home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 31, 2021

Lleyton Hewitt

Alex De Minaur

James Duckworth

Max Purcell

John Peers

Luke Saville

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to host country, Team Australia. Lleyton, how excited are you about the first tie against Italy. Should be a fascinating one.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. First of all, it's just great to get the event started again. It's really special for these guys to get the opportunity to play an event like this, representing their country at home in Australia, especially here in Sydney, where a lot of these boys are from, grew up playing.

To get out there, especially on Ken Rosewall Arena now with the roof out there, it's going to be a great atmosphere for these boys to get a chance and to play the likes of Italy in the first match, who arguably are probably the strongest team on paper with their No. 1 and 2 players, two quality players.

We've got nothing to lose, and the boys will be ready to go in a couple days' time.

Q. Alex, you're facing two top-10 players as well as Humbert. You're not exactly easing your way into the season. Is this the way you like to start out the year?

ALEX de MINAUR: Well, I think this is the beauty of this ATP Cup at the start of the year. I've experienced it before, and it's a great way to kind of see where I'm at. These are the kind of matches I want to be playing. It's a great challenge for me, which I'm looking forward to.

We've put in a very good preseason, have been working really hard, so hopefully I can go out there and just perform.

Q. James, a question to you, looking back 12 months ago when you started the year outside the top 100, could you have projected forward 12 months and thought you'd be playing ATP Cup for Australia?

JAMES DUCKWORTH: No, I didn't (smiling). I didn't think I'd be here. But yeah, had a pretty good year, been really happy with how I played. Really looking forward to getting out and playing.

Q. Doubles question for John, Luke, or Max. Do you like the format of the ATP Cup where the doubles rubber -- last year I think it was decisive in almost half of the matches. Do you like the spotlight that ATP Cup puts on doubles?

JOHN PEERS: It's always great. Any time you get to play a live match like that where it counts for the team is huge. We're not just playing for ourselves now, you're playing for the country. So any time any one of us get the opportunity to get out there and play is huge for all of us. It's a lot of fun.

Q. Lleyton, obviously when the draw came out, it looked like it was the toughest draw of the lot. There have been some withdrawals. Do you still see it that way? Is this the toughest one to get out of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Certainly with the depth of this group, absolutely it's the toughest. Even with Austria out and France coming in, it's not a bad substitute team.

Yeah, it's an extremely tough group. Yeah, our boys have got nothing to lose. Good opportunity to go out there as the underdogs in a couple of matches and really take it and test themselves. They've all been training extremely hard in these conditions, as well. So they'll be well prepared when they get the opportunity.

But, yeah, it's all the top guys playing so there's never any easy matches. We certainly won't take anything for granted.

Q. Is there a little bit of motivation as well from the Davis Cup? Obviously probably not going the way you would have liked it to.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. It's a different competition. This gives us the opportunity or these guys the opportunity to play at home, which is something I have spoken about Davis Cup, that these guys really miss out on.

For that, I'm thrilled that Tennis Australia and the ATP have been able to come together and put this event -- we're fortunate it's in our backyard. I think especially two years ago, the first year with the crowds they got, and not only just for the Australian matches, it was across the country, it was incredible. The atmosphere the boys got to play the quarters and semis here against Great Britain and Spain was as good an atmosphere as I've seen in Australia for a long time at a tennis match.

So I think in terms of that, it's been pretty tough the last couple of years with COVID, and the unknowns coming into this event, but I think it's a great opportunity for these guys to represent and wear the green and gold proudly in their background.

Q. Alex, obviously generally in tournaments you don't know who you are going to playing next but to have three players with this caliber to start your summer, can you remember a round of sort of that caliber of opponents you knew you were going to face ever in your career before? It's quite a sort of imposing sort of set of opponents at the start of the year.

ALEX de MINAUR: Yeah, well, a couple of years ago, ATP Cup, I had a nice little group of players that I had to play against. It's always -- look, it's good to know who you're going to play. It helps with the preparation beforehand.

And, look, to be honest, I'm just really looking forward to being back here in Sydney, playing in front of an amazing atmosphere, hopefully packed crowds. You know, we've got such fond memories from playing on Ken Rosewall Arena, so just itching to get back out there and compete and, you know, represent the green and gold. It's always a huge honor.

Q. James, can you pinpoint where the penny might have dropped earlier this year, or what changed, do you think, in that form surge?

JAMES DUCKWORTH: Yeah, I went home in the middle of the year after Miami and put in a really good training block with my coach, Wayne Arthurs, and just got really clear on my game style. Probably took a couple of months to gain some confidence, you know, playing aggressively. And, yeah, I think from that the results continued to improve.

Q. Obviously I guess yet to introduce the new James to the Australian audience after doing a lot overseas, what might be ahead of you the next few weeks?

JAMES DUCKWORTH: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it, especially starting here in Sydney where I grew up and I trained here for a number of years. Yeah, got a bunch of family and friends coming out to watch. Yeah, really looking forward to this week and the Aussie summer.

Q. Lleyton, can I get your thoughts on James' rise up the rankings. What is he capable of now that he's in that top 50? Is it just the beginning? Where is he at?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I guess the biggest thing he's always had setbacks throughout his career so far. So I think for him to keep bouncing back and responding in the way he has is something we're all extremely proud of.

He does absolutely everything right in terms of his body and professionalism that he brings to the table every single day on the practice court or the match court.

So it's great he's getting the success now and the body is holding up, as well, which is really important and it's such a big part of it. I think now for him it's really just cementing that spot in the top 50. Not putting too much pressure on himself but more so just keep trying to push and keep working on those things that he and Wayne have worked on. He's having so much success with the last six months.

Q. Alex, you have obviously been asked about your opponents, the quality of them. Can I get you to run through them individually? You haven't beaten either of the three of them, but can you talk through the strengths and how much that's driving you those head-to-head records.

ALEX de MINAUR: Well, yeah, obviously first up I've got Berrettini. He's had a great year. He's played some great tennis. It's going to be a very tough match, but I'm looking forward to going out there first match in the Aussie summer in front of, you know, in my backyard. It's going to be lots of fun. Hopefully I can get the crowd involved. Just show what I can do. Followed by Medvedev, obviously one of the world's best tennis players. Another challenge for me.

It's just exciting to put myself out there. You know, it's a big opportunity for me. That's the way I see it, to go out there and really test myself against these top guys. I've got the Aussie crowd behind me, I've got this great team of guys around me. It's going to be just exciting to see where I'm at.

Q. Lleyton, to Alex, Peersy, and Luke, as well, you guys were all there in Turin. Apart from the fact it's a different location, what do you see similarities and differences with ATP Cup and Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, so far it's a lot nicer being at home, that's for sure (smiling). The weather, not having to wear a track suit and puffy jacket every day (smiling).

Yeah, obviously the formats are quite similar, focusing on group stages. There's three matches, two singles and a doubles. Doubles is going to be, you know, a big difference. It goes back to the ATP rules with the sudden death deuce and match tiebreak.

So a lot comes down to just those one or two points in that particular match. As the guys said earlier, it's a big -- the doubles is a crucial tie-in a lot of these matches, crucial rubber.

That's probably the main difference. Obviously, you know, the crowd-wise I was so impressed the first year with the crowds here in Australia, and it wasn't just the Australian matches. It was every single country across the three cities.

This year I know it's a little unknown with all the movement at the moment, but that was probably the biggest difference, the Australian crowds. I think how much they have appreciated tennis and the sport and knowledge of it and coming out and seeing the top guys play.

And I guess every single country has one standout elite player, no matter the depth of their team. I think the Australian crowds really enjoyed coming out and seeing that caliber of players on our shores here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297