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June 27, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/P. Petzschner
7-5, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.

Q. It was hot out there. How hot did it feel on court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I've played in a lot hotter. Nice conditions to play in. Really nice. Be happy if I stays like that.

Q. Do you think the heat was a factor for your opponent?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think it played a bearing. Three straight sets anyway. I don't think either of us got tested, you know, physically.

Q. Fairly evenly matched throughout almost all the three sets. But your experience, do you think was what won you over and he was frustrating himself and that affected his game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough opponent. He's very flashy out there, hard to get a read on him. I played him a couple months ago on clay in Munich. First time I've ever really seen him play. I think he won a title indoors at the end of last year.
He's a tough player to play against. He's got a sneaky first serve and big serve first, good all-court game, nice slice backhand, and he moves well. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy match out there today.
I was fortunate. I wasn't quite able to break halfway through the first set, and then I was able to get the break the end of the first set to go up 7-5.
Played a great tiebreak. That was the key to the match in the end to go up two sets to love.

Q. You beat him in Munich in straight sets as well.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I beat him in three sets. Lost a set there.

Q. What's the difference then? How did you beat him if he's such a great opponent?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no, he's a good player. You know, he's got weaknesses in his game, as well. You know, on the big points I knew that they were going to be the key today, and I was able to take those.
It would have been a bit nicer to have broken when I had the opportunity earlier in the first set and also in the third set. First game of the third set, I had a couple of breakpoints. He played the breakpoints pretty well today. In the end it was nice just to win in straight sets.

Q. When you were having hip problems and surgery, how realistic did you think it was that you'd be in a position like this going into week two at Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I gave myself a very good chance. After the surgery, my surgeon was very confident that I'd get back to, you know, full fitness. You know, I don't think we expected to go out and, you know, put a lot of damage I guess in the Australian Open, a couple of my first tournaments back. It was gonna be six or twelve months after the operation that I was gonna start feeling better and better.
Yeah, I was prepared to do all the hard work to get to this stage of the big tournaments. It's nice to be in the second week of a slam.

Q. How do your emotions and feeling of accomplishment compare now, having done it after what you've been through, with when you were a much younger player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess when you're at the top of your game and you're No. 1 in the world, you kind of take it for granted, Round of 16s of slams. When you're unseeded, it's not always that easy to get the easy draw to come through the Round of 16 and make the second week of these kind of majors.
That's what's pleasing this week, is to come through and do it against worthy opponents. You know, and not drop a set so far is nice, as well.

Q. How much did the support you had out there help you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was fantastic. It was a great feeling out there. Obviously Sam played the first match out there, as well. It was a good day for Court 2 to get a lot of Australian fans out there.
So, yeah, I had the whole crowd behind me, which was great.

Q. Three straight-set wins. How does progress the second week this year compare to previous years, and in particular 2002?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, 2002, I only lost two sets for the entire tournament, and they were both to Schalken in the quarterfinals. Apart from that, I didn't drop a set, so obviously I played pretty clean tennis that year.
Yeah, it's important to play clean tennis to obviously save energy. At the end of the day, you've got to just find a way to get through the first week, as well. You can't win these tournaments in the first week, but you can obviously be knocked out.
It's important to try to find a way through. You know, I've been able to do that so far.

Q. Parallels with 2002 at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really thought about it too much. Obviously I have great memories of this place every time I walk in the joint. So, yeah, it's a fantastic place to come back and play.

Q. There's always a lot of talk about the surface, how it's changed over the years. Where do you lay in sort of on this question of it being slowed down from the way it used to be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's -- as I said a couple days as ago, I think it's a little bit slower. Whether it's the balls or not, I'm not sure. Then again, guys are still serving 138s, 140s. It still feels pretty quick out there in those conditions.
I think when guys are playing from the back of the court so much, as well, yeah, there's a lot more rallies. But then you have a match like yesterday with Karlovic and Tsonga, and there was hardly a rally in the whole match. So if you're a good enough server, you can still hit through the court, that's for sure.

Q. Going back to the group of fans, do you know any of them? Are they just sort of a little group?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I only know one or two of them I think that follow the Fanatics there, come to a lot of Davis Cup ties and that. So there's a couple of people in there that sort of lead that. I think they camped out again last night to watch obviously myself and Sam play today.

Q. There was a point when one of the stewards apparently asked them to quiet down a bit. I presume you wouldn't want them quieted down at all.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, I don't know. I thought they were fine out there today. Yeah, I felt the whole crowd was really into it. It was a good atmosphere.

Q. Does it get distracting when they start singing pop songs and stuff?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really for me. I'm used to it. It's all the sort of same songs that I've heard so many times in Davis Cup, so for me it's sort of -- it's a background noise, a lot of it. And I feed off 'em when I need to.
So I think I use 'em -- yeah, for me it works perfectly for me because I can feed off 'em when I need to.

Q. It's been pretty rare that someone has finished the year No. 1 and regained it. You have a unique perspective on that. What are the variables that make that so difficult?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. It is an extremely tough thing, you know, just to get to No. 1. But obviously to get it back, I guess, normally you got to play quite a lot of tournaments as well to be able to get it back, I think.
Obviously, Roger would be extremely close to getting it back from Rafa now that he's not defending here. Yeah, it would be a great achievement, as you said.

Q. Is it injuries? Is it mental?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Both probably. A bit of both. Yeah, I don't know. I think the game keeps changing and keeps improving, as well.

Q. You haven't played Stepanek for quite a while. What do you expect from him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a different kind of match. A little bit like today's match. He mixes in the serve-volley, chip-charge. He comes in. He's a good all-court player. Yeah, he's dangerous from the back of the court as well. Sort of flashy from the back of the court, similar to today's opponent a little bit: an all-court player, moves extremely well. Yeah, he's very comfortable on this surface, as well.

Q. He talked about struggling through his match on a bad knee, getting his doctor in from Prague. Can you let that enter your head?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I won't be focusing too much. I didn't see much of his match today at all. So, yeah, obviously to last five sets against David Ferrer you must be feeling not too bad.

Q. Do you feel fit enough now to go deep into the second week? Do you think your body is up to doing that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I hope so. I've done all the hard work back in December, yeah, not only for the Australian summer, but to last throughout the year, as well. So, yeah, I feel confident my body can hold up.

Q. You mentioned the amount of work you've had to do. Having had the career you had before having serious surgery, it would be very easy to go, That will do me, and walk away from it. Where does the hunger to do all that hard work come from?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I still think, you know, when I look at the guys in top 5, top 10 in the world, I still feel like I'm good enough to be up there. I think that's probably the motivation.
Playing in these tournaments, as well. You know, growing up, these are the places you want to play at. I've been fortunate enough to play well at a lot of these big tournaments. The passion and hunger's still there obviously. The day that that's not there, it is time to hang up the racquets.

Q. Do you set your goals down in terms of getting back in the top 10, or is it the slams?
LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, it's more focusing on the slams, trying to get the best out of myself at those slams. If I'm able to, you know, do well at those slams, the ranking will take care of itself. Obviously, I'd like to get back in the top 20 as soon as possible.

Q. What is your sense of appreciation for Roger's accomplishment as he approaches the possibility of breaking Sampras' record for majors, given your experience in majors?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's amazing what Roger's done. Every record that he's equaled or broken is amazing in itself. Yeah, the way that he's been able to go out and be so consistent in so many Grand Slams back to back is, yeah, an incredible effort. It's hard enough just to do it for a couple years. He's been able to do it for, you know, five or six years now in a row.
But, you know, something like 20-odd Grand Slam semifinals in a row which is, yeah, a little bit unheard of. Yeah, physically you've got to be extremely strong to be able to do that, but obviously mentally as well. Not to have lapses in the first week of a Grand Slam, it's not that easy.

Q. When you watch him play, what do you appreciate most?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got a great all-court game. He's a very smart player.

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