hiccup? How would you characterize where you've been as opposed to where you are now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As you said, I said "hiccup." I've never said "slump."

Q. There is a game of football with Adelaide. Are you going to monitor that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll get the result.

Q. Will someone ring you? Will you get up in the morning, check the Internet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Depends how late I'm up tonight, whether I turn on the Internet and see the score. Yeah, the boys will be all right, though.

Q. You said how Andy acts on court doesn't bother you. You're someone whose court demeanor is sometimes criticized. Is that sour grapes from a losing opponent, what Ljubicic said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I didn't see the match. It's very hard for me to comment on that. I know Andy likes to play with a lot of emotion, and likes to get the crowd involved. I think, you know, we've played in enough big matches to realize obviously when he's playing in America, the crowds are going to get behind him. Same as if we were playing in France against the French guys. It's exactly the same. And maybe Ivan was just disappointed at how the crowd was for Andy and against him, it felt like maybe. I'm not sure.

Q. Fanatics are here. Did you feel them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, yeah, it was a great crowd out there today. Yeah, you know, pretty much packed I think out there. Obviously, a Saturday as well, the weekend. It's a really good atmosphere, a lot of Aussies out there, which is good.

Q. Are you playing better now than when you won it two years ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes. I think there's definitely matches where I'm a better player. But then there's other matches... Grand Slams, you got to play seven matches and you got to go against the opponents you're playing against. Obviously, towards the end of 2001, quarters onwards, I probably played, you know, pretty much faultless tennis. It's very hard to repeat that week in and week out.

Q. There's been some reports in Australia over the last few days of maybe you're looking at Peter McNamara as a perspective coach. Is that what's going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know anything about it.

Q. He's not someone you're looking at?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not looking at anyone.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:17 PM   #111
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US OPEN

September 4, 2003, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4 3-6 6-7(5) 1-6

NEW YORK CITY

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Lleyton, before we get on to the match, could we get something of a blow by blow of what you've been doing the last three days? Wally said you were bouncing off walls. Must have been very frustrating?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes. It's tough for everyone. You know, that's what I keep telling myself. I'm in the same situation as, at the time, the 15 other guys in the Round of 16 and I have to -- it's like playing a patience game. You know, I spend a lot of time at the courts obviously every day. You know, it was getting frustrating. Sitting around every day. And then finally it comes to 9 or 10 o'clock, they cancel everyone else (by/but?) Your matches. You're sitting around. Obviously, we went out and started the match two or three days ago. Threw a court change in there. I've never had that happen, not only in a Grand Slam, but maybe a local country tournament in Juniors back in Australia, playing a different court.

Q. Do you have a feeling life's a bit rougher if you're not American in this draw?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's got nothing to do with that. It's a grandstand court, I warmed up this morning, there was water coming out. It's incredible. Never seen anything like it. It was like playing on ice. That's the only thing you could do. There's no way Paradorn or I would go out there, anyone would risk an injury out there on that .

Q. I meant in terms of scheduling, Andy got out last night.

LLEYTON HEWITT: They had no other option. Last night, you know, I was happy at least they sent us home at an early time. You know, the weather situation was ordinary. My half of the draw had sat around for a very long time, you know, every night. And, you know, I was pleased that we at least got home, go to bed at a normal time, and come back. Obviously, it's gonna be tough to win four matches in a row, maybe a disadvantage in that sense. But, you know, I feel like obviously Andy was prepared to play 7 o'clock last night. That's the way it should have been. You know, it's hard to sit around all day then got told, "All right, you're the night match, you're going on at 7 o'clock and we're cancelling everyone else."

Q. Does it make you fresher for a long weekend that you got through that one pretty quick today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know about that. Just take it a match at a time. Obviously, Ferrero just won then. You know, I don't expect him to pull up, you know, too sore. He's one of the fittest guys around. That's gonna be a grind again. I'm gonna have to put my head down and work extremely hard. You know, try to get into the semifinals again here.

Q. Obviously, the job is not done yet, but it must be nice to be back in familiar territory, a Grand Slam quarterfinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I know what it's like to do it. Obviously, the last time I made a quarters was here last year. You know, I've had great success at this tournament. You know, ever since I started playing the main draw, third round semi, win and a semi, now in the quarters. I enjoy these courts. I enjoy the atmosphere here. It would be nice to go one or two further.

Q. What can you take away from the quarter in Shanghai with Ferrero?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's gonna be a grind. I don't expect too much different from that match. Obviously, I had a lot of tough matches, very similar to if you make the final here. Back-to-back, I played Safin, Federer - late match against Federer - had to come back and play best-of-five sets against Ferrero. So, it's gonna be tough again tomorrow. I've got a guy out there, he's gonna run down a lot of shots. He's going to hit a lot of winners. He's got great movement. Just got to try to make him play as many balls and stay aggressive.

Q. When you play somebody like Paradorn, who after he wins the first set, sort of starts missing, started misfiring a lot, do you just try and get it back and wait for him to make a mistake?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's an awkward situation, playing a guy like him. There's not too many guys who off both side are just so flashy. He moves incredibly well for a big guy. You know, it's very hard to hit clean winners from the baseline against him. If you do get him on the stretch, then he can come out with a cold winner. Obviously, his forehand is a little bit bigger, strength in his backhand. I think when I went out there tonight, you know, it's obviously tough starting at 3-4 in the first set. I was just a little bit negative. I was probably waiting for him to make errors. He didn't. He came at me in that game, he ended up breaking for the first set. From then on, I tried turning it around, being more aggressive. Towards the end of the fourth set I played some of my best tennis.

Q. Did it take you a while to find your feet out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That, and I guess playing Paradorn as well, you get into a, not-sure-what-to-do, really, because you don't get that much rhythm. Whether you sit back, wait for him to make errors, run down a lot balls, or whether you go out there, play your game and try stay aggressive. I felt at the start I was just pushing the ball a little bit too much. Then at the end I really started working it well.

Q. The commentary, the balls were very heavy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very heavy. Not quite probably as heavy as two nights ago, whenever I went on the court for the start. That was incredible that night how heavy it was, the first seven games. It took me a few games to really get into it. Whereas Paradorn can hit through that heaviness a little bit easier than I can. I didn't really feel like I was getting much on the ball. Then again tonight it took me a few games to get into it.

Q. One of the things about having this delay that you've had, do you get any sort of irregular sleep? What's your regular sleep schedule? How has it been the last three nights? When you're sitting around, can you just play cards for five hours, sit down and play cards or do you need to move around?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the sleeping, obviously, I like to get a fair bit of sleep, probably nine hours or so would be great. And, yeah, it's just been tough because obviously that first couple nights obviously you get back very late, then, you know, have some room service dinner, then get a massage. Before you know it, it's 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning before you get to bed. You're waking up -- even though we're scheduled second or whatever, it's still raining, we're still going out to the courts, because obviously they're gonna cancel doubles matches before mine. You still have to wake up reasonably early and have breakfast and try to get in a normal routine that you're gonna be playing. Yesterday, I was a little bit better, I guess. We got back a little bit earlier, could have a decent meal and obviously go to bed at a reasonable hour. Then I had to wake up early this morning, sit around all day. It's been awkward every day.

Q. Have you ever experienced anything like this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think too many tournaments have experienced anything like this.

Q. Just at a Grand Slam, anywhere?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. The first thing that comes to mind maybe Junior Clay Court Nationals at Glenn Isles (ph). That's about it.

Q. Did you get the 8:30 car out there this morning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. You were here around 9 a.m.?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just before 9.

Q. From all the players, it's only you and Andre with the experience winning at the US Open. What do you think how much this experience is important now in the last round? Then, do you think your part of the draw is, because of that fact, heavier than another one with Andy Roddick? Do you think the possible match between you and Andre will be kind of final before a final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If I play Andre, it's definitely not a final before a final. It's gonna be an extremely tough match. At the moment I'm worrying about Ferrero. He's a guy who knows how to play in big matches. I've had very tough matches with him in the past on hard courts. He's getting better and better on hard courts. You know, he's one of the clay court guys. He stands up in the court and he's aggressive. He moves very well. There's no reason why he can't play well on this stuff. You know, the other side of the draw, I don't really know who won. I heard Nalbandian won, and obviously he's been to a Wimbledon finals. He knows what to do in a second week. Roddick, I think just confidence is rolling with him at the moment. You know, you just really got to take it one match at a time. Coria is starting to get, you know, used to playing at the end of Grand Slams as well.

Q. How much does the experience of winning US Open is important in the last rounds?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's important to have at the back of your mind. Obviously, I have great memories of this place. I know what it takes to win here. Obviously, Andre does as well; he knows more than me. So, yeah, it definitely helps, I think. But then again, you know, these other guys want to win it, you know, badly as well.

Q. Having gone further here than you've gone in the other Slams this year, do you have a sense this tournament has been successful for you, whatever else goes on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, I still believe I'm good enough to win. I take it one match at a time. I felt like went up another gear tonight and I had to against a top player, a guy who can really beat anyone on any given day. We've seen that over the last couple of years in Srichaphan. So, yeah I've still got to keep improving now and take it a match at a time. You know, I don't really want to go on it in the quarters at the moment. I feel like I'm playing well enough to go further.

Q. All these consecutive days of matches, how much of this tournament depends on survival of the fittest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways it's going to be. If guys get out there, though, and have comfortable three-set wins, it's, you know, I don't think it's gonna be too bad. It depends if you have too many, you know, long four- or five-set matches, or even if you play night matches or late matches as well, and your whole routine gets thrown out now that you've got to play every day.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I sometimes look through them, not all the time. You know, I know pretty much what I do and how I feel out there more than anything.

Q. As you've won here before, tournaments you've done well in, do you feel that this is building in doing, like every match you seem to step up a notch, is that how it's been for you when you've ultimately won places?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Won Slams or...?

Q. When you won tournaments, do you normally find that you start to play a little scratchy and...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Every tournament is different, I think. There's obviously tournaments where I feel very confident and sharp from the start. Grand Slams, I feel like I've got to -- you've got to find a way to get through the first week. Once you get in the second week, that's when you've got to play your best tennis. So far I've been able to do it tonight.

Q. What's your maintenance program now post-match? Because you hopefully have four days of matches, do you do a lot of massage? Will you do anything differently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, the same as normal. I'll get a massage and try and get as early night as possible. That's about it.

Q. You would have noticed maybe there was an article in one of the New York papers yesterday that the ranking No. 6 was right for you; that you never were really No. 1. Did you read that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't read papers.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:16 PM   #112
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

adidas International

January 11, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. How do you like the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's nice. Yeah, I haven't played on this court for, you know, on the Rebound Ace, obviously. Last match was on a clay court out there in the Davis Cup. So, yeah, I like playing out here at Homebush. I've had pretty good success here, so...

Q. Is it a question of trying to find the right balance in the lead-up to the Australian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. I'm not really sure what's the right balance, I guess. Until you hold up the trophy, you know, you'll never know what's the best for you. I guess it depends on how many matches you play towards the end of the year before as well. So, obviously, I played three matches in the Hopman Cup last week. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting as many matches as possible this week under my belt.

Q. Do you feel not playing as much at the end of last year gives you a better chance this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think for the situation that I've come in not playing probably as many tournaments at the end of last year, you know, who knows? If you go out there and lose first round, then you've got to reassess it. But, you know, I feel like at the moment I played pretty well last week in Perth. And, you know, go out there and just take it one match at a time this week and see what happens.

Q. Can you talk about playing in Melbourne.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I love playing in Melbourne. I love that arena. That's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I really enjoy going out there. It's a big buzz just leading into the tournament. Yeah, you just got to go out there and take it one match at a time, though. Davis Cup ties, you can just focus on that one or two matches that you got to play; whereas in a Grand Slam like the Australian Open, you've got to worry, you know, obviously if you're gonna win it, you've got to win seven best-of-five set matches. But you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself at all. There's a lot of good players in those 128 that are in the draw.

Q. Do you have a favorite to win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's a lot of tough players, mate. There's probably a group of 10 to 15.

Q. Can you just talk about how it feels to be under the kind of pressure that you're under when you play there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sure, there's probably more expectation and pressure, or the spotlight's on you more, I guess, on both Mark and myself, coming into Melbourne. But, you know, we've had to deal with that in so many Davis Cup ties, and big Davis Cup ties in our home country. You're playing in your home tournament and you're playing under the Australian banner, but you're still "Game, Hewitt" instead of "Game, Australia" in Davis Cup ties. There's that probably extra pressure and expectation in Davis Cup ties that you got the whole nation behind you, willing you on. It's a totally different situation, I guess, in a lot of ways. But, you know, I think I've been able to handle that situation so well that coming into Melbourne, I don't get that much more nervous or put any more expectation on myself to go out there and win the tournament. You try and not lose focus. It's always that old saying, but you've got to take one match at a time. You just don't know who your next opponent is going to be, and draws can open up, and you've got to take your chances.

Q. You obviously get a lot from the crowd as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, obviously the crowds are great there. And, you know, you got to relax and stay positive and, you know, realize that, sure, you're gonna be in the spotlight, but you got to try to block it out as much as possible and just think about what's ahead of you, and going out there and trying to perform and doing all the preparation, the right things; that you're going to go out there and perform as well as possible and, I guess, have no regrets at the end of the day.

Q. Can you talk about Roger.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Roger's been great. We've spent a lot of time together. You know, he probably hasn't got the credit that he's deserved for working so hard leading into those Davis Cup ties where he gets very little reward out of Davis Cup ties. He spent a lot of time with me when I went to Kooyong for a week or so earlier than everyone else. We spent a lot of time in the gym building up leading into that, not only for that Davis Cup final, but also preparing for the whole Australian summer and try and get a good base for 2004. So, you know, at the moment I feel good, and it's all about going out there, though, and the little areas you work on on the practice court, producing that in a match situation.

Q. Did you wait until you were feeling more mature until you went into the gym?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I've always done a little bit. I've probably just done probably a fair bit more, though, the last year or so under Roger, I think, more than anyone else. It was just an area of my game that I felt like, you know, I could maybe capitalize on and to take me to another level - not only on hard court, but on all surfaces. It will probably pay benefits physically getting a little bit stronger on clay more than any other surface, I'd say.

Q. How do you feel about Greg's situation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that?

Q. Greg Rusedski.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I thought you were talking about Greg Norman, sorry. Mate, I don't know anything about it.

Q. Has it surprised you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've heard rumors about you know, obviously, all those other players, that something had happened. I didn't play those last few tournaments of the year, so I really wasn't paying too much attention to the tour at all. So I didn't know much about that at all. You know, you can't find a guy guilty until he's actually proven guilty. So at the moment, I think Greg is fine. Greg's playing here and in Melbourne, so...

Q. How do you deal with that sort of thing? I guess you can't really speculate. He's saying 46 other people had it in their system. How do you deal with that sort of thing in terms of supplements? Are you wary after the past year or two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I think you're wary the whole time you come in, what goes into your body. It's a tough situation because there's been problems, and we've seen there's been problems in the whole listing of it with the Bohdan Ulihrach case. I think that's a classic example. But I don't know all the little ingredients that puts the whole case together, and it's very hard for myself to comment.

Q. So in terms of your own advisors and stuff like that, in terms of the things that you will take...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, anything you take, you got to get it checked by your doctors and tournament officials and everything just to make sure.

Q. Does it frighten you, the fact that Rusedski is suggesting it may have been ATP trainers who gave him the supplements?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's already been one situation where, I think, a few came out that that happened in electrolyte tablets or something at one tournament. And, yeah, I guess it does worry everybody. Because if you do get singled out with something and a lot of other people have had that same thing in their body or whatever, and they've been given off because there's a group of them, you just don't know the background. But I don't know the whole testing procedure with those other, what Greg says, 47 people or whatever happened. So, you know, it's very hard to comment on Greg's individual situation.

Q. Do you take tablets from the trainers on court, or do you have a system where you try to teach yourself what to take?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't take any tablets extra at all, apart from if you're playing out on the court and you're cramping or whatever and you have your ATP trainers come out to the court and tell you, "You got to take these tablets; otherwise, you got no chance of finishing the match," or electrolytes, you're not feeling well out there, that's what the ATP trainers are out there for. They're the ones who have done all the research. They know what's best for fitness-wise and for your body. You know, the ATP has employed them so the players can trust them. So I'd like to think that you'd be able to trust what you get given.

Q. Do you know of any other players that the same thing happened to them as well, to Bohdan Ulihrach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know anything about all those others. I've got no idea who they are and know nothing.

Q. Somebody wrote that Greg would be ostracized by other players.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got no idea. You know, I'd say hello to him. I'm not that close to Greg, but I wouldn't ignore him or anything; that's for sure.

Q. Do you think drugs is a problem in this sport?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess probably in a lot of sports. It's not only tennis that's had people being singled out, I guess, or had issues and been banned for three to nine months. There's a lot of sports that have problems. You just got to deal with every case individually, you know, and on the situation.

Q. Do you think tennis has more than any other sport?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think everyone's had issues throughout time.

Q. How is your ankle?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. It was still a little sore playing against Kucera the other night after I hurt it against Malisse. It was funny, I went over a couple extra times that match against Kucera, just not quite as bad as the first time against Malisse. So it was weird to have it a few times in one event, but I'll be fine to play.

Q. Could I ask you a question about the marketing of tennis. The last few years, the women's tour has marketed tennis a lot on women's sex appeal.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You like that?

Q. Huh?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Do you like that?

Q. Not personally. I know that sounds strange. But at the top of the men's game, you've got Andy Roddick, Federer, Juan Carlos, yourself, Andre, Moya, all very sexy guys.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Are we? I don't know, mate.

Q. Well, they're now appearing in Vogue, GQ. Andre has his own cologne. Have the men actually caught up to the women in terms of marketing sex appeal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure, mate. No, I don't know. I really don't know. I don't know how much people would like to get that kind of sex appeal, or the fans would like to, you know, see the players in that kind of side. I really don't know. I don't know whether that would be a positive or if it is, for someone like yourself, as you said, you'd prefer not to see it. So I really don't know if more of that would work in a positive or a negative.

Q. In terms of bringing more fans.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It may or it may not. See, you said that you didn't prefer it, so...

Q. Will Kim play in Melbourne?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'd say in Melbourne she'd probably be certain.

Q. Certain?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'd say she'd at least try. It's a Grand Slam anyway. You know, I'd say it's getting better every day. So I'd say Melbourne is a very good chance of playing.

Q. What about here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Here, I don't know.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

adidas International

January 12, 2004, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Sargis Sargsian 6-4 6-2

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. Solid start, Lleyton.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good. Conditions were very different from Perth last week. So it took me a while. The ball was flying a lot more, obviously, outdoors. The wind was quite swirly out there as well, which I didn't have to deal with last week. So all in all, it's nice to have another win under my belt and get off in straight sets.

Q. Good memories of that court for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've had some big wins there not only in this tournament in the past, but also in Davis Cup. Probably more so against Sweden that year where I beat Bjorkman and Johansson in two tough matches. So, yeah, it's a great court to play on, great arena.

Q. How different is it playing a tour match again? It's been quite a while since you played a tour match. Is it a different feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that different, no.

Q. He's kind of a perfect opponent to play at this time, this stage of your preparation.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was expecting a tough match. I think he beat Philippoussis in the Aussie Open last year in the third round, and he's a very tough player on this kind of court, I think. You know, it bounces up. He hits the ball pretty flat out there. He's a great mover around the court. And I just felt like, you know, he's a guy that you can get very grooved with as well because he hits the ball very clean off the baseline. It was tough conditions for him as well. He's obviously flying in from wherever he played last week. To come out here in different conditions when the ball's flying a bit more - I found anyway - it was whoever could probably adjust to that quicker, I'd say, was a lot suited.

Q. Does this sort of feel like a bit of a fresh start for you? I mean, it is a new season, after all. Last season wasn't the best you've had. Does this feel like a new beginning for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Little bit. Not so much a new beginning, I don't think. I felt like from the US Open, every match that I played after that, even though it wasn't a lot, the Davis Cup matches and right through the US Open to the quarters there, I played some of my best tennis I've ever played. So, obviously, even though the Davis Cup matches were split out over a fair period of time, I was still able to handle that pressure and expectation of those two - obviously two huge matches against two of the best players in the world. So I think after those matches you sort of want to get back out on the court as soon as possible and keep performing week in and week out.

Q. How is the ankle?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, felt okay out there today, so...

Q. Your forehand is getting better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, hitting my forehand better. I feel like I went for it out there today. As I said, the conditions, you really had to try and always get something on the ball. You had to try and hit with a little bit more topspin out there. Otherwise, the ball was just flying. Whereas in Perth last week it just felt very heavy, sort of dead conditions indoors. The balls seemed to be fluffing up a lot more than they are here this week. You know, you've got to be probably a little bit wary, whereas last week you felt like you could really hit through the court because the balls were a lot heavier. Whereas this week, it feels like you've just got to be careful, get a bit more extra topspin work on the ball; otherwise, it might fly long.

Q. Do you expect similar conditions in Melbourne next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd say so, yeah. I'd say so.

Q. Based on your past experience there, how does it compare with this court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Melbourne's changed. The last few years, it's probably been a little bit slower than it has. There was that one year it was pretty quick, in 2000 it was. Apart from that, the last few years it's actually probably been a little bit slower. Last time I played on this court in these tournaments, it was slower than Adelaide and Melbourne. It was probably the slowest because it was the newest arena put in. So, you know, I'm not really sure. I just have to work it out when I get there.

Q. Has that got something to do with the way they treat the court in Melbourne?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I know the guys who do it in Melbourne and Adelaide; I don't know if he does it in Sydney as well. I know the guy pretty well. He does it in Melbourne and Adelaide. They do those pretty much the same. I know he doesn't do Perth. I know someone else does that. But I'm not sure who does Sydney.

Q. Do you feel less pressure going into the Australian Open this year given your ranking and so forth, than you did the previous two years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's always pressure and expectation coming into the national title when, realistically, we've probably only got two main guys who are contenders, Flip and myself, I think. So we've really got to try and -- you're always in the spotlight. We try and put it in the back of our mind as much as possible. But it's great for tennis that I think that emotion is still there from the Davis Cup victories the last few times. Flip and I have had a couple of cliffhangers as well. So I think tennis is on a bit of a high in Australia at the moment, and I think they'd like to see an Australian winner. That probably puts that same pressure as being the No. 1 seed the last two years.

Q. Do you feel just as confident as you did the last two years when you had the No. 1 ranking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I'm hitting the ball just as well - if not better. It's been just a totally different preparation, whereas the years before I've always come off the Masters Cup and playing a lot of matches. This year, I just focused on the Davis Cup final and did a lot of hard work and training that I'd last right through the Australian summer.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

adidas International

January 14, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Karol Kucera 6-4 6-1

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. What happened at the beginning of the match there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I had chances in probably all four of the first four games that I lost. I was probably trying to attack a little bit too much, especially for the conditions that it was out there. And, yeah, after that I just decided to go back to playing consistently, trying to get some rhythm early, and then try and build it up again. Yeah, I was able to do that. Obviously, in the second set, once the momentum had really changed, I was able really to get on top of him and start playing some good, aggressive tennis in those tough conditions.

Q. When you're 4-nil down, obviously just said you try to find some more consistency. What do you try to do mentally in that position? Do you have to be more aggressive mentally even though that doesn't mean you'll be more aggressive with your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about aggressive. You can't get too down on yourself, I think. You got to try and realize that it's a tough match and, you know, you still got another two sets even if you go down in that set to bounce back. I wasn't giving up that first set no matter what, but I was gonna hang in there. But if I did end up losing the first set, then I wanted to try and find that rhythm by the end of the first set that I'd be ready to go right from the start in the second set. Fortunate enough that I was able to get back out of it and win in straight sets.

Q. Is that a difficult thing, balancing that sort of defense with the attack?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In those conditions today it was. I'm trying to play a little bit more aggressive in my whole style of game, and the conditions are just totally different to what I really warmed up in this morning. It was real overcast out there. Obviously, it was a lot heavier conditions than when I first played my first match. The ball was flying a lot more. The wind, I just really couldn't get a hold of it early. Karol is a kind of player that no luck can go wrong with his game, you know, wind or no wind. He doesn't go for too many heroic shots. He runs a lot of balls down. He makes you play that extra ball. He's a great mover out there. So I think that sort of all combined with, you know, getting off to a slow start.

Q. Are you pretty close to your own game now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. I keep winning. I think going into, you know, big tournaments and having that winning feeling and being match-hardened is definitely a good thing.

Q. You looked pretty pumped up there in the second set. Are you enjoying your tennis at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you enjoy it when you get out of jail like I did in the first set. Then, you know, the momentum really swung there. Obviously, if you're 4-love up and at a point to go 5-love up and then end up losing the first set 6-4, I just felt like I really had to keep the pressure on him early in the second set. I was able to do that. The whole body language had changed on Karol's side of the net as well.

Q. Do you feel like you're peaking at the right time for the Aussie Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel like I'm playing well. You still got to go out and do the job next week. You know, I don't know if form will play a huge part in next week's game, in next week's tournament. Still, Juan Carlos Ferrero lost first round here, and I still think of him as one of the favorites next week so...

Q. What's a good result for you this week, is it to win the tournament or just go into next week feeling like you're in good form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think that's more so. Obviously, if you get to the semis or finals here, then everyone wants to win titles. At the moment, it's trying to get matches under your belt. Try and work on little areas of your game, get that rhythm going. So far, so good. Got another match tomorrow against Clement to try and work on that again.

Q. How have you changed, do you think, from two years ago and the year before and three years ago when you played Adelaide and played Sydney and won and were on a winning streak? What's different now about you as a person?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think I set, you know, different goals now. Yeah, back then, I think every tournament, week in and week out, is like a Grand Slam. Nowadays, the priorities are Grand Slams and Davis Cup for me. Obviously, the bigger picture. And when you're able to win Grand Slams, you know, the thing that drives you to keep going and get better is to win more of them. Obviously, you know, it's nice coming and playing smaller tournaments, but you still miss preparation for the big ones.

Q. Is it just too draining to have that intensity all the year round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think a little bit. But I think, you know, for me, obviously when I first came up, it was more about ranking, getting your ranking high, playing a lot of events, I guess, to do that and get your ranking when you're 16, 17 years old. Obviously, winning titles like Adelaide and Sydney is a huge bonus for anyone that age. But, you know, after you win a Grand Slam, then your priorities, I think, are to try and win more of them. You have to prepare as well as possible, I think, for the Grand Slams.

Q. Do you get a feeling that other players might think now that you're not as intense as you were a couple of years ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't really care what they think.

Q. You won three matches in Hopman Cup.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yep.

Q. This is five to win here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yep.

Q. Another seven to win the Australian Open. That's 15 straight you have to win. Is that too much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've won that many before, so...

Q. You're not worried?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at the moment. I didn't play that many matches at the end of last year. It's a totally different situation to when I've come probably and played here in the past. I'd played a lot of matches towards the end of the year. The last few months, I only played three Davis Cup matches. They're highly pressure matches, but I still feel like I can bounce back and not be too flattened, I guess, by playing so many tour matches.

Q. How long can that freshness last? How far can you carry that break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I guess depends on how well you do and how many matches you play during the next few weeks. At the moment I feel good so...

Q. There's a really good team environment you have in Davis Cup. What do you get as individuals when you're in a Grand Slam from the Davis Cup experience?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Davis Cup's always helped me. You know. The team atmosphere. I always found after I was at ties, even when I was the orangeboy not playing, I just felt like I'd hit a lot of balls, been around a good environment. I'd really gone out there with a positive attitude, I think, to improve. I think that's definitely what Todd Reid and Chris Guccione are feeling at the moment. They were at the Davis Cup final. Todd's been in a few of the last ties towards the end of last year. I think they're both making huge in-roads because of that experience, and I think because of Fitzy's and Wally's presence and helping them out at Davis Cup ties. I think all the team really embrace them not only as the orangeboy, but really the next players in Davis Cup for Australia.

Q. Does it spill over into the other tournaments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hit with Todd Reid here, as soon as I arrived here in Sydney. You know, I think, you know, it spills over. We talk and hang around in the locker room and whatever, in between matches and stuff for sure. I think it's a pretty good situation. Obviously, Frommy is working with Todd and Chris as well. So that's a guy that I played Davis Cup ties with and Todd Woodbridge did. So it's a pretty good group of guys.

Q. Just along that line, what do you have to do mentally, just you're advancing through a tournament, suddenly you're in the semifinals and you have to play Mark. What do you have to do then mentally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, you just got to go out there and worry about your game more than anything. You got to forget who you're playing. Obviously, Mark and I, we had to play in the Scottsdale final at the start of last year. We lost a doubles final. We were in the doubles final straight after that final, the singles. It was an awkward situation for both of us, but it was a good result for Australian tennis that we're both playing well at that stage. When you go out there, we just got to forget about it. The matches can go either way. We both know exactly how each other plays. We've practiced a lot together. We've played doubles. We both know how each other thinks. We've helped each other in Davis Cup. You just got to try to forget about it. It's awkward for anyone.

Q. When you come off the court, say, as you did in Scottsdale, is it straight back into the relationship that you had previously, or is there sort of like a period of..?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's probably about two minutes and then... Obviously, if you win a title and the other guy's lost a title, then it's obviously -- you don't want to go up and start talking about the match too much. But, yeah, especially in that situation, because we had to go out and focus on the doubles final straight after, so... Yeah, it's an awkward situation, but it's something that you got to try and deal with.

Q. How excited are you by Todd Reid and Chris Guccione performing well this week? And having been through the same process at that age, successful yourself, what are the things they need to know for the next few weeks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not only the next few weeks; it's the next few months and trying to really, you know, ride the wave and keep it going, you know, not just think you're home and you're on the Senior Tour now week in and week out. They've had great results this week, and they've shown what they can do and the potential they've got. But that's got to make you want to work harder to get even higher and to realize that -- they've both got a real chance of, you know - I don't know how far they could get - but of doing really well and being on the Senior Tour week in and week out. So, in my mind, yeah, this success, who knows, you know... Todd's out there playing at the moment in a tough match with Mantilla. If they win a few more matches, if they lose today, they've both had big wins and now they've got to be more and more hungry to go out there and get better.

Q. Doing this well, is there a chance you are going to change your priorities at all? Are you still going to just play what you want to play, or will there be a temptation to go back to No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know until if it happens. You know, I really can't comment. I don't know. Maybe I'll retire (smiling).
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

adidas International

January 15, 2004, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Arnaud Clement 6-1 4-6 6-3

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. That fifth game, third set, Love-40.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a big game to try and get out of. First point I hit a pretty good forehand into the corner. Then second point I hit a good second serve. He sort of just pushed it back, and floated long. Third point, again, I went for another forehand and hit it well. You know, was obviously a huge game to get out of 'cause I was telling myself if I get out of that game, then I felt like I could break him the next game to go 4-2. Obviously, he's gonna be on a bit of downer after not breaking that game. It was a huge turnaround, I guess. Just tried keeping the pressure on him early in that next game. I had a lot of love-30 games out there on his serve in the second and third set, and I just couldn't capitalize.

Q. Is it good for your confidence to get into a situation like that and get out of it as emphatically as you did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. You only get those situations in matches. You can't get that from, you know, playing practice sets and getting in that same situation because it just isn't the same with the crowd and the pressure that you're under right at that particular time, serving breakpoints down. It's always nice, I think, to get out of those situations in any tournament. But, you know, to go through at such a close stage in the third set was positive.

Q. You were in such control in the first set. What swung it to put you on the depression in the second?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just played a couple -- I was 30-15 up in the first game of the second set. Just played a couple of loose points there. His backhand up the line was incredible today. He was hitting it like a passing shot every time. He hit that on breakpoint against the breeze, which was strange, because he was hitting a lot better against the breeze than he was with the breeze. He played a couple of good points there. From then on, he was just sort of having a go on my service games, where I was pretty, you know -- I don't know how many points I lost in those next few service games the rest of the second set, but it wouldn't have been many at all. He served a lot better. He sort of came out and went for it a little bit more. Obviously, his confidence got up because he was a service break up and all he was really concentrating on was holding his service game. Yeah, he's a tough player. You can't hit a lot of winners against the guy. He's very quick out there as well.

Q. Is he also a bit deceptive in what he's doing or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's tough. He mixes it up. You know, throw in the serve-volley down breakpoint, or second serve serve-volleying he hits a half-volley dropshot winner. Just little stuff like that. He's an awkward player to play against. He's not someone, I guess, that you wouldn't say is technically, you know, the most sound guy out there, I guess, or like a normal, you know, sort of textbook player. But he makes it work for him.

Q. Do you feel your game stepped up a little from yesterday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, well, the end of yesterday's match, from 4-love down I played pretty faultless tennis out there yesterday. So, you know, the first set out there today I felt like he didn't play badly; I just sort of dominated. I hit my forehand great. Yeah, he really couldn't, I guess, find a weakness out there in the first set. As I said, I just played a couple of bad points start of the second set and it turns out you're in a bit of a dog fight after that.

Q. This is your first semifinal since July. Obviously, you haven't played that much in between. Are you enjoying winning, going through a tournament and having that feeling again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. You know, the focus mainly is on next week still. You know, just take it one match at a time here and then trying to get the rhythm and the preparation right. And, obviously, the closer you get to playing in a final or having a chance to win another title, then, yeah, it's always a nice feeling.

Q. How will you approach your semifinal if you do play Mark? Any differently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's an awkward match for both of us. You just got to try and block it out, and one of us - if we're playing each other - one of us is gonna get an opportunity to play in the final. But, you know, for Australian tennis it's good because we're both obviously in pretty good form going into the Australian Open. In one way, it's positive for both of us. In another way, yeah, it's an awkward matchup. You'd rather it be a final than a semifinal.

Q. What about tactics-wise?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We both know how each other play. We just got to go out there. It's pretty much on the day, I think, with those kind of matches when you know your opponent so well. Yeah, it's always awkward no matter which Australian you got to play against, especially a guy that, you know, I've spent, you know -- probably the closest to on tour the last 12 months.

Q. Would you say your ankle is 100 percent now? Is there still a twinge there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, pretty good. The ankle's been good. It's recovered well. Took a couple of days off, obviously, when I didn't have to play the final in Perth. Traveling here and got on the court as soon as I -- the next day after I landed here. Yeah, I haven't felt it at all, which is good.

Q. A lot of the women actually have ankle problems. Is that anything to do with the courts or just coincidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The ones I've seen -- I don't know if it's the court. It gets a bit sticky now and then. What happened in Perth, you know, I twisted mine and I don't think it had much to do with the court. I was sort of just recovering for a ball. Kim's is a little bit different with the Achilles' at the back of the foot. I'd say that probably could have happened on any court. Alicia, she's had hers happen on all different kinds of courts. It's still the same problem. I know there's been a history of Rebound Ace, there's been some bad ankle problems over the years, but I feel like mine probably could have happened on any surface.

Q. Is it more widespread than we think, or is it because there are big players suffering those injuries at the moment the attention is on those guys? Or are ankle injuries common across the tour?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we've probably had a little bit more the last couple of weeks, I'd say, than in general. But you always get some now and then. That's the sport we play in. You know, especially guys like myself or even Kim or whoever, you know, we do so much running out there as well, you know, scrounging for so many balls out there that, you know, stuff like that's bound to happen at some stage or another.
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Adidas International

January 16, 2004, Semifinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Martin Verkerk 6-2 Ret.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. How was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt like I hit the ball well, considering, you know, for most of the morning didn't really know what was going on with the weather and who was going on first or, you know, how things were gonna pan out. So in that regard, you know, I was happy to get off to a good start. Never played against Martin before. Felt like I handled his serve pretty well.

Q. Did you have any clue whatsoever what was going on with him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I couldn't tell anything. When I was out there, it was a little bit weird because, obviously, he was down Love-40 in that first game of the second set. Sort of was lining up, ready to serve, and I was ready to return. Then he sort of walked off to the chair. I wasn't quite sure what was going on. I heard afterwards that he wasn't feeling great out there. Yeah, I felt like with my game, though, I was concentrating pretty well on just my game.

Q. Was there any concern that the weather might mean you couldn't play at all today, then there might be a bit of backing up in the weekend before the Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was definitely a concern, no doubt about it. I think probably all the players - singles, doubles, women, men - yeah, organizers, everyone, I think. So, yeah, obviously the crowd's got to be disappointed with Lindsay pulling out tonight as well, and matches changing around left, right and center. It's an awkward situation, I guess, the week before a Slam, or a few days before a Slam now. Yeah, for me, it's awesome to have a chance to go and play for another title. But then again you've got to remember what's on the line the next two weeks as well.

Q. Would you say that was a blessing in disguise?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Could be. I'll tell you in hopefully a fortnight's time.

Q. Have you found the right balance between...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not like I need that many matches now, I don't think. I played seven matches now from Perth and through Sydney now. So, you know, I feel like I've got enough matches against worthy opponents. Tomorrow's obviously going to be another step up in class, playing against Carlos.

Q. During the rain delays did you have time to look at the draw?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've seen the draw, yeah.

Q. What do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You can only look at your first round, you know. There's so many good players around these days that, you know, I got a qualifier first round. I don't even know yet who that's going to be, obviously. I won't be looking too far forward. But there's obviously some pretty tough first rounds which you really expect, I think, in the men's tennis these days - Blake-Moya, Gonzalez-Roddick, Johansson-Philippoussis, so...

Q. Do you think you've improved as the week has gone on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was playing pretty well in Perth, I felt. Probably just maintained that level, I guess, the whole way through this tournament. I've had a couple of lapses, obviously - the start against Kucera, couple of loose games against Clement. Apart from that, I've played pretty faultless tennis, I think, this week. For me, yeah, I guess I couldn't be happier with my game right at the moment. Through to another final here in Sydney, so...

Q. Seen much of Moya this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen him hit a ball. I know how he normally plays. He's obviously playing extremely well. He's one of the best players in the world at any time, but he's come off a win in Chennai last week. He's gone through his matches pretty convincingly this week. It's going to be a tough match for me. I just got to go out there and worry about my game, and hopefully get off to a good start and see what happens.

Q. Your ankle, is that okay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I'm fine at the moment, yeah.

Q. Good week's work.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at the moment. Try and finish it off.

Q. Being in a final now, does it mean anything to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you always love playing, you know, in finals at tournaments, you know, playing for titles. Obviously, you know, the bigger titles, the Grand Slams and stuff like that is obviously the priorities. But any titles go on your record. Not everyone is capable of winning too many tournaments. It's not the easiest thing to go through there and win five matches in a row. So, you know, it's tough against worthy opponents like we have these days not to have one bad match within a week.

Q. What is it about this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Don't know. I've always played well, even when it was at White City. Coming off a win in Adelaide and, obviously, Sydney was always stronger than Adelaide, the tournaments. I'd come here, beat Bjorkman when he was No. 4 in the world first round; following year beat Rafter and Kiefer. Then after that won it twice. I've always really enjoyed, I guess, the tournaments in Australia at the start of the year. For some reason, I've always performed well here at Homebush as well.

Q. Looking through the draw gives me the impression ...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Next week or here?

Q. Next week. It is the strongest looking draw I can remember here for a long time. Seems to be so much more depth in the whole thing. When you look at the number of great first-round matches and possible third, fourth matches as well. Do you get that same impression?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's a lot of dangerous floaters, I guess, in the draw as well these days. You look at a guy like Safin, he's not 77 in the world or whatever he is. He's a Top 10 player. I don't think anyone would want him in their section as a seeded player. You know, James Blake, he's another guy. Fernando Gonzalez. The guys I've met. Thomas Johansson, the last time he played in Melbourne he won the tournament. There's a hell of a lot of good players out there. You've got to be wary and give respect to every opponent you play. I think that's the thing about men's tennis at the moment; it's very, very open, and to win seven best-of-five set matches is a tough thing to do.
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adidas International

January 17, 2004, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Carlos Moya 4-3 Ret.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. Apart from your obvious concerns about Carlos, how did you feel about the way you played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I thought it was a very high standard match early on. Hot conditions out there. Obviously, you know, it was playing a lot quicker out there today, I felt like. And, you know, he was playing as well as I've seen him play. I felt like my game had really gone up another notch today. Even though it was only seven games, I had to fight off a couple of breakpoints early. Did that well at the tougher end. Then knew that I could capitalize on his service game and have a small chance when I was up the better end, which is the further end out there. And I was able to do that. Obviously, when the injury happened, you know, I was Love-40 up, and, you know, had a winner coming, I guess, up the line anyway in the open court. But, you know, I felt like I really, really went up a notch today. You've got to against the kind of player that's the caliber of Carlos Moya, so...

Q. Do you think you're at the peak of your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm playing pretty well, I think, at the moment. Getting more and more confident with every win you get under your belt. As I said, today was, you know -- throughout the week, Carlos is obviously one of the best players out there at the moment - and, you know, probably most of the time as well. He's a former world No. 1, he's won Grand Slams, he's a big-match player. I knew I had to go up a level today, and I felt like I was able to do that. In the other matches, they probably hadn't been such big names, I guess, as playing guys like Moya.

Q. Is there any part of your game you need to improve on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say right at the moment. I think just keeping that rhythm going. You still got to go out there and get the job done next week. Next week, even if you're not playing well, you've got to find a way to win. That's what it's all about.

Q. Moya played very impressively the first game.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. What were your thoughts? It was really great tennis. You played as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, obviously, he came out, and his weapon is his first serve and his forehand, obviously; everyone knows that. You know, the first game I couldn't really touch anything. He dictated. Then I played a good game and then I had Love-30 in the third game. He came up with a couple of big serves. But I sensed that that was my opportunity down that end to try and break if I was going to. So I knew if I could get out of that next game, which I was able to fight a couple of breakpoints off, then I'd have a real crack at him the next time I went down that other end. That's what I was able to do to get up Love-40 there and put some pressure on him.

Q. It's a pity. It looked like it was going to be a spectacular final.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that's how it felt. It felt like a very -- just for those seven games, it felt very high standard. It's obviously disappointing for everyone - both players. Obviously, more so with Carlos. Not so much he's lost the final, but he's got to try and get himself right for next week. Obviously, the crowd, after a pretty rainy, ordinary day yesterday, now to get this.

Q. Yesterday you had a short match against Verkerk. Today was a short match. How do you feel about your preparation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's fine, I think. I've played enough matches over the last, you know, two weeks now that -- you know, it could be perfect in one way that I've gone out there and I've had to prepare and warm up and do everything in match conditions, but I haven't actually had to use that full energy that you normally would against a guy like Moya or even Martin Verkerk yesterday. So, you know, could be a blessing, I guess. And the good thing is, though, I had to face breakpoints out there today. So, you know, I've come through a small pressure situation in a match condition, but I didn't have to waste that extra energy, I guess.

Q. Not getting a full match against a real top-notch player, whereas Roddick and Nalbandian and Federer and Agassi are going head-to-head in Melbourne, do you still feel this is a better choice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's an XO, though.

Q. Do you feel you're at your best level as in the past?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm playing pretty well at the moment, I think. I've trained extremely hard, and I prepared myself as well as I could for the two Davis Cup - well, especially the final of the Davis Cup. But I felt like I was playing really well at US Open as well. That's when I started playing a lot better, I felt like. Roger and I did a lot of work. Against Ferrero that day, I thought that was a great match we were having until I hurt my leg. He was too good in the end. But he showed how good he was when he went out and beat Agassi up the next day. So since then, I've played some great Davis Cup matches, and trying to keep that confidence going now.

Q. The way you're playing now and the way Roger has things going, does that ridicule the stuff that was said early in the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Roger and I never listened to any of that rubbish anyway. Roger is a great guy. He's worked as hard as anyone I've ever worked with - you know, harder, I'd say. He puts 100 percent into everything he does with me, you know, whether it's scouting other guy's matches, finding out information that we need to do. He does a range of things. It's not only the stuff that we've done on the court, working on tactics and technically and stuff like that, it's also in the gym and sort of the whole package is really taken care of, which it's nice to have a good start to the year like we have so far this week.

Q. Is your preparation for Melbourne as good as it can be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We'll find out next week. But, you know, at the moment I feel good. You know, you can -- you can always have, you know, some losses out of nowhere, I guess. We won't know that until next week. But at the moment, I'm executing as well as I hope, I guess, going into the first Grand Slam.

Q. Just a quick question on the court surface. Is it just coincidence it's another ankle injury on Rebound Ace?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Today's probably the heat, I'd say, more than anything. It's an extremely hot day out there today. The court, you know, I don't know how hot it is court-side, but on the court it would be, you know, up towards 60, I'd say. So it gets hot out there, it gets sticky. We've seen -- the ones I can remember when I was younger is like Sabatini, Woodforde, they sprained their ankles really bad at the Australian Open on hot days. It's awkward. It's partly probably because of the court as well; I'm not really sure. I know mine last week, it was indoors, so you can't really blame that. Alicia and Kim wasn't really a twisted ankle, so...

Q. On the subject of ankles, is Kim's improving?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going all right. She had a light hit yesterday. We just take it day by day.

Q. A couple of days ago she said Sydney is a special place for her. Because you proposed to her here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. Do you have the same feeling, do you also think Sydney is special for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. It's a nice city and it's something that we'll always have in the memory bank. You know, it's one of the -- it's a great city. Obviously, you know, having the Harbour Bridge there, the Opera House. There's not too many places that you get those kind of views, I think. You know, I don't play too bad tennis here either, so... (laughter). It's all right.

Q. Australian Open is a much bigger tournament, but it's a similar situation. Do you have very many expectations? You always overcome them here, but the Australian Open, are you not satisfied with the results at the moment? You have a lot of pressure and expectations.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, the last couple of years has been tough, I think. Last year I played pretty well at the Aussie Open. I didn't play here in Sydney. I thought I handled the expectation and the pressure pretty well. Lost to a guy who just played too well on the day. You know, there really wasn't a lot I could do about it against El Aynaoui last year, and the year before I had chicken pox. The last couple of years it's been a little bit out of my control, I think. I think I've handled the situation of being No. 1 seed and have pressure on me pretty well, especially in Davis Cup ties and that. You don't get much more pressure and expectation than in those matches, so...
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:42 PM   #118
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

January 20, 2004, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Cecil Mamiit 6-2 6-4 0-1 Ret.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton.


Q. When he hit the umpire's chair, do you think it was as serious as that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't sure. He sort of starting jogging back, then dropped on the middle of the court. He looked like he was in a bit of pain. You know, you're just really not sure how bad it was. You know, hard to sort of keep focus there. It's obviously a fairly long break in between, you know, longer than -- I don't know, would have been close to probably 10 minutes by the time the trainers came out and started evaluating it. Then he eventually came out to play again.

Q. What are you doing to your opponents? That's three in a row now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I've been winning in every match, though (smiling).

Q. Have you ever seen anyone do that before, fall into the umpire's chair?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not me personally, I haven't seen it.

Q. Or heard of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't heard of it. You guys would probably know better than me. I've seen people come pretty close at times, you know, to the seats that we sit in at the change of ends or the umpire's chairs, lines-people, stuff like that.

Q. Do you feel sorry for the bloke?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's never a way you want to win a match. But I've got to go out there and try and focus on what I've got to do. You know, I felt like everything was going pretty well for my game at that stage.

Q. It's not necessarily the way you wanted to win, but 37 degrees out there, you saved a little bit of time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I felt like I was getting on top of him. He just started, you know, serving a lot better, made a higher percentage of first serves there, in his service games in the second set. When I really had to try to step it up at 4-All in the second set, I was able to do that. Break him to love. That's a nice match to get through. Your first match in your home Grand Slam is always tough, I think. To come through, not waste too much energy and be through to the next round, that's nice.

Q. Are tennis players superstitious? Do you think they will start getting out of the food cue, giving players a wide berth?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There are some players that are very superstitious. I don't know if they'll take it that far.

Q. Did he say anything to you about exactly what it was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just said to him, "How bad is it?" He just said, "Just felt it when I ran into the umpire's chair." You know, it's hard to say. If you get a knock, obviously it's going to be pretty painful for the next five or ten minutes, unless he's got a fracture or a break in it, which no one knows at that particular time. It's really only his pain that he can know whether he can play on or not.

Q. Given the tragic events of the last 48 hours, do you think sports people are more at danger when they go out in public?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at times, I guess. You know, it's obviously shocking news what happened a day or so ago. But you got to be pretty careful, I think, when you go out, for sure. You know, it can happen to any one of us, I guess.

Q. Have you experienced any troubles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I haven't experienced any real, real troubles when I thought I was in danger at all. But, you know, I know there's been times when, you know, you get people heckling or whatever at times. I've seen it with other people, as well, other sports people and whatever, that I've been out with. You know, I heard some stories and stuff like that. You know, it's something that I think people in the spotlight, not only sports people, but high personalities I guess who are always in the spotlight.

Q. Have bouncers ever been an issue?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not with me, I've never had a problem.

Q. How well did you know him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't know him that well, to tell you the truth. Done a few interviews. He's emcee'd a couple of things that I've actually been on. I haven't seen him since Adelaide Crows' breakfast before a grand final a couple years ago that he emcee'd. That was the last time I had spoken to him.

Q. Had your old man and him crossed paths at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I don't know how much.

Q. General South Australian feeling of loss?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I think for anyone, an Australian more than anything. Someone that plays the elite level of a huge sport in Australia. Not only for South Australia, but also for Australia. You know, I think everyone can tell by how much media and news has been about it the last, you know, 24, 48 hours.

Q. You came off court. Were you feeling like you got what you wanted out of today's game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. He's a different kind of an opponent. Yeah, he doesn't come out and cream winners at all. He doesn't try and put that much pressure on you. You're sort of dictating play most of the time out there. Sometimes it's an awkward match-up. Sometimes when you're actually hitting the ball better, he actually counterpunches a lot better, as well. There wasn't too often he actually came inside the baseline there. It felt like he was standing about 10 meters behind the baseline just trying to run everything down today. You don't experience too many matchups that way, but against him I felt like I was always in control on most points, I felt out there, which is a good thing.

Q. You were happy with your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Against that guy, it's always tough coming in and playing the first round of a Grand Slam anyway. I think everyone's just happy to get through sometimes, especially when you don't waste too much time and energy.

Q. What is it like for you to play against a guy where you're in the unusual position of being the physically imposing player, the bigger player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it doesn't happen that much, I guess. But, you know, I'm trying to be more aggressive. It's a good chance for me -- you know, I felt comfortable against him out there, that I knew I was in control of the match nearly every point. So it felt like, you know, unless he got off to, you know -- put a good serve in and he could dictate play from then, it felt like I was able to dominate. It's something that I've been working on in my game, to try and get more aggressive in that. Yeah, against a guy like him, you have to do it as well. It's actually good that you can take what you've been working on in the practice court into a match situation.

Q. You've seen a lot of Karol recently.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Three weeks in a row now. It's going to be a tough match. Obviously, last week was a bit of a weird match from 4-Love down, then winning 6-4, 6-1. He's a tough player. Smart player out there. He moves the ball around well. He moves extremely well. Yeah, he's got a pretty good serve on him, as well. He uses the angles of the court well and goes for the lines a lot. But I've got to go out there and play my game. We had a tough match in Perth, as well, where I got through in three sets. You know, it's no easy match.

Q. You mentioned in the post-game interview that the balls were a bit heavier than in Sydney. Do you think this is something that might affect your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not really sure the reason of it, to tell you the truth. I don't know why -- I don't think it will affect my game too much. But it's probably more similar to Perth, I'd say, than Sydney. The balls are actually fluffing up a little bit more, whereas in Sydney they were getting smaller like pellets out there. Even in the heat today, it was still unusual. Whether it's the roughness of the courts that's chopping them up a bit and making them more furry, I don't know.

Q. How exactly have you been trying to get more aggressive? What kind of drills have you been working on in training?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess going for your shots a bit more, shot selection, and taking advantage of the short ball a little bit more, not being afraid to come into the net at the right opportunities.

Q. Anything else specifically you worked on over the winter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not specific, no. Just, you know, in the whole trying to be more aggressive and take your opportunities, I guess.

Q. I know about your involvement in the Special Olympics. How exactly did you become global ambassador?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got asked a couple of years ago. You know, I felt like it was a good way to put back into sport, as well. You know, for me, the first time I got involved with it, it was at the US Open. Just the year after I won the US Open, I did the camp before I went in to defend my title. You know, I just really enjoyed that first time. I try to make it before all the Masters Cups and as many tournaments as possible. Obviously, I went to the Special Olympics games in Dublin, in Ireland, last year after I lost in Wimbledon. It was a little bit of a wake-up call I guess in a lot of ways. After you lose first round of a Grand Slam, you know, I got to get away from Wimbledon for a day or so and sort of, you know, think about other things, realize that, you know, it was just a tennis match that I lost.

Q. In that way it helps your tennis, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think in a lot of ways it does. You know, you see how fortunate you are I guess in a lot of ways. You know, they don't really care who goes out there and hits tennis balls with them. They just want to get out there and hit tennis balls and enjoy the sport for what it is, not for the money or the fame.

Q. Do you prepare differently now for this season? In what way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean?

Q. For this new tennis season.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I haven't done that much differently. I've taken a few weeks off towards the end of last year. That was more preparing for the Davis Cup final more than anything, you know, tried to get my fitness level at a stage where I felt like I could last, you know, the 2004 season.

Q. Is Kim involved in this Special Olympics at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. She's involved in her own stuff in Belgium more.

Q. How did he get the nickname "Mamool"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was the horse that ran in the Melbourne Cup. Mamool is actually a Lebanese desert. He's Lebanese. He told us that. He had a few bucks on it, it came last. There you go (smiling)
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:45 PM   #119
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

January 22, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Karol Kucera 1-6 6-1 6-4 6-1

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Bit of a slow start today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I got off to a slow start. Karol played extremely well there. You know, I didn't feel like I played that badly at the start. I had a few chances in the second and third game, and just -- even in the fourth game, and didn't quite take my opportunities on the big points. He played a pretty faultless first set, though.

Q. How important was the national anthem at 5-Love?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's always important to hear your national anthem. But, yeah, they were great out there today. They gave me a lot of support, even when I was down. You know, I think, you know, especially those guys have seen enough Davis Cup matches to know that I was probably going to get on the board sooner or later. But, yeah, he was playing extremely well at that stage. I just knew that I had to keep plugging away. Got off to a rough start against him last week in Sydney, as well. I was able to turn that first set around, which took me a little bit longer today, but I still got through it.

Q. The Fanatics energized the crowd. Did you feel that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's great. They're a big help out there. You know, I enjoy that support. I think everyone knows that. You know, it seems like I guess why Flip and I have played so well in Davis Cup ties in the past. The Fanatics have had a lot to do with that.

Q. Do you want them there in future matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It would be great. It's a great atmosphere out there. Even for the opposition, I think. It brings a bit more of a buzz into Centre Court there. You know, I guess the situation that we had in the semi and final of Davis Cup, you're not going to emulate that every time at a normal tournament, but it was a pretty awesome feeling. The closer you can get back to that feeling, all the better.

Q. Nadal, your next opponent, what do you know about him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very talented young player. Yeah, what I've heard, what I've see - little bits I've seen - he's a hell of a prospect coming up. It's going to be a tough match. I've got to go up to another level, I think. I look forward to the challenge, though.

Q. There's a bit of talk about him. Is there talk amongst the players about him coming up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Probably more so -- you know, I probably heard a little more from the media, whatever, maybe last year sometime when he had some pretty good wins over Moya and I think Costa maybe on clay, as well. So clay's his number one surface at the moment. But he had a pretty good run at Wimbledon. I watched a couple of his matches there on TV. He played pretty well on grass, for his first time on grass. He seems like he's got a really good head on him, as well. He's handled the expectation and the pressures very well. You know, he's just one of the next Spaniards coming up. There's a lot of them.

Q. Is it hard to keep your rhythm when you're playing someone like Kucera, seems to drift in and out of matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's very tough. He returns extremely well. Yeah, he can have service games like the last one he had where he hit four double-faults, I guess. But, you know, that's not that normal. But he plays some loose service games, but then he'll be able to come out and break you back straightaway. I broke him first game of the fourth set there, then he came out and played a great game to break me straight back the next game. It's awkward because he does float in and out of matches. Like in the first set, he hardly made a mistake and was attacking everything. In the start of the second and third, he was a bit more erratic.

Q. How hard is it to keep your concentration?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough. You can't get too down on yourself, keep plugging away, wait for your opportunities. I played him the last two weeks. I knew a little bit what I was getting, but he played even better the first set than what he did the last two weeks, as well.

Q. It's safe to say last year didn't go exactly the way you would have preferred. Any pressure on yourself this year, taking it as it comes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just taking it as it comes. I'd be happy to win another Davis Cup.

Q. No pressure to try to win another Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll see what happens. My goal is obviously to perform as well as possible, and I'm going to do everything in my control to prepare myself, you know, as well as I can for all four of the majors. You know, I'm not putting a huge expectation to go out there and have to win one. I think if I'm playing well enough, you know, I'll have opportunities at it, though.

Q. Did he play better than he played in Sydney?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In patches, yes. You know, I think he's -- as we spoke before, he's a little bit hot and cold sometimes. The first set, obviously, he played great today. There were patches in the third set where he played well. The start of the fourth set when he broke back, he played well. In Sydney he played the first four games great. In Perth, he played the second set great. He's been very in and out in all my matches that I played against him. But at least I knew what I was getting a little bit.

Q. Could you comment for us on Todd Reid's great victory today, what it means for Australian tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was great. It's great for Australian tennis to have another guy, not just knocking on the door now, but, you know, contender on the tour. He's still got to get his ranking up there to be on the tour week in and week out. But this has been a great start for him this summer. Obviously, Adelaide, Sydney, now Melbourne. Pretty gutsy effort out there today because he was obviously hurting. I don't think he would have played a five-set match before. To come through those conditions, it's only going to help him, experience.

Q. He talked about the experience of hitting with you, Davis Cup, training. Is it something that you noticed when you were practicing with him, that he was being lifted a bit by being out there with you and Mark?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he first came to Sweden, and then after that tie I really felt like the next time -- I invited him to the World Team Cup to play a bit of doubles with us there. I noticed a huge difference just in those six or seven weeks after Sweden. I think he took huge steps forward after that first Davis Cup tie being sort of the orange boy there, and getting to know everyone, seeing what we do to prepare for matches. He was hitting the ball a lot heavier when he came back in World Team Cup. Then he came for obviously the Switzerland tie, then the final, as well. He's been great around the team. You know, he's not so much the orange boy anymore, I guess. He's really a part of the team. Won't be that long before he's actually playing for Australia, which is a good thing,

Q. If, God forbid, you or Mark were unable to play singles, do you think he'd be next in line?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's obviously him, Scott Draper, Wayne Arthurs. It's hard to drop Scott Draper and Wayne Arthurs because they've got that experience, as well. But it's definitely between the three of them. Todd really put his hand up. The thing about Davis Cup, you just don't know how that person reacts to playing Davis Cup until they're thrown in it. And that's something that Fitzy and Wally, you know, they're going to have to give him a shot sooner or later at some stage, if Flip or I get injured. You're just not going to know until that situation comes. But the way he's handled the pressure of playing in Australia the last three weeks with wildcards, it's been pretty good.

Q. Have you ever brought your lunch up on court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't. Wasn't a lot of lunch, I don't think. Looked like a lot of water.

Q. A lot of young guys in your position would be taking advantage of it, maybe be a party-type person, playing the field. You seem very committed and kind of mature. Can you talk about what having a committed relationship with Kim does for your career, keeps you settled?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's been, yeah, I guess very settled the last four years. You know, obviously being 22, it's just been great for both of us. Because she obviously saw what I was going through, the pressures of being a top player maybe a year or so before she got into the Top 5, Top 2 in the world. We've both just been really able to help each other out when we need to throughout the year.

Q. It's good that you have a similar career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. We don't talk about tennis most of the time. But if we do need anything, I think we both know when to talk about tennis and when not to, as well.

Q. What kind of stuff will you talk to about to get away from tennis? Movies?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Anything, yeah.

Q. Crows?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Crows, yeah. Andrew McLeod and his family.

Q. She's talking about a wedding all the time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know any of that stuff, mate.

Q. You'll just show up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll just rock up. She can organize it.

Q. And your bucks, you got to organize that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Someone will have to organize that. It won't be me.
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

January 24, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Rafael Nadal 7-6(2) 7-6(5) 6-2

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.


Q. You were saying out there that you expect a tough match. Was it even tougher than you thought, the young boy tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I seen a little bit of his second-round match. He played a lot better tonight than he did in that second-round match, I tell you. He could have very easily been down two sets to one in that match against Ascione, I think, the French bloke. And it wasn't until the other guy started getting a few cramps that he actually got on top of him. He really went up another couple of levels tonight. Yeah, he's a great player. As I said before, you know, all the good stuff you've heard and seen in the past, you know, he's going to be very good in a couple of years.

Q. How far are you from your top form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played pretty well tonight, I felt. You know, went hammers and tongs right from the baseline. Didn't move back too much and really attacked right from the word "go." Felt like I hit the ball pretty well the whole night. Even the times I got broken, he played a couple of incredible points to break me. And I was really happy with how I came back in both the breakers. You know, I was down mini breaks early, and I just kept fighting and finding a way to get through those tight sets. Then in the third set, obviously got on top of him early.

Q. How is your injury pulling up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty good. Feel good at the moment. See how I feel. Tomorrow doesn't matter so much, but I'll hopefully be all right Monday.

Q. It was a good hit-out for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Very good match.

Q. What about Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, doesn't get any easier, that's for sure. You know, it's going to be a tough match and I've got to go out there and just worry about my game. And hopefully I can get off to a bit better start than I did last time against him a few months ago.

Q. Why do you think you've got such a good record against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think we played a lot probably before he was probably at his best, I think. That may be one of the reasons. He got on the tour just a little bit after me, I think, as well. You know, since then, since we've probably both been at our best, we've probably only played a couple of times, I think. Nearly all the matches have been pretty close. We played -- not only this Davis Cup tie, we played a Davis Cup tie in Zurich a few years ago, which was a tight four-set match. The only match I think I lost to him was in Basel in his hometown, in the semifinals of the Swiss indoors, and I lost 7-6 in the third. I think I had match point. We've played some pretty good matches in the past. I've really got to, you know, play some of my best tennis to keep up with him.

Q. Is there any difference at all that this is at a Grand Slam, and you haven't played before at a Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, we haven't. You know, I don't know. It's probably pretty similar to a Davis Cup tie in that the pressure is there for both of us. You know, Round of 16 of a Grand Slam, you know. You can take a little bit out of a Davis Cup tie, I guess. But, you know, I was very fortunate to get out of that match, as well. But, you know, it's the best-of-five sets, like that Davis Cup tie, so there's plenty of time.

Q. Is that the match you remember most with them, the Davis Cup one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was the most recent, so...

Q. The one that stands out of the nine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Obviously, I think apart from that other Davis Cup match, when we probably both weren't at our best at that time, apart from that, that's probably the only five-set match I think we've played. Yeah, it definitely stands out. It was the biggest match I think that we both had to play under pressure. You know. It was a hell of an outcome in the end for me.

Q. The role of the crowd in both tiebreaks, what influence did it have on you tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's great. You know, the crowd not only in the tiebreakers, I think the whole time. They were loud out there. Fanatics really got them going. Awesome atmosphere out there.

Q. Did you organize those seats for the Fanatics tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think Roger's done most of that with the Fanatics, and with Wozz, helping them out as much as possible.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how a crowd can help a player through a match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, crowds obviously, you know, if you use them the right way, you get an atmosphere like we've had tonight, then it's always a positive, I think, and you can draw a lot of positives out of it and try and use that positive energy in a good way. Then again, you know, there's some times when you feel maybe the expectation of playing in front of a big crowd going for you, as well. I've played some of my best matches in Davis Cup away from home when you've got to block out the whole crowd and just concentrate on what you're doing. There's positives and negatives for both ways. I still think it's a lot easier to go out there and concentrate when the crowd's all with you.

Q. The fourth round is where you got to last year, and fell against Younes. Will that play on your mind at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Younes was too good last year. He played a hell of a match. You know, I only lost my serve once for the whole day and I didn't break him in the whole match. There's not too many matches I can't recall when I haven't been able to break a guy once in four sets. I just had to live with that and, you know, I guess it was easy to get over that match, a little bit easier, because I knew it was a little bit out of my control. I felt like I played a pretty good match for most of it. Maybe just didn't take a couple opportunities when they popped up. But I won't be worrying about that on Monday.

Q. Did you get a chance to watch Todd's match against Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I watched a little bit on TV before I went out to hit the balls out the back there. Actually saw him go up a break. Came in, and he was finished. Poor old Todd I think was a bit tired today.
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Lleyton Hewitt


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