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September 1, 2013

Lleyton Hewitt


L. HEWITT/E. Donskoy
6‑3, 7‑6, 3‑6, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Different kind of match today.テつ Pretty pleased with how you handled it?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, it was totally different.テつ I did my homework on him, though.テつ Yeah, I wasn't surprised by anything that he really did.テつ He's obviously got a great forehand.テつ Hits it well.
But I came out aggressive at the start and I played well right at the start to get up that early break.テつ That was sort of the telling point for that first set really.
I served a lot better today, as well; hit my spots well.テつ Even my second serve, whenever I was under pressure I didn't give him too many chances to run around and take second cuts on my second serve, which was positive.

Q.テつ I think 31 net approaches or something like that?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, I came in right from the start today.テつ I felt his forehand was his biggest strength.テつ His backhand, he was going to make a lot of balls and not make a lot of errors, but I felt like I could dictate play and come in on that side.
That's what I did right from the start just to try to set the tone out there.

Q.テつ Is the net rushing because of the opponent or something you're trying to do in general?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ If the right ball's there, I think I'm a good enough volleyer to back it up and play aggressive tennis out there.
Trying to come in on Del Potro where he's hitting the ball so hard and flat from the back of the courts, it's a totally different prospect.
The guy today, you know, if he dropped the ball shorter and hit with a bit of spin then gave me a better opportunity.テつ Yeah, I felt like once I got him slicing out wide, as well, yeah, he took his second hand off the racquet, and I felt like I could sneak in and play that point.

Q.テつ Was there any danger of a letdown for you given how big it was Friday night?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ It was a matter of still staying focused and staying in the moment as much as possible.
Yeah, I still felt a little bit flat today going out there.テつ Actually felt like I got better as the match went on.テつ That was a good sign physically for me, as well.

Q.テつ With all the surgeries you had, was there any moment you thought, I won't be able to come back?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, when I had the last foot surgery.テつ I don't know another athlete that's come back from it.テつ So, yeah, as confident as my surgeon and I were with everything and it went as well as possible, the operation ‑ we didn't know until I actually tried running on it.
Then it took a lot longer ‑‑ once I was able to come back on the tour, it took a lot longer to get any kind of confidence and play pain‑free again.テつ There was definitely a time those first few tournaments that I came back from that last operation where, you know, if it was still hurting as much as it was then now, I wouldn't be playing still.

Q.テつ When Roger was in here he mentioned a hit you guys had on Monday that went for about three hours.
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Four hours.

Q.テつ Tell us a bit about that.
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, Roger and I have hit quite a bit the last couple of years.テつ I've had some really good practice sessions.テつ Once he was coming here, I just got in touch with Annacone seeing if he wants to hit some balls.
I was surprised that Roger was here Monday morning and wanted to hit at 10:00.テつ We hit for two hours, then another two hours in the afternoon.
At least I got used to center court, which was a bonus.テつ It was funny, we didn't do any points at all.テつ We just did drills for four hours.

Q.テつ With regard to Roger, a lot of people looking ahead to a possible Rafa/Roger match and talking about who could be the greatest of all time.テつ Any thoughts on that?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, I don't know.テつ I think Rafa still has to win some more Grand Slams to catch Roger in terms of greatness.テつ Yeah, it's hard.テつ Roger's been around for so many years and dominated for so long; whereas Rafa dominated on clay for so long now.
But, yeah, he's been very good on every other surface, as well; whereas Roger for a few years there hardly lost matches.テつ There were three or four matches where he lost, three or four matches for the year.
It's a tough one.テつ Obviously Rafa matches up pretty well against Roger and has the belief in beating him.
If they play here, it will be a great match.テつ I don't know if that's going to say who's the greatest, though.

Q.テつ If it would be Tommy Haas in the next round, you haven't played him like in nine years.テつ You both have a lot in common with the injuries, the age, and doing well lately.テつ What are your thoughts?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ It will be a tough match either way, Tommy or Mikhail.テつ They're both sort of my era, I guess, both guys.テつ Both quality players.テつ Play similar in terms of single‑handed backhands.テつ Very smooth from the back of the court.
The way Tommy has come back from the last year and a half is fantastic.テつ Went back and played some challengers.テつ He was struggling physically there for a long time.テつ Been pretty amazing how he's been able to turn it around.

Q.テつ Why do you think more and more top players are almost 30 years old?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ I'm not sure.テつ I don't know.テつ We obviously want to keep playing we love the game so much (laughter).

Q.テつ Is it nice not to go playing a young buck this time, either way?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, it is.テつ At least I know who I'm playing.テつ Half the draw I don't know anymore.

Q.テつ Roger said earlier this year you were sort of a role model for him.テつ Have you heard that?

Q.テつ Have you heard that he said that?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ Yeah, someone mentioned it to me.テつ I hadn't heard, no.
Yeah, obviously he's dropped from 4 to 7.テつ Not quite as low as mine.テつ But, yeah, I've been in the same situation as him.テつ Not on such as great a scale.
Obviously when you've been to the top you want to keep playing.テつ The reason you're playing is for the majors.テつ For me, Davis Cup as well.テつ That's the reason I'm still playing.テつ For him, I'm sure it's the majors.テつ I have no doubt about it.テつ Yeah, he wants to squeeze the absolute most out of him.
Good on him.テつ If he doesn't play as many tournaments like he has this year so he can play majors for the next couple years, I think that's great.

Q.テつ Before you got here, had you entertained the prospect of being here in the fourth round?
LLEYTON HEWITT:テつ I hadn't thought about it at all.テつ I really took it one match at a time.テつ Yeah, there's no easy matches.テつ Yeah, had not crossed my mind.

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