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August 28, 2007
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What are some of the things you think Delic needs to tighten up in his game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. I haven't seen him play that much in the past. Yeah, he's obviously had some good tournaments. Beat Davydenko in Miami earlier this year.
Yeah, he's a dangerous player. If you let him dictate play, that's when he plays his best tennis.
He's very free-flying out there, but you've got to try to keep him moving around and off balance as much as possible. I felt like today I was able to do that.
Q. Is this as good as you've felt on the court, off the court, health-wise, coming into a Slam in a while?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I felt pretty good going into Wimbledon this year as well, hitting the ball wise. Since Hamburg, I've been hitting the ball pretty well week in and week out.
It makes it a lot easier when the body, you know, is going to hold up out there as well, not having niggling injuries every second week.
I feel like I've been able to do the practice I've wanted to do. At the moment it's paying off.
Q. Look like you're enjoying it more than you have in a while. Is that a consequence of all the results?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably. When you feel confident within yourself, you're happy with where your game's at, you enjoy it a lot more.
Q. Your video conference call with Rochey you're going to have, did he tell you to get to the net?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You guys just keep writing it.
Q. Obviously making more approaches to the net. You were quite successful at it today.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a lot depends on the opponent. Delic is the kind of guy, you give him the half opportunity he's going to take it, come to the net, put pressure on you. He doesn't have the best passing shots out there.
So it was a matter of me mixing it up when I had the opportunity, come in on his backhand, make him press. Quite often, playing Roger out there, the same ball comes up you won't be approaching it the same way. A lot depends on the opponent, who you're playing. Today it was a good tactic.
Q. You seemed to vary your service speed a bit today. Was that part of the strategy, not let him settle in?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I tried to mix myself up to use it smartly, work the angles, not let him get into a rhythm out there where he feels like he can just go for it, lash out on a few. A few come off, then you're down breakpoints all of a sudden.
I felt like I mixed it up well. I hit some good kick serves which opened up the forehand court. I felt like I was playing on my terms.
Q. When you've been through some changes, does having been No. 1, having won slams, does that really help you in a first or second round, or does that put more pressure on you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It probably helps I think. You know, Delic was always going to be a tough opponent I think for a lot of seeded guys first round, playing in his home Grand Slam, yeah, out on a big court with nothing to lose. That probably puts a little more pressure on me.
But I felt comfortable enough if I went out there and did what I needed to do, executed the way that I did, that things were going to go in my favor.
Q. How long ago does 2001 seem for you? How different are you? Where do you regard your career right now, what you want to do?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It feels quite a while ago, I guess. In other ways, it doesn't feel that long ago (smiling). It's a strange feeling.
But I've had so much success here, even though I haven't won since then, making finals, semis or quarters since.
Yeah, where my game is at, apart from Roger and Rafa, like we keep talking about every press conference, they've been the two dominant players in the Slams over the last four or five years. No one really has had a chance to win any of the other slams basically.
That's what my goal is. That's what you keep striving towards, working for. Hopefully it will be around the corner.
Q. Faith is a strange word to use in terms of tennis matches. Do you have faith you're going to win another Slam?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I believe that, yeah, it's in me, that's for sure. I think I'm good enough to.
Q. The last match you played against Roger, does that give you that bit more confidence that you're getting closer there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, it does. In terms of obviously some of the losses I've had, I lost to him in the final the year he won it here. He was too good. Apart from the first and third sets, he killed me out there. The second set I had some opportunities.
Cincinnati I had chances throughout the match. Every set I had opportunities to break, put pressure on. Even though I lost straight sets Montréal, felt the same way. Had a lot of opportunities. He just played extremely confident on the big points when he needed to. Sort of second nature for him. He does that week in and week out now.
Q. Are you travelling with wife and child?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.
Q. What is that like?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good fun.
Q. Any bothers? Any traumas?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. She's easy-going.
Q. Sleeping well, doesn't bother you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.
Q. I can see in your face you're enjoying it.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good fun. I enjoy it.
Q. What do you learn from her?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Learn from her?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Watching a lot of kid's DVDs. Learning a lot about Mickey Mouse. Little Einstein, the Wiggles. I know all the Wiggles.
Q. Has being a father brought something to your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I guess you focus on organizing flights, accommodating everything around her. It used to be around me and my tennis more. Pretty much everything is solely around her, what's best for her needs. Then I sort of work my schedule around that.
Q. Do you think she's mellowed you out a it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really (smiling).
Q. Has she made you a better person?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Maybe my wife did that. I don't know.
Q. When you talk about Roger, playing the big points with such confidence, presumably there was a time when you did the same thing. Do you have a memory when you felt you were on top of the world?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess sometimes you go into big matches, 30-All, breakpoint down, autopilot and it comes off for you. You've done it that many times week in, week out in big matches, it is second nature for you.
Roger's had a long time of that, though. Four or five years of doing it on big points. But, you know, he keeps doing it. Seems like he can keep doing it. That's why he's the standout best player at the moment.
Q. I don't know Patrick Rafter's status in terms of where he lives. Would you ever call up Rafter and have a hit with him or would he call you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think he really wants to hit tennis balls. A hit of golf, we'd have. Plenty of those.
Q. Wouldn't want to call him up, see what he can do?
LLEYTON HEWITT: We've spoken about hitting when I was tuck for a hit sometimes. It's not the first thing he wants to do, I don't think. He'd probably just stand in a corner. He wouldn't want to be moved around.
Q. What happens when you play golf?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Golf, he's had a lot more time to practice it than me over the last five or six years, so he's better than me.
Q. Obviously there's been stuff about gambling, questions about that on tour this summer. Paul Goldstein yesterday said he'd been contacted. You're a long-time guy. Had you ever had any contact or any thinking during a match something weird is going on or do you think it's a one-off situation?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Personally I've never been contacted. No one's ever spoken to me in the locker room or outside the locker room. For me it's a little strange when I hear stuff like that, that Paul Goldstein got contacted. Llodra, these kind of guys. It's the first time I've ever heard of anything like it.
Yeah, obviously gambling's a big thing now. It's a big deal around the world. Tennis is a two-horse race in a lot of ways. Obviously it's going to be interesting to see what happens in the Davydenko case. See where we go from there.
Q. Do you actually think it's a problem that must be dealt with strongly?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in terms of tennis, personally I don't think there's been many problems in the past that I've seen or that stand out, I guess. Obviously from what I've read in this one situation, one match, yeah, it does seem a little strange. The reasons behind it no one really knows at the moment.
I think the ATP's doing all they really could at this stage to find out or get to the bottom of it.
Q. You arranged special practice in regard to Delic's serve. How did that help you today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just got in a good rhythm over the last couple days. Hit with Isner, who is obviously a talented guy with a massive serve. I hit with Sam Querrey yesterday, another up-and-coming American with a big serve.
Yeah, I just felt like I was seeing the ball well return-wise, which is a big part of my game. I felt like I had my position in the court where I wanted to stand. Right from the start today I was on his first serve.
I felt like he had to change the way he was serving out there if he wanted to get a couple of cheap points, which was good.
Q. Having Darren around you, encouraging you, at the time when he used to coach you till now, has he sort of changed the way he looks at thing, given you advice from when he was with Agassi?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, basically he hasn't probably changed that much, I don't think. He's probably learned a lot from Andre, though, I think, as anyone working with a guy like Andre that has been around for so many years, different situations.
So, yeah, he's got definitely small things he's picked up from Andre that you can definitely pick up on and helps out. But, yeah, it's been great working with him.
Q. Are those things that have helped you in your game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think small things, yeah. As soon as the Davis Cup in Belgium, I felt like I got out of him there. Played a great match at the end of the week against Rochus when I needed to win in the fourth rubber.
Since then he's been around doing commentary at Indian Wells, Miami, those tournaments. Yeah, when we've gone out on the practice court I felt like there's been a purpose. Every time we were going out there we were trying to work on something.
It's the same with Rochey. The two weeks I spent with Rochey at home, there was a purpose in everything I was doing. It's good to get back to that.
Q. What did you alter in your receiving position against Delic?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't alter anything. It was just a matter of getting in that rhythm of serving, the ball's coming through a little higher than a lot of guys out there. He's got a good kick serve, big kick serve, which you've got to play strength up high above your shoulders.
It was more a matter of just seeing that pace coming through in the last couple days with good practice form.
Q. When you were no longer No. 1, did it take a mental adjustment to not be disheartened?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Every time I step on the court, whether I'm No. 1 or 18 on the rise or now, I always busted everything out there to put my best foot forward on the match court and in the practice. So mentally it hasn't changed.
Q. You weren't discouraged?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all.
Q. You've obviously handled some great servers in the history of the game. Some people have said Isner's is one of the best already. Where do you place it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I broke him twice in practice (smiling).
It's good. There's no doubt about that. One of the biggest things is because of the height that it comes down. It's like playing Karlovic. From the back of the court he was better than I thought he was going to be.
He moved pretty well for his size. I think he's still got a little bit to learn probably about playing points and situations, big matches, even in practice on big points, shot selection, stuff like that. I think his serve can still get better. He's a good prospect. He seemed like a nice kid, as well.
Q. On the coaches front, you have access to Darren, Rochey, two of the best in the business. Is it fair to say you've got the best deal in tennis at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it's good. They're obviously close mates. I feel comfortable talking about anything with both of them. In terms of tennis-wise, their knowledge is as good as anyone around. It's good for me, it really is. I enjoy both of them.
Q. Having a look forward now, you have Seppi or Calleri. Talk about the challenges they bring.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Different match to today. Both of them play slightly different, as well. Calleri is probably a bit more of a shot-maker. Seppi will run down a lot of balls, try to use your pace a bit more, plays a bit more percentage tennis than Calleri.
It's hard. I don't know who will win out of those two anyway. But it's going to be a different match to today, a lot more rallies. I feel like if I can go out there and execute, hopefully I'll be in good stead.
Q. Tim said a couple days ago he could see a situation arising when there were seven-foot tennis players. Do you think there's a chance people of your stature physically will never have a chance of challenging for major titles in the land of the giants this sport seems to be becoming?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Tim's just throwing things out there now that he's finished (smiling).
We've got a couple big guys out there now that on their day are tough to beat on any surface. Roger's not the biggest guy out there. He's not the strongest guy by any means. But his shot-making, the way he gets big serves back, makes it look pretty comfortable, does it easily out there.
I still think if you're as good as Roger, you're still going to be holding up the Grand Slams. I'd prefer to have Roger's game than one of those two probably.
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