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WIMBLEDON


June 29, 2015


Lleyton Hewitt


LONDON, ENGLAND

J. NIEMINEN/L. HEWITT
3‑6, 6‑3, 4‑6, 6‑0, 11‑9


THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ If it had to end, it would have been in a fighting spirit that you showed out there today.
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, I was always going to leave it out there, everything I had in the tank.テつ I certainly did that.
I didn't, you know, leave any stone unturned preparing.テつ But also on the match court today.テつ You know, there was a couple of times the match could have gotten away from me at certain stages and I found a way of hanging in there.
In the end obviously disappointing to lose.テつ I would have loved to have played Novak in the next round.テつ But, yeah, Jarkko is a tough competitor and it was never going to be easy.

Q.テつ When does it start hitting you that you've played your last Wimbledon singles match?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, I don't know.テつ You try and suck it in as much as possible at the end of the match and that.テつ But, yeah, you're not probably thinking as clearly as you'd like to be.
The change of ends, I was always serving to stay in the match, as well.テつ I was more trying to always think about, you know, holding serve and getting those first couple of points.テつ It never entered my mind that this could be the last time you serve or play a game in the Championships.
So it's kind of a strange feeling in a lot of ways.テつ Obviously you're so fatigued out there as well, at the time.テつ But, you know, the crowd and everything, it was fantastic.テつ I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Q.テつ Coming in here, did you reflect much on the journey from when you first came here till this final tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, as much as possible, I think.テつ Even yesterday I just went and sat in the stands of Centre Court, you know, just soaked it up and listened to music in there.テつ Just little things.
Yeah, coming back knowing that it's your last time competing, as I've said all year, I'm fortunate that I can have that opportunity to do that.テつ I have tried to soak it up.テつ As I told you the other day, with my family as well, it's been really nice.

Q.テつ To get as far as you do in professional sport, I assume you have to be pretty ruthless and hard‑nosed.テつ Are you an emotional kind of guy?テつ Do you cry easily?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, I probably don't cry easily, no.テつ I haven't cried today, if that's what you're asking (smiling).テつ Pretty close, but not quite.
There's been times, mostly after Davis Cup matches, I've actually probably cried a couple of times because you're not playing for yourself in that situation.テつ Whereas most of my losses week in and week out, I'm disappointed and shattered a lot of the time.テつ But in the past I've been able to bounce back pretty quick.

Q.テつ The great champions here have so many great moments, of the walking out on Centre Court or returning each year or lifting the trophy.テつ If you could share with us one or two moments that were really special for you.
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ It's hard to beat winning, obviously.テつ You work your whole life to have an opportunity to play on the final Sunday here in Wimbledon, to have a chance of holding up that trophy.
And so, yeah, nothing can really compare to that in tennis.
So for me obviously that's a no‑brainer.テつ Yeah, the semifinal against Henners in 2002, especially because of the English and Australian rivalry so many years in sport, but the crowd was against me on that day.テつ Both of us could sense it was a final in a lot of ways, as well, going into that match.

Q.テつ Is there a sense that something can never be taken from you?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ Well, I lost first round the next year.テつ But I would have lost first round every other year, I couldn't careless, I still won it.テつ You can never take that away.

Q.テつ What is the process of deciding that your career is over and accepting the fact that you have to move on and find something else?テつ How do you deal with this journey?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ When you're 34, it's not that hard to deal with it.テつ Can't keep playing forever.テつ Yeah, tennis, it's obviously such a physical sport out there.テつ Yeah, you have to try and play week in and week out to get the best out of yourself and to be able to beat the best players at the big tournaments.
And, yeah, my focus has switched.テつ I prefer to spend a lot more time with my kids.テつ A lot of the smaller tournaments, I don't have the same motivation for.テつ So then it's pretty easy to make that decision.

Q.テつ Could you tell us a little bit more about what it was like sitting there.テつ You said you went to Centre Court yesterday.テつ Were you alone?テつ What were you picturing or thinking about sitting there?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, well, one of my close mates, Peter Luczak went in there, one of my coaches.テつ He went off, and he sort of understood it was my time just to sit there.テつ He came in to keep me company for a bit.テつ But then that hawk was in there.テつ He went in and actually had photos and held the hawk for a bit.テつ I was kind of just watching that.
They were setting up in the back, doing all their stuff.テつ It was a bit of a shame, the covers were on the court yesterday.
But it was more just thinking about that walk you do, you know, the tradition of the tournament, playing on Centre Court.テつ Yeah, I've always loved the tradition of the game.テつ I've never hidden that.テつ That's something that I love being around.
I'm fortunate that the Australian greats, we have so many with that tradition and history of the sport, especially here at Wimbledon.テつ I love nothing more than catching up with the old guys and having a chat with them about certain stuff.テつ I think it's great.

Q.テつ You've been right through the whole journey.テつ We have a whole crop of young kids coming up now.テつ What's the key advice you would give to those kids coming through at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ A lot of it is, yeah, the small 1% that you do.テつ It's more behind the scenes, on the practice court, in the gym that will pay off down the line.テつ A lot of these kids that are coming up, the Australians especially, have a lot more firepower than I had.テつ But I had to work on other areas of my game, being mentally tough, different strengths, to get the most out of myself.
They're fortunate they can rely on finishing points quickly and having those big serves they can go to when they need to.テつ There's certain areas they can work on to become more of a complete player.

Q.テつ When you look at yourself today, when you look at the guy with the hair that won the thing, which of the two do you like better?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Obviously now, with a beautiful wife and three kids.
I preferred my body back then (laughter).

Q.テつ When you burst onto the scene as a kid, you had to put up with the pressure of the media and the public saying, This kid is not the way the old players used to be.テつ The young players coming through now, Kyrgios, Bernie, they're going through that as well.テつ What kind of advice do you tell them off the court to stick through it?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ I've spoken, especially the last couple years, probably more so to Bernie.テつ He's had his ups and downs the last couple of years.テつ I've built a pretty strong relationship with Bernie.テつ I think I'm probably one of the closer guys that he trusts now.
You know, obviously little things I try and point out.テつ I'm not going to say everything here.テつ But he knows some of the stuff that I think can help him.
Nick, I'm getting to know Nick a little bit better, when I played especially Davis Cup ties with him.テつ I was in the Asian League with him last year, spent a lot of time getting to know him there.
Some of the young kids in this generation are a lot different.テつ Even going to dinner with Davis Cup ties, you talk about totally different things, stuff I've never heard of.テつ I sort of sit down with Rochey, Wally, and Pat, the older blokes.
It's more trying to build a trust where they feel comfortable coming and asking if they need certain pointers in certain ways.

Q.テつ You're handing over the baton.テつ Is there one of them that you feel is one that is going to follow in your footsteps?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ No.テつ I think the three we have here at the moment, I like James Duckworth, Grothy and those guys.
The other three have something special.テつ Omar Jasika is on the way up as well.テつ Might take him a bit longer just because of his game style.
Out of the three, no.テつ They all have different strengths.テつ You know, I've said the last couple years, a lot of people were quick to write Bernie off after he had the hip surgeries, and I still think he's going to be a contender the next couple years.

Q.テつ How aware are the kids of this occasion now?テつ Have they said anything to you?テつ With the Ashes coming up and also the British Open golf, are you looking forward to seeing any of those events?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, the kids understand.テつ I think all three of them are old enough.テつ That's why it's been great to be able to soak up the atmosphere, especially the last week preparing for the tournament.テつ Cruz obviously loves being on the court with me as much as possible, in the locker room, the club.テつ The locker room staff have made us feel as home, so it's been great to share that.
Now I got Davis Cup straight after here.テつ I'll have plenty of time the next few years to do that.

Q.テつ Your career spans generations in the game.テつ From your perspective, what was the best shot of any player you played against and why, best area of the game?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ It's a tough one.テつ You know, depends what surface, how big.テつ Obviously Rafa's forehand on clay, on a hot day in Roland Garros is nearly impossible to control.
Roger's forehand on hard court in the US Open final, he hardly missed the ball.
I think those two at their best, those two forehands have been pretty good.

Q.テつ You just talked about how easy it is at the age of 34 to retire.テつ Today Tommy Haas won a match at the age of 37.テつ Can you understand somebody who is coming back on tour at that age?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ Well, you know, Tommy obviously does a lot of hard work.テつ He's in great shape still.テつ He's had some terrible surgeries and layoffs over the years.テつ It's great to see him back and winning matches.
Yeah, I think he's probably driven by spending so much time on the sidelines.テつ It's kind of like me I guess the last few years, because I had those four years where I had five different surgeries.テつ You realize how much you miss the game.
When you do hang 'em up, you're going to be retired for an awfully long time.テつ You want to get absolutely the most out of yourself.テつ I think Tommy's probably at that stage.

Q.テつ Your final Wimbledon press conference without mentioning your Aussies.テつ Are you going to miss them as much as we're going to miss you?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ They're great.テつ Very special to have them there.テつ They were awesome the whole match.テつ They've been awesome every year, even when I won it.テつ I'm fortunate I get to have the boys at Davis Cup and obviously the Australian Open.テつ That's fun.

Q.テつ It's human nature to think I might have done this or that a little differently.テつ If you could have changed something in your career, what comes to mind as something you might have changed?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ I don't know off the top of my head.テつ I don't live with too many regrets.テつ Yeah, obviously the one tournament I would have loved to have won was the Australian Open.テつ I don't have any regrets about it because I did absolutely everything in my power in 2005 to try and win it.テつ I ran into a guy that was too good on the night.

Q.テつ What does it say about the competitor in you that you went out 11‑9 in the fifth set and weren't prepared to fade into the sunset?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ That pretty much sums up my career, I guess my mentality, going out there and, you know, never‑say‑die attitude.テつ I've lived for that the 18, 19 years I've been on tour.
As I tell people, it's not something I work at.テつ I'm fortunate that I have a lot of self‑motivation to go out there and get the most out of myself, whether it's in the gym, behind the scenes, whatever.
So, yeah, I obviously I'm proud of myself that I went out there and left it all out.

Q.テつ Without naming names, can the same be said of every player on the circuit at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ I think everyone has their good days and bad days.テつ I think one thing I'd obviously push the young Australian guys, one area, that never‑say‑die attitude.テつ It doesn't have to be a stroke or anything that you have to work on.テつ If you just have that in yourself, it will win you a lot of matches.

Q.テつ Is there any advice that you tell your kids now that you learned from your parents, since they were a big part in your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, I just try to be a support to my kids more than anything.テつ My parents have always been fantastic supporting me.テつ I was fortunate both my parents came from a sporting background, so they understood, even though it wasn't tennis, they had a limited knowledge of tennis.テつ They only played it socially.テつ But they knew the sacrifices and the things you had to, I guess, work towards to try to get the most out of yourself.
That's something I guess later on, no matter what my kids choose to do, what path they choose to go down, sport, entertainment, whatever it may be.

Q.テつ I happened to be in the press office earlier when a rather surprised official took a phone call from a rather elderly English lady about your Aussie fans saying she was disgusted by their behavior, they hope they're going to do something about the way they sing.テつ Is there a kind of message you could give to people in this country that don't understand the way the Aussies do their thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ They can just go sit in the Barmy Army.テつ They'll work it out pretty quick.

Q.テつ You worked in commentary the last couple years.テつ Is that something that's going to take a more forward step?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ No, not right now.テつ I do enjoy the commentary I do do.テつ I'm very fortunate that I work with two of the best out there in Bruce McAvaney and Jim Courier.テつ They're so professional, I've learned a lot from those guys.
I enjoy it, but I don't think I'll do it all the time.テつ I do enjoy doing it a little bit.

Q.テつ Can you put into words what Wimbledon means to you, why it's so special.
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ For me, it's the home of tennis.テつ I don't get the same feeling walking into any other grounds in the world, no other tennis court, no other complex, than I do here.テつ I do get goosebumps walking into this place.
I'm so fortunate.テつ One of the greatest things about winning this Championship is becoming a member of it.テつ For me to be able to go in the member's locker room four weeks before Wimbledon, yeah, in there with some of the older members, sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat, it's a lot of fun.
That's something I can always come back and enjoy over the years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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