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Old 06-29-2012, 02:53 PM   #121
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

January 26, 2004, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 6-4 3-6 0-6 4-6

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.


Q. Do you have any feeling about that foot fault?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously disappointing when you hit an ace and you get a foot fault called on you on a game point, I guess. But, yeah, I still wouldn't have won the match even if -- at that stage, anyway. I'm not going to take anything away from Roger's win. He was too good tonight. But, you know, it was obviously, you know, a bit disappointing, the only foot fault I get the whole night, hit an ace off it.

Q. How long did you feel that that took the wind out of your sails? It was obviously just a few games there where...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably only hurt me just that one game I think. I think Roger sort of felt a bit of a relief, I guess. Could have been 3-all in that set. You know, instead, he came out, worked a couple of forehands. There really wasn't much I could do in the next two points. So, you know, that was the one break for the set there. That sort of set the second set up for him, and, you know, I felt like I had a lot of chances out there tonight. I had a lot of love-30s, I had a lot of breakpoints, especially early in the second set there. I wasn't able to capitalize. Could have easily been up a set and a break. Had a breakpoint in the first game. Had some more later on as well, so...

Q. When he plays like that, does it get to a period where he's untouchable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He goes through patches where he's pretty good. You got to try and weather the storm as much as possible. I felt like I came out and I was aggressive right from the start, I put a lot of pressure on him. You know, probably just went in my shell there for a couple of games and he was able to step it up and take advantage of that, I think. Yeah, as I said before, I think I really had to try and get on top of him, you know, early in that second set after I got that first set in the bag. He came up were a couple of big serves, big forehands on those points. And, yeah, there really wasn't much I could do probably on those breakpoints anyway. I needed to probably get a little bit of a look at a few more second serves, I'd say.

Q. Is this the best you saw him playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about the best. You know, he played in patches tonight extremely well, yeah. I still felt like I had a lot of chances out there, though. You know, I'm -- it's hard to say that, you know, I guess the semi and final of Wimbledon last year, that was probably as well as he's probably ever played, I'd say.

Q. Can't rewrite history, of course. Do you think with the experience...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sorry?

Q. We can't rewrite history.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. Sadly for you. But do you think that at the point 5-4, where you could have maybe broken back 5-5, with all the experience of the Davis Cup, that might have changed things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, who knows, mate. If you're 5-all, you got a fighting chance anyway. I can't tell you one way or another. You know, he made a couple of -- you know, didn't quite go for as much as normal, I think, or as he was earlier in the fourth set, in the third set. That's normal to get a little bit tight under those circumstances. He was playing down the tougher end as well, you know, trying to finish it off. But to his credit, he came up with some pretty big, big points when he needed to.

Q. Both you and Mark came into this stage of the tournament playing fantastic tennis. Beaten in the fourth round. Hasn't been a happy hunting ground this fourth round of the Australian Open for Australian guys. Any idea what it is about this stage of the tournament that's been so unkind to our players recently, or how important it is putting this particular tournament in your career goals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know why but, you know, the years that I've made the fourth round, you know, I felt like tonight I gave it a good chance. I played a guy who was too good on the night. Last year was a little bit of a once off, I guess, playing El Aynaoui in the fourth round. I'd take that most times, playing El Aynaoui in a fourth round rather than Federer. But El Aynaoui played a hell of a match. Didn't break serve once. The time before that, made the fourth round, it was 2000, something like that, it was against Magnus Norman. At that stage he was 3 or 4 in the world. I quite wasn't up to it. In all those matches for me, personally, there's been reasons, I think, why I've probably lost in this round. But I don't think, you know -- Mark and I both played well, you know. I didn't see much of his match today, but he obviously didn't play as well as he probably could have today and has been playing. I ran into a guy who was too good for me tonight.

Q. How much of a distraction were the fireworks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit. We got told before we went on by Peter Bellinger there was gonna be fire works at about 9:15 for about 10 minutes. They tried to hold them off, but they weren't able to, or something. It was a lot louder than I thought it was gonna be.

Q. Generally speaking, would you like to see the surface here any different-paced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, apparently it didn't get resurfaced. Yeah, to me, it probably -- it felt like slower than it was in the September Davis Cup tie. Reasons for that, I don't know, whether it was because we laid a grass court on top of it, I really don't know. Felt a lot rougher. Felt like the balls were fluffing up a lot more out there the last couple of weeks. You know, I think the disappointing thing is we can't get a surface, you know -- I practiced on Adelaide before I went to the Hopman Cup, then I played in the Hopman Cup, I played in Sydney, I played in Melbourne, and none of them are the same. I think, you know, Sydney and Melbourne was the biggest difference of all-time. They're the two supreme tournaments in Australia, so...
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:56 PM   #122
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 13, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Thomas Johansson 6-2 6-3

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton. He's won 13 consecutive matches here. He's 15-1 on the year. Open it up for questions.


Q. You didn't have such a great start here last year, but you've got to be pleased with today's performance.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's different than last year in the fact that I was coming off winning Scottsdale the week before last year. You know, I didn't get a hit on center court before the tournament started here. You know, this year I've had pretty good practice, I guess. But in a lot of ways that can make the first round a little bit tougher. To go out there, you haven't played for a couple of weeks in match conditions. You know, in this kind of setup, the higher seeds get byes here, Johansson played a match yesterday, and got through in the conditions we're going to be playing in. You can't take it lightly at all.

Q. Surprised how easy it went?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it didn't feel that easy out there. You look at the score line, and you think it's pretty convincing. But I think there were a lot of tough games out there, some pretty good rallies out there. Yeah, Thomas is a tough player. Out of all the non-seeded players, he'd have to be one of the toughest, I think. For me to come through in that way, we had a tough match in Rotterdam a couple of weeks ago, as well, so that probably helped me in good stead a little bit. I played better I think today than I did in Rotterdam a couple weeks ago against him.

Q. What was working for you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Felt like I moved really well. I was pretty consistent. It was heavy conditions out there. I didn't make a lot of cheap errors. I felt like I hit my groundstrokes pretty well from side to side. I had him moving a lot. I mixed up the pace very well out there tonight. Yeah, and my serve, I served well in patches, I think, apart from the last service game.

Q. Do you feel your game has totally come together? You're 15-1 this year, lost to Ferrero.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was playing pretty well this time last year, as well. You know, I came here, obviously won Scottsdale and Indian Wells here, then I got sick the night before I played in Miami, lost first round there. You know, won a Davis Cup tie, took a bit of a break I guess, there before the French Open, Wimbledon. Yeah, I feel like I'm playing well at the moment, yeah. As I said, though, after you take a couple weeks off, you've won a title, you've got to try to get back into it. It's always going to take you a match or two to get back into it. These kind of tournaments, you can't really get off to slow starts. Best-of-three sets against the best players in the world right from the word "go." These are tough tournaments to win.

Q. Talk about the reemergence of Safin, what it does to the mix of people in the tournament.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Safin fully fit is obviously one of the toughest guys out there. He's got an all-around game. He's got a lot of power out there. He can play on all surfaces. We've all seen him at his best. I think the Australian Open this year, he was pretty close to his best, I'd say, a couple of those matches towards the end of the tournament. He's going to be tough, there's no doubt about it.

Q. As a guy for whom consistency and consistent approach is obviously a virtue of your game, do you have a hard time identifying with a player like Safin, whose motivation seems to come in and out, up and down? Do you say, "How can someone possibly not care all the time"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Everyone's personality is different, I guess. That's what makes the game so interesting I guess in a lot of ways. Yeah, you're always going to have those kind of characters out there, I guess. You know, different personalities. You know, you look at McEnroe and Borg, totally different situations, playing styles, strengths and weaknesses, I guess. Obviously, Marat, one of his biggest strengths is how hard he can hit the ball, his power, his all court game. Sometimes the mental side of it lets him down sometimes. If you got the whole package, then you'd be winning week in and week out, I guess. It would be boring for everyone.

Q. What do you think was the turning point in tonight's match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was 2-1 down in the first set, saved a couple of breakpoints, and then ended up getting on a bit of a roll after that game. I was able to break a couple times and win the first set. He started pretty well in the second set. I just had to hang in there. I felt like I was getting enough chances, enough 30-All games on his service games. I felt like it was just a matter of time before that opportunity would come. And against the best players in the world, you may only get one, two, three of those opportunities, you got to be able to take them straightaway.

Q. I know you need to adapt your game to everyone, but do you find a finesse player, like Federer, how do you compare the problems he presents to you with a big-hitter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, a lot depends I guess on the surface, the court style, how the conditions are a lot more, as well. Obviously, a grass court with Federer's kind of style of game, you'd have to say that suits him probably the best because he's a natural. He's got an all-court game. He's the best volleyer out there, in my opinion, at the moment. He has an all-court game which suits grass. On other surfaces, though, there's obviously tougher players I think on clay, guys that have grown up on it. A lot of the Spanish and Argentinian guys are pretty tough on it. I think match-ups depend a lot on surfaces.

Q. Does a finesse player of that caliber on grass, is that more problematic than even like a big server, like Goran?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, he's not so much a finesse, I don't think. He's got a great serve, I think. He's got a huge forehand - as big a forehand that's out there, Federer. Sure, he's got great hands, you know, finesse as well. He's got a great package deal, I guess. But he's got a very powerful game out there, as well.

Q. You haven't played Roddick since that 2001 match at The Open. Obviously his game has probably changed a little since then. Are you sort of looking forward to maybe seeing how you would measure up now against someone like Roddick, the challenge, because it's been a while since you've played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I'll look forward to it if I've got to play him. I'm not too worried about him at the moment until -- I think he's in the other side of the draw this week.

Q. Just in general, though.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, there's a lot of tough players out there. There's no doubt I'm sure that I'm going have to play him whether it's this year or next year, I'm sure, and probably in a big tournament at some stage. And there's no doubt that his game's changed. But, you know, I still feel like I'd match up well against him. You know, he's obviously got, you know, big strengths. You got to try and exploit any weaknesses that he does have, as well.

Q. Kim was quite disappointed she had to pull out. Are you disappointed there's no chance of a double repeat like last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's disappointing anytime one of us has to pull out of a tournament, I think - especially the situation. She really obviously enjoys playing here and plays extremely well here. I don't think it's an easy decision to do because, you know, you can obviously aggravate the injury a lot more and be out for a serious period of time. I know there's a lot of players who have had a similar injury in the last few years, and they've been out for a while.

Q. Are you surprised how well she's handling it? She's pretty upbeat about it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I haven't really spoken to her about it too much. I've been back at the hotel all day. I know she went and had MRIs and stuff all done today. Yeah, it's a weird kind of injury, I think. You know, it happened, you know, she told me, last night that she felt pain and she could only slice backhand at the end of the second set last night. You know, I guess it was something that was just waiting to happen. It's an awkward situation. One minute you're a hundred percent, and the next minute you can't play with your left hand.

Q. How do you get an injury like that? It wasn't from a fall or anything. Is it just wear and tear?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's wear and tear. I'm pretty sure Safin and Nalbandian, they're the two players that come to mind, that have had similar injuries, both with their left hands, as well. Double-hand backhand obviously has got something to do with it. Yeah, it's tough. There's no pinpoint. I think it's just wear and tear over the years. Obviously, all us young guys have been playing since we were six or seven years old, as well.

Q. Do you think she could get through another round if she used the slice backhand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably.

Q. After you've taken a couple of weeks off, how many matches does it take you before you're feeling totally comfortable, the way you're playing as you come back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: About six (laughter). It's hard to say. I think it depends on the surface, the conditions, and how long you've been there in those conditions practicing for. I've obviously, you know, got here pretty early, last Sunday. I had a good, what is it, five days or so practicing on these courts, and in this situation, I guess. Yeah, I'd like to think that now I feel pretty comfortable out there. Obviously, my next match most likely will be probably in the day, now that I've played a night match. It's going to be different conditions again. But that's what I've been practicing in, you know, the whole five days, the last week, so.

Q. With two of these titles under your belt, going for a third in a row, do you feel any different? I mean, is there an element of pressure or this not being a Grand Slam, but still a big tournament, or it doesn't quite come into the thinking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, I'm not putting any added pressure. You know, this is only the first Masters Series of the year. If I don't win here, I've got a lot more chances anyway. But for me, you know, obviously I'd love to win here again. And I feel very comfortable playing here. In my opinion, you know, it's my favorite Masters Series of the year. I really enjoy coming back here. You always like coming back to places that you play well at. It's a nice stadium, very relaxed out there. You know, hopefully I can win a few more matches and put myself in a position to be here next weekend.

Q. The frustrations and problems of last year, how have they influenced or affected you this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What frustrations?

Q. Falling off your game a little bit, not having the results you had previously.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like -- you know, obviously my ranking dropped because I didn't play as many tournaments. Definitely I'd like to think I was a better player than whatever I dropped to, 17 or 14 in the world, whatever. The ranking really meant very little to me at the end of last year. As I said a couple days ago, all I was worried about at the end of the -- the last two and a half months of last year was winning the Davis Cup. You know, I won't have as many points to defend this next October, November.
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PACIFIC LIFE OPEN

March 15, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Juan Ignacio Chela 3-6 6-4 1-6

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. I saw you go 3-Love up, decided to watch something else, came back, saw you win the second set, saw your breakpoints in the first game. I couldn't understand the final score.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a bit like that, wasn't it (smiling)? Yeah, there was a lot of momentum changes out there. I felt like I hit the ball well early on. You know, I came out very aggressive right from the start. Had a chance to go 4-Love up. You know, didn't feel like I played too bad a game. I felt like he didn't miss a lot of balls out there today. It's extremely heavy with the balls out there, you know, to play a guy like that. You know, it's a big change from when you get new balls, and then probably a game or so, you know, even after you change balls because, you know, they're very heavy, it's hard to hit winners, especially against a guy like that. He's standing a couple of meters behind the baseline and running everything down.

Q. He was finding corners very well, wasn't he?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He played well. He didn't make too many mistakes. He definitely didn't make any easy mistakes anyway. He chased a lot of balls down. Yeah, even when I felt like I had him on a stretch a couple of times, he came up with good defensive shots, I guess the kind of shots you learn to play when you grow up on clay.

Q. Are you feeling a little bit shell-shocked by it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really shell-shocked, I don't think. Yeah, I'd seen him play tough matches in the past. You know, he's beaten Roddick. He's had a couple of tough matches with Roddick since then, as well. Yeah, I've seen him play. He's always had reasonable results on a hard court. And this kind of hard court I'd say suits him the best. With, you know, the balls fluffing up a lot out there, making it slower out there for him, as well.

Q. You're usually so quick about court. Today it didn't seem it was quite you sometimes. You didn't seem to be moving quite as rapidly or off the mark as you usually do. Any reason for that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt a little bit heavy out there today, just running around. I don't know if it was my first match out in the heat for a while. You know, obviously I played a night match the other night. Haven't played outdoors for a while. Whether that's got something to do with it. You know, it's hot conditions out there today. Yeah, I did feel, yeah, a little bit heavy out there, yeah.

Q. How much slower is the court from last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A fair bit slow. You know, I don't know if it's all the court, though. I think it's got a lot to do with the balls. The balls, they're getting worse and worse by the week.

Q. Physically there's nothing wrong?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no. I'm fine.

Q. In what way are the balls causing more problem? Is it the fact they are getting so heavy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're massive. They're ridiculous. After like one game against a guy like that, you know -- I've never played with balls that are getting that big. It's as simple as that. I thought the balls in Rotterdam were quite heavy till I came here. You know, the court's definitely, you know, it's a little bit rough out there. That's always going to chop the balls up a little bit more than a smoother court, such as a US Open hard court. But, you know, there's no reason why the ball should get, you know, that heavy. I know a lot of players complained early on when I got here first couple of days that were hitting them. You know, it was a joke. They complained. They said they got other boxes. I haven't noticed a huge change.

Q. That wasn't the case in Perth or the Australian Open, was it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With the balls?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a different brand of ball they used for the Australian summer compared to what I used the last couple weeks.

Q. What did they use there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Slazenger.

Q. If you don't feel shell-shocked, how are you feeling? What are you feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm actually happy with how I hit the ball. I felt like I hit the ball well out there today. I felt like I timed the ball well, I just didn't take my chances when I had them. Obviously, if you're 3-Love up, you have a chance to go 4-Love up, you'd like to think you're going to get that set. You know, if you're getting that, I had Love-40 in the first game of the third set, Love-30, Love-30, next two games. Even 5-1, I had Love-30, 15-40. Had a lot of chances, wasn't able to capitalize on it. Against these guys, you have to be able to capitalize on them.

Q. The balls, is this something you think the tournament made a conscious decision about the kind of ball and court they wanted? At some level is it kind of luck that nobody did their homework and the balls are fluffing up more than they thought?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think the tournament would have planned it or thought about it at all. I'd say it's more -- whether it's the ball manufacturer, you know, who knows why they're so different to last year's ball. We used the Penn ball here last year, for most of the year last year, and they definitely weren't as big as they are now. Even though they say they've changed nothing in their thing, you know, the balls are coming out different from their company. Yeah, you can't blame the tournament. They're sticking with the same ball that they thought it was going to be the same ball they had the whole time I've been playing these Masters Series tournaments.

Q. Kind of a crapshoot from week to week? You find out what it is when you get there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Obviously, a little bit's got to do with the court as well, how much it's chopping the ball up. But I think the majority definitely has got to do with, you know, the ball and how it's made.

Q. How big of a disappointment is this for you, going out in the early round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's disappointing, you know. But, you know, I'd like to think there's lot bigger matches, you know, around the corner for me. As I said, you know, I felt like I was actually hitting the ball well. In practice, I've been hitting the ball well. In all my matches this year, I've played pretty good. So, you know, it's disappointing to go out. But, you know, he had to play one of his best matches I think to beat me out there today.

Q. You said the balls are coming out differently. My understanding is that balls are made from a mold with certain felt and rubber. What do you think could be the explanation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got no idea, mate. I haven't walked through their company. I wouldn't have a clue how they make them.
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NASDAQ-100 OPEN

March 26, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Robin Soderling 6-4 6-2

MIAMI, FLORIDA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Can you describe what it was like out there today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Windy. Yeah, it was windy out there. It was tough conditions, I think, for everybody. Just had to try and be patient and take your chances when they came and not get too frustrated out there.

Q. Were you having to make lots of adjustments out there with your game from time to time because of the conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just had to probably pay the percentages a little bit more than normal I'd say. It was hard to go out there and go for a lot of shots. I felt like I served pretty well considering the conditions out there.

Q. Lleyton, that was, I guess, a really good match to get going with in the tournament after the disappointment of last week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was an awkward match more condition-wise today. You had to go out there. You just couldn't let yourself get too frustrated out there. It was never going to be the most pretty tennis, I guess, to go out there and watch. Yeah, you got to play the percentages and play within yourself a little bit more. So at the end of the day, on a day like that, you're happy to come away with the win. I was happy to get off the court before it started raining.

Q. That was pretty good timing.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, very.

Q. The lob, you played that superbly today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I lobbed well, especially considering the conditions. It's not the easiest shot to play in the wind. You know, nine times out of ten, I played it pretty well today.

Q. Just on sort of a different subject, what are the advantages and disadvantages of playing without a coach like what Federer is doing? Is that something that you've ever done?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not really something that I've ever done. I think in '98 when I first came on the tour, I didn't have a coach for a while just because I felt like I didn't have anyone that I really knew that well, and, you know, I was just sort of waiting for the person that I felt would be the best at the time for me. Yeah, there's positives and negatives. I think a guy like Roger, he knows what he's doing. At the end of the day, he's going out there, he's confident at the moment, he's playing his own game. It's not going to alter his game a hell of a lot right at the moment.

Q. What would the advantages and disadvantages be in general for a player of not having a coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a coach, more than anything, as a tennis player, because you're one-on-one instead of looking after a football team, it's more being a good mate and enjoying that person's company around the place and getting along with him really well, having the same interests. Whereas in a football coach, it's more they're putting the demands on you, I guess, a lot more over 25, 30 guys.

Q. The advantage of playing without a coach, what would the advantage be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. As far as I know, he's got a couple of people with him like obviously a masseuse and a trainer and those kind of things, and I think maybe even a mate with him. So those guys probably fill in and book courts for him and do those other odds and sods anyway. At the end of the day, tennis is a one-on-one battle. Roger obviously feels like he can go out there. He's handling it pretty well at the moment.

Q. Bearing in mind the conditions out there today, can you take a lot away from this? Can you gauge how you're actually hitting the ball?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not a whole heap out of today's match, I don't think. But in practice, you know, the whole last week or so I've been hitting the ball well, ever since I got here. At the end of the day, today it's just one of those matches you want to get out of the way and get in the locker room as soon as possible, I think, and come away with the win and, hopefully, it's not as windy tomorrow. But if it is, you know, or when I play next, I've played one match in those conditions, so at least I should be used to it.

Q. What did you do? Did you get out of Indian Wells as quickly as possible? Did you hit a couple golf balls?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, played a couple of days of golf then came over.

Q. Was it pretty much put out of your mind straightaway or is it something you thought about?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Indian Wells? No, it was out of my mind straightaway.

Q. Pavel in the next round. What are your thoughts? He's an awkward, tricky player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he is a very awkward player. He played some great matches. He's an all-court player. He's got all the shots in the book. He's got a great single-hand backhand. He attacks well. He mixes in the serve-volley. I just got to go out there and play my game. Obviously, try and finish my service games as quickly and easily as possible, and then I feel like I got a few chances on his service games.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:06 PM   #125
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NASDAQ-100 OPEN

March 28, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Andrei Pavel 4-6 5-7

MIAMI, FLORIDA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Was it a matter of you today, or was Andrei playing too well? His backhand looked just beautiful today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he played well. Yeah, I didn't quite take my opportunities when they came and, you know, didn't -- I served well in patches. Served a lot of double-faults. You know, I just felt like I had opportunities early in the first set and wasn't able to capitalize on them. And then the same in the second set. You know, then put myself in the situation of trying to claw my way back out of the second set. Wasn't able to quite do that. But he definitely played well, though.

Q. Have you ever let a game get away like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I let a few get away today.

Q. You did. But that last game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I gave him a few chances and, you know, it definitely should have gone to a tiebreak. Yeah, there's not a lot you can do about it now, but...

Q. What do you feel you need to do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just made a couple of, yeah, unforced errors on love-15, 15-30 points on his service games halfway through the first set, where I felt like I really had an opportunity to crack the match wide open. He's the kind of guy who plays a lot better when he's a frontrunner, I feel, when he's got his head up and he's hitting the ball well. He's a sweet hitter of the ball as well. So his whole game got better and better, and it got tougher for me to get myself into the match from then on. I just didn't quite take my opportunities when I had, you know, love-30, 15-30, 30-all points.

Q. Were most of those opportunities squandered at the net?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, couple of times. There's a couple of long points where I came to the net and ended up, you know, missing , you know, not that easy volleys. He hit the ball pretty well. It's hard to volley sometimes in the wind as well when the ball's dipping like that. They're definitely makeable volleys, yeah. I think a couple of times I tried to do a little bit too much with him instead of just making him play a pass.

Q. What's special about his backhand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess it's a very free shot, very free-flowing shot out there. He's able to hit, you know, down the line, cross court, he hits angles very well and he can attack off it as well.

Q. What's up for you now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure (smiling). Don't know yet.

Q. Shopping with Kim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doubt that.

Q. You guys won the Davis Cup and then within months the process starts all over again, not much time to savor it. Would you like to see a situation where it's like the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in golf where it's every other year as opposed to every year? What are your feelings on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I've spoken about it a lot. I feel that, you know, there should either be a bye for the first -- for the two finalist countries, make it a four-team World Group, or they should be every second year. That's my feeling. I know there's a few people out there, and I think, you know -- I don't think it's great for the game that Australia obviously bombed out in the first round this year after winning it. Spain was very close to bombing out and they had their B or C team in. They didn't have Moya or Ferrero who played in the final, purely because Ferrero had played that much tennis. Was ridiculous. I don't think that's good for the game. I don't think that's good for Davis Cup. If you want the best players playing every tie, then you've got to work out a situation that's going to benefit the players.

Q. Is Adam Scott a mate of yours? What do you think of him going into the final round of the TPC with a chance to win that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I met Adam at the Australian PGA in December last year. He's a great kid. He's a very likable kid. Yeah, he is a helluva player. I've been watching a little bit, and I've got no doubt - I don't know what it is now - but if he plays the way he did yesterday, then he's going to be in pretty good stead. It's going to take a pretty good player to beat him.

Q. You started off the year very strong and you're in a bit of a rut the last few weeks. What do you think is going on with your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I feel like I'm hitting the ball okay the last couple of weeks . My first rounds both weeks, I played well. Against Chela last week, I thought he played extremely well, just as well as I've seen him play. Still, I had a lot of love-40, love-30 games and I wasn't able to capitalize. Little bit the same today. So when you look back on it, you know, you got to take your opportunities when they come. It's disappointing, but I don't think I'm hitting the ball that badly.

Q. Do you think you're playing too conservatively, not taking enough risks at times?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe at times, but then a couple of times I went for it off his second serve and made a mistake, so... Yeah, you could look at it both ways.

Q. Who do you think has the best second serve in the men's game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There's a lot of tough ones, I guess. Roddick's probably going to be up there. He gets obviously a lot of kick on it. He can hit it hard as well. Federer's got a great second serve as well. There's a lot of guys out there that, you know, I think they have pretty good second serves.

Q. When you say you don't know what's up, have you planned your European schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. I was more, you know, seeing how I was feeling and just playing it by ear. Yeah, depending if I go back to Australia or go straight over to Europe as well.

Q. You don't have to play Davis Cup until September?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No.

Q. Are you feeling all right, though, for the most part? You're not capitalizing on the moments, but you're feeling fine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty good. Yeah, you know, I've been, yeah, feeling pretty good in practice and feeling pretty good about my game most days, I think, so... Yeah, it's a little bit disappointing, but, you know, I won't worry about it too much.

Q. Still a couple months away to the clay court season. Who do you like going into Roland Garros?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously the three guys that probably stand out are Ferrero, Coria and Moya, going on last year's form. But, you know, Coria sort of popped up last year without anyone really knowing I guess. Federer is going to be tough to beat on that surface as well. There's always going to be Nalbandian, Gaudio, you know. There's a lot of good clay court players around so...You know, not going to be too many easy matches.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:09 PM   #126
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TMS MONTE CARLO

April 20, 2004, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Julien Benneteau 3-6 6-3 6-4

MONTE-CARLO

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. So it's your first win here in Monaco.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've only been here -- it's only my second time. So last time I came here, I got a pretty tough draw, drawing Moya first round. So things could only get better, I think - from the draw anyway.

Q. What did you make of your form out there today? In the third set you started to play some pretty good shots out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I got better as the match went on. At the start I just didn't quite have my footing out there, I don't think. I was probably going for -- trying to be a little bit too aggressive at times when I probably shouldn't have, probably just should have worked the ball a little bit more. You know, it was important to get that kind of match under my belt, I think. From there, I can only get better. I don't feel like the match took that much out of me physically. So, you know, it's a good start to get through. It gives me another opportunity. I got some court time on a clay court surface.

Q. What do you make of the balls? Tim Henman was saying that they're using a different kind of ball here, it's quite hard, compressed ball. He said yesterday it was flying all over the place, sort of accentuating the bad bounces. Did you find that today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The balls are definitely different to what we played in Indian Wells and Miami, there's no doubt about that. The balls that we had in Indian Wells, especially, were just fluffing up incredible. You know, they were like balloons out there after, you know, one or two games. These balls are , you know, they're quick through the air. They do feel harder. Yeah, I think the biggest concern is changing or having different kind of balls different weeks more than anything. You know, I know a lot of players were talking about it in Indian Wells, about how much the balls are fluffing up there. You'd think on a clay court surface, you know, probably the same balls, they'd fluff up even more with longer rallies, but, you know, here... I don't think it's a bad thing, these balls here. I think they'll keep better longer than the other balls. It's just, you know, that playing with different balls week in and week out.

Q. So much of tennis is in the mind. What's your attitude going into the clay court season? Are you really positive about how well you can do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I've had some -- my biggest wins on clay have been in Davis Cup ties, I think, under, you know, a lot of pressure and in big situations. You know, obviously the main goal is the French Open, you know, looking forward to the French. For me, the three Masters Series and Dusseldorf, just trying to get as many matches as possible, and really try and get some rhythm out there and feel confident on the surface. It's hard, I think especially for Australians when we come over here, it probably takes a little bit longer to get used to the footing and the moving out there more than anything. A lot of the Spanish and South Americans come straight on the clay and feel straight at home. So it takes a little bit longer but, you know, obviously the goal is to be feeling as well as you can going into the French Open.

Q. Lleyton, speaking of clay, do you tend to agree with Newk's recent comments that Philippoussis should skip the clay given his recent situation and just worry about the grass?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think you still need some matches, I think. Obviously, the grass would be his main focus, I think. And the way that he played at Wimbledon last year, I'm sure he's looking forward to the grass court season. But it's only a couple of weeks, and in the past he's only played Queen's before Wimbledon. I don't know if that would be the best preparation, just to go in, play Queen's straight off, without getting too many matches before such a big Grand Slam that he has a real chance of doing well at.

Q. Are you at all worried about the situation that's around him now? The fact that he's your Davis Cup teammate, he's a big part of the team, he's been in a trough for months now, I mean, what is your take on the whole situation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's not probably as confident as he's ever been, I don't think, at the moment. I've hit with him a lot in practice. He's not hitting the ball that badly in practice. You know, just probably hasn't played a lot of matches. And, obviously, you know, a lot of stuff, you know, probably came out, yeah, in the media right after his match against Arazi at the Australian Open. I mean, that was right before the Davis Cup tie. You know, the media probably got on him a little bit, you know, with the whole Davis Cup tie, and that just sort of added to the fire I think. I think a few weeks off will be good for him. I think it's a good thing. And, you know, I think he plans to start in Rome, as far as I know. You know, hopefully he can get some matches before the French Open. I've seen him play some of the best tennis on clay that I've ever seen in Davis Cup in Nice, you know, in '99.

Q. You wouldn't be worried about his mental state, the fact that he preferred, obviously, to go to the LOGIs than come here; the fact that he's got big things coming up - Wimbledon and a Davis Cup - you're not worried particularly about any of those situations?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, the LOGIs are big. They're big back home, so...

Q. You say some of your best wins have been on clay in Davis Cup. When you're playing singles in these tournaments, is it a case of finding extra motivation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe sometimes in these tournaments. I think, you know, the French Open, that's a Grand Slam, that's what you play for, the four majors, and that's where you want to be peaking. You know, I think the important part, you know, in the next few weeks for me is more thinking about the French Open and not getting too frustrated if things aren't going well the whole time, and really trying to focus on, you know, just finding some rhythm and getting confident on the surface. You know, obviously, I feel like I can play extremely well on clay. I beat Guga, you know, in Brazil when he was at his best, and I beat Costa in Barcelona as well on clay. I feel confident on the surface. But, you know, it probably takes me a little bit longer, as I said before.

Q. There was some kind of old-fashioned "Hewitt Intensity" out there today. Did you struggle a little bit in America to find that level of intensity that's so much part of your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe a little bit, I think. You know, in Indian Wells I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty well. I thought Chela played extremely well. In Miami, I didn't quite play as well against Pavel. I just didn't feel confident out there that day at all. I tried to keep fighting against Pavel there, you know, I came back after he served for the match. Tried hanging in there. You know, I just wasn't quite able to sneak out of that second set somehow. Today I felt like I really wanted to, you know, no matter how I was playing, just try to get through the match today and give myself another match on clay. It's obviously going to be against Gaudio or Volandri, who are two tough clay court players, so it's going to be a good test for me.

Q. How are things with regard to the political situation between you and the ATP? I know your lawyers deal with all that. But has that been a distraction for you over the past year or so, all the turmoil that's been going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Apart from, you know, the media bringing it up now and then... (smiling). Yeah, as you know, courts and laws and justice takes a long time to sort out, I think. I really haven't had to deal with much at all.

Q. And you're just able to sort of go out, get on with it, and get on with the people, you know, from the Tour in a working relationship basically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I deal with the people I want to deal with. Not all of them.

Q. What's your opinion on Benneteau?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The bloke I played (laughter)? No, I pronounce his name differently (smiling). Yeah, he's a good player. He's got a good serve. He's a bit flashy out there. You know, there were times when he looked like he was, you know, flashy and would make a few errors, and there were a lot of times where he actually knuckled down and made some good plays. A guy his size with a good serve is always, you know, a bit of a head start. He had a good tournament in Miami. I saw him win a couple matches there. He's a decent player.

Q. After finishing the last year, when have you started preparing this year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I played in the Hopman Cup at the start of the year. And then, you know, after last year, the end of last year, I was concentrating on the Davis Cup final.

Q. And afterwards, after the Davis Cup final, you had holidays?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a couple of weeks off and then was, you know, back into it pretty much training the whole time and practicing on hard court.

Q. And how many hours a day do you train?

LLEYTON HEWITT: 23 and a half (smiling).
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:11 PM   #127
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TMS MONTE CARLO

April 21, 2004, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Gaston Gaudio 1-6 7-6(5) 6-1

MONTE-CARLO

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Losing the first set doesn't seem to impede your progress very much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: (Laughing) Only just, mate. You know, I thought he played extremely well the first set and a half. He made not a lot of mistakes at all. He was really working the ball. It was hard, I felt like I had a lot of opportunities out there to win games - 30-love, 30-15 up - and I just wasn't able to capitalize on them. I got to the stage where I just tried to go back to basics a little bit, and tried really working the ball from then on, trying to find some rhythm out there. There's no doubt that I got a little bit lucky out there with coming back from a double break down. But, you know, that's one positive I guess for hanging in there and keep fighting every point.

Q. You were trying to keep away from his backhand. What do you do when a player's got a really good shot like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was tough. His forehand wasn't making too many mistakes out there either today, so... His backhand is obviously one of the best in the world, I think - one of the best single-hand backhands, that's for sure. I was just trying to -- I think once I started moving the ball around and not only playing to one side, to really open up the court, dictate play a little bit more, that's when I got aggressive and I started, you know, playing a little bit better out there and ended up winning a lot more points and make him work a lot harder to win points.

Q. Do you remember the moments when you saved matchpoints on clay against a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not on clay. I remember, I think -- I can only remember twice: At Indian Wells last year against El Aynaoui, and my first-ever tournament in Adelaide against Mark Woodforde. Those are the only two I can remember, but...

Q. It's good for you for the rest of the tournament, this game today against a good clay court player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good for my clay court preparation for the French Open, yeah. He's one of the best clay court players around. Last year he pushed Juan Carlos Ferrero here, you know, very tight three-set match. He plays extremely well on this surface. He moves so well on this surface, I think. That's one of the keys. It's a good win to have under my belt. Hopefully, it can give me a bit more confidence for the rest of the clay court season.

Q. Made a lot of forehand errors today. Is it the ball being difficult to control?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Little bit. There were stages when I was trying to dictate play a little bit too often. It's hard when a guy's standing that far behind the baseline and keeps getting the ball back. Then you feel like you got to go for a little bit extra every time. For a set and a half there, I was missing all those ones. Then I decided to go back and work the ball a little bit more, you know, play a little bit more margin for error, I think, a bit more percentage tennis. In the end, that sort of got my confidence going. Then I tried to start being more aggressive as the match went on.

Q. What are you planning to do with all these Masters Series on clay that there are now - Monte-Carlo, Rome, Hamburg? It all depends on the results that you do, tournament after tournament, or you are planning to do them all anyway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, I'm planning to do them all, and then I'll go Dusseldorf the week before the French, the World Team Cup. So, yeah, at the moment, that's what I'm planning on doing. I'm not going to say that's 100 percent certain, though, but that's what I'm planning on doing, and that's what I'd like to do.

Q. What was your reaction to the fact that the American guys decided to, you know, to not participate in this tournament at the last minute, and the draw is balanced because of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's an awkward situation because, you know, if I had Davis Cup probably in Australia, you know, there would be a highly unlikely chance that I would be here as well, I'd say. I think with Davis Cup coming in, there's just so many weeks that you've got to be able to play. And, you know, I can't say that Andy Roddick or a guy like that, who's played so many matches and played a tournament in his home country last week and played Davis Cup the week before that and won Miami, you know, to come over here and spend that whole period right through on clay, you know, questions got to be asked whether that's worth it and whether that's the best preparation for the French Open for him. And I don't think you can knock that.

Q. But you think the rule should be changed? I mean, the draw should be remade or, I mean..?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it was an awkward situation this week. I don't know how many times that would happen but, you know, there was obviously three guys. Mainly the only guy was Roddick, was the main one. Fish and Blake, there's still a lot of other guys out there. Andy Roddick, one of the best players in the world, he's sort of the only one, when you put a lucky loser at the top. It's good for Wayne Arthurs, so I'm happy (smiling). He's playing like a No. 2 in the world (smiling).

Q. As you said yesterday, Ferrero seems not to have recovered from the chicken pox he had. How long did it take you to completely recover from your chicken pox? Can you understand that he's not completely fit at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, everyone's different with the chicken pox. And, you know, when I spoke to doctors and everything, you know -- obviously, I got it in the Hopman Cup, then tried playing in the Australian Open. You know, I was pretty much useless. And then, you know, really had about four weeks off, you know, three weeks doing nothing, and then started training. By the time I actually got to - I think my first tournament was San Jose, you know - I was feeling good then. I was. But everyone's different with the chicken pox. I've been told there's been people months that have struggled. Obviously, the older that you are when you get it, then, you know, it could be worse. So I can understand totally that Juan Carlos could be still struggling. You know, it's not a nice thing to have.

Q. When you lost to Alberto Martin in Australian Open, you were coming off chicken pox, no?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah.

Q. So how long had you been ill before that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With chicken pox?

Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Before that match?

Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate, I'd only been diagnosed a week before that match, so I didn't hit a ball until two days before the tournament started. And then, you know, I wasn't allowed to hit in the sun, so I had to get up at 7 o'clock and hit. It's not, you know, it's not the greatest thing to have. It's always going to take you a while to bounce back from something like that.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:13 PM   #128
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TMS MONTE CARLO

April 22, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Rainer Schuettler 4-6 6-3 4-6

MONTE-CARLO

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Lleyton, up 3-love, point for 4-love in the third, what happened?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I really didn't have too many chances in that game, you know, after he hit a couple of good serves. You know, I just didn't -- the next game was to try and consolidate, keep that break and start for -- go up 4-1 at the change. I just wasn't quite able to do that. I had him, you know -- I guess mentally I was starting to go there, obviously, after he played a good first set and was on serve early in the second. Then I was able to really dominate at the end of the second set and start of the third. Maybe I just lost a little bit of sharpness out there towards the end of the third. Still had 4-3, love-40. So a lot of opportunities, but...

Q. You've had three tough matches, Lleyton. Do you feel as though things are coming together despite today's result?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's good, you know. That's why I came here. I didn't have high expectations coming in, but it was obviously to get some matches and get, you know, used to the clay court surface and, you know, the whole mindset of playing on clay , the tactics that come with that, obviously the sliding. You know, just getting used to it as much as possible, I guess. You know, I'd just like to get off to a little bit better start in every match.

Q. You made it tough for yourself, didn't you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. As usual.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played nine sets in three days anyway.

Q. You seem pretty upbeat about the way you're playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, in the end, when I started playing pretty well during the three matches, I've played well. But I wouldn't mind starting like I played in the second and third sets in my three matches rather than, you know, letting it... But that just comes, I think, with playing on clay and not having that many matches under my belt on the surface. It's always going to take me a little bit longer, so...

Q. Was it sort of tough to make the decision to play as many tournaments as you are going to play, or was that always part of your schedule? Or once Davis Cup had gone...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was probably after the Davis Cup more than anything. If I had that Davis Cup tie, it was probably highly unlikely. But, you know, I felt, you know -- I felt fit enough and strong enough to hopefully go right through and play the Masters Series events and obviously Dusseldorf and Queen's and Wimby. So I think I should be, by the time we get to the French Open at least, should be playing, hopefully striking the ball well, and got some good, tough matches and hopefully won a few of those tight matches as well.

Q. Is that what you feel you need at the moment, a lot of matches on clay, to get really comfortable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. It's totally different than practicing, I think - going out there and playing with the best guys on this surface. I think it takes matches. And, yeah, in the years past, I think I've always probably played my best tennis at the French Open on clay - not so much in the Masters Series events - purely because I feel like I need those few weeks to sort of prepare and get myself ready for the French Open. And, hopefully -- this year, I'm playing more tournaments than I've probably ever played leading into the French. Hopefully, that's going to be a benefit.

Q. Had you ever seen anybody before taking a picture of a ball?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, I've never seen that.

Q. What was your reaction when you saw it? Were you surprised, laughing, angry or what...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know what to think. I didn't have a clue what he was doing. I thought for a minute he was getting the referee. I didn't know what he was doing. Obviously, he was out on another planet there for a bit.

Q. Are you playing next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No.

Q. So the two Masters Series and Dusseldorf?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at the moment.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:17 PM   #129
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TELECOM ITALIA MASTERS

May 6, 2004, 2nd Round

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

ROME, ITALY

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. This must have been a very, very frustrating few days for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah. There's not a lot you can do about it. But, obviously, it was probably one of the worst situations, I guess, out of the whole draw. My first round got held over as well, you know, and the guy that I had to play in the second round was right through already on Monday afternoon. So scheduling-wise, one of the worst scheduling things I've ever seen.

Q. When you say it's the worst scheduling, is that just the luck, or is that just you feel that you had particularly bad scheduling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think there was probably a lot of bad scheduling, I think. But I think, you know, purely, I can only talk about what I had to go through, I guess. And, you know, I requested, obviously, once I saw the draw and knew that I was going to have -- well, once I saw the schedule for Monday and saw that my second-round opponents would be playing on Monday and I wasn't, obviously, the first thing, you go and request - knowing in a Masters Series you got to play every day if you start Tuesday - to try and get hopefully first-on Tuesday, you know; if not, you know, during the day at least so I could at least get through and have as much -- make it a little bit fairer for the second round. Yeah, so, for me, that was the most disappointing thing.

Q. Were you given any reason why you got the rough end of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously, my coach went and requested it to the ATP officials, and they said there was a very good chance - they gave me a 99 percent chance - that it was going to happen. And then apparently, you know, the tournament director said no, and that's where it fell. And, you know, my coach went and confronted the tournament director. And, you know, he basically didn't want to know about my coach at all and said he'll run it how he wants to run it. And he didn't even know that my opponents in the second round were playing -- had played Monday. You know, for me, that just doesn't show a lot of, you know, interest, I guess, in what's actually happening for the player's part.

Q. Do you think that sort of attitude might have a bearing on what you decide to do this time next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably (smiling).

Q. Could you elaborate.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate... You know, a year's a long time away. But, you know, there were no favors done, that's for sure.

Q. Have you or Roger got any history with the tournament or tournament director here? Is there any reason why you'd be singled out or given such a rough deal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not that I'm aware of. You know, I spoke to him Monday about -- Sunday, actually, when I first arrived, just when he walked past and whatever, about, you know, obviously the fire and the problems they were having with hotels and finding players. Seemed fine. His attitude towards my coach, you know, was pretty disgraceful, really. He didn't want to, you know, have a chat. And my coach offered to, you know, to go and have a chat, you know, inside his office as well so it wasn't out in the public. He really just walked away from my coach and didn't want to have a bar of it. So in that way, I don't think it's a great player, you know, tournament official relationship. It's not the best way to sort it out.

Q. I know you're not alibiing, so where is your game now? Everyone's asked me what's gone wrong with you; I said I don't know. I'm asking...

LLEYTON HEWITT: (Smiling). You know, I feel like I'm actually -- I'm hitting the ball not too bad at the moment. I feel like I'm still -- in Monte-Carlo and here, I feel like I'm adjusting to the clay more than anything. You know, the start of the year, I felt like I was playing as well as I've probably played. I know it's there. Obviously, the clay court season is probably one of the toughest for me, and it's something that, you know -- for me, the big picture is the French Open and wanting to play my best tennis at the French Open. Hopefully, Hamburg and the World Team Cup is going to give me some good preparation, get some match practice over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully go in there confident. If I feel confident, then I feel like I can compete with the best players even on a clay court. So, you know, I don't think I'm that far away from it. And, you know, the way that I played, obviously, at the start of the year, I felt I played great. In Rotterdam I probably played as well as I've ever played for that whole week. So, you know, it's not like this year I played poorly, I don't think.

Q. I missed the very start, Lleyton. But a bit like back to basics today, right out in the boondocks. Can you remember the last time you played in sort of such isolation out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, about under-12s... (Smiling). No, would have been about then, I think.

Q. It's been a long time in a major tournament.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Played away like that, but with linespeople calling from the other end, I haven't played since qualifying, I don't think, at tournaments. You know...

Q. Does that make concentration a little tricky?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Well, not so much concentration. I think more, you know, there's probably some worse calls out there purely because of that. For anybody, it's hard to -- it's not their fault they're calling the other line. There's going to be overrules, especially on clay; you can tell that. So there's a few points where you're always going to have to play to them and whatever. It's the same for both players. You just got to be prepared to do it.

Q. You're a guy who will stand up for yourself when it comes to the organizers in tennis. Do you think sometimes that means that that gets held against you in situations like this where you actually have, you know, a general cause for complaint?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so, not in this situation. I really don't know whether, you know -- I think scheduling, obviously, because of the fire or whatever and then, you know -- it was always going to be a hassle for probably someone. You know, I think you could always play, you know , that late-night match, obviously, with someone who's -- you know, pair them off with the next round who's playing that day. That was my biggest complaint. So I don't think, you know -- I just don't think they even looked at it. He pretty much told Roger that he didn't have a clue that Pavel and Lapentti had played Monday. So, you know, whether that's dumb or not, you know, I don't know. If I was a tournament director, I would -- I think the first thing you'd look at is where the matches are going to lead to.

Q. Can you remember either you or any member of your team being treated so dismissively by a Masters Series tournament director before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm... I haven't had too many run-ins with tournament directors over the years. It doesn't happen, you know, that often, I don't think. I didn't have a run-in, but obviously my coach couldn't even speak to him, which is probably a disappointing thing. You know, my coach is the one who's, you know, got to go in there to bat for me and put our case forward. You know, I don't know if anything would have changed whether I went in there and said something, you know, but that's really not my job.

Q. In terms of your game and where it's at, is it more important on clay for you to get a run of matches and a little bit of confidence just because it's maybe not your favorite surface?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think on clay purely because, you know, a lot of guys, after the French Open, will play other tournaments or, you know, before Indian Wells and that they'll play down in South America on clay. For me, this is pretty much my only time of the year that I'm going to play on clay, for these six weeks or so. So thinking that, obviously, my mind, you know, you want to play your best at the French Open. For me, personally, I need probably as many matches and get that confidence going before going into the French Open. You know, you'd like to play as many matches as possible, and I think that's where the World Team Cup is good for me - because I'm guaranteed three matches there no matter what happens next week. So in that way, I don't always like to play the week before a Slam, but I think for me personally, that's probably a good choice.
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WIMBLEDON

June 21, 2004, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jurgen Melzer 6-2 6-4 6-2

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. You must be very happy with that start.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt good out there. You know, I felt like I played the first set pretty well, got out of the blocks well. Obviously, yeah, the second set was a little bit tougher, even though I felt I had the better of him the whole second set. I had a lot of opportunities to break. He came up with some good points at the right time, then he played a bit of a slack game at 4-All, you know. Once I went two-sets-to-love up, I think from then it was going to be pretty hard for him to come back.

Q. What do you think was the most pleasing thing for you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That I got off before that rain probably, I don't know. Felt like I, you know, hit the ball well, moved well. Yeah, the court's always going to be a little bit more slippery at the start of the tournament. Skid through probably a little bit more, as well. I felt like I handled the conditions, you know, a lot better than probably he did out there. And, yeah, to get through in straight sets, yeah, he's a tough opponent. He would have beaten, you know, a lot of players I think in the tournament. So, you know, I had a lot of respect for his game and, you know, I went out there and got the job done.

Q. Not as much pressure this year compared to last year when you came in as defending champion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably obviously not, I guess, in the media or the public, I guess. But, you know, for me I've still obviously got high expectations of how I can play here and how I'm hitting the ball at the moment. Yeah, I don't think I put any added pressure on myself this year or even last year when I came back at No. 1 seed. Yeah, I feel confident where my game is at at the moment. Just take it one match at a time and hopefully I keep getting through like I did today.

Q. He got very frustrated at times, hit the ball on the roof, tossed down his racquet, went to the bathroom, things like that. For you, it must have been encouraging to see how upset he was getting at times?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he shows a bit of emotion I think out there. And, you know, I guess, you know, if you get some dodgey bounces, you've got to be able to deal with those situations, I think. He was frustrated - a couple of lets didn't get called, a couple of bad calls. I'm not sure. But, you know, obviously I just felt like things were rolling along nicely for me and I didn't really have to change a helluva lot out there throughout the whole three sets.

Q. Did last year's loss enter your head going into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a little bit, I think, going out there. The good thing was, you got to have a positive. Only had one point to defend, so I wasn't worried about my ranking taking a dive anyway.

Q. Everyone says one match at a time. How much do you think ahead to a week on Sunday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I think, you know, obviously what happened in 2002 and then what happened in 2003, that's a great example. You just can't get ahead of yourself at all. You know, there's too many tough players out there. Yeah, everyone can have a good day, especially on a grass court I think even more so purely because that service aspect. Only one or two points sometimes in a set, and it can change the whole momentum of a match, as it did in my match against Karlovic last year. I'm pretty much focusing on my next match now.

Q. What do you know about the two guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Labadze, I never played before, another left-hander. A little bit like Melzer, very flashy, I think. Probably hits it a bit flatter off his forehand, probably got a little more power I think in his game. You know, I don't know what his results have been like on grass. Vliegen, I've hit with him quite a bit in Belgium, and he's a very talented player. He probably should have done a lot better than he has, you know, since he made the final of Adelaide a couple years ago when he qualified. He didn't quite go on with it then. But he's got a good game. I think he's well-suited to grass, as well. Yeah, there's both big hitters, I think. I've just got to go out there and worry about my game, see how it pans out early on in the match.

Q. Was today the best start you could have dreamt of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was -- I think any time you get through, especially in straight sets, I was happy with where my game was at today. So, you know, I can be confident going into the second round now.

Q. People are talking about you as being one of the main three or four contenders at here. Do you feel that's where you're at as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I'm capable of beating anyone on any given day. But, you know, there's a lot of tough players, you know, ahead of possibly playing in a final or holding up a trophy. Yeah, as I say, you keep saying one match at a time, but it pretty much is that. You can't look too far ahead. I think I don't know how many guys there are actually capable of winning the tournament, but there's a lot of guys who are capable of causing upsets throughout the tournament.

Q. Any comment on Gary Ayres today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I found out before this morning before my match. I don't know the full bit about it. You know, what can you say?
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:21 PM   #131
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WIMBLEDON

June 24, 2004, 2nd round

Lleyton Hewitt - Irakli Labadze 6-4, 6-4, 6-1

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

THE MODERATOR: Questions.


Q. Obviously Goran has just pulled out a hugely emotional five-setter. You've got him next. Can you talk a bit about it, maybe even where you were when you watched him play Patrick a couple years ago.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- it doesn't get any easier, you know, third left-hander in a row. Yeah, he's going to be the toughest out of the two guys I played so far. I think he saves his best for this tournament. Obviously, this is his last time coming here and he's going to throw everything he's got at it. Yeah, he obviously played extremely well. I watched a little bit of the match. Volandri I thought was playing very well from the back of the court. So I'm going to have to, you know, step it up a notch and, you know, hopefully I can get over.

Q. Everyone knows the fantastic serve. The two guys you faced so far, does that help at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Helps I think in the fact, you know, I played a lefty at least. You know, I've been fortunate enough to play two, now I get Goran. So at least, you know, returning-wise I've seen what lefties -- Goran is obviously a better server than both those guys. But, you know, I feel like I've been returning, you know, well enough. You know, I've just got to try to make him play as many balls as possible.

Q. You played him before, the surfaces?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him on grass I think twice. I won both.

Q. When he played that final against Patrick, did you watch it? Where were you? What were you feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was somewhere in another country, you know, watching on TV. You know, obviously it was weird because I felt Pat was probably the better player for most of the match. He was the one, you know, fought steady, got on top of Goran. You know, I felt like he -- I just felt that he was going to have, you know, more opportunities to break Goran than Goran was having to break Pat. As it turned out, yeah, Goran played a great game to break, and then Pat had chances to break back. It's a tough match to watch, I guess.

Q. Did you have some emotion for Patrick?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, for sure. You know, I've known Pat, yeah, so long and looked up to him. You know, and I think I knew how much he wanted to win this title here, you know, and lost in the final the year before to Pete. Yeah, it was awkward watching the whole match.

Q. Goran is a huge favorite here, and he'll have enormous support against you. Is that the sort of atmosphere you revel in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it doesn't worry me too much. I go out there, just going to focus on my game. You know, hopefully I'm going to go out there, you know, the crowds have been great. There's a lot of Australian support here in London. You know, it's been great every time I stepped out on the court here in London.

Q. Do you like it when there's a big crowd making a lot of noise, most of it for your opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, doesn't worry me, mate.

Q. You haven't dropped serve yet in two matches. Today early on you served really well. Has that been a bit of a positive for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served well today, yeah, especially early on. It's a good sign. I faced a couple of break points out there today. Faced a few against Melzer in the first round, but I was able to come up with, you know, good serving at the right time, I think. You know, in the first couple of sets, probably set and a half, I felt like I had great rhythm on my serve out there today. It wasn't like I was having to, you know, serve that hard. I was just hitting the corners and served extremely well - more placement than power I guess out there. You know, the third set my serve probably went off a bit, but, you know, I won it 6-1.

Q. Hard guy to play against being that he's so hit-and-miss. Good one to pull out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, he's up and down. You know, I felt like the first set could have been 6-Love. But he saved a lot of breakpoints, you know, with good serves, you know, a couple of big forehands on the line. You know, I just felt like I had a lot of opportunities. Second set he played probably his best tennis for the match. Then, you know, once I got that second set under my belt, I felt like I was under control of the match.

Q. In terms of your play, you're playing quite well, especially your footwork seems to be quite good. Is it something you've been working on or does it just come naturally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I haven't been working on that particularly. You know, I'd like to think my footwork's pretty good most of the time. You know, I feel like I'm (inaudible) the ball well, though, at the moment.

Q. Are you hoping for a little warmer weather to maybe quicken up the grass surface, take the moisture out of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the longer you stay in the tournament, you know, the harder the courts are going to get. You know, I could even tell today from my first match, you know, the first match on Court 1. Obviously very lush out there at the time. It was pretty slow conditions out there. You know, I'd like it to get a little bit quicker, but that's going to come with, you know, the grass getting lower, there's going to be more dirt patches out there. It's not going to be so lush, you know, towards the end of this week and all of next week.

Q. What makes Goran's serve so exceptional?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Good variety, I think. You know, he's got all the serves that, you know, a good left-hander's got, like a Wayne Arthurs or a guy like that. He obviously backs it up pretty well, though. He's got good groundstrokes. I don't think a lot of people give him credit for, you know, his return of serve and groundstrokes. Yeah, he's good from the back of the court, as well.

Q. Is it pretty amazing for you, you know what it's like at this level, for a guy basically in two years win two matches, trying to make a run at Wimbledon? Does that seem pretty amazing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is. I saw him play a couple of weeks ago against Hanescu; he lost first round at Queen's. You know, you could sense, though, being on grass, getting towards Wimbledon, he was starting to play better than he probably played all year in the few tournaments that he had played. You know, he's got nothing to lose. He goes out there. He's fortunate that he's got that kind of game that suits a grass court so well. So he can go out there and win off his serve, you know, a lot of cheap points. He's only got to play a few good games on the other guy's serve and he's got, you know,a set here and there.

Q. Will the need to convert breakpoints be crucial for you, considering you left one out of 11, you didn't manage to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You got to take your opportunities against a guy like that. You know, it's like playing a guy like Flip or any of those big servers, Pete in the past. You know, you don't get that many opportunities to look at breakpoints. Especially if you're getting second serves or opportunities, you've got to take advantage of them.

Q. How comfortable are you where your game's at right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel good at the moment. But, you know, I'm not getting too far ahead of myself.

Q. He doesn't look nearly like a hundred percent fit, looks a little huffy-puffy when it gets towards the end of a long match. Will that be in the back of your mind if things are tough in the early part of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much, I don't think. You know, purely because, you know, it's a grass court, and he can get so many cheap points, you know, with his serve. You know, there's not going to be long rallies out there. It's going to be very hit-and-miss I guess out there, and he's going to be charging the net after his serve. I'm going to have to, you know, make him play a lot of tough volleys and hopefully, you know, get a few past him as well.

Q. How important is a lob when you're playing him or is he too tall?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's important against guys that come into the net, I think, because it just gives me more variety. You know, I think I hit it probably as well as anyone out there. So, you know, I have confidence in that shot. You know, if all things are going well, I'm passing well and lobbing well, yeah, he can't sort of, you know, crouch over the net so much. He's got to hang back a little bit.

Q. Have you ever played a Grand Slam where there were so many quality players in your quadrant of the draw? You have Moya, Federer, Johansson, Ivanisevic, four or five guys that could win the tournament in your quadrant.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, haven't really looked too far ahead. I'm sort of just worrying about Goran right now. But, you know, there's always going to be tough guys I think in the draw. Especially if you get -- you know, if I pass Goran, you put yourself in position in the last 16, there's going to be no easy matches. You know, you expect the best guys to come through, you know, the high-ranked seeds to get through in those situations. So you're expecting to play the tough matches, you know, from the Round of 16 onwards.

Q. How would you like to see the match against Goran go in terms of strategy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd just like to win.

Q. Is there anything you'd like to see happen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You won't find out.

Q. Wayne Carey, what's going on with the Crows?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I might be lacing them up soon.
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WIMBLEDON

June 25, 2004, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Goran Ivanisevic 6-2 6-3 6-4

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.


Q. How is that as an occasion, apart from the fact you won in straight sets, but Goran's last match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a weird feeling, I guess, walking out onto Centre Court knowing that if you win against one of the probably the most likable guys out there on the tour. Obviously, he's got the crowd support and that. It sort of puts an end to his career. You know how much Wimbledon means to him, as well. So it's an awkward situation, but, you know, I think I blocked it out as well as I could going out there today and just figuring that, you know, I've got an opportunity to get myself into the second week here at Wimbledon. That was my mindset right from the word go.

Q. What was the exchange at the net afterwards? What did you say to each other?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think he said something like, "You killed me out there today," or something. You know, I just said, you know, "You're a great champion. It's been an honor playing against you out here on Centre Court."

Q. Were you more pleased by the way you returned his serve and dealt with his serve or the way you served, which was impressive today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, both, I think. There's no doubt it helped playing two left-handers in the first round. You know, Goran serves a lot better than both those two guys I played in the first two matches. But, you know, I was used to that left-handed swinging serve, you know, the awkward body serves. You know, I felt, you know, like I had a lot of opportunities out there even today, you know, to break even more out there. I just felt like I was seeing the ball really well right from the start of the match. I knew right from the start that it was going to be important to hold my service games, you know, as easily as possible. I felt like I served really well out there today.

Q. Your game is pretty much where you want it to be at this point of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm happy with it at the moment.

Q. Moya on Monday, Carlos. How do you approach that one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just gets easier, so... (Smiling). No, another classy Grand Slam winner. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match. Obviously, grass isn't his favorite surface, but he's the kind of guy, as we saw at the Davis Cup final when he beat Mark on the first day, he can adapt because, you know, he's got so much class. I got a lot of respect for his game. You know, I just got to go out there and try and worry about my game, you know, at the start of the match at least. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough to do well.

Q. What's he done well against you in the past? Obviously not your best head-to-head record.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel those matches were on clay, you know, those two or three in a row, that we played on clay. You know, I probably didn't play as well as I did, could have in those matches, and he was just sort of coming back. One of them was in Monte-Carlo, first round, when I was seeded No. 1. His ranking had dropped a bit. He went on to make the final of that particular tournament. The next week was in Rome on clay, as well. Apart from that, we've had some very tough matches in the past on other surfaces. We've never played on grass.

Q. What's the footing like out there, especially along the baselines? He fell several times, you at least once slipped.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just -- there were just one or two games where I slipped a little bit. He was obviously slipping and sliding a bit more, I guess. Yeah, it was -- I don't know if it was that slippery, though. It wasn't like a lush court anymore, obviously, at the back of the court. It's been chopped up a bit. You know, there's some dirt around the back of the court. But, you know, I'm not complaining about that.

Q. How do you compare where your form is this year as 2002?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. But, you know, I don't think I've put a foot wrong so far. I feel like I've done everything I wanted to do so far. You know, you can't win a Grand Slam in the first week. But, you know, I've put myself in a good position to have a crack at it next week. So, you know, just take it one match at a time. You know, every match you sort of treat as a final out there. You know, I'll be looking forward to the challenge that Carlos presents.

Q. A lot of players say they get themselves up especially for a tournament like this. Is that the case for you? Obviously doesn't get much bigger than here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's a huge tournament. I enjoy coming back here and playing every type I step out there at Wimbledon - even more so when you've won at a tournament like this, as well. Such great memories of two years ago, coming back and playing on such a great court out there with so much tradition. Yeah, you get goosebumps walking out there. But, you know, it's really enjoyable being out there.

Q. If you happen to win the title, would you put on an Adelaide Crows jumper for us?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate, if you want me to, I'd be happy to if I win the tournament.

Q. Could you expand for us a little on how you do keep that crowd stuff out? There was that moment, I'm sure, well, we were all aware when a single voice said, "We love you, Goran," and suddenly the whole atmosphere changed. How do you, first of all, keep the focus and, second of all, keep that away from you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just try to block it out as much as possible. I've played in arenas where I've felt like I've had to do it. It really wasn't that tough to do today. I felt the crowd was great. It was a good atmosphere out there. It definitely wasn't a hostile crowd out there at all. It was enjoyable to play out there. But I think I've played in a lot of hostile places in the past and I've been able to just focus on what I've got to do. You know, sometimes it's tough when obviously Goran was talking back to the crowd there, you know, in one game. Really, you've just got to, you know, focus as much as possible, maybe step, you know, back to the back of the court, take your time, take a couple of deep breaths and get on with it. You know, I guess I'm just used to being in that situation. It's sort of second nature for me out there.

Q. Knowing what Goran is like, the way he behaves on court, were you expecting a little more outlandish at the end of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I wasn't -- I was more concentrating on holding my serve after I broke.

Q. When the match ended, were you watching him at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I was watching -- I more wanted him to have, you know, a walk off the court last. You know, for the crowd, his last time out there on Centre Court obviously, for the crowd really to embrace him as such a great champion that he's been out there. I was more trying to get out of his way more than anything.

Q. Moya on grass for the first time. What influence do you think the surface will have on the outcome?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't know. Obviously movement. You know, the ball is going to skid through a lot more than it's going -- you know, he's not going to have the time that he'd like on a clay court. But he's got such a good all-around game, he volleys well, a lot of people don't give him credit for. He's good around the net. He moves extremely well. He's got a very underrated first serve. He's got a big first serve. I think that caused Mark the problem. He served extremely well against Mark in the Davis Cup on that first day. So, you know, if I can get enough balls back and get myself into rallies, then I'm going to put a lot of pressure on him.

Q. Not that many players you go into matches against with a losing record. Does that impact on your preparation at all or your mindset going into Monday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. It's a Grand Slam, it's Wimbledon. I won't be worrying about it too much.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

WIMBLEDON

June 28, 2004, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Carlos Moya 6-4 6-2 4-6 7-6(3)

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. After last year's early exit, does this sort of feel like the way it should have been last year, moving through, defending the title? Do you feel comfortable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but I learned a lot I guess from last year's loss, as well. You know, I'd like to think that I'm a better player because of it. There weren't too many positives at the time. But, you know, when I come back a year later -- I think, you know, the memory's obviously there in the first round particularly. Once I got past that hurdle, I felt like, you know, really I got it out of my mind. Yeah, now I've just been focusing on the guys I've got to play.

Q. Someone mentioned to me earlier that you look as if you've got your freshness back. Did it go anywhere in that period of time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. I guess, you know, I had two years there where I, you know, played so many matches, I guess. When you throw Davis Cup into that equation, as well, you know, I had the chickenpox straight after I got No. 1 in The Masters Cup in Sydney, you know, played a Davis Cup final. You know, I guess, you know, maybe that wore me out a little bit at the time. You know, it was extremely important, I think, you know, to win that Davis Cup final against Spain at the end of last year that I took those two months off. Not a lot of people questioned whether I'd be able to come out and, you know, beat those guys who were top five in the world, you know, fresh out. You know, I believed in my ability. I think that held me in good stead as well for this whole year, as well. You know, just staying at home, you know, training extremely hard, but then again, you know, getting a break from, you know, the grind week in and week out.

Q. Do you believe you can beat Roger on Wednesday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I believe I can beat him. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match. He's the best player out there at the moment. Yeah, he's No. 1 in the world for a reason. And, you know, he's going through the draw pretty convincingly at the moment. So, yeah, I'm the underdog for sure. But, you know, I believe in my ability, and, you know, I've played well enough against him in the past.

Q. Different surfaces this time from the last two. Is there anything you have to do differently that's obvious to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. You know, the Australian Open, I felt like I had a lot of chances. I felt like really the first set and a half, I was a better player. Yeah, I could have very easily been up a set and a break there. He's an extremely good player. When he gets on that run, he's very hard to stop, when he gets confident. And he's a shot-maker. Yeah, I'll try and get off to a good start. But then again in the Davis Cup, in the semifinal, I came back from two sets and a break down. You know, I'll try and hang in there anyway.

Q. Do you see these championships as a stage, you clearly have a lot of faith in your own ability, but just to show everybody you do have it in yourself to get back to the very top?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. I'm trying to win Wimbledon, for myself more than anything. Yeah, doesn't worry me what people think. You know, I go out there and, you know, I believe I'm still good enough to beat any given player on any given day. You know, but then again, you know, it's not that easy to go out there and win every match you play either, so...

Q. You've had criticism, sort of, over the last year, maybe since you won Wimbledon. You've maybe not gone as far in Grand Slam events. Maybe you've had some criticism. How do you kind of handle it? Is it just sort of whatever kind of thing? How do you sort of cope with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, go out there, the same as any other tournament, I give my hundred percent. If I'm not good enough on the day, then I'm not good enough. You know, I can look back on the match and know that I did everything possible that, you know, put me -- both preparing myself for the tournaments and the Grand Slams that I've played. Yeah, you look at the guys I've lost to in the Grand Slams the last couple years, you know, there's no average players. Obviously, this year is Federer and Gaudio, the quarterfinals. You know, last year was Ferrero, who beat Agassi the next day. You know, I've lost some tough matches I think to some very in-form players at the time.

Q. How much will you draw on that Davis Cup win over Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much I don't think. You know, we played since then a couple of times and he's won both those. And, you know, he won a big one obviously at the Australian Open in the fourth round against me. So, you know, it's on a totally different surface. You know, if I was going to draw anything, you know, from the Australian Open, I might draw something from playing on the same court that I came back in the Davis Cup.

Q. The fact you came back from two sets and a break down, will that not enter into your thinking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't be trying to get in that position. It's not my game plan (smiling).

Q. Carlos said the other day he wanted to make this the match he never played in the Davis Cup final. He wanted to come in because he wanted to play you that day in the fifth rubber. There were times when he looked like he was really playing like that, like everything was on the line. Did you feel any of that? What happens to you when you hear somebody talk like that? Does that fire you up even more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Well, I didn't hear him say it, anything about it. But, you know, I prepared myself as if, you know, it was a Davis Cup fifth rubber as well in the final. I was extremely focused out there today. I seen the way he played against Flip, you know, that first day in Melbourne, on the Friday. He played extremely well. You know, he's the kind of guy that I think can adapt to a grass court very easily purely because he is got so much firepower out there. So if his serves going, he's going to hold his service games, then he's going to -- he's a good enough player that he's always going to get opportunities to break now and then throughout a set, as well. But, you know, it was a big match. You know, it's Wimbledon anyway for me.

Q. You have a winning record against both the No. 1 and the No. 2 seeds here. Can you describe Roger and Andy respectively and what the key to beating each of those guys is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, Roger's more finesse, I think. You know, he's a real shot-maker out there. Andy's more brut power. You know, the power he gets is incredible out there. You know, his serve and his forehand are his main strengths. Roger is more of an all-court player. Yeah, they're both not easy guys to beat.

Q. What is the key?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You won't be finding out anyway (smiling).

Q. Why is grass so suited for Roger's game, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's an all court player. He's very capable -- he'll mix up the serve-volley, he'll stay back, he's got great groundstrokes, you know, he moves extremely well. He's not the biggest guy, but he's not short out there either. He really does move well.

Q. What have you seen in the last year since Andy had his grass court coming out last summer in the way his game has developed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I didn't play him last year on grass. You know, I played him obviously a few weeks ago at Queen's. Yeah, he's not a typical grass court player. I'd say Roger's more of a typical grass court player. Andy relies obviously on his big serve and then, yeah, he's staying back most of the time. Roger will venture to the net a lot more than Andy would. I think that's why Roger won the semifinal they played last year here.

Q. How taxing was that match out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt pretty good out there. I think my body should pull up fine for a couple of days.

Q. Were you surprised that Roger's not dropped his serve in this tournament? I mean, he doesn't serve at 140 miles an hour. Is it surprising he's got this far and not dropped his serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. He's got a great serve. He's got great rhythm. He gets great power out of very little effort that he puts in. You know, for him it's more placement than anything. You know, he sets up the point, you know, for his strengths with his serve rather than just out-and-out power.

Q. The last two champions here, you and Roger. You're both still very young. Do you think you could go on to have an epic rivalry here for years to come?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'd like to think so. But, yeah, we'll just start by this quarterfinal match, see what happens.

Q. It could be the sort of the match of the tournament so far? Is that how you see it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's the in-form player. If I beat him, I'll be extremely confident.

Q. How confident do you feel after beating Moya? Because he gave -- he was tremendous day.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a class player, as I said. You know, he's tough to beat on any surface over five sets in a Grand Slam. So, you know, if you look at probably all the guys, he was definitely going to be I think one of the toughest seeds, you know, the higher guys could have met in the Round of 16. You know, I got him put in my Round of 16. I had to try and deal with that. So, you know, I feel confident that I got through.

Q. Have you reflected a little bit on your luck in the seedings this year? You seem to get -- the two previous guys went on to win it. You seem to get them early.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that? What do you mean?

Q. You seem to run into the guys that go on to win the thing quite early.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I can't do much about that.

Q. You've had some not great luck in that department.

LLEYTON HEWITT: But I don't think I've been that far away either. The Australian Open I think I gave Roger nearly probably as much as he had probably the whole tournament, I think. Yeah, he was the best player in the tournament, and he won it. But whether I could have made the final if I was in the other half, it's hard to say.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:32 PM   #134
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

WIMBLEDON

June 30, 2004, Quarterfinal

Lleyton Hewitt - Roger Federer 1-6 7-6(1) 0-6 4-6

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.


Q. What is your overriding emotion out of all of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Disappointment, I think, at the moment anyway, straight after. Losing, you know, the match. Yeah, in the fourth set I guess, you know, I felt like I had, you know, chances. I was a better player the whole fourth set, you know, have very little to show for it now. You know, one minute you're up a break, 4-All I had breakpoints. On a couple he came out with big serves. 5-4, I felt like, you know, I didn't play that bad a game. He just, you know, attacked and went for it a little bit and it paid off then. Then you're in the locker room. You know, at the moment, it's Wimbledon, you're always going to be disappointed.

Q. Did you feel like you gave it your best shot or does it feel a bit empty?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, I gave everything I had. I felt like I played a good match. You know, first set, I actually didn't feel like I hit the ball that badly. You know, he just played incredible tennis. You know, I had a lot of opportunities,, breakpoints here and there. You know, even in the first set, I was the first one to have a breakpoint, wasn't able to take it, missed a return. You know, when he's got that confidence going, he's a very difficult player to beat.

Q. Did the score line actually reflect the actual game? It seemed as a viewer a lot closer than that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was -- it was tough out there. You know, I felt like even at the start of the third set, after I won the tiebreak, I had tiebreaks in the first game, I think at least two breakpoints in the first game of the third set. At that stage, I felt like the momentum was starting to swing my way. You know, I just played a bit of a loose game. But, you know, he really stepped it up, as well. You know, you got to give him credit. He's the best player in the world at the moment. He stepped it up in that second game. You know, even the breakpoint that he ended up breaking me in the second game of the third set. You know, I played a pretty good point. I don't know how long it went for, but he had to come up with an unbelievable backhand up the line to win it. Yeah, I played well out there.

Q. Is there any satisfaction that you are playing close to your best, if not your best tennis, in a long time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- not right at the moment, there's not too much satisfaction. But I'm really happy with the way I've been hitting the ball. I've done all the hard work. You know, I feel like all three majors this year, you know, that's what I focused, with the Davis Cup at the start of the year. I'm happy with how I prepared. You know, I feel like I prepared as well as I could for all three majors so far. And, you know, at the end of the day, I've been beaten by, you know, Roger in two of them and Gaudio in the other. The guys were just too good.

Q. Those two sets, 6-1, 6-Love, when you were playing good tennis, is that an indication of the huge gulf between Roger and the rest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't play great, I don't think. My worst part of the match was probably halfway through the third set. You know, so, yeah, he gets very confident, though. He's a shot-maker out there. You know, me personally, I felt like he probably played his best tennis in the first set, not the third set. He came out and was, you know, right on fire right from the start.

Q. Is he ahead of everybody else?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I felt like out there I had a lot of chances. You know, when he's playing that kind of tennis he played in the first set, you know, he's very tough to beat. He was seeing the ball very well. His returns are a lot better than they used to be. He really cut out a lot of those unforced errors that he used to make two or three years ago. But then again, in a five-set match, you're always going to get chances here and there. You know, I felt like I had those chances and I took them a couple of times. There was other times when he came up with, you know, big serves on breakpoints. There was very little I could do about it.

Q. Does the fact that you played so well and still lost mean it's even more frustrating and more disappointing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think it's disappointing any time you probably lose in a Grand Slam, and especially Wimbledon. But, yeah, it's just more I guess that I had a few chances out there and just wasn't able to capitalize. You know, against the best players in the world, and especially against the best player in the world at the moment, you've got to take those chances.

Q. You're known as you're never out of a match. You're one of the best, if not the best competitor, on tour. Roger, we've heard a lot about what kind of talent he has. How would you rate him as a competitor, a fighter? He was put in certain situations and he got out. Where would you put him in that category?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good competitor. He's a lot better than he probably was a couple years ago, I think. Yeah, he gives a hundred percent out there. It's not too often I think that he goes away. I think that's why -- you know, that's a part of his game he's probably worked on over the last couple of years that's really made him be one of the best players around.

Q. What could be the solution to beat him at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To beat him?

Q. Yes. What could be the solution to beat him at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Believe it or not, I didn't feel like I was that far away today, as I go back to, you know, the chances that I had. You know, first game of the third set, as I said, I felt like there was a huge momentum swing then, after winning the second set tiebreak 7-1. You know, the fourth set, if I could have gone up 5-3 and consolidated that break, you win the fourth set, and the whole moment's with you going into the fifth set. Yeah, he's going to be a tough player to beat on grass. You know, he's the favorite now for the next two matches, for sure. But, you know, I don't think it's impossible.

Q. Do you feel that he knows that when he comes to play you, it's never going to be three sets, it's never going to be easy, and there's going to be peaks and valleys, and at the end when it gets to five sets, it doesn't matter if he played two brilliant sets, but somehow when it gets to five sets, there's always that chance you can beat him? Do you think he knows that? He had periods where his confidence seems to have gone today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he was up and down a little bit out there today. Whether he knows that or not, I'm not sure. But, you know, I'm sure he knows in the back of his mind, you know, that I'm not going to go away. I'm going to try to make it as hard as possible, as I possibly can, for him to win the match. Yeah, as I said, you know, he played pretty incredible tennis against me in Hamburg a month or so ago. But it's over best-of-three sets. Best-of-five sets, you're always going to get those opportunities, and it's just a matter of taking them.

Q. He hasn't served and volleyed much this Wimbledon. Did that surprise you? Were you trying to draw him in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. You know, I'm not sure how much he really -- I didn't see much of last year, but how much he served ad volleyed then. But he doesn't have a Roddick kind of serve with brut power. He serves to set up the point with his strengths, which is obviously his forehand. He's got great variety out there. He can serve-volley. That's what makes him such a great player, because he's got so much variety in his game.

Q. Would you consider Roddick to have one of the best second serves in the game, if not the best? Where would you put it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, is got to be up there. For a guy that hits his second serve that hard, he doesn't hit a lot of double faults, and especially on big points. I think that's one area of his game that when he came on the tour, you know, at the start he served a lot more double faults going for that second serve. He's got a pretty reliable second serve for as hard as he hits it.

Q. Can you take us through the rain delays, what you think it did to you, to him, to the flow of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well the first one when we just warmed up didn't do a lot for anyone (laughter). After that, you just sit in there, relax. You try not to focus on it too much. It's pretty hard when you're in there and once the covers came off we saw on the TV, we're getting ready, and the next minute they're back on again. I just tried to, I guess, stay sharp and be ready because, you know, as soon as they take the covers off, we're told we got about 10 minutes before we're on. You got to stay alert, stay ready, and not relax too much in those breaks.

Q. Did you think he perhaps wasn't quite as sharp in the second set when he came out as you were? You seemed maybe a -- he wasn't as sharp as he was in the 6-1 set.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he played incredible tennis in that first set. But, you know, as I said, it would be awfully hard to keep that up, especially on a grass court, when you're getting some dodgey bounces. I was making him play a lot of balls out there, as well. He'd be an incredible tennis player if he could play that standard that first set right through the whole of the match.

Q. What are your goals for the rest of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well now, you know, for me, look forward to the US Open, the last major of the year. I feel like I got a good game to play at Flushing Meadows. Every year I seem to play well there. Obviously, I like going back to somewhere that, you know, you've done well and won the tournament. But it's not going to be easy either. There's a lot of good players, and especially on that kind of hard court.

Q. Have you had any second thoughts about the Olympics, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No.

Q. Will you miss them when you're at home watching the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I'll be in America getting ready for the US Open, so.

Q. One thing you did win today was the crowd support. Did that feel strange, having a largely British crowd supporting you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, there's a lot of Aussies here, as well, I guess.

Q. You still did have a lot of British support. They seemed to be right behind you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good I guess. You know, I guess it's always tough. Roger and I have both won here before. You know, I guess they more wanted to see more tennis more than anything. Especially in the fourth set, I had a lot more crowd support I think to try and get me back in the match.

Q. How bad was the quad injury?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's very sore.

Q. Were you fit coming into the match with it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I did it against Moya the other day, two days ago. Yeah, I've been struggling the last two days. Probably wasn't able to practice as match as I'd like to yesterday. It definitely affected me out there today.

Q. Was it something that affected your serve in terms of your kickoff?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, my serve was the worst.

Q. That's where it hurt the most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It got worse and worse as the match went on.

Q. People especially in the media are quick to coronate Federer as a multiple Grand Slam winner, other than the two or three he's won. Do you think that's a legitimate posture or do you think the media is perhaps a bit quick to award him trophies before he wins them due to their hunger just to have someone kind of chosen or anointed that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think, you know, personally I can't see too many guys beating him, you know, this week now. So, you know, I'd be very surprised if he doesn't win his third major on Sunday. So, you know, there's another one to him. That's two in one year, I guess. He can play on all surfaces. You know, the way that he played in Hamburg on clay, on a very slow clay court, which really shouldn't suit his game that much. Beat Moya, Coria in the final. I think he's going to have chances at every major.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:34 PM   #135
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS

August 2, 2004, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-2 6-4

CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt advances to the second round. He'll play the winner of the match that's going on. We'll open it up for questions.


Q. Is there something you're particularly trying to work on specifically in this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I guess just trying to get some match practice and get your confidence level up there in a big tournament against quality opposition going into the Grand Slam in a few weeks' time. If you're winning matches here, then you're obviously going to be confident going into New York.

Q. Can I ask you, just off the subject a bit, can you just think back to when you were with Darren. What did he bring to your game, what strong points did he bring as a coach when he was working with you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I guess at the start it was a little bit different 'cause I was, you know, I'd probably only been on tour for one year when Darren really took over. It was the end of '98, December '98. You know, I guess just for me, more than anything, I'd never really -- I was just traveling with my dad for that year, first year on tour. For me it was more having someone there who'd been through everything and, you know, the ins and outs of playing tennis, injuries. You know, he had a lot of experience, I guess, in that not as a coach on the tour but obviously as a player. I got along extremely well with him. We're both from the same state, and same city. You know, just overall I think he had a good presence.

Q. Do you think it was important to have a mate as well as a coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think all the time for me it is. You know, tennis isn't like a football team where, you know, one coach has to look after 25 to 40 guys. You know, it's very one-on-one, and you've got to get along extremely well. He's got to be, you know -- for me and I'm sure most guys, you want to have a mate traveling with you because you spend so much time just the two of you.

Q. Just one more thing. When you got to No. 1, did your coaching needs change a bit vis-a-vis not about the split, but just in general, what you needed from a coach, what a coach could bring to you because he'd gotten you there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I think there's things, you know, you can pick up from a lot of people, you know, little different areas that can help you. And there's no doubt that Stoltz brought a few different things to my game when he took over. You know, it was just some fresh ideas, I think, more than anything. I think that, you know, helped me out those two years that I worked with Jason. You know, I guess Roger, you know. I get along, I've been fortunate that I've got along with three coaches. They've been young guys who have been able to hit balls on the court. They have the same interest as me. I've got along extremely well with them.

Q. How close do you think you are to the kind of form that saw you reach No. 1 for two years in a row?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think there's been patches. Yeah, it's hard to say. There's been a couple of matches, I think, here and there. I think at Wimbledon, you know, right through the tournament I played pretty well. You know, it was no disgrace losing to Roger in the quarters. You know, I felt like it was probably, for me, probably the final out there that day and, you know, I went into the match like that. I think I handled the situation pretty well. You know, French Open, I felt like there was matches. Against Gaudio I didn't play my best tennis in the quarterfinals. But up till then I felt like I played as well as I probably ever played on clay through a whole, you know, tournament. I've had patches in the past when I was No. 1 that I'd have a good match here and there. So I think that was a big improvement this year even, even though I wasn't No. 1.

Q. Do you get more satisfaction from those kind of wins than perhaps you did towards the second year of being No. 1? Do you get more out of them because it's been a challenge to get to this point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. I think, you know, on clay it's a little bit different probably. It's not my favorite surface, and it's something that I have to work extremely hard to get good results on clay, on that surface. This year, you know, it was rewarding. The guys I lost to, you know, in all the clay court tournaments were extremely good players and especially on that surface. I felt like I got better and better as the clay court season went on. I think that was rewarding. And hopefully that's gonna be, even though it's another 10-month break until I play on clay again, hopefully that's going to be a good stepping stone for next year.

Q. I guess it would help you coming into surfaces like this as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess just having that confidence that playing on not your favorite surface and you're competing with the best guys in the world. So, yeah, definitely gives you -- it's very satisfying, I guess.

Q. This is somewhere where you've had very good results in the past. How confident are you of kind of taking the title here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, every match is tough. All these tournaments are the same. Indian Wells, Miami, Toronto and here are very similar tournaments. You've got to be able to win six matches in seven days against, you know, as tough an opponent as you're going to get in Grand Slams. I feel confident. I've played well here in the past - you know, except last year probably. I made a final and a semi. But, obviously, if I play Guga next, it's not an easy second-round match purely because I've got so much respect for his game and the kind of player he is as well.

Q. You've had one or two tasty matches against him in the past. Seem to remember one in Florianopolis.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that one went all right. Yeah, it's always tough playing him. He's a class player. He's been there and done that. He likes playing on the big courts with the big arenas and a lot of emotion out there. He played well last week on hard court as well. So, yeah, he's won the title here. So if I play him, it won't be easy.
__________________
Rusty - always # 1 in my heart

Lleyton Hewitt


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