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January 21, 2016

Lleyton Hewitt

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

D. FERRER/L. Hewitt

6-2, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What's the overwhelming emotion right now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's strange. Yeah, out on the court obviously you got so many things going through your head. You're trying to soak it up as much as possible out there one last time.

You know, it was an unbelievable atmosphere out there. A couple of the roars during the match tonight was as loud as I've ever played in front of. I was getting goosebumps at times. Obviously just watching the video and hearing those great players talk about you in that light, you know, was pretty emotional.

Especially when I got back in the locker room, I guess that hits you a little bit more then. When I'm with my close friends and coaching staff that have helped me so much out, yeah, it's sort of a strange feeling because you're obviously disappointed not to keep going, but obviously proud of everything we've done as well.

Q. Were there tears?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Maybe a couple (smiling.)

Q. All the good things that people say about you on radio, TV, online, you've been called the embodiment of Australian sport; you've become a national treasure. How does that sit with you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't read anything obviously. But as I said on the court, this month has been awesome. I've loved every minute of it. I've tried to soak it up and enjoy it as much as possible, but still try and go out there and perform and play well and stay focused.

But, you know, I've loved every minute of playing for Australia, wearing the green and gold. Not just when we play Davis Cup, I pride myself being on an Australian throughout the year and representing our great country and the love and support that I've had throughout my career, but the last few years, has been unbelievable.

Q. A fair bit of intimidation there when the boys talked about you. Is it something you think you're born with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm pretty sure I was. I think people can work on it over time a little bit and improve. But my attitude and that attitude to give 100% all the time, it wouldn't have mattered if I was a tennis player or if I was doing a 9:00-to-5:00 job in an office. I always wanted to get the most out of myself, I think.

Q. Doubles tomorrow, but anything special planned tonight? Anything different to mark the occasion?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I know of. No, I saw Grothy in the locker room and he was already asking about practice tomorrow and warming up tomorrow.

No, I might have a quiet beer. That's it.

Q. I don't think anybody in Australia could believe when you got called for two foot faults. Your thoughts when that happened?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The second one was obviously at a frustrating time. Just sort of being able to get myself back in that third set, it wasn't the best time. But, you know, it wouldn't have made a lot of difference to the match at all.

Q. Seems like you had some interesting things to say towards the chair umpire. Was he in the wrong, do you think?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Who is that?

Q. The chair umpire.

Q. With the foot fault decisions.
LLEYTON HEWITT: The chair umpire can't do a lot about it. It's more just getting called by one end and not the other.

Q. David is a tough opponent to come up against in your last match. How tough was it going up against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a quality player. He's just come off another great year. He won a heap of titles. Yeah, he played in the World Tour Finals, as well.

He's a top-quality, top-eight player at the moment. He didn't really give me a lot of opportunities out there tonight. All my service games were really hard to hold the whole time. The small opportunities I got on his, he didn't give me any cheap points.

But that's why he's had a long and successful career. He's been awfully close to winning a major.

Q. What about when you hear Nick say something like you should keep playing, you're the best player in Australia? Are you convinced this is the best time to call it quits?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I've been set on it. I got the most out of my body, as well. I've pushed myself to the limit. I look forward to the next phase in terms of work-wise, in terms of helping these next guys coming through, and the likes of Nick as well.

Q. You started playing here in a different century. Does it feel like a hundred years to you sometimes?
LLEYTON HEWITT: When I look back and see the footage of me playing Bruguera, it does, yeah. I had really baggy clothes on. I was 15. I looked probably about 10. Yeah, no, when I see some of the old press conferences and stuff, I don't remember those at all. They're a bit embarrassing.

Q. You were 15. How old do you think Cruz will be when he makes his debut?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Hopefully 14. Hopefully he beats me.

No, we'll see. Yeah, hopefully he gets a chance to play in this great event if he wants to.

Q. Did you know the kids were going to walk out on the court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I didn't know what was going on. Yeah, it was kind of all a bit of a blur when you're out there and you're just used to picking up your bags and walking off.

Craig Tiley came up to me and asked me if I would hang around and talk to Bruce, which was obviously great for me because I got to thank the crowd for one last time.

Q. What's so wonderful about being a father and what do your children mean to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's the greatest gift of life. It's amazing to have the kids, see them grow up. For me it's been extra special the last 10 years because they've been able to be on this journey with Bec and I, as well.

Yeah, especially the last few years where they've actually been able to come to tournaments and remember it. They're going to have lifelong memories of being out there with me and Cruz hitting with the likes of Federer, Nadal, Murray, these guys. It's pretty cool.

It's probably pushed me to play that little bit longer to enjoy it so they could get something out of it, as well.

Cruz, the last couple years, he came on a little boys trip to a couple of different tournaments. It's been nice.

Q. When you broke in the third set, did anything go through your mind? Maybe a fourth set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't start thinking about a fourth set. It was just trying to hopefully hold serve that next game, keep the momentum going, try to stay in front in the third set.

It wasn't to be. I feel like I was always playing catch-up throughout the sets, which was hard.

Q. Any memory that sticks out? The two majors, the Davis Cup, the comeback against Federer. Anything particularly stand out?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, especially at this place. The Davis Cup semi, but also final against Spain where I beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in five sets on day one.

Some of my greatest memories doing it with the team, Mark Philippoussis, and it's obviously pretty special times.

But obviously the two majors.

Q. How difficult was it to keep your body to the levels required through the last stages of your career and how was it tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it gets tougher obviously as you get older. You spend a lot more time doing recovery and making sure that you're not going to get injured more than anything, as well, as you get older.

I've had a great team behind me that I've worked with. I felt like for how old I am, still being able to move pretty well around the court. I still feel like I can last five sets against good players, as well.

It certainly gets harder to back up every couple of days.

Q. Roger in New York said you took the game to a new level and taught him a lot of things. Do you think you've helped change the game? If so, talk about that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, possibly. I guess guys playing from the back of the court obviously started believing once they saw that I was able to do it, especially on all surfaces.

It was really kind of the total changing of how tennis was played in a lot of ways, especially on grass. Apart of the likes of especially Agassi in '92, there wasn't a lot of guys that would stay back and play from the back of the court.

I think in that, a lot of guys learnt or believed that they could do it playing that way. That was probably my biggest thing. Obviously I think the other guys came in, and Roger and that took it to a totally new level.

Q. Do you have any feelings about players having to come here and having to address this issue of match fixing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's a joke to deal with it. You know, obviously, yeah, there's no possible way. I know my name's now been thrown into it. I don't think anyone here would think that I've done anything corruption or match fixing. It's just absurd.

For anyone that tries to go any further with it, then good luck. Take me on with it. Yeah, it's disappointing. I think throwing my name out there with it makes the whole thing an absolute farce.

Q. No athlete likes to go out losing, but tonight how great was it to have on court, the video, the kids walking out?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's special. It is. It's, like I've said for the last year or so, I've been very fortunate that I've had such a great career that I had the opportunity to go out on my terms.

A lot of great sporting athletes don't have that opportunity. And especially if you pray in a team environment where a coach makes a decision whether you're going to play or not sometimes where you finish your career.

I actually had the ball in my court in a lot of ways to do that here at the Australian Open. I feel really pleased about that.

THE MODERATOR: A very good note to end on. I'd like to welcome Craig Tiley.

CRAIG TILEY: First of all, thank you, Lleyton, Australia's greatest-ever competitor.


CRAIG TILEY: On behalf of everyone in the world of tennis, our sport, thank you for who you are, thank you for what you've done, and also what you're still going to do. Well done.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Thanks, mate.

THE MODERATOR: Let's have three cheers for Lleyton Hewitt.


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