August 12, 2003
MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.
Q. Disappointing day. What do you think happened?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just didn't feel great out there today. Don't really know why. I felt even in the first set, didn't feel like I played great tennis. You know, Xavier, he was struggling out there a bit. You know, he gave me a couple easy service games. And, you know, early in the second set I felt like I had a chance, and I think I had a breakpoint maybe to go 3-1 up in the second, and he hit -- made an ace on that point. After that, it was pretty much downhill for most of the match.
Q. So you didn't feel good about your tennis or just...?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I just physically didn't feel great out there today.
Q. Were you feeling hot, overheated?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was more my legs. I just didn't feel real great.
Q. Where do you go from here? Do you get ready for the Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea, mate. Doubles tomorrow.
Q. Are you scheduled to play next week?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, week off.
Q. You think you need it? You've been playing a lot of tennis.
LLEYTON HEWITT: What, the doubles or week off?
Q. Week off.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't played that much tennis, you know. I had a good week in LA and made the final, had a couple doubles matches, then only two matches last week. You know, it would've probably been nice to get a few more matches under my belt, but I won't be playing next week.
Q. Any pressure from the ranking, any pressure to stay No. 1?
LLEYTON HEWITT: When you're 5, it doesn't mean much.
Q. You've been playing some real good tennis for the last two years. There's got to be some pressure that goes in during that period.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Now and then, I guess, but I don't put any added pressure on myself. You know, I know that when my game's at its best and I'm feeling physically 100 percent, then I feel like I can beat up on anyone out there on any given day. You know, just, you know, last two weeks, actually, the two matches that I've lost have been extremely tight matches; it could have gone either way. You know, I just haven't been taking my chances. Today was, you know, a totally different situation, though, than the last couple weeks. I just didn't feel great out there - physically out there today - and that really hurt my whole game.
Q. So it was the physical game, not mental game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: More today, yeah.
Q. More today the physical side?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
Q. This physical problem, you haven't had the flu or anything?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't had anything, no. I just didn't feel 100 percent. I don't think there's something, you know, you can sort of put it down to, "This is wrong with you." So, you know, hopefully I can go out there and, you know, get my game right for the US Open and see what happens.
Q. How do you approach this US Open? In previous years, you've played a lot more and you were getting further in tournaments. This year, you haven't played as much. You've had kind of up and down results. How is it different?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, I'd probably like to have a few more matches going in. You know, I still feel like when I'm hitting the ball at my best. I've been practicing pretty well. I've spent a lot of hours on the practice court the last few weeks as well. Grand Slams are different, though. If you can get through a few matches and, you know, the draw opens up and you get confident, then I think everyone knows ... You just got to look at a guy like Sampras last year, and even the two times I've won Slams, and I've got better as the tournament's gone on. So you just need a little bit of luck early and you get through those opening matches, and you never know what could happen.
Q. Looking from the outside, it seems like this year's US Open is pretty open. Do you feel that way about it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. There's, obviously, Agassi, Federer, Roddick, Ferrero, you know. He's not known for, you know, quicker hard courts, but he's very capable of playing well. You know, he's probably one of the best clay court players that can adjust and play on hard court.You know, Moya. Even a guy like Coria, he's gonna be tough. He's very quick, he moves great, you know, great defensive game as well. And all those guys are gonna be tough. Nalbandian, these kinds of guys as well. I think a little bit is going to depend on the draw. Hopefully, I can still be in there in the second week and give it a good run.
Q. In the overall picture do you feel that paring down your schedule this year is a good idea? Will you keep doing that in the future?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure. I'll sit down and work it out. You know, it was more -- I probably was gonna play a little bit more, and then I pulled out of a few clay court tournaments before the French just because I felt physically a bit drained, mentally a bit drained after the Davis Cup tie. Pretty much I just wanted to go home and have a few weeks off. So that wasn't even really scheduled. That was sort of spur-of-the-moment, how I was feeling after the Davis Cup tie in Sweden.
Q. Do you think you've not fully recovered from that stage, from that tie?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I felt like I played pretty well, actually, the French Open, even though I lost in the third round. I had a great match with Robredo, was the better player for most of the match. The week before that I beat Moya, Blake and Novak in the World Team Cup. Sort of since then, I've struggled a little bit, I guess. Obviously, the hiccup at Wimbledon. I made a final in LA, should have probably won there. Then the last two weeks. It's been a little bit up and down.
Q. I think most of us guys want you to do well because if you're doing well, it's easier to make publicity for the sport. A few are possibly worried that the legal things that are going on behind the scenes may be affecting you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't heard anything about the legal things pretty much all the year, so... A few people can -- probably don't know much about it.
Q. You're talking to us now, so we're happy about that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that?
Q. I said but you're talking to us now, so we're happy about that. We get a chance to talk to you about your tennis and your future in tennis.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah? Oh, good.
Q. You're one of the rare Australians who hasn't chosen to find a place on this side of the planet. How much do you think that maybe takes out of you physically, commuting back and forth more than most of the other players?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not that much, I don't think. In America, I, you know , I just don't see I have weeks off to spend in America. You know, the only weeks that I have off are after Wimbledon where, you know, I went to Belgium the last couple of years for two or three weeks there. Obviously, I go to Belgium for weeks off when I'm around Europe. When I'm in America, you know, the only weeks that I have off is the week, you know, next week, which I'm gonna be in New York practicing probably. And apart from that, I'm playing Scottsdale, Indian Wells, Miami normally. So with Davis Cup ties in that, you've sometimes got to go home anyway. That's when I try and take a little bit of a break, after Davis Cup ties.
Q. Will you sit down and have a discussion on some of these issues before the US Open, try and work out what's happening to you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean, "issues"?
Q. The issues relating to not feeling good physically.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, that was just today. Hopefully, that's not going to be a general -- you know, I've been feeling pretty good the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, that won't be a problem in a couple weeks' time.
Q. What about your confidence? You seem to have lost that killer instinct you had on the court. What will you do to get that back?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think, obviously, going into Grand Slams, if you can't get up for Grand Slams, then you pretty much shouldn't be playing the sport. I don't think killer instinct or, you know, going out there in that fighting spirit is going to be a problem in New York at all.
Q. Did the incident of last year come through your mind at all when you got back here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really - apart from media trying to bring it up. No, I'm not meaning you, but in other interviews that I've done (smiling).
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.