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August 11, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


J. FERRERO/L. Hewitt
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How tough is it to get out there and play these days? Do you find it difficult or...
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not that tough. It's still -- I'm still very motivated, and when the body is feeling good it's a lot easier.

Q. Body is feeling good now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a slight tear last week. I have been out of practice since coming here, arriving here. So, yeah, I wasn't expecting a whole lot out there today.

Q. Were you pleased with the way you fought in the second set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually felt like my ball striking was pretty good out there. As I said, I haven't been out to play any practice sets the last three or four days since getting here. That's been hard going out there just today straight into it and see what happens.
In the back of my mind, I didn't want to do any more damage to my leg, either, obviously before going into another Masters Series next week but more the US Open in a couple weeks' time. So my movement was -- he moved exceptional out there today and I didn't move so well, and that was the difference.

Q. Do you think you'll be able to step it up the next couple of days in terms of your practicing? Did you feel like the leg wasn't affecting you too much?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it was affecting me a little bit more today than I would have liked; that's for sure. It's more now that hopefully there is no more damage done, and I can get ready for Cincinnati next week.

Q. Have you been watching Kim's comeback at all?

Q. Before this week, your last couple of losses were in tough matches against very good players. What do you think the difference is between winning those matches and not being...
LLEYTON HEWITT: Both those against Del Potro and Roddick, the last couple since Wimbledon could have gone either way. Yeah, I was only a point or two in each of those matches.
As I said, I did the injury against
Del Potro last week, so for me it was a good effort just to have got that close in the end.
So that was frustrating, because I was a set and a break up and feeling really confident, and then he goes on and wins the tournament, so...

Q. When you keep getting injured like this and try to come back, do you feel like you take a lot of steps back every time or...
LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes, but, you know, since -- through I guess from Houston, yeah, so far through to Washington I've been, touch wood, it's been pretty good, and I've played some good tennis.
You've just got to get those matches under your belt, especially since the second half of last year I didn't play any matches. It's not easy to just step in and play your best tennis straightaway against these guys. All of these tournaments are extremely tough fields. You're going to have your work cut out in every match.

Q. What's the toughest part, physical or mental?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, a little bit of both, you know. Obviously if you're physically struggling, then it becomes a mental battle as well to go out there and compete and lay it all on the line every time. That gets frustrating if you can't do it.

Q. Is it frustrating to know guys you beat four or five years ago you struggle with now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: There's only a handful of them, I guess. Obviously there's a lot of younger guys coming up nowadays that are a lot better than they were five years ago.

Q. For a player like you who has been at the top and trying to get back, when you see a situation like Federer or Nadal, does that limit your expectations going into a Grand Slam or a tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I think you still focus on who you're up against, obviously. But 9 times out of 10, if you're going to win one of those big tournaments, you're going to have to beat one of those, most likely one of those two guys to win the tournament.
It's obviously going to be a tough challenge, especially the way they've been playing the last four or five years now. But, yeah, that's the motivation, as well. Try and keep improving, and they take the game to a new level and you've got to try and keep up with them.

Q. I know it seems like Rafa and Roger take a lot of the attention and kind of everybody else is in the shadows. Does that make a difference at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You know, there has been -- since I first came on, I guess Agassi and Sampras were the great rivals, I guess. It's good for the sport to have that kind of rivalry, as well.
Some of the matches that Rafa and Roger have played have been incredible tennis, especially to be able to do it in the Wimbledon final last year but then the Australian Open final this year as well. To be able to do that in those great matches, they deserve the limelight.

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