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January 6, 2015

Sam Groth


S. GROTH/L. Hewitt
6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Got to feel pretty good.
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, I mean, first match of the year you never know how you're going to come out, but I played doubles yesterday and I felt pretty sharp.
I came on the court feeling pretty good about it, and I don't think I could have done much else and played much better than I did.

Q.  Were there nerves coming on court, even though you knew his game that well?  Defending champion.
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, for sure.  I mean, any time you play a guy who has been No. 1 in the world and Australia loves so much, has the history that he's had, that I grew up idolizing.
Yeah, like I said even before the first match you play for the year I had a few butterflies, but thankfully I stepped out and hit an ace on my I first point and a few of them went away.
There were a few nervous moments during the match as well.  First set I faced a couple of break points, but I thought any time he started to challenge me I thought I was able to come up with the goods as well?

Q.  (Indiscernible.)
SAM GROTH:  No, probably not.  Honestly, like from start to finish I didn't really give him anything.  He held serve a couple times to love, but I didn't feel like I did anything‑‑ okay, I made a couple errors, but my game is not to grind and give guys rhythm, so I am not actually worried if I play a game like that.
But I don't think I could have done anything really any better than I did.

Q.  What do you do with a win like that?  A win like that against a player of the caliber of Lleyton, what does that do for you?
SAM GROTH:  I mean, it's huge for my confidence obviously to beat Lleyton, but I had confidence going in before the match.
After the year I had last year and after the work I've done in the off‑season, I've said leading up to this tournament that I'm feeling as good as I ever have and I've worked hard and I feel like I belong here.
To be honest, anyone who has sort of doubted my last year, and if I can maintain being top 100, hopefully people ‑‑ I don't really care if that's what they think‑‑ but hopefully for me and anyone at all it shows that I can play at that level.
I'm not just a guy who is gonna throw serves down you.  I actually thought I was pretty good off the back and I was pretty good around the net and I thought I played a pretty good all‑around match.

Q.  Top 50 is the next step, isn't it?
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, I think it's the next logical step.  I got to 75, and the next logical step is 50.  If I can get to 50, then reassess again.
Yeah, if I can get to top 50 as soon as possible, that way I can play the Masters events and not have to maybe worry about skipping a my events because of my doubles.  That happened a few times last year.  I am going to keep playing both, so the sooner I get my singles ranking up the better for me.

Q.  You mentioned Ben Mathias out on court, and Ducks what a great win yesterday.  Tell us a bit about him.  We hear he's pretty quiet.
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, for a big bearded, tatted guy he's very quiet.  No, he just started working with Ducks, and obviously I've been with him in a couple years, the first year in a four‑in‑one environment with Reidy and J.D. and Johnny Millman.  Then last year few guys were injured and we ended up going basically one on one for most of the year.
Yeah, he is a quiet guy.  He likes to get his work done.  He doesn't like hanging around the courts.  He is very switched on, and he's learning along the way as well.
Obviously he's never coached somebody to the level that I sort of got to this year.  He's coached good juniors, and like I said he's been working with us for a couple years.  He's always learning himself.
For me, he's probably‑‑ you know, he's been the perfect matchup for me, and he's probably my best mate on tour.

Q.  Did you take a lot from the US Open last year playing Federer?
SAM GROTH:  Yeah.  I mean, it's a massive court.  Went out in that match against Roger and I felt comfortable out there as well.  I think for me now I want to play matches on big courts.
It's always hard.  You never know how the fans are going to react when there is two Aussies playing each other, but with the fanatics getting everyone going before the match, for the first match of the year, yeah, I mean, it was a packed house out there.
I had goosebumps a little bit when they started singing, We are Australian.  Yeah, to be honest that's why I play tennis.  You play tennis to play on big courts in big matches.  Hopefully I can play in a lot more.

Q.  How does the fitness come through?  Apart from obviously being able to run down all the balls, do you feel stronger on the court?  Is your mind clear on the court?
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, I mean, I think it's just you take a little bit of confidence from the hard work you've done.  You know, apart from the fact that for me I'm getting to balls better and I feel stronger when I get to balls and my balance around the net is better and I can serve my best for longer periods of time, all that stuff counts, but also just the confidence that you can take from knowing you've done the hard work I think is almost bigger than the rest of it.
So much we see so many times guys ride waves of wins times in their career based on only confidence.  You only get it two ways:  one is winning matches and two is hard work.
I did the hard work, so now I've got to win.  Hopefully I can build on that.

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