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January 19, 2010

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/R. Hocevar
6-1, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Fair bit to be happy with that one.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always tough first round of any slam. Yeah, probably a little bit more so because I had no idea really how he played either. So, yeah, did all the homework we could do before the match. Until you actually get out there, you never really know.
So, yeah, he's a grinder. He was gonna hit a lot of balls back, and he served better than I thought he would. But I returned really well, especially at the start.

Q. Conditions a little tricky out there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was tough. It was pretty cold, so it was really heavy conditions. It got heavier as the match went on. The balls were fluffing out quite a bit purely because of the conditions. I think they weren't flying that much, so it was actually hard to generate a lot of pace out there as well tonight.

Q. For the night session, you happy to play earlier?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, if you get through, it gives you a little bit -- you get to bed and do all the rehab and physio and treatment and all that stuff a little bit earlier.
But, yeah, I didn't have any say. It was whenever I was gonna be on, so...

Q. You seemed to hit the ball really cleanly in Perth and tonight. Can you compare it with any other point that you've hit the ball this well consistently?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah. I've been hitting the ball pretty well, you know. Throughout last year and at Wimbledon I hit the ball extremely well and made a good run there. I had to knock off Del Potro, and a month later he wins the US Open.
So, yeah, my ball-striking has been pretty good. Ever since I came back from hip surgery, it's more the confidence in moving and getting into the right position to do it.
Yeah, obviously you're gonna be a step up every round, though. You're gonna play more quality opponents, and you still gotta be able to strike the ball and get in position a lot better than against a guy like tonight.

Q. You feel like you're hitting it as well as you ever have?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm hitting the ball all right at the moment, so just keep it going.

Q. You said after the match you always aspired to win this tournament. Does it still have a real burn for you after getting so close a few years ago?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. I would love to win it. It's never gonna be easy. Obviously it's a tough tournament to win. Any Grand Slam is tough. You need a little bit of luck. You gotta play well in the right matches.
Yeah, we'll see what happens.

Q. Obviously always had a fair bit of expectation on you, too. Are you ready for that to start growing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm used to it by now. Doesn't worry me too much. I played enough big matches in Davis Cup, and I've sort of had that thrown on me at a young age. Playing Davis Cup for Australia, there's a lot of expectation.
Yeah, that was instilled in me at a young age by Newc and Rochey and those guys. I had to learn to deal with it.

Q. Do you like it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't fuss me.

Q. Being ranked 22 at the moment and playing the way you are, you have a look at those guys underneath you working down to No. 1. Do you see some names there that you think, Well, you know, we can knock over a few of those and see where you're gonna end up in the not too distant future?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's a lot guys that are ahead of me on ranking that I think I can take care of. But, um, a lot depends on the how many tournaments you play and your priorities as well. My priority is not a whole heap based on rankings anymore. My priority is mainly on getting my body ready and mentally and physically being as ready as possible for the four majors.
That's what I pride myself on. Obviously wanted to come into this tournament this year seeded, though. Purely -- it's a lot tougher if you're not seeded, like last year coming off hip surgery and drawing a guy like González.
So, yeah, I did all the right things to do that this year. Yeah, if you play well in the slams and the big tournaments, your ranking is gonna take care of itself anyway.

Q. Is that the next aim, to get back inside that top 16, that next level?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not something I've really thought about too much. Where I am at the moment, I was never gonna meet the 1 to 8 guys anyway in the third round. That was always gonna be in the round of 16 anyway, which is the same as if you were 9 to 16 in the seedings.
So, yeah, from 9 to 16, 17 to 24, that's not a huge difference.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how much you have to recover from these games these days in contrast to previous years?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've always been one to, yeah, try and do all the rehab and get the right treatment and everything. Not cut corners anyway, you know, any time in my career.
But you probably do it a little bit more nowadays, especially after having a surgery and stuff like that, just to stay on top of things a little bit more. You probably take it for granted a little bit when you're 18, 19, you know, to probably 22, 23. So, yeah, probably trying to take care of your body a little bit better.

Q. Where is the cap this year, the baseball cap? Is that something new this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I won Wimbledon without it.

Q. But it's been constant for a long time. Is it just a constant thing that you've chucked it away this year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Um, yeah, I don't know. Probably couldn't find one in my bag, so...

Q. What about the next opponent. I haven't seen the score, but Donald Young, how do you match up with him and potentially Rochus?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, both slightly different players, depending on who I play. Played both of them last year. Played Rochus indoors in Memphis in the quarterfinals there, and played pretty well.
Knocked him off comfortably. But, yeah, he's always gonna bring his A game pretty much every time, and you pretty much know what to expect with him. He's a good competitor and he doesn't give you any cheap points. You've gotta go out there and beat him. He won't beat himself.
Donald Young is probably a lot more naturally talented and he's definitely a lot more of a shot-maker and probably likes the big occasion a little bit more. I played him in Washington. He's a bit of an up-and-down player. As I said, he can hit a lot winners, but he can make some unforced errors as well.
There's been big tickets on Donald for, yeah, quite a number of years now. Yeah, by him qualifying and starting to make it through into some of these Grand Slams, he's obviously starting to fulfill that potential.

Q. Just to get your thoughts on the current state of Australian tennis at the moment, obviously there's some talent coming through. You've made some comments in the past about the leadership of the game and the direction it's going. Do you see any progress or development since you last commented on that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know enough since I last commented, so there's no point really going into it right at the moment.

End of FastScripts

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