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September 2, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/J. Chela
6-3, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Another battle brewing with your old foe.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think both of us just went out there and tried to do what we needed to do out there. I went out with a good game plan, what I wanted to do, how I wanted to execute. I did it pretty well.

Q. What about your net advances, 88%. Seemed to get there a lot.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was trying to put a bit of pressure on him out there. He gives you a lot of opportunities to do that, step into the court. I didn't want him to get away with too many short balls out there, let him know that I was going to step on him.
He was going to have to come up with extremely good passes. It was going to be hard for him to do that all day.

Q. Roger is probably a bit more capable of swatting those past you. Can we expect to see that against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'll sit down and try to work out the best way of going about it. Obviously he's going to come up with a lot better passes than Chela. Totally different style of game, totally different opponent.
I'm going to go out there and try to work out what I think is the best way for me to go about it is. Yeah, and you're going to have to execute it extremely well against Rog.

Q. What about your new coaching arrangement? What has he brought to the equation?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've been working with Nathan all of this year. Yeah, week in, week out, I just feel like it's hard just coming to the slams and working with someone different all the time. Yeah, Rochey and I get along super. We know each other so well. I got so much respect for Rochey. It's hard.
I haven't been back to Australia all year either. We haven't been able to do the weeks that we sort of have been able to do in the past, I guess.
Yeah, Nathan is a positive guy. He's spent a lot of time around Rochey as well, the Davis Cup ties. Yeah, he's positive. We get along extremely well, which is a huge bonus.

Q. What about your mindset playing Roger? Been a long time since you were able to beat him.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's not a lot of guys that really have been able to beat him - especially here. He started his run here in 2004 in the final, so it would be nice if I could finish it (smiling.)
Yeah, he's obviously extremely confident at the moment. Coming off the last two majors, as well. Yeah, it's going to take someone to play a great match against him, especially three-out-of-five sets.

Q. Fatherhood distract him at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It hasn't so far. Yeah, I don't think it will too much.

Q. You're so familiar with each other. When you prepare to play him, is it actually easier or harder, because you're not scouting him? I assume you don't scout him. I assume you know his tendencies. What is it like when you have an opponent as familiar as Roger?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is totally different to going out there and playing a lot of other guys. Yeah, for the main part, especially because I've been on the receiving end of the losses for the last, yeah, lots of times.
So it's a matter of, yeah, going out there and trying to work out the best way of going about it. Not too many guys, as I said, have been able to have that success and found the perfect recipe of playing Roger. Rafa is probably the only guy that does have a great record against him.
Yeah, that's probably the hardest thing, I think.

Q. Is it more of a mental preparation for you than a tactical one?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still a little bit tactical as well, trying to work out the best way of doing it. It's a lot easier said than done, too. You got to go out there and execute it against possibly the greatest player that's picked up a racquet.
Yeah, for me, though, this is why I still play the game, to have challenges like this.

Q. Your competitiveness is well-known. When you're preparing for Roger, the quality that he brings, are you different the day before? Are you exactly the same? Are you sleeping as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm still pretty much the same. Yeah, I think we're going to have two days off now. Yeah, it's slightly different, I guess. I'll probably have a more relaxed hit tomorrow than I normally would, you know, leading in.
So tomorrow will be, yeah, just a routine rhythm, hit tomorrow. The next day I'll start focusing on what I've got to try to do. Yeah, still pretty similar, though, playing Roger.

Q. Have you spoken to Roger about becoming a dad?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. When I first saw him, I think it was in Montréal, we just had a very quick passing chat. Yeah, he was extremely happy, happy with life at the moment.

Q. How did it affect your sort of tennis at all, just your life in general, when you obviously had your first child?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it didn't affect my tennis, I didn't feel. Obviously traveling and stuff is a little bit different, I guess. A lot of it's around what was best for the baby at the time more so than your preparation sometimes. That's just part of it. That's what you deal with.
But then again, you go back to the hotel room and you're not thinking about tennis, scouting tennis as much. The kids don't care if you got a match the next day or not. It's a lot of fun.

Q. Do you think he's free rolling now? Won a slam. Now he's got kids.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I think for him, yeah, he was probably always going to get the 15 once he got so close.

Q. The French as well.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the French was probably the biggest relief for him. I don't know. I haven't spoken to him about it. Yeah, I think he really wanted the French obviously. He'd come so close. He has been the second-best clay courter for so many years. Only one guy stood in his way. I think that was probably a huge monkey off his back.
Obviously, to get the 15, yeah, as good a player as he was playing over the last few years, even as good as Nadal was, yeah, I could still see Roger, he was going to break it at some stage.

Q. Is it possible now that he's even more stress free, could he be more dangerous?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes and no. Yeah, who knows. Yeah, those years that he was only losing three or four matches in a year, it's hard to be that good and keep that up. He's getting a little older. He's had a couple back niggles the last couple years as well. That's going to come, as well. Yeah, his record speaks for itself.

Q. Having watched him over the summer, tough spring for Roger, his confidence dipped. When you watch him play or are preparing for him, can you see certain strokes that have come back that he didn't rely on as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think more confidence more than anything. I think when he's serving well, it sort of brings the whole package together, as well. He gets a lot more confidence with his backhand. His forehand's always so dangerous.
There has been times earlier this year, probably played a couple average matches for his standards. His forehand, actually he made a lot of easier mistakes off his forehand. He's probably tightened that up a little bit.
The French Open, he didn't play his best tennis. He really, from what I saw, played a great match in the final. He handled the situation incredibly well. Up until the final, he just found a way to win. He actually wasn't playing great tennis.
I think, as I said, that monkey off his back sort of opened it up for him after that.

Q. Is this the best sort of surface to meet Roger on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Don't know. Yeah, I don't mind playing on grass. I know the record he obviously has at Wimbledon. I love playing on grass, as well.
You know, obviously this surface he's been hard to beat for anyone. Yeah, it's probably hard to probably nominate the best surface against him.

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