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June 25, 2010

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/G. Monfils
6-3, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you sum it up, please, Lleyton.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was always going to be a tough match. You know, he's flashy, like most French guys. He's got a lot of firepower out there.
Yeah, he moves well. Obviously grass takes away a little bit of his movement, his best movement, I think.
But in terms of, yeah, his serve, he hits all the spots extremely well. So that's what makes it tough on a grass court. And I felt like I played well out there today. I played smart tennis.

Q. What's the best part about your game at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit of everything. I served well for two sets today. Third set I didn't serve as well, but I didn't need to as much. But the first two sets I served extremely well. I took my chances. What Heals and I planned, I executed to perfection the first couple of sets. That was the pleasing part so far.
Every match is different, but today was a step up in class, and I rose for it.

Q. Second week, this is where you always wanted to be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. It's about surviving the first week, giving yourself a chance. Gets tougher now. Step up in class again against a top-four opponent. Now see what happens.

Q. How do you feel about the shape you're in, the form you're in now, compared to the last few years at this stage?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I feel good at the moment. Obviously, yeah, I've had a couple of rough times just with hips and feeling -- yeah, the first hip I played with when it wasn't even close to a hundred percent for quite a while. Yeah, it got to the stage I wanted to play Wimbledon, about a couple months after that I ended up having to have surgery. Yeah, that was frustrating, playing with that.
But, yeah, I'm probably more surprised how well I've been able to bounce back from the last couple of surgeries to how I'm moving and feeling physically, able to bounce back day after day at the moment, which is pleasing.

Q. Would this be the best look at this point at the weekend?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, every slam's different purely on the fact of it depends the matches and the time you spend on court. Right at the moment I'm feeling pretty good. My body's feeling good, which is a great thing. The hip's not a problem at all. Yeah, that's a huge positive.

Q. Perhaps the best for four or five years?
LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, it's hard, purely because sometimes you survive a five-setter or something in the first couple of matches, but that can wear on you a little bit. Yeah, right at the moment, you know, I've done everything I've needed to do.

Q. Were you especially pleased to stay in that tiebreak after you had a couple of fluffy forehands, to keep your focus and get through? I think that would have given him a big lift.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a big set to get out of for me, one, because I felt like I had pretty much dominated the whole set. I didn't give him any chances on my service game whatsoever. I was the only one that had any chances.
I felt like I was, you know, getting into his service games, but he came up with some big serves at the right times when he needed to.
The breaker, it was a little bit of everything. But that's Monfils. You know, he'll come out and play a couple of blinding shots, and then he'll come and give you a couple of double-faults.
It's not an easy person to play against because he doesn't give you that rhythm and you don't know what's going to happen.

Q. Can you talk about the Djokovic match, what you expect, what you'll need to do?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't even thought about it yet. So, yeah, obviously get a couple days off now. So today we'll just enjoy getting through and being in the second week.
But, yeah, he's a quality opponent. As I said, it's another step up. You know, go out there. If I go out there the way that I've been playing and hitting the ball, I can give him a run for his money.

Q. How do you rate him as a grass courter, specifically?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's been a little bit up and down over the years. I played him at Queen's once the year that he made the final against Rafa at Queen's. I thought he played bloody well on grass that year in particular.
Then he came and lost to Safin second round I think here at Wimbledon, which was surprising. So he's been a little bit up and down on grass.

Q. Obviously our sport has three really distinct surfaces. Between clay, hard, grass, which surface do you think demands the most of an athlete?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. It's a tough question. You know, grass, you know, obviously it's an all-court game. It's a lot harder on your body than people think, I think, purely because the ball is staying so low on a grass court. Sometimes it takes it out of your legs on a grass court.
With the clay, it's sliding. A bloody tough surface. But in terms of purely because of the rallies are more longer, that's the toughest part about clay.
Hard court, that's tough on your body just purely because of the jolting around on a hard surface.
So I can't pinpoint one.

Q. What did you make of Isner-Mahut? You're a guy who has been around for a long time. Staying out there for 11 hours.
LLEYTON HEWITT: My matches wouldn't go that long. I'd either break or lose serve.

Q. What did you make of it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's amazing. You know, like everyone said before me, it's incredible, to think that both guys can serve that well and not play a couple of loose points.
I saw a little bit of it at patches, but you have to take your hat off to Mahut to be diving around. You know, he looked fresh as a daisy. Obviously, it was telling on John today, you know, to try and bounce back from that - not only physically but emotionally, too, mentally. It would never have been easy for him today.

Q. You're one of the most intense players in our game. After winning the tiebreak, you were doing the fist pumps multiple times. How do you think the fire in your belly is now compared to six, seven years ago when you were a good bit younger?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's still the same.

Q. Why is that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: That's who I am. You can't buy that. You know, that's my personality coming out on the court. Yeah, I've always played with my heart on my sleeve.
Doesn't matter what the situation. If I'm up for the fight, then, you know, it's going to show at the right times, I think. It's not something you premeditate before you go out there to play.

Q. You're known for your wheels, a lot of things. But is that your greatest strength as a player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. I'd like to think that I've got a few strengths, not just one.

Q. But where does your will to win come in?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's obviously up there. Wins a lot of matches for me. Yeah, I'd rather have it than not have it, that's for sure.

Q. Did you feel today that your performance went a long way to justifying the Club's decision to give you the boost in seeding?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't even think about that at all. Yeah, in terms of seedings, they have their own formula. It's not actually the Club choosing where you go, which I think a lot of people write up, which is wrong. They actually have a formula that they use every year.
Whether it's right or not, that's everyone's opinion. But they go by the rule that they set. It's not the same as when I first came on the tour and they just pick and choose where people would go.

Q. Apart from playing Novak at the Australian Open after you played Baghdatis in that dusk-to-dawn match, how has Novak hurt you in the past when he's beaten you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He moves exceptional. He's a great mover on the court. He's a great athlete. He's very solid from both sides of the court. Yeah, good first serve. Yeah, he's an all-around player. He can slice, as well.
But, yeah, I think he can attack and defend extremely well. You know, when he won the Australian Open, that was probably his biggest asset. He was serving well, but he was attacking and defending well.

Q. What plans for the weekend? Going to get away from tennis at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, nothing. Still got to stay in the moment. Nothing different to any other off days.

Q. Looking to the match against Djokovic, do you see Monday's match, being in the form you're in, you beat Roger two weeks ago, playing on your favorite surface, do you see this match as being one of your best chances in probably the last three or four years of beating a top-four player in a real billing Grand Slam match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I always go out there and give myself a chance. I guess, you know, in the pecking order here, out of the top four guys, Novak is probably the fourth out of those top-four guys on grass right at the moment.
But Roger and Rafa are the two main guys. I'm going to go out there and take it to him and see what I've got.

Q. In another event, Australia had a good result against Serbia. Is that going to give you a huge jolt of confidence in your matchup with Novak?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It was a good result, but it wasn't good enough, you know.

Q. Did you give him a little bit of a hard time about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no. I think I made one comment. They were shattered, him and Zimonjic, in the locker room. They expected us to tank.

End of FastScripts

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