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June 9, 2008

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Goodall
6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Pretty comfortable match for you.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always a little bit tough first match on grass. The court on the first day hasn't had any play on it either. A little bit greener out there. Yeah, you just got to be careful with your footing a little bit. That's probably the biggest thing.
But, yeah, he had a big serve. He was playing on the edge, though, the whole time I felt, going for a lot of big second serves. Today a lot of them went in. Other days a lot of them could have missed.

Q. Good to get the early break.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good in the first set. I've been returning really well in practice. I returned well in Paris on the clay, as well. Yeah, I've been seeing the ball well.
Yeah, it's still different when you get in your first match on a different surface. But, yeah, that was a good knock because I felt like I served smartly throughout the match, hit my spots well when I needed to. On my returns, I felt like I was putting a lot more pressure on him than he was on my service games.

Q. Grass courts here are regarded by some as the best in the world. What do you think about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in the past I've always thought they're as good a grass as I've ever played on. Amazing how good a nick they're always in every year we come back here. I've always had a lot of success here, which has been nice, as well.

Q. Having been out for a while, I know you obviously prefer to be fully fit, but is there a bonus, do you come to this season feeling particularly fresh?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not sure. I guess probably by Wimbledon, you know, some of the other guys could have played a lot of matches on the clay and, yeah, be a little bit tired I guess after a long clay court stretch, then going into another Grand Slam two weeks after the French.
But I'm really looking forward to it. Wimbledon's one of my favorite tournaments of the year, if not my favorite. So, yeah, I love this month of the year. You know, I think I always go in with a good attitude, as well, which helps.

Q. How do you feel physically at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty good. Yeah, not a hundred percent. Still, yeah, battling the hip injury a little bit. But, you know, just trying to get through it and hopefully not aggravate it any more.

Q. Because you said you struggled a little bit after a long match in Paris, didn't you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I struggled. Yeah, that night I was struggling to walk a little bit (smiling).
Yeah, that comes with playing five sets, as well. But, yeah, throughout the match, I couldn't really expect a whole heap going into Paris anyway, not playing on clay for 12 months. To go out and play two good matches in the first two rounds, could have easily beaten Ferrer. Who knows how it would have gone after that. But probably came within a point of beating him.

Q. Coming into Wimbledon a bit under the radar, does that help?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't matter. You guys can talk about whoever you want to talk about.

Q. The attention will be on the top three or four.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, those three guys have been the standout obviously since Djokovic, last year, he had a good year on all surfaces. But, you know, obviously after winning his first major in Melbourne, as well. Yeah, there's no doubt those three guys, they deserve to be the three favorites.

Q. You were saying you're not a hundred percent. What percentage are you at?

Q. Looking at the top three you mentioned, how much of an effect do you think what happened in Paris yesterday will have on Roger at Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not sure. He lost the last three years two times in the finals, once in the semis to Rafa at Roland Garros. He's been able to bounce back pretty well on the grass.
Yeah, there's no doubt he'll be disappointed. Rightly so. That's the one tournament missing off his, you know, career list, I guess, especially of big tournaments. I think he's mentally tough enough to know. He still thinks he's the best grass court player out there. Yeah, so he deserves to be the favorite going into Wimbledon.

Q. You've always done pretty well here. How do you enjoy the atmosphere here compared to Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The atmosphere, you know, is pretty similar. It's a good crowd to play in front of. Yeah, even playing an Englishman today, I felt like I had a lot of support out there, which is nice. No, I always feel at home, both here and at Wimbledon. You know, I think the crowds are great, the atmosphere is great. Last year at Wimbledon, played on some of the bigger courts, but played one match, because of rain, on Court 17, out the back. It was a great atmosphere out there, as well.
Yeah, crowds in London are fantastic.

Q. You took on Tony last year. Tony said he wanted to work on your serve, add variety. With injuries this year and last year, how much quality time have you had with him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. We had a good time, a good block before the Australian summer, which was good at the end of last year, through the end of November and December, which was good. Went into the Australian summer, played pretty well there. Ended up losing to Djokovic, which wasn't a bad loss at the time.
Yeah, since then obviously a couple injuries, it's been hard to get on the practice court and really do a lot of work. Especially sort of coming into the French Open, I hardly hit a ball at home before I left for Paris. It's hard to work on any consistency or any kind of routine at all.
Yeah, we're both on the same page, which is good.

Q. If it wasn't Wimbledon now, grass court season, would you be playing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not, no. I would have liked to have got the injury right a hundred percent before I came back. But, you know, I don't like missing majors. That's why I'm still playing tennis, for the big tournaments. The small tournaments don't mean that much to me. You know, to go out there and play in the French Open, fantastic atmosphere again, that's what I play for.

Q. Do you have a view on the Wimbledon wildcards? Wimbledon are due to announce today wildcards. The LTA has said they don't want wildcards to be given to players ranked below 250 in the world. Your opponent today, for example, wouldn't get one. I wonder if you have a view on that as a policy.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. That's the first I've heard about it. I can't say I've been too worried about who gets one.
Yeah, I think you should still give most of them to your own, though. Yeah, it's an opportunity. They can win one round and it can really kickstart a career. Yeah, a lot you probably have to look at the ages of players, as well, I'd say, maybe how many they've had in the past. But overall, I feel like in Australia we should give most of 'em, if not all of 'em, to Australians. Gives them an opportunity.
I don't know about you guys in juniors, but we've got a couple of guys, one junior, won Grand Slams the last couple years. I think to give them a shot at senior tennis, yeah. Playing on grass, there's not too many guys that enjoy it. A lot of the English younger players, even guys ranked 200 or 300 can cause an upset against guys ranked 100, 110 in the world, so... .

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