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June 25, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Del Potro
6-3, 7-5, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.

Q. You told us your game plan the other day, and it seemed to go pretty much a hundred percent to the script.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I knew what I wanted to do, but whether I could go out there and execute it, and, you know, the opportunities for me would be there, especially to take advantage on his service games.
Yeah, I executed perfectly. Hit the ball great. Served unbelievable for most of the match. Yeah, took it to him right from the start. So, you know, I was pretty happy with the way I played.

Q. Just from your reaction, that seemed like a pretty special win.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it was a big win. I wanted to beat a top-five guy. These are the places you want to do it, too. Yeah, I've got a lot of respect for Del Potro. He's a great player, and he's only going to get better.
Yeah, he's a future Grand Slam champion on possibly any surface. You know, I knew it was going to be a tough match today, but I was up for it from the start.

Q. The crowd seemed to be on your side. They gave you a great ovation there at the end.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it was great. It was a lot of fun being out there. I guess, you know, kind of the underdog out there a little bit, as well. A lot of Aussies out there. It was good fun.

Q. Did you feel like the underdog? Are you surprised to have won?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not surprised I won. I knew -- I've never played Juan Martin before, but I've practiced with him quite a few times. Yeah, I felt like I'd seen a lot of his big matches, as well. Yeah, he's an exceptional player, he's a very talented player, but he's still a little bit raw. I had to try and take advantage of that as much as possible.
Yeah, I just played a really smart match.

Q. Kind of been waiting for a day like this for quite some time, haven't you, when everything works exactly the way you wanted it to work? How good did that make you feel?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's great. Especially, yeah, the body felt great as well. So I felt like I could actually go out there and compete a hundred percent, lay it all on the line. That's what I like to do.
You don't want to go out there and have excuses. Yeah, I wanted to lay it out on the line, playing one of the best guys in the world, and see how you go.
You know, I felt like I was able to do that. You know, I competed as well as I've ever competed.

Q. Is the hip completely fixed now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's been great since I really got on the clay, you know. So around Houston time haven't had any problems with the hip at all. Leading up to that, yeah, just the hard court, it wasn't actually the same problem.
At the start of the year after the surgery it was more scar tissue and that from the operation and having to keep doing a lot of rehab on it and that.
But, yeah, since the last two, two and a half months, it's felt great.

Q. How long before you've been able to play completely injury-free like that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's been a while. Yeah, it comes with age, though, as well. You get a lot more niggles. Yeah, you just got to do the recovery. It seems like you gotta ice a lot more spots on your body these days than I had to eight, ten years ago (smiling).

Q. John McEnroe on the TV said it's the best he's seen you since 2002. Would you follow that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about 2002. The end of 2004 I played extremely well. The start of 2005, I played very well, as well. Yeah, probably since 2005, yeah.

Q. What do you feel when he says that you were an idol for him, and it was funny when you said, C'mon the first time he was in front of you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Juan Martin gets on really well with my physio, as well. My physio was born in South America. I've actually spent, yeah, a bit of time practicing with him and that.
My physio had told me that he did look up to me growing up. So, yeah, that's not the only reason I've got respect for him (smiling). He's a good bloke, but he's a very down-to-earth guy. I did know that going into the match, though, as well.
But as I said, he's going to win Grand Slams, there's no doubt about it.

Q. How important is support from Bec and your family?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's always important. I've got a great group of people around me. It makes life easier for me to go out there and do what I love and compete as well as I can.

Q. Can you take us back one year ago just before your surgery? Did you ever have the temptation to say, I had a great career, I have a good family, it's enough, or not?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I guess in the back of your mind a little bit, because I didn't know how the surgery was gonna go. I didn't want to spend a whole heap of time, you know, playing with the pain that I was playing with, you know, for about six to seven months last year. It wasn't that much fun going on the court and not feeling a hundred percent. So it was in the back of my mind.
The surgery was something that, you know, to go on with life I wouldn't have needed to have it done. You know, it was only if I wanted to be a professional tennis player that I'd have the surgery done and try and get back to as close to a hundred percent as possible.
Once I made that commitment to have the surgery and go through the tough rehab, being off the tour for that long, the motivation was there. You know, I think it probably hit home more when the US Open was on last year after I'd had the surgery and I was sitting back at home just twiddling my thumbs, changing nappies and stuff, but not doing a lot of other things.
I was really missing, you know, not being at the US Open, which is one of my favorite tournaments, so...

Q. Because of the weight of public expectation, is it in some ways easier for you to be playing here than at the Australian Open? Can you relate to what Andy Murray goes through at Wimbledon during this fortnight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess a little bit now more so. The Australian Open's always going to be a focus, no matter what my ranking is probably. Whereas here, you sort of go under the radar a little bit more if your ranking is down a little bit lower.
Yeah, absolutely I know what Andy Murray's going through, though. He's got a good head on his shoulders, though. To me, he handles it extremely well. Yeah, I thought Tim Henman handled it unbelievably well, as well. I think you're lucky you had a guy like Tim and now you got a guy like Andy that can handle the pressure and the expectation.

Q. What possible semifinal opponent for you now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Long way away from that.

Q. Roger is going to be a father in just a little while. If you could give him one piece of advice of being a touring pro while being a dad, what would you say?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope Mirka's a good wife (smiling).

Q. Mostly be on her shoulders?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no. Bec has been unbelievable for me. Made life a lot easier. I'm sure Mirka will be that kind of solid rock for Roger, as well.

Q. And you're pretty good at changing those nappies?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Bec's better, but I'm not bad.

Q. While you were on court, Elena Baltacha crashed out. Just Andy Murray left. Do you agree it's him flying the flag, and Britons should be doing better here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard to say. When most of your players coming in needing wild cards, then it doesn't surprise me. You know, it shouldn't surprise anyone.
Yeah, it's a little bit the same at the Australian Open. Obviously, Dokic had a great run this year. We've been fortunate enough the last few years. We've still been able to have one or two players get through to the second week in the Australian Open.
Whereas in the past we had three or four people get through in the men's and women's. Yeah, we're going through the same situation.

Q. Does it feel kind of weird coming out of tournaments when you're one of the older guys with players looking up to you as opposed to years ago when you were the guy looking up to other players? Does it make you feel old at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit, I guess. Yeah, just when you look at the age of guys, Del Potro is probably around 20, I think. And, yeah, Murray is not much older, and Nadal and these guys. A lot of young guys out there.
Yeah, that just happens, I guess. I've been around for quite a while. This is about my 10th time here at Wimbledon, so...

Q. Have you set yourself that target? What would be a good Wimbledon for you this year? What would you be happy with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't even focused. Obviously with the change -- at the start, I just wanted to get through Ginepri and focus. Obviously, at the start I thought I was going to be playing Nadal, and then it was Del Potro. You know, I haven't looked past Del Potro at this stage. Now I'll start focusing on my next opponent.
But I knew today was going to be a big match for me. You know, I focused all my energy on trying to get through today.

Q. Taking all that onboard, do you still feel you're a good enough player to go all the way in a Grand Slam tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. I think there's been patches this year when I've played extremely well. It's taken some of the best players to beat me in the bigger tournaments.
Yeah, I think if draws open up and the body feels good and I can play, you know, execute that kind of style of tennis for over five sets, there's no reason why I can't put a bit of pressure on these guys.

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