August 30, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.
Q. Is that a positive to spend 30 minutes on court in the middle of a Grand Slam for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I would have liked to have kept going. I felt like I was in a pretty good routine out there today. I was hitting the ball really cleanly. It was a big step up from my first two matches. It was in the right direction. You know, in some ways you want to keep going; in other ways you want to save a bit for the second week.
Q. Did he give you any indication that that was going to happen? Was he moving badly?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I couldn't tell anything. But, yeah, I didn't have a clue.
Q. Would it be fair to say, certainly the first set, into the second set, it's as good as you've played maybe since Scottsdale or Indian Wells?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was up there. I probably played maybe my best tennis that I've played all year in the World Team Cup, to tell you the truth. I beat Novak, Blake, and Moya all on clay. This was up there with that probably today.
Q. Got to make you feel good.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I was seeing the ball. I was very aggressive. I served great, I felt, out there today. You know, I just had good rhythm on everything.
Q. Will you attempt to make up for that lost time on court today by doing more practice?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I went and hit a few balls straight after the match. But not a lot. Just sort of, you know, grooving it a little bit, trying to keep that rhythm going.
Q. Who did you hit with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Roger.
Q. Paradorn, you've played him a number of times now. Talk a little about what sort of an opponent he's going to be.
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player, extremely talented. He's got every shot in the game. You know, he's a very aggressive player. Obviously got a big serve, probably a big forehand. He moves great around the court. He can come in and volley, as well. You know, the matches -- I think I've only lost to him once. The matches that we've had were probably -- we played in the semis of Paris Indoors last year in a tight three-setter, I got up. Before that, he was sort of not where he is quite at the moment. We had a lot of tough matches in the past. I don't expect any different on Monday.
Q. How will you change your game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't change a lot. I'll go out there with my game. If I have to alter things during the match, so be it. At the start I'll just go out there with my game plan and see what he's got on the table.
Q. Are you pleased with the progression?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not out of the tournament yet, so... Yeah, as long as you're still in the draw. Everyone's happy at the moment. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well.
Q. You talked a lot about getting through the early rounds of a Grand Slam to make the charge for a title. Do you feel like you are now past the early rounds and are ready?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think when you get through the first week, it's a huge bonus for everyone. As I said in the past, you can't win the tournament in the first week, you can only lose it. You've just got to find a way to get through those matches and put yourself in a good preparation-wise. You know, I still feel like I've got plenty left in the tank, as well, going into the second week.
Q. Are you surprised at all sort of how the tournament has shaken out? Top seeds are still in. Does that surprise you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, every Grand Slam's different. You know, I think a lot of the top guys had tough matches, though. Agassi probably hasn't had too tough a match the other night. Vinciguerra apparently played pretty good. Roddick had a pretty tough match last night. I know Moya had a very tough match against Draper in the first round. Ferrero has had a couple tough matches. Obviously, that little bit of inexperience by the lower-ranked players over five sets...
Q. In Cincinnati you said you felt a bit tired, your legs were quite heavy. Is that completely gone? There's no sign of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt good in my first three matches. Obviously, it wasn't an issue today. I'm feeling good.
Q. John Newcombe said after the first set that, "Lleyton could be back." He thought you played well. I kind of get the sense you don't think you've really been away. Is that fair? Are you frustrated that everyone seems to have an opinion that you're down in your form?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I guess when you look at the results I've had over two years, they're not quite up to that form. Probably everyone's expectations just rose that much over the last couple years. Hitting the ball-wise, I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. There's just a couple of things in my game, you know, that I've got to probably alter. I've been able to, you know, work on little areas of my game. I feel like I'm, you know, hitting the ball well at the moment. As I said, you know, my first two rounds, I didn't feel like I played exceptionally well. I feel like I've been hitting well in practice. I need to take that on court.
Q. Last night Ljubicic took offense to Andy Roddick's tactics on the court. First of all, has that ever bothered you? Two, he said Andy is not well liked in the locker room.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't see anything last night. Andy seems fine with me. You know, I've never had a problem with him. You know, I think he hangs around with most of the American -- young American guys anyway. I don't know him that well. I've never had a problem with anything he's done on court.
Q. That American brashness that can come out here, maybe the European or Australian players might take offense.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. Not that I'm aware of.
Q. Do you think there's a line on a player's actions on the court that at times can be influential when it comes to a linesman? That's a lot of what Ljubicic had a problem with last night, that a certain action that Andy did on court might have influenced a linesman's call. Do you ever feel that way?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I can't say that I've really felt that way in my matches. You know, I've seen times in other matches I think, you know, when I've been watching on TV and that, when sometimes maybe it has happened, where a linesman, overrules, whatever. What I heard of last night's was obviously on a huge point. Most of the time they're not on that big a point, whereas that could have gone to the fifth set. I haven't seen the call or anything, so I wouldn't have a clue.
Q. Have you ever been in a match where you felt like a certain action might have influenced a call that went against you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not an action, no. I feel like there's been times where I've had close calls go against you, which you don't agree with. But I've never felt like an action or player or anything's turned a call in my matches.
Q. Yesterday, I asked Mark Philippoussis on a scale of 1 to 10 where he would place himself. He said a 7. Considering about the way you said you feel about the way you're playing, where would you place yourself on that scale?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, 7 is good, too (laughter).
Q. The other night when you were playing your first-round match, John McEnroe said during the commentary that he had spoken to your dad, and your dad said maybe the problem is maybe Lleyton is too happy. Do you feel like you're too happy?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Some days I feel happier than others. I don't know where that's come from. You know, as I said, I don't think "too happy" has got anything to do with it. I still feel hungry and the will to win is still there, so...
Q. You came to this tournament with people saying you have been in a slump. You described Wimbledon as a hiccup. Is it a slump or a hiccup? How would you characterize where you've been as opposed to where you are now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: As you said, I said "hiccup." I've never said "slump."
Q. There is a game of football with Adelaide. Are you going to monitor that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll get the result.
Q. Will someone ring you? Will you get up in the morning, check the Internet?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Depends how late I'm up tonight, whether I turn on the Internet and see the score. Yeah, the boys will be all right, though.
Q. You said how Andy acts on court doesn't bother you. You're someone whose court demeanor is sometimes criticized. Is that sour grapes from a losing opponent, what Ljubicic said?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I didn't see the match. It's very hard for me to comment on that. I know Andy likes to play with a lot of emotion, and likes to get the crowd involved. I think, you know, we've played in enough big matches to realize obviously when he's playing in America, the crowds are going to get behind him. Same as if we were playing in France against the French guys. It's exactly the same. And maybe Ivan was just disappointed at how the crowd was for Andy and against him, it felt like maybe. I'm not sure.
Q. Fanatics are here. Did you feel them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, yeah, it was a great crowd out there today. Yeah, you know, pretty much packed I think out there. Obviously, a Saturday as well, the weekend. It's a really good atmosphere, a lot of Aussies out there, which is good.
Q. Are you playing better now than when you won it two years ago?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes. I think there's definitely matches where I'm a better player. But then there's other matches... Grand Slams, you got to play seven matches and you got to go against the opponents you're playing against. Obviously, towards the end of 2001, quarters onwards, I probably played, you know, pretty much faultless tennis. It's very hard to repeat that week in and week out.
Q. There's been some reports in Australia over the last few days of maybe you're looking at Peter McNamara as a perspective coach. Is that what's going on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know anything about it.
Q. He's not someone you're looking at?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not looking at anyone.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.