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 25, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously, a pretty tough opening round match. I mean, Tim had a tough one with Marat.
Q. I mean, is that your take on this? You can beat Tim in the quarters usually.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, that's what happens when guys like Tim and Marat, their rankings drop a bit.
But in these tournaments these days there are very few, you know, easy matches, especially when the top guys have byes as well. The guys that come through that first match are obviously doing something pretty well to beat, you know, other reasonable players in the first round.
So, you know, even though Tim was -- is definitely one of the tougher nonseeded players -- everyone in the draw, there's no easy matches these days out here.
Q. He's had one match to adjust to the court, stadium, the wind, whereas you're coming in kind of cold.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, sometimes that's a positive or a negative, depends on how many matches I guess you've played coming in and how you feel your rhythm is.
But obviously, Tim beating Marat the other night, that gives him a lot of confidence, beating a guy, you know, who's one of the best ball-strikers out there.
Q. You've owned him in the past. I mean, he said it the other day, "Hey, 0-8, 0-9, not much difference." He says when he comes in to take the net, you love that. Was there anything different today in his attack versus you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. You know, he served well up one end, it was a lot tougher than the other end to play from. It was, you know, a bit swirly out there, but one end you're definitely into the breeze most of the time.
Yeah, he definitely hit up the lines well today, you know, from the back of the court. Usually he sprays a few more of those. You know, when he comes to the net, normally he volleys well anyway, you know, doesn't matter who's passing him. But, you know, he volleyed exceptionally well today.
But, you know, I still, you know, was always down that first set but I kept hanging in there, hanging in there. You know, I was nearly able to turn it around and actually played a good point at 6-5 when I lost the set point. He came up with a hell of a pass on that point.
So, you know, to that point you've got to say too good. But 5-4, I was in two points and didn't quite take the chances then in the tiebreak.
Q. He looked like he didn't want it the first set. Kept lots of set points. On the set point, he had his usual volley and was missing it. At that point did you feel like you are Pennsylvania going to turn this around? Did you ever feel like...
LLEYTON HEWITT: He was serving up the tougher end. That was the end that I'd broken him. I ended up breaking him three times in the first set from that end. I knew I had a fighting chance to hang in there.
You know, still, with that particular game, he hit a lot of first serves in the deuce court so it was very hard to do anything. You know, he wasn't making a lot of first serves on those set points, though, and that was giving me a small opportunity.
Q. How did you feel about your game overall?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel like I didn't hit the ball great out there today. You know, conditions aren't easy, though. You definitely got to play percentage tennis. The ball is swirling around out there. I thought Tim used the wind to his advantage a lot better than I did today.
Q. Did you find it hard to get yourself up and at him today? It didn't quite seem as it was the "old Lleyton," you didn't seem as fired up, in different circumstances when the big points were there, we expected you to be more juiced?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that. In the first set I was always hanging in there, trying to scramble and trying to make something out of nothing in a lot of ways.
You know, and then I let him off early in the, you know, second set. He held serve comfortably up the tougher end where he'd struggled all first set, then he pounces on me the second game in the second set and there's the break for the rest of the match.
So, you know, he took his chances a lot better than I did out there today, and tiebreak-wise, as I said, when I got to 5-4, I had to try and dictate play even though I was up the tougher end. I had to try and dictate play a little bit more, but he took the initiative first.
Q. Is your wife and baby traveling with you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they're here.
Q. Now do you make a holiday out of this or you go right back?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure just yet, yeah.
Q. When he -- obviously, it's a big one for him, just to finally, you know, put you away as it were.
Q. In the second set, when it was getting a little tight perhaps, did you think, "Well, he must be nervous, because he's never beaten me"?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. I think his last few matches, though he's played a lot looser than he's normally played in the past. Whether that's getting older age or not. He's not quite -- he's playing more like, you know, in practice he's always been a great player where he's very flashy and, you know, doesn't take it all seriously the whole time. Whereas I think he's adopted that a little more in his matches. It may pay off a little bit more for him.
Q. He also said at practice last week in Indian Wells, he suddenly felt he's got a tactic and style there that perhaps he could beat you in a match situation.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. He's done that a lot of times in practice and it hasn't worked on the match court.
I don't think that was a huge -- I wasn't expecting too much different to what he did. He just executed a lot better than I did today.
Q. How about you? How are you feeling about it's a tough one to take, of course.
LLEYTON HEWITT: You never like to lose. It's disappointing because in practice I feel like I've been hitting the ball great over the last week or so. That's probably more frustrating than anything, purely because it was a fairly long layoff if you lose reasonably early in Indian Wells before coming here. I felt like I put in the hard yards and was hitting the ball really well in practice. I was actually really happy with where my game was at. That's probably the most disappointing aspect.
Q. Did you consider using the challenges at all in the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, there was really no -- I didn't see any, you know, clear problems or, you know, questionable calls out there on my side.
Q. Do you like the opportunity to be able to do that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think you can get taken advantage of a little bit.
Q. How so?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think, especially at the end of a set, you know, the crowd obviously want it sometimes. I think that entices the player to go for it even if they truly believe they're going to be on the wrong end of it.
So maybe it gets a little bit Mickey Mouse out there.
Q. You like the audio a little bit more, that's your style, to get fired up. Does that take away the friction between the chair umpire because they have the button to hit?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think the chair umpires are going to rely on it a lot more, though. The problem is I don't think they're going to overrule anything now. And, you know, as a player, it is hard, if it's up the other end, on the baseline or close, it's very hard. And a compare umpire can clearly see it's overruled, then he's got to overruled. I don't believe they probably will now. I think they'll take the safer option and I don't think that's the way to go.
Q. I'm doing a story on surfaces. Do you feel over the years, last five, six years, that there's been kind of a not "conspiracy theory," but all the hard courts are getting a little bit slower to play on? Have you felt that has happened?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so, whether it's the balls as well as the playing surface. The balls are definitely fluffing up more than others the last two and a half, three years, but the player surface is a little bit rougher. The US Open in particular has always been very smooth, is still probably the smoothest hard court surface out of any of them in North America but it's still a little bit rougher than it used to be five or six years ago.
Q. Who do you feel that's affecting more? You're a guy that likes long rallies. A guy like Tim likes to come in. Is it affecting a certain player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think it's probably suiting the clay court players a little bit more purely because heavy balls, you're so used to playing that on clay. When the clay gets in the ball, it's similar to hitting that, which is a lot bigger, you can take probably a lot bigger cut at the ball which a lot of those clay court players enjoy doing, too.
Q. When you come into a tournament, do you know in advance what balls they're going to use? Do you have to adjust?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, well the balls, Masters Series are always the same. Grand Slams are most of the time, you know, you know who their sponsor is and what ball you're going to be playing with. Normally that doesn't change too often in the Grand Slams. The smaller tournaments, whoever I think, you know, whichever way they do or whoever chooses to sponsor their tournaments.
Q. What do you prefer, any ball?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think all the ball companies have good balls. There's other ones that are slightly larger ones as well that fluff up a little bit more.

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