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January 30, 2010

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Before we start, Lleyton has a few words to say.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Thanks for all coming today. Obviously, a little bit frustrated to be having this press conference. But, you know, it needed to be done.
After I finished the Australian Open, two days ago I had to go in and have hip surgery on my right hip. It's been causing a few problems since the Hopman Cup at the start of the year. Wasn't an easy decision to make, but one that I felt was necessary right at the moment, so...
I'll take any questions.

Q. Is it the other hip?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's my right hip this time. Yeah, as I said, during my pre-season in November and December, I didn't have any worries. I did one movement at the Hopman Cup in practice the day before my first match, and I felt something straightaway. I knew it wasn't that good.
Yeah, right at that time I wasn't a hundred percent sure whether I was going to be able to play any of the Australian summer. At least I gave a hundred percent and tried to block it out as much as possible, was able to get through the summer.

Q. Is the rehabilitation going to be as bad as the previous operation?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It will be very similar, very similar.

Q. You still have the urge to play tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely, otherwise I wouldn't have had the op straightaway. I could have waited a couple of weeks, see if it settled down a little bit better after straight playing a tournament.
At the end of the day, from the scans I had before the Australian Open, you know, speaking to the experts that I had around me, we pretty much knew that the decision was pretty much out of my hands right at the moment.
Obviously, what I play for these days are the Grand Slams. If I waited any longer to have anything done, it would have been very similar to 2008 where I sort of prolonged it because I didn't exactly know what was going on and ended up missing the US Open because of it.
For me having it done right now, I'll be back, ready for the French Open.

Q. What is the medical term for it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I had a tear in my labrum, which is around my hip joint. So I pretty much had torn that off the bone. I had a few issues with my ligament, as well, in there.
Yeah, it wasn't exactly the same as last time. This one was probably more just an unlucky movement that caused it I think at the time.

Q. Have they given you any time, how long the rehab might take?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, not a hundred percent 'cause you never really know until you sort of get back in the rehab.
Obviously, yeah, it's put me out of the first Davis Cup tie, quite a few of the tournaments, all the hard court tournaments throughout the States. Yeah, for me I'll be looking to get back on the clay at some stage before the French Open.

Q. How much pain were you in throughout the Australian Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I was in, yeah, a reasonable amount of pain. But, yeah, I've played with pain in the past. As I said, 2008, we didn't know the extent of the left hip, what the actual problem was. So I actually played throughout that year with quite a lot of pain anyway. I'm able to block it out as much as possible.
You know, during Sydney, it was not great against Baghdatis in the match in Sydney. That was pretty much why in the end I sort of had to fall away from that match and try and concentrate on the Australian Open.

Q. Is there something about the way you play that makes you more susceptible to hip injuries do they think?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. I think this one was probably a little bit more unlucky, whereas the last one, my bone in my hip at some stage was going to cut the labrum anyway, how the bone was, where this was more a little unlucky where I landed in a position that actually sort of tore it.
As I said, I did as much training in November and December, harder training than I'd ever done in a pre-season. The body couldn't have felt better. So it was a little bit frustrating going into the Hopman Cup.

Q. After this injury, any sort of thought of giving it away?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, the only thought I thought maybe if I retire now and come back in 12 weeks, you know, Kim and Justine do that, then come back and win slams. Could have been an omen for me (smiling).
You know, for me, that never went through my mind. I've worked too hard to come back. I feel like I'm hitting the ball as well as I've nearly ever hit it. How I was feeling, the bloke I lost to the start of this week, he's as good as you get right at the moment. I don't feel like I'm that far away, my ball striking, from doing some damage in the Grand Slams.

Q. Where did you have the surgery done and where will you do the immediate sort of rehab?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I had surgery in Hobart, the same as last time. Rehab, not sure yet. Got to speak to my guys, obviously my physio, Ivan, just go through what's best for me. I haven't really been through all that just yet.

Q. Obviously you still think you can win slams if you're coming back?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, obviously it's frustrating because I felt like I was in such good shape, and I felt like I'd done everything possible coming into the Australian summer to give myself as good a shot. I still gave a hundred percent. I lost to the best player in the world at the moment.
But, yeah, for me the obvious goal, the next one will be Wimbledon. It's a place where I feel comfortable at. It's a place I played extremely well last year. Was only one or two points away from making the semis there. I feel like if I can get back and play some matches before Wimbledon, I have an outside chance of doing well.

Q. Is it harder or easier having been through it once?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's kind of easier to know what to expect. Even when I come back, you might have some good days and some bad days. Even when you start playing matches again, yeah, it could just be a little bit stiff in the hip joint afterwards.
But you put up with that. At least I know the kind of pain that I'm going through at the moment. A few weeks, it will go away. I got to start doing all the right things again.

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