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January 14, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Tipsarevic
7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was it out there?

Q. It looks it.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. No, it was -- yeah, I think it works into my favor though, conditions like that. You know, that's what I try and train in as much as possible and get used to it, even though, you know, it doesn't always feel that comfortable for anyone out there.
Yeah, you know your opponent is hurting as much if not worse than I am, so that's the positive you got to try and think about when you're out there.

Q. You probably sensed that he was getting a bit heat-affected.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, he's a tough player to play against because he's such a great shot maker, and then he just sprays balls out of nowhere as well. He serves in patches as well.
Like the start of the match today he was serving extremely well and hitting a lot of lines on his first serve and I really couldn't get into any of his service games.
He played a couple good points on my service games and I played a couple loose ones and I'm down a break straightaway. I really had to fight hard to get myself back in that first set.
Once I got the break back I felt like the momentum really changed out there and things were starting to go my way, which made life a lot easier. Once I was able to win that first set 7-5 instead of even going to a close tiebreak, then I felt like I could really try to put pressure on him early in the second set.

Q. How are you going with your autopilot?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I didn't come out and play my best tennis at the start today, which sort of put me behind the eight ball a little bit.
Mind you, he didn't give me the opportunity to do that either. As I said, he was hitting a lot lines out there early. Any half short ball he was really trying to step up and attack it and put it away, which put a lot of pressure on me. I had to keep good depth. I sort of wanted to get my teeth into the match by making a lot of balls out there and making him play a lot balls. Sort of turn it into a bit of a grinding match in some ways, and I was able to do that sort of three quarters of the way through that first set.

Q. Did the crowd bother you at all, the chanting?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that just fires me up more. It's not the smartest thing to do.

Q. So the first serves, do you feel like you need to do that better tomorrow?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I served well when I needed to today. Though. Yeah, first serve percentage, yeah, definitely got to try and work on that and get a little higher out there. You know, especially every round it's going to get tougher and tougher against better players, and also next week in Melbourne.
It's something I definitely got to work on. He was a good returner out there today. When I needed to, I hit the spots pretty well.

Q. Speaking of firing you up, Nalbandian next round.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we haven't played for a while. Yeah, it's another step up in class, though. He's a top 10 player, just outside of top 10 at the moment. Yeah, he got through, you know, with ease today against Llodra who is a dangerous opponent as well, so he's obviously playing pretty well at the moment. Going to have to step it up another notch.

Q. How much do you look forward to those kind of matches where you and he have had a bit to say to each other in the past?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not something I'll be focusing on going into the match tomorrow. For me, it's more another -- a good step to see where I'm at going into Melbourne. For me, obviously the big picture is next week, and I want to get in as good a shape as possible before Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Yeah, having an opportunity to play a guy like Nalbandian is a good opportunity for me.

Q. He likes to bait you, but he's gone off that strategy. Do you think he realized that's not very effective against you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: We actually haven't played that much really. We've only played three times, I think. We really haven't played much at all.
Obviously I killed him in the Wimbledon final, and then we had a cliff-hanger at the Australian Open in Melbourne, and he took me down pretty comfortably in the Davis Cup here in the semifinal I think a couple years ago, quarterfinal maybe.
So, yeah, it's always a tough matchup. Nalbandian plays extremely well some days and he has average loses out of blue others. He's a tough player to get a read on, but when he's at his best he's definitely in the top 10 players.

Q. What do you find most difficult about him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a good all-court game, I think. He's got good feel around the court. Yeah, he moves well and can play well from both forehand and backhand. He defends well, but he can also be very aggressive as well.

Q. You had the chance to serve first, but you chose to let him serve. Do you think that backfired when you lost the first game to him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Yeah, I just sort of feel -- depends on how I feel on the day, I guess, if I win the toss what I do, and today I felt like receiving first.

Q. Where would you like to see your ranking at the end of the summer?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Couldn't care less, to tell you the truth. It's not something that I'm focused on for two weeks' time. At the end of the year I'll probably look at it. Right at the moment I just want to get through and focus on the Australian Open. One tournament more than anything, not purely just a ranking for two weeks' time.
You know, rankings are on a 12-month basis, so it's really hard to says in three weeks what you'll be.

Q. How does your body pull up after each match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Felt really good today. Felt really good considering I had a 6-4 in the third match in the late afternoon yesterday. Don't have that much time to recover.
Yeah, in the heat today I felt quite comfortable.

Q. When you do your pre-season stuff, obviously you practice a lot. Do you do anything else to try and prepare for the heat, sand hills or anything like that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I do some sand hills and a lot of cross-training stuff. Probably the first three weeks or so before I actually got on the court when I was able to start running and doing stuff, I was doing -- yeah, it was all fitness work. Nothing to do with the racquet at the start.
I was fortunate that the whole month of December there was no tennis anyway, so I didn't really have rush to get back in tennis shape. I felt like I could be able to get a good base to start this year.

Q. Has the break helped you? Could it extend your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows. Depends how it holds up, I guess.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess it freshens you up when you play a lot of tournaments and you're looking at results and thinking about the next tournament, where your going to be playing and stuff like that and preparing.
To have three or four months where you didn't really focus on tennis at all, you know, it's probably a good thing in some ways after so many years of actually on the tour grinding it out. Yeah, I still miss not being out there, though.

End of FastScripts

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