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October 14, 2009

Lleyton Hewitt


G. MONFILS/L. Hewitt
4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you explain -- I mean, it seems as though you had the match in control in your second set, and then it all shifted. Were you tired, or how do you explain the shift in momentum?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it wasn't in the second set. I was down a break the whole time in the second set, so there was a lot of momentum that flows out there in the match, and I had chances early in the third set. I was up a break and then had chances on his service game. I wasn't quite able to get it.
Then had game points. He came up with a couple of good passes on game points for me to go up 3-1 in the third, and then he got a little bit more confident and started going for a few bigger shorts. He served a bit better as especially the third set went on.
And that was probably the biggest difference, yeah. He was able to get some cheap points off his first serve.

Q. Do you think that you may have had some dips?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. You know, I felt like -- if I could have executed the way I wanted to and the way I did early in the match, then it was more a matter of execution out there. I just wasn't quite able to do what, you know, obviously I was able to do early in the match.
Yeah, he's a strange player. He's very up and down the whole time, so you're never 100% sure what you're going to get from him.

Q. Is that pretty difficult to play? How do you treat someone like that? Because he can be so dangerous and yet sometimes so poor. For you receiving it, how do you deal with that, or are you just looking after yourself?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you just try and concentrate on your own game more than anything. You can try and stay as solid as possible right through and not have those, yeah, up-and-down patches.
Yeah, as I said, it was basically -- I just didn't serve well enough and get enough cheap points when I needed to, especially when I was up the early break in the third set.
Yeah, but you just gotta stay mentally tough in those situations.

Q. When he is playing really well, hitting the ball really well, how good is he?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, that's a hard one, because, you know, I don't think I've ever seen him play a perfect match, you know, and that's just him. That's how he plays.
It's like asking Nadal, you know, to serve volley all the time, as well. They have strengths and weaknesses. His strength is obviously he can play incredible tennis, but very rarely is he going to play like that. I've never seen a whole match of it.
So, yeah, he gives you a lot of chances out there. Yeah, he drops the ball short quite often, and he's obviously got great defensive skills, and, yeah, that's what he relies on a lot.

Q. The fact that he's coached by your former coach, is that something you think about at all before the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not for me. You know, it's a matter of I've played Gaël twice before and we've had tough matches. Yeah, I knew it was going to be a tough match. He obviously -- he made the semis last week at Tokyo and won a tournament two weeks ago.
I was more trying to focus on obviously, you know, what I could do to try and, you know, get the upper hand out there today.

Q. What do you need to do to win matches like this consistently?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I think the more, yeah, positions you keep putting yourself in -- yeah, it's only a few points out there again, but you've got to keep putting yourself in that position to be able to come through them.

Q. (In Chinese) Your last match. Are you disappointed? What's your plan for the future and what's your next stop? Where is your next stop? Basically, what's your expectation on this whole year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm obviously disappointed. Any time you lose you're disappointed, so, you know, in terms of the rest of the year, we'll just wait and see what happens.
Yeah, I haven't really set out anything, because I said, you know, yesterday, the Australian Open and building on early next year is the priority for me.

Q. You said the other day you thought you still had a Grand Slam in you. If you look back to when you were No. 1, has the game changed much in those intervening years? Do you need to be a different player now to win a Slam to when you last did?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The game's always changing. Roger -- you know, obviously when Pete came in, he took it to a new level and Andre was able to keep pushing him to a new level.
Yeah, I think it's always -- the game's always changing, and then obviously Roger took it to an extraordinary level there for a few years, and Rafa sort of made him push to get better, as well.
So, yeah, I think you're always going to become a better player if you're going to stay with the best guys into the world. There's so many big hitters out there these days, as well, that are able to go out and do damage. I think in men's tennis, the depths are incredible as well. These kind of tournaments, 56 draw is no easy round, that's for sure.

Q. Marat Safin has played his last game in China today. He lost. He's obviously not that much older than you, another former No. 1. He's decided to call it a day. Has it ever crossed your mind to quit, pack up? If not, what keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It hasn't really seriously crossed my mind. The only small thing that came in was obviously before I had surgery last year, you know, that was obviously a tough seven months playing injured and not really knowing 100% what was causing the problem, as well, and whether the surgery was going to fix it 100%.
So that was, you know, the only small doubts I had in my mind in terms of me -- I think once I made the decision to have the surgery, then that pretty much showed, yeah, the motivation was still there.

Q. Going back to the question before last, would you say therefor that you're a better player now than you were when you were No. 1?
LLEYTON HEWITT: At those times, yeah, probably a different player, I think, a little bit different player. You're always trying to add new, other dimensions to your game, I guess, and, yeah, just surprise people, as well, and keep improving.
As I said, you've got to keep improving, and so there's days I think where I played better than I did, you know, seven, eight, nine years ago, but there's other days when it doesn't come off sometimes, and you don't quite look as good.

Q. There was a lot of talk about the calendar, and we spoke yesterday about Andy two days ago who gave a press conference and he spoke about it. Now you heard what happened to him yesterday, so it's another big player that dropped out of the tournament. Does what happened to Andy yesterday, does that make you reflect even more on that topic, or do you want to comment about it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. For me personally, no, because I have no idea actually what happened to Andy, and I know he pulled out, but, you know, whether that has anything to do with the calendar or not, that could be two totally different things, as well.
But, you know, obviously, yeah, we're all human and we're going to get injured at times, and no one is Superman out there, so you can't keep putting your body through it all the time at these levels.
I guess the biggest thing is that the players know their bodies better than anyone, and especially the top guys, you know, what your priorities are. And the tour needs the top guys, so I think the biggest thing is when -- the players shouldn't be obliged to play all the tournaments every week, because they know what it takes to be the best players in the world.
That's something that Federer has been extremely good at, but you shouldn't go out and try and make these guys play every week.

End of FastScripts

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