November 27, 2021
6-3, 6-7, 6-3
Australia - 2
Hungary - 1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Lleyton, 2-1 now. Your thoughts on the way things went today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: All three matches were extremely tough. Could have gone either way, especially the two singles. Yeah, Johnny had chances. Had 6-4, 3-2, breakpoint. If he could have got a second serve there or got in the rally, yeah, I felt like he was only a couple points away from opening that match up. Give the other kid credit, he hung in there, hung tough, got better as the match went on.
Alex against Fucsovics was a very high-standard match. Incredibly slow conditions out there, which I think everyone would admit some brutal rallies from the back of the court from both players. In the end it was a war of attrition really.
Alex served for it there 6-5 in the third. Actually didn't do anything wrong that game. Still couldn't hold serve. It was just a great response what he did in the tiebreak, to be able to turn it around.
Then the doubles I felt like our two boys were on top of the match and in control, but you just never know in doubles. They did really well to hang in the second set. I think the boys really deserved to win today.
Q. There were a lot of service breaks in the matches. You putting that down to the court essentially?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's one of the slowest courts I've seen. It's incredibly slow. Yeah, I only heard last week from the Tour Finals how quick the conditions were, the court.
It's hard to believe, it really is. Obviously I'm not sure if it's exactly opposite. It's a different color. It's certainly not similar in any way how it played.
I think the balls play a massive part. I would be interested to know if anyone trialed those balls on this particular court before because I've never seen balls, after one game, go like these ones do.
Yeah, when you see John Isner lose a set 6-Love, that pretty much tells you how slow the court is.
Q. Your thoughts on the doubles? Could have been wrapped up in straight sets with the match points, but got tense.
JOHN PEERS: Yeah, we were one point away a couple times the second set. It was a high level of doubles. We kept our head, kept our momentum, just tried to stay with it. I thought we got a bit unlucky through the second set not to break them. That's doubles. Never much in it.
Q. Alex, about the performance today. As Lleyton said, a real battle out there. A high-quality contest. How do you feel about that sort of finish?
ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, look, obviously I would say relieved, 'relieved' is the word I would use. I had a very tough match against Cilic. I left it all out there, as well. It was good to get a reward for hanging in there, staying tough, playing at the end a brutal match over three hours, beating a quality opponent.
It's a good way to finish the year. That's for sure. Nice little confi booster. Time to build from that. I just love being part of the team, part of the boys. I mean, for me the end of this year has been very long, haven't been getting results, haven't been playing the way I want.
After the first day of just being around these boys, I mean, my whole morale just changed. These boys brought me up. I enjoyed myself. We had fun. We were training hard. What a team environment.
I thought this is exactly what I needed to finish the year well. Definitely thrived off this experience.
Q. Alex, what does it mean to get the win as well?
ALEX BOLT: Truly an honor to get the gold jacket, play my first tie, my first rubber. Yeah, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I had a chance to play a dead rubber in Adelaide, but we decided to celebrate. Now to be able to actually get on the court and actually play, to be next to Peersie who guided me over the line there, yeah, it's just been an unbelievable experience.
Q. It was tough to try to fight and win a match like this, even if you don't have many chances to qualify. We appreciate the effort you made. I'd like to know if you had a chance to give a look to Italy playing yesterday versus the United States, if you were surprised by the score, Sinner beating 6-2, 6-Love a player like Isner? At least there was an atmosphere because Italy was playing at home. Is it what you missing in all the other matches, correct?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was bloody hard to find. I have about 80 channels on my TV in the hotel room and I couldn't find it on one. I had to watch it online. I did eventually find it and could watch some of the matches.
Yeah, the first match obviously they're playing two giants. I thought Sonego did great to weather the storm early, turn that match around. As I said in our press conference before this event, I have a lot of time for Jannik Sinner. He's a hell of a player. The way he goes about it, he's very impressive. He's got a very bright future ahead of him.
Yeah, to beat Isner on any court is not easy, but 2-Love. I think the first game he had Love-40 and Isner still held that game. He only held one more service game for the match, which is quite remarkable.
Q. Lleyton, it looks almost certain, I think, that you probably won't make the quarterfinals now. Could you just reflect on the week you've had and how disappointing it is in a way. You obviously came in with great hopes of going beyond the quarterfinals. How do you feel now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, anytime you lose a Davis Cup match, you're always disappointed. I guess that's how we felt after losing to Croatia two days ago. We had to try and put that behind us. We knew we had an opportunity today to go out and play for Australia again. That's what I'm extremely proud of these guys, going out there and being able to put that in the back of their minds.
They still played with plenty of passion and pride out there today. That's what it's all about, representing your country. Yeah, it's disappointing. I can't ask any more than my guys giving me 100% every time they step on the court. They've done that in both our ties that we played.
Q. He's sitting next to you, but could you sum up a little bit about Alex's effort over the three rubbers that he's played? He looks very much like you in your prime.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah (smiling). It was a great effort. I thought Cilic was playing incredible two days ago against him for a set and a half. He had to dig deep and find a way to try and turn that match around. He was able to do it. In the end he was only a couple points away from winning that match, which would go down as probably one of his greatest wins if he was able to do that a couple days ago.
Today, to back that up physically and mentally after two days ago, the disappointment of losing that match, then get in a very similar situation at a set all with the conditions and the balls and everything really going against him today, I felt it was a tremendous effort to hang in there and wait for his chance.
Fucsovics threw everything at him. It was some incredible tennis. As Alex said, I think it sets him up really well for hopefully a really good Australian summer.
Q. Lleyton, Australian fans are very demanding. They like winners. How disappointing is it for you to go away having not reached the quarterfinals? Do you think your boys will bounce back next year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, as I said before, it's always disappointing anytime you lose a Davis Cup tie.
I guess we probably had a couple days to think about it, all our focus was on today, what we could control in our destiny. We did that today by getting the win. Probably won't be enough to get us through.
I still think especially I got some pretty young guys in this team, as well, with the experience of playing in these Davis Cup kind of matches, hopefully they grow as players and people as well, about handling these situations.
Q. Alex, you were absolutely flying in the grass court season, then you got COVID obviously. What sort of Alex de Minaur will we see next season after having fully recovered from the COVID knock that you had?
ALEX de MINAUR: I guess we'll have to wait for next year to find out.
On my end, it's all about moving past this year, putting it in the back of my mind and using it as energy and fuel to kind of fire me up for next year.
It wasn't the year I wanted, not in the slightest. I'm going to work my butt off in the pre-season, in the off-season, and hopefully come to Australia and start off my year with a bang.
I'm going to put myself in the best position possible to perform. Yeah, I'm ready to go at it a full year and hopefully I can play the tennis I want to play.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports