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


March 28, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt



Q. Lleyton, congratulations. A terrific match. Anyone could have been the winner, do you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Marat is a tough player to play because I feel like he's getting better and better at the areas that he's had slight weaknesses in, I think, since he's come on the tour. He's more aggressive. He comes to the net a lot more now. He's, you know, and I think he's becoming a more all-court player. You know, just really tough to find too many weaknesses in his game. I tried to hang in there. He played great in the first set. Wasn't much I could do about it. Second set, I feel like I lifted a couple of pegs. Third set was just tough. It's tough to try and serve it out because he didn't give me any cheap points at all. Against most guys, they push the ball around or go for the big shot. When he went for the big shot, you know, couple backhands up the line and hit clean winners.

Q. In your opinion, where was the difference? What made the difference for you to win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows? A point here and there. It was that close. When you get to a tiebreak in the third set, it's, you know, getting off to a good start and trying to consolidate that. I got off to a pretty good start in the tiebreak and I was able to hang on. As I said, it was one or two points here and there.

Q. From your point of view, what are you thinking during the match when he did that acrobatic and broke you, what was going through your mind in that moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There wasn't much I could do about it. I served a double-fault to start the game. But apart from that, I didn't feel like I played a bad game. He hit a couple of huge backhands up the line, as I said, then came up with a dive-volley to break me. That's the type of player he is. That's the talent and flair that he plays with. You just got to try and accept that. I was able to get my mind back on the job. I broke next game, lost my serve again. It's a good thing for me, you know, the positives that come out of it, even though a lot of players would get down after they served for a match twice. Yet I was able to get up and stay positive and guts it out and win in the breaker.

Q. For you, it must be extraordinary satisfaction to be the winner against such an opposition?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, well, yeah, he's one of the best players in the world. There's no doubt about that. I don't think anyone here can disagree. He made the final of the Australian Open. It's nice that I can go out there and play against these kind of players, you know. Obviously, the Australian Open, I would have loved to have been playing him in the final. It wasn't to be, and I can't do much about it. But for me to match myself against a guy who's made the final of the Slam and made the semis of the one before at the US Open, so he's obviously up there, and, you know, when he is playing his best tennis, he's extremely hard to beat.

Q. I think everyone here is unanimous that we feel privileged to have seen a great, great match. When you reflect on it, have you had a chance to reflect on the fact that you've just shared in something pretty special?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not a lot. I've had a bit of a stretch and I had a shower and that's about all at the moment. Later tonight and tomorrow I'll probably start thinking about it, but I don't have a lot of time to reflect on it. Tomorrow night I'm back out there again playing in another semi of this tournament. I've lost I think the last two years in the semis here. It would be nice to go one further. Whether I can do that or not, I've got another tough opponent tomorrow night.

Q. Did it feel like a special match when you were playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It felt pretty high-standard out there, there's no doubt about that. I feel like I'm playing pretty well. Marat, if he's on, as I said before, he's in the top one, two, three players in the world when he's on. We've seen that in matches like he beat Sampras at the Australian Open. I thought that was one of the most incredible matches I've seen. A guy plays -- you see it so many times with him, but he is still that little bit up and down. That's why he probably lost the Australian Open final. But, you know, it was really good to be part of it I think.

Q. For you, this run on American soil is nothing short of sensational.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's all right at the moment. It would be nice to finish this tournament off. But, you know, two matches to go. You know, the other three players in the tournament, you know, are playing incredible tennis as well. So there's not going to be one easy match. At the moment, I just start thinking about Roger tomorrow and, you know, the way that, you know, I didn't see today's match but he obviously cleaned Pavel up pretty easily, pretty convincingly. He's been playing really well. He's just getting better and better with more experience. So it would be, you know, hopefully as good a match if it can as tonight.

Q. What did Jason and Kim tell you after the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken to Kim yet. She can't get in the men's locker room, so... Jason just, you know, he said, "Great match, gutsing it out," and that. We really haven't spoken much about it. He was more concerned about trying to get my body and that to bounce back for tomorrow's match. At the moment we're sort of more worrying about how I can get trying to be 100 percent coming into tomorrow's match. But I'm sure after practice tomorrow around lunch time that we'll start sitting down and talking about the good things that came out of tonight's match and also what to try and work on for tomorrow night's.

Q. When you're on the kind of run that you're on at the moment then you're faced with a deciding set tiebreak, how big of an advantage, how big a boost is that for you? Does it enter into it at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, obviously when you haven't been, you know, losing too many matches, you've got that confidence and you believe you can win from any situation. And, you know, the way that I've saved six matchpoints in the whole San Jose tournament a few weeks ago, you know, the confidence from that, that never-say-die attitude comes through. When I do get in a tiebreak or tight situation, it really doesn't bother me too much. You know, it was only those couple of times where I served a couple of doubles on a couple of big points out there today. I went for one of them. The other one was a little bit soft. But you have times like that. You can't do much about it. The way that I hung in there and played a good breaker, I was pretty happy with it.

Q. What do you think of Safin's backhand? Is it the strength of his game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: His forehand is as good as his backhand. His backhand is extremely good though. He can go either way. He's probably getting more and more consistent on it as well. We had a lot of, you know, a lot of backhand rallies just cross-court tonight waiting for -- sort of playing cat and mouse out there a little bit, waiting for who was going to go down the line first. I think he's becoming more and more consistent with it anyway.

Q. Lleyton, to me still is the image when you were in your first professional match against Sergi Bruguera in the Australian Open. Perhaps for you it's a long time, but it's amazing where you are now. You showed the talent there, but it's incredible.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, mate, it's -- it's a short time for me as well. You know, you're 15, I was 15 at the time. You know, I didn't know anything about the tour whatsoever. You know, I was playing -- I'd only really played a couple - one or two satellites before that. Then I went out there and I qualified for, you know, the Grand Slam that I'd most want to win. So I was -- it was an incredible thing. That whole year was basically still playing Juniors and stuff anyway. Then the next year, you know, comes around, Australian tournament time again and I put my hand up for a wildcard and take it and win Adelaide. So, yeah, everything's happened pretty quick the last four or five years for me. But it's been great. I love it.

Q. What kind of challenges will Roger present for you? You've gotten the better of him in four of your five meetings so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be tougher than those other matches I've played him in, though. I think he's getting better and better every time I've seen him play. He's more consistent than he used to be. He doesn't make those loose errors like he used to a little bit sort of coming out of the Juniors. He's got an all-court game. He serves extremely well. You know, he's got a big forehand he likes to run around and smack. I've got to, you know, try and hang in there and make him play a lot of balls. You know, it's still going to be a tough match though. I'm going to have to play as well as I can to win.

Q. Going back to tonight real quick, what goes through your head, how do you keep your spirit when you get broken twice trying to serve it out? How do you regroup for the tiebreak?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just sort of told myself, "Marat played too good in those two games." I said, you know, "It's 6-all. Now we're even." It's tough to put out of your mind for anyone. But I think I'm probably as good as anyone at doing it. I'm mentally tough out there, and I wanted to win bad enough as well that, you know, I really didn't want to let, you know, something like, "Oh, I should be in the locker room sort of showering now," that didn't enter my mind at all. I was thinking positive, trying to get off to a good start in that breaker, and I was able to.

Q. Lakers fan?


Q. Lakers fan?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I went and watched one of their games. They're Nike as well, so that's all right.

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