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


July 5, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Lleyton, you must be happy with the way you played today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played really well. Came out of the blocks well at the start. You know, took me a few games to get on to his serve at the start. Then, you know, played -- just didn't quite get enough first serves in when I served for the first set at 5-3. He took a few more chances, though, there. You know, but I was able to come back and get right on with the job. Obviously, the rain delay, I came out firing straightaway after that, had breakpoints the first game after the rain delay to get 4-Love. Wasn't able to quite take that. At 4-Love, I was able to get the double break.

Q. After almost four hours of tennis yesterday, with so much on the line today in this match, really only two road bumps in the entire match. Did you surprise even yourself today with how clean you played this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I felt like I've been hitting the ball great the last four weeks, as soon as I came on the grass. You know, I was prepared to lay it all on the line out there today. You know, I like playing in big occasions, I like, you know, the big matches. You know, memories come back of, you know, that US Open, knowing that I was able to, you know, play seven, you know, tough best-of-five matches there. You know, I was able to use those sweet memories to try and get through this one.

Q. Having seen what you have of Tim, having played him before, do you think he played as well as he can play today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I thought he came out and, you know, put everything on the line at the start. You know, I thought it was pretty high-quality tennis out there. He went through a bit of a patch -- you know, I felt like I hit the ball great that 6-5 game in the first set and break and get the first set. I returned incredible that game. Then he had a little bit of a slip-up I think in the first three games probably of the second set. Then, you know, he came out, he felt like he had to do something different, I think, to try and win. He mixed up his game a bit more out there. He tried coming in on his second serve, he tried staying back, he tried rallying from the baseline, he tried chip-charging. I was able to sort of handle all those situations pretty well, I felt. Then the last few games, he really didn't know what to do.

Q. The question will come around again whether he can actually win Wimbledon. Would you say he can?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, he's got the perfect game to win Wimbledon. You know, in the next few years, I think even more so just because there's going to be less and less typical "serve and volley" kind of players like Tim plays. I think that's still an advantage for him, that he plays that kind of way, because there's so few players that play against that. So the guys come on a grass court, a lot of them think that they can't beat a Tim Henman or a Patrick Rafter or Pete Sampras just because they got that typical grass court game. You know, it's got to hurt for him to make another semifinal, but it's an incredible run what he's had, you know, the last four or five years here.

Q. Can you explain to us what it really means to you to be in the final of Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know what to say. You know, I don't think it's really sunk in just yet. But, wow, you know, it's an incredible feeling, you know, to see so many great champions, you know, up on the board that held that trophy up. For me to have, you know, a match to try and do it... You know, it's what kids dream of, you know, sitting back at home, you know, watching Pat Cash win Wimbledon 15 years ago. It's what every Australian kid, you know, who picks up a tennis racquet dreams of, to one day be in this situation. For me to have it, you know, at the moment at the age of 21, you know, it's incredible.

Q. Have you spoken to Pat Cash much about Wimbledon and what it meant to him, what it could mean to you, for Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I haven't. Sort of done my own thing a little bit. I haven't even thought about winning it until -- you know, now it obviously comes into your mind a bit more because, you know, it's only one match away. Up to this stage, I've sort -- I've just taken it one match at a time. I hadn't made it past, you know, the second week here in the past. I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself. You know, I knew it was going to be a huge test today against Tim in a semifinal. To this date, I haven't really thought about trying to hold up that trophy just yet.

Q. Did it cross your mind serving for the match you were one game from a Wimbledon final? Did you tighten up slightly then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, I think anyone human would tighten up a little bit. But, you know, I felt like I didn't play that bad a game. You know, he came out and sort of put everything on the line, which he just about had to. I just didn't make too many first serves, I think that was the problem. If I was a bit tight, then so be it. But, you know, I can take credit for the way that, you know, came back. And, you know, I was 15-Love down in that next game. Tim played a strange point in there. I was able to get that one with a cheap error. I just hit my straps again. Once I hit that lob to get the break, you know, I knew that was going to be too good.

Q. You do realize that you've denied yourself the opportunity of seeing Pat Cash in Sue's dress?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he owes me a lot of money (laughter).

Q. Were you conscious, as the match progressed, that even the most partisan of the British supporters out there were really full of admiration for the way you played? Did that come through, that they were appreciating your play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The crowd was great. Obviously, you know, I've played in some hostile arenas in Davis Cup matches. You know, this was fine. It was a great atmosphere out there. Yeah, sure it was loud at times when, you know, Tim got out of his chair, was jogging from the changeover. You know, that's a good atmosphere to play in. I enjoy playing in that situation. But, you know, I don't recall too many times where, you know, they go around clapping double-faults by me or stuff like that. That's what tennis is about. You know, sure, I got support when I hit a great shot or whatever - but not as much as Tim, but that's understandable.

Q. On the face of it, you had a relatively easy straight-sets win. Can you tell us, at any point in the match, did you yourself feel under pressure or maybe you were losing a grip, maybe he still was in there with a chance of winning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, until I walked up to shake hands, I didn't think it was out of his control or out of his reach of coming back, you know, taking it to five sets. But, you know, there was a lot of tight situations. Early on in the first set, he had breakpoint chances to go up an early break. Could have changed, you know, the whole match. You never know.

Q. 5-All in the third, what were you thinking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, I was a bit disappointed that I lost my serve. But I still felt like I was returning that well that I was going to give myself another opportunity to break. Even though I didn't break that game, I was still confident I could go around, take it to a tiebreaker. Obviously, a tiebreaker's anyone's game, anyone's chance there. But, you know, I still had a 50% chance that I was going to finish off the match.

Q. Regarding Pat, do you feel like you've got any unfinished business on behalf of Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about unfinished business. Yeah, it's going to be tough going out there. I spoke with Pat this morning. You know, he wished me all the best for my match. The whole of Australia is behind me back there. It's a great feeling to have. There's been such a great Australian tradition at Wimbledon. It's fantastic that I've been able to carry it through this year, just as Pat has done the last few years with semis and finals here.

Q. Did he give you any advice or was it just luck?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think he did. No, he just said, "Good luck." Everyone is right behind him -- right behind me, sorry. Yeah, just go out there and do my best.

Q. Did he say he'd like to be here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. He sounded pretty relaxed back there. Probably playing golf and sitting on the beach. I'd like to be doing that, too.

Q. He's redesigned his game, he's taken a lot off his serve in order to rely more on his athletic ability, his volleying. But serving at 108 to 112, in that area, doesn't that give you a better match-up on service return than if he's hitting 120 or 125?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but a lot of people have spoken about this the last few weeks. He's the best volleyer in the game at the moment. I think he feels in a lot of his matches that he's probably got to get a high percentage of first serves in and mix his serve up a little bit more. Sort of give and take a little bit with either. You either go for it a little bit more, get a less percentage in. You're on the back foot with your second serve, having to hit a lot more second serves. On the other hand, he got a high percentage of first serves in, tries to close into the net a bit quicker, use his volleys a little bit more. You know, it's up to the individual. I can't say that, you know, he should go out and try to serve and volley like Goran and bomb them down first serves, then rely on his second serve. It's going to be an awful lot tougher. He doesn't have as big a second serve as Ivanisevic or Roddick or those guys.

Q. Against a player of your returning abilities, it may get him through five rounds, but he runs up against a player with exceptional returning ability.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Still the same. You know, at the end of the day, he's got to make the call whether getting a high percentage of first serves in and not letting me have a look at a slower second serve. You know, it's still the same. If I'm going to look at second serves all day, I'm going to be laughing out there. You know, he's got to make that. Yeah, he changed it up out there. He started getting 120, 123s out there I saw in the last few games. But in the end, it starts to give me a little bit of an opportunity. It's a little bit hit-and-miss. I start getting opportunities to get into the point after his second serve.

Q. At 21 years of age, did you envisage that you would have won a US Open, let alone being on the brink of winning a Wimbledon title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. It's incredible. Everything that's happened the last, what is it now, about nine months, 10 months or so since the US Open, it's been incredible to have won a first Grand Slam at the age of 20; then to go on to become the youngest ever world No. 1. I mean, I don't know what to say. You know, it's beyond what, you know, my expectations or, you know, thoughts could have been, you know, a 20-year-old, 21-year-old. Now to have another opportunity to have a go at another Grand Slam, it's a great feeling.

Q. Regardless of who you play tomorrow, you're not going to alter your game; it's up to them to alter their game to beat you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I feel like I'm hitting the ball, you know, well enough just to go out there and worry about my game at the moment. If things aren't going well out there, then it's a best-of-five set match; I've got time to work it out and get a feeling for what's happening out there. If I have to alter mine a little bit, I'm willing to do it out there. At the moment, the way I'm hitting the ball, the way I'm moving, I've got to worry just about my game, going out there and, you know, trying to get the job done that way.

Q. You get a bit of stick in the press once in a while. Does that help or hinder you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me.

Q. Doesn't worry you either way?


Q. You talk about Australia being behind you. Tim gets it every year at Wimbledon, but it's a lot of pressure. Do you think there's too much pressure on him to do well here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. He does get an awful lot of pressure. But I think he blocks it out fantastic. You know, he's done well here. Whether he can hold up the trophy, that's another question. But, you know, he's had an incredible run, in any book, any person's book. What is it, four semis, a quarter, Round of 16, the last six years? You know, that's a great effort. You know, he does cop a lot of pressure. He's got to try and block it out. I'm good mates with him. I think he deals with it fine. In the locker rooms, he always looks very relaxed. He's a really nice guy.

Q. Can you tell us what you know about either of the two guys you might face in the final, perhaps what you expect?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're both, you know, pretty much baseline players. I haven't seen them play an awful lot here in this tournament, or on grass for that fact. But I played Nalbandian a few months ago in Barcelona in the second or third round there on clay. You know, he's good from the baseline. Nice forehand. Probably forehand's a slight strength, I'd say. But he's got a nice, you know, rally kind of backhand. I'm not sure how much he's coming into the net. Wouldn't have a clue. Malisse, well, you know, he's very talented. I think we've all known that for a few years. It was just sort of a matter of time before he started to break through in bigger events. I played him twice, once on clay, once on grass at Queen's in the first round two years ago. Yeah, I've got to go out there, play my game, put my head down, see what happens.

Q. Would winning Wimbledon prove in your own mind that you are truly the No. 1 player in the world? Do you have any doubts? Would winning here settle all of them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it doesn't worry me. There's other things that, you know -- winning Wimbledon, going out there and doing it. I'm not worried about trying to prove myself the No. 1 player in the world in the rankings. Couldn't give a stuff about it.

Q. What are you going to do for the next couple days?


Q. How will you do that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Do nothing (laughter).

Q. Watch a few videos?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't watched many videos. Footy is on this weekend back home. Get on the Internet and cheer my boys on.

End of FastScripts….

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