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January 23, 2010

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/M. Baghdatis
6-0, 4-2 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When were you aware that Marcos was in trouble?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Towards the end of the first set he started to try to shake his arm out a little bit. Yeah, he dumped a couple of forehands, hit some rally balls into the net. He was obviously shaking his arm, and then he called the trainer.
For me, I had to try and stay in the moment as much as possible. Felt like I was hitting the ball well and extremely clean. I wasn't -- my frame of mind out there wasn't gonna change at all.

Q. Is this the ideal lead-up for a match against Roger Federer?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in terms of my ball-striking, absolutely. I took it up another notch tonight, which was great. I hit the ball as well as I have hit it in a long time. It's not gonna be easy against Rog. It's not going to be easy. I'll be ready come Monday.

Q. What do you do in your preparation now to compensate for the fact that you didn't have a big workout tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Nothing different. No. Um, yeah, it's just a blessing that I didn't finish really late and, yeah, have to bounce back from a tough five-set match, because it's hard enough playing him when you're fresh.
I'll do all the same preparation that I've been doing. Everything is going according to plan so far.

Q. So you would rather have a shorter match than a longer match leading up to playing someone like Roger?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me, it doesn't matter. I couldn't have got any more out of tonight's match than what I got anyway. My ball-striking, as I said, I didn't put a foot wrong. I served great. I moved great. I hit the ball fantastic. I did all the right things on my side of the court.
You know, I took care of my service games extremely well and was confident and put a lot of pressure on him. In terms of that, me going out and hitting more balls or playing out there a few hours longer, I was only gonna obviously make a few more mistakes and get negative on yourself. There's no point in doing that.

Q. Is there a slightly different letdown process that you've built yourself up to a game and obviously it didn't go the way you expected it to?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. As I said, I was extremely happy with everything that I did tonight. Yeah, it's like Danny Green when he's boxing. He expected to go 12 rounds and he didn't even last a round. You take it when you can get it.

Q. Could you hope to be in better form coming into a match against Roger?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, I felt like I stepped it up every match. Obviously the opponents have got tougher every match. Tonight was always gonna be a step up in class. Even though it didn't obviously pan out the way it was supposed to, I guess, Marcos -- you got to be extremely wary of him.
In the second set, I felt like the only points I was really pressured on was when he was hitting the line on his first serve. Apart from that, I was all over his second serve and putting a lot of pressure on him.
Yeah, I moved the ball around extremely well. I made him -- yeah, he didn't hit one winner, I don't think, in the first set.
Yeah, even if he's a little bit injured, against a guy like Marcos, it's not an easy thing to do.

Q. Fitness-wise, is this the best you've been going into an Open campaign for while?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was only really last year that I wasn't -- yeah, there were a few question marks. I had done all the hard work, but it was just whether the hip was gonna hold up. I hadn't played any matches. A lot of the other years I've been pretty fit coming in. Same as this year.

Q. You lost the last 14 matches against Roger Federer. How can you beat him Monday? What will be the key?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Win three sets before he does. That's what I'll be trying to do.

Q. Do you feel very different coming into this match than you did in New York in September?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, not a lot. Not a lot different, really. Um, yeah, I hit the ball pretty well going into the match against him in New York as well.
I made a quarter and obviously lost to Roger in straight sets in Cincinnati a week or so before the US Open. Obviously unlucky to draw him in the third round at the US Open.
By my first two rounds there I played faultless tennis as well. Went through both those matches extremely comfortable and hitting the ball great going into the match with Roger.
Yeah, my knee was probably a little bit not in such good shape going into that match, which I'm a lot more confident on now. So, yeah, that was probably a little bit more worrying.
With that said, I was still able to take the first set off him and push him towards the end of the third set, which could have gone either way. Obviously he ran away it in the fourth. Yeah, I had some chances.

Q. Are you expecting to play Monday night if you get a choice?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, I haven't really thought about it yet. Haven't thought about Roger yet. I haven't thought about when they'll put us.

Q. When does that start to happen, the thinking about Roger?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably tomorrow.

Q. So you just enjoy tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just do all the right things: rehab and get some food and doing everything that I've been doing for the last three months.

Q. You have run into Roger more often I think than any of the other active players on the tour at the moment. Do you view this as one of your greater opportunity to get one back, given his record at the Masters and Doha, that he hasn't been in as good a form?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he doesn't lose too many matches, especially big matches, and especially Grand Slams. You just got to look at his record last year in Grand Slams.
Yeah, it does take a great performance to beat him. That's why he's been the greatest player possibly ever, because he keeps putting himself in a position to keep winning Grand Slams.
Yeah, every time he does lose to anyone - there hasn't been many - it's pretty much been Rafa or obviously Del Potro in the final of the US Open. Yeah, last year those two guys were the only two guys that beat him in five sets at slams. So you're gonna have to be ready for a challenge.

Q. Obviously you wouldn't be playing if you didn't believe you could beat Roger. What is it that makes you continue believing you will eventually get over on him one day?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, well, I still think there's room for improvement in my game. Heals and I have been working on stuff. You're not gonna play your best tennis day in and day out.
You play for those moments, to play against the best players, Roger is that. This is what motivates you. If you can't get up for these matches, you shouldn't be playing the game.

Q. Having played him 20 or 21 times, is this the greatest rivalry you've had, maybe the most special rivalry you've had your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, we've played a lot of big matches. Obviously played the final of the US Open, we played a Davis Cup match here as well.
Nine times out of ten I've played him in most of the majors as well, apart from the French Open. So, yeah, a lot of them have been pretty big occasion matches.
Yeah, he's obviously, as I said, possibly the greatest player ever to play. So any time you get to play those guys, as I said, it's -- yeah, the motivation is there.

Q. Sharing the billing on Monday with Sam Stosur. Good to see Sam get through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't see much of Sam's match today. We obviously played the Hopman Cup together. Good for her to get through. Obviously she was a little down on confidence coming in here for last couple of the matches to win in straight sets.
She's got nothing to lose going out there against Serena either. So, you know, for her, everything to gain and nothing to lose. The weight is off her shoulders now. She can go out there and enjoy it.

Q. Seems to have been kind of an injury-prone day for some of the other players. Marcos was one of three people that retired in matches. It's not hot out today. Are there some other conditions that you think might be contributing to it, or it's just the first big tournament of the season?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I can't really speak for the other injury -- Marcos, I'm sure it had something to do with his long match two days ago. So it had nothing to do with weather or conditions today.
From what I heard, Youzhny pulled out with a wrist, so didn't even start the match. That didn't have anything to do with him.
Koubek, I don't even know why he pulled out. It's got nothing to do with conditions right at the moment.

End of FastScripts

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