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 20, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. Those are all pretty impressive statistics. You happy with the way things are going for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I mean, I've been playing well. I knew going into San Jose it was going to be pretty tough. Felt like I got things going once I hit quarterfinals time, and sort of the business end of the tournament there. Was really able to get up for those big matches - Todd Martin, Gambill and Agassi three days in a row. Played some pretty good tennis, got better and better. Then, obviously, Indian Wells, just try to take it, you know, over there. And I beat some big names to get through there. So, sort of, my confidence is pretty high at the moment, and it probably should be.

Q. Would you compare or contrast Jason's approach to coaching as opposed to Darren's approach to coaching? How are they difficult or similar?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty similar guys anyway, I think. I think Jason is sort of just feeling his way out I think a little bit. We got to know each other pretty well through Davis Cup ties anyway the last couple of years when he was playing and I was always the orange boy or the fifth player at ties. So we knew each other pretty well. And then, obviously, we got to spend a couple of months together when I was in the sick bed in Adelaide. You know, it was pretty hard watching the Australian Open, that first round, and you knew you weren't right, so... He's, you know, they're pretty similar in the way they go about it. It's always been my game, you know, I go out there and play my game and I don't worry about my opponents too much. Jason's got good thoughts on the opponents that I've played. He's played a lot of them as well. He retired only last Wimbledon. So he's played just about every guy I think I've played in the last two tournaments.

Q. Do you want a coach who will kick your butt when you're lazy on a particular day? If so, is Jason that kind of coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't mind it. I definitely don't think I'm one of the laziest guys around. There's not too many practice sessions that I go out and tank. So, yeah, I give 100 percent every time I step on the court. At the moment, I probably don't know if Jason is going to kick my butt or not.

Q. In retrospect, although you didn't feel it at the time, do you think the time you had off in Australia might have worked to your benefit? You played so many matches at the end of last year, now you've had that time to recuperate and recover. Perhaps with that time, you're fresher?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I spoke about it last week. It's a toss of the coin. You know, I love playing a lot of matches and being match hard. I felt going into San Jose I struggled early because I just didn't have those matches under my belt. You know, you can always say in hindsight it must have been the right thing or a blessing in disguise. But at the time, it definitely hurt a little bit sitting out, watching the Australian Open, knowing I had just come off the Masters Cup, getting to No. 1, Davis Cup, winning both my matches of the Hopman Cup and then having to withdraw when you're playing good tennis and seriously considering yourself a contender. So, you know, I don't necessarily think -- the hurt that sort of came at the Australian Open, I tried to put it behind me straightaway and make myself work to get back as soon as possible back on the tour and start playing 100 percent and get my fitness level back.

Q. How surprised have you been in yourself that you've been able to hit that form? You say you struggled a little bit early on in San Jose. Ever since then, you picked up where you left off really?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got the sweet memories about what happened towards the end of last year and all the big matches that I got up for and how I handled those pressure situations in all those times. You know, that's something that, you know, the more and more experience you get, the better off. So, you know, as soon as I started playing those big matches again, those feelings, those emotions that I went through started to come back. You know, the toughest thing was trying little areas of the game that you worked on in the off-season, and I played a lot of practice sets just before San Jose, but to try to put it in match situation. That's what really took the first couple matches in San Jose to get that right.

Q. What are the pressures of being ranked No. 1? Are you comfortable with that ranking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'd rather be there than not, so... Yeah, you know, I love being No. 1. It's a great feeling. It's a great honor. To see so many of the great players before you who have held the title of No. 1 player in the world. To be able to do that and have your name on a list with so many great players, especially my mate Pat Rafter, there's not a whole heap of others who, you know, since the ranking started. It's only new. We're all very close, too. Obviously, it demands probably more time and stuff like that. You know, it's a bit busier, I suppose, since you get No. 1. More people want you. You just got to try and balance it so it doesn't interrupt your tennis. You know, your tennis comes first. You try to fit in as much around it as possible, but you don't want to go over the top and start causing yourself to lose matches because of it.

Q. Because of that, all the things you've just said, do you feel that, you know, you can't have any off days; that you're always going to get the other guys' best effort because they're out to, more or less, put your scalp on their lodge pole so to speak?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, for sure. That's what made it a little bit tougher playing the first couple matches, as I said, in San Jose. Being the No. 1 player, coming back after an illness, not knowing if you're really 100 percent right yet. I hadn't really tested myself in a match situation. I go in there, played two guys who I know can play extremely well, most of the media may know him a little bit, but the public wouldn't have an idea about both those players. I go out there and this is their big opportunity to play the No. 1 player in the world. This was a tough situation. Even though I wasn't playing well, I found a way to win. You know, you hear guys like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi say that so many times - when they're not playing well - that because they're that good, they'll find a way to win no matter what. I think I did that in those first few matches. I think that's sort of maybe the biggest difference between some guys getting to No. 1 and being able to stay there and some not getting there.

Q. Are you still finding ways to win matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment I'm feeling pretty comfortable. I'm feeling pretty good.

Q. Provided he beats Srichaphan, you'll be playing Michael Chang. Your style of play, your game has been compared to Michael Chang in the past. Would you find it very interesting to go against him face-to-face on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player at any time; there's no doubt. He's going through a bit of a struggle at the moment. But I've practiced with him a fair few times in the past. I practiced with him the other day. He still hits the ball great. Whether his self-confidence just isn't quite there at the moment, you know, that's probably the biggest thing. You know, if I had to play him, it would be an extremely tough match, there's no doubt about that. If you look at some of his matches over the last couple years when he hasn't, you know, been at the top of his game, he's still, to me, got off the bigger matches rather than guys who he's had to play who are maybe ranked below him. Srichaphan beat him I think in the first round last week in three sets. And whether it's going to happen tomorrow or not, I'm not sure.

Q. When Jim Courier reached No. 1, he talked about the respect and fear factor in the locker room. That was an edge for him, just knowing other people had a certain fear of him. Do you feel that at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, people stare at you a little bit more I think. You know, and I think people want to know what you're doing and what the secret is. You know, there's no real secret though (laughing).

Q. Does it work in your favor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I'd definitely probably rather have it than not. People, if they're worried or not, I'm not sure. But they're trying to find out, you know, what the secret is or how you sort of got to No. 1, I guess. And, you know, they're trying to, you know, look at your every move, I suppose. Yeah, it doesn't worry me at all, though. If there is some worry or some fear or doubt in their mind when you go out to play them, then obviously I think it's a better thing in my favor.

Q. How do you feel about these next couple weeks? You come off winning two titles in three weeks.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's going to be as tough as ever, though. It's an extremely tough field. There's no easy matches here again just like especially last week in Indian Wells. I'm going to have to play as well as I did in Indian Wells to do well here again and give myself a chance of winning. But, you know, I think I'm capable of, you know, going another one, trying to get through another - what is it - six matches I think again here, with the bye or two, to hold up the trophy again. I'm going to have to play as well if not better than in Indian Wells. Obviously there's a little bit of a breeze here that you have to contend with. Maybe it was good practice in Indian Wells, a few of those sandstorms.

Q. The chicken pox aside, because that could have happened to anyone, how is the situation with your allergies now? Do you have it under control?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't really had much. You know, I just sort of put up with everything now. Go out there and play and give 100 percent. And at the moment it's not too bad, so I'm getting through anyway.

Q. Have you afforded yourself one luxury for getting to No. 1 in the world? Have you bought yourself something you might not have bought?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really (smiling).

Q. No?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, haven't done much actually.

Q. Do you think one of the big improvements in your game is that, I mean, you're always going to be a physical, very athletic player. Your speed gets you to these spectacular shots that most people can't get. It seems to me with the bread and butter shots you don't have to put quite as much physical energy in to play them any more because you know the shot you're going to play that much earlier. Is that a fair comment or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways it is. I think some of the biggest difference, though, especially the last couple weeks, has probably been my serve more than anything. I feel like I've been serving pretty well. Serving patches in a couple of matches. But in the main, I've had a pretty high percentage in, but I've hit the corners well or I'll hit the lines well. When you're not the biggest guy around, you don't have the most power, that's what you've got to do. I've been able to do that. I've mixed my serve up really well. I've used it to my advantage to start the point off and try to get on the front foot right from the word "go" rather than, you know, just hit it in and start the point.

Q. In other words, it's opening up the court more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Obviously I want to get as many cheaper points as possible as well. It makes this game a lot easier as well.

Q. With the domination of the Australians in the Academy Awards, now you're No. 1, is it the year of the Aussie, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that (smiling). I'm sure Russell and Nicole would like to hope so coming up there. Yeah, but, you know, they should win anyway.

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