August 17, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Questions, please.
Q. You did really well to get out of that. Are you feeling any better? Are you feeling you might still be a bit rough?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the way I played the first set I was a bit rough. He served extremely well, though. He played well. You know, he didn't give as many cheap points as maybe he normally does, especially from the back of the court and on my service games as well. So, yeah, it was more just a matter of feeling my way into the match and, you know, trying to get some games under my belt and hold serve as much as possible there in the second set and just try and get it at least a tight situation. And that's when I got a couple of errors out of him and hit a couple of good returns.
Q. Would you say you're physically better but not 100%?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Right at the moment I'd say, yeah, I get better and better every day I think. But today's matchup was just totally different conditions, different opponent, style of game and everything to the guy I played yesterday in Andreev. So you couldn't have had two more opposite guys.
Q. Did you have a feeling if you'd not saved those breakpoints in the second set you would have been a goner then?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the way he was serving at that time, he was serving extremely well. Apart from an early breakpoint in the second set, he was holding serve pretty comfortably there. He had good rhythm on his serve and, you know, who knows. But, you know, would have made life a bit tougher.
Q. Do you feel even more pressure when it's just -- when you maybe only have one or two chances in a whole match and you know you have to take them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sometimes. You know, it was obviously -- in the third set there, you know, fought extremely hard to get breakpoint at 4-3 and then he comes up with an ace right on the edge of the line at 141. There's nothing you can do about it, though, so you sort of just go put your head down and keep working. Hit a couple more aces to finish that game off. You sort of just have to put it behind you as much as possible.
Q. What do you attribute his success in the first set to?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I wasn't playing great. I didn't serve well at all, especially in the first set. I didn't serve great for the whole match compared to how I served yesterday. But he didn't make a lot of errors either. He didn't give me too many cheap points. He served extremely well, especially in the first set and a half and, you know, really didn't give me that many opportunities to get into his service game.
Q. Health-wise, did you feel okay today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt not too bad. Yeah, I felt all right.
Q. What changed with his service game in the last half of the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely missed some first serves, I think, you know, at crucial times. You know, I just made him play a lot more, I think, as the match went on. It was just a matter of me seeing his serve and getting into that rhythm. As I said, it was just totally different kind of player to what I played yesterday. So it just took me a little bit of time to adjust and get in the flow of playing that big lefty that's coming at you the whole time.
Q. What's with the two changes in appearance? There was the Pat Cash headband, then nothing at all. Looked quite different out there.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. Just really not a huge -- I don't know. I had a haircut and a bit of a change.
Q. Why did you take it off?
LLEYTON HEWITT: That one was sweaty and I actually forgot to put it back on. Started serving a bit better, so I kept it off.
Q. Given what happened last week, is every match this week a bonus for you? Are your expectations lower this tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Every match is definitely a bonus. I think any time going into Grand Slams - especially now, you know, after not feeling great last week and having to pull out - every match I can get under my belt. And that's probably the most pleasing thing out of today's match, is I get another crack at someone tomorrow. Yeah, I think every match that I play I'm hopefully going to get better and better.
Q. You've played a lot going into the US Open and you've had a lot of success. This time it's different. Do you think it will make a difference when it comes to Flushing Meadows?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap, I don't think. You never know until you get there really, but next week I'll be having a good practice week in New York and hitting a lot of balls, playing a lot of practice sets. Years that I won the US Open I didn't have a great leadup and didn't play that many matches actually before and in 2001. So I've had both extremes. I think if your mind's set and ready to go come Monday fortnight, then hopefully I'll be okay.
Q. Do you prefer one or the other, do you prefer playing a lot in the runup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends how you're feeling, you know, your body sort of at the time I think more than anything. Last year I felt comfortable and didn't take a lot of energy out of me, especially playing Long Island and getting those extra matches. So, you know, every year's different I think.
Q. Any comments on the cricket?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tight (smiling).
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