Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lleyton Hewitt Australian Open Interview Day 2 January 19th 2016

Lleyton Hewitt Australian Open Interview Day 2 January 19th 2016

Lleyton Hewitt def James Duckworth 7-6(5) 6-2 6-4

Q. Farewell tour continues.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Live to fight another couple days. That's good.

Q. Seen you battle for so many five-setters. Almost nice not to have to do that tonight and enjoy a comfortable three-set win?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I wouldn't say 'comfortable.' Obviously that third set I had to dig deep and make a lot of balls to try to get back into it.

He raised his game. I was kind of waiting for him to just dip off a little bit there in the third set. Eventually it happened.

You know, I felt I really stepped it up the last couple of games on my return of serve. Made him play a lot of balls. Put pressure on him as well. You know, that was probably slightly telling in the end.

Q. I noticed during the game, after when you do a bit of a power shot, you would slow down the pace of the ball, do a bit of a slice. Was that one of the game plans going in?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, you know, I've got to try to nullify his power as much as possible. He was going to mix up his game. He hit and came in a lot. He used his slice.

You know, I was impressed with how Ducks played tonight. He didn't have too many dips in the three sets, which was important for him. But, you know, my game plan was obviously try to make as many balls as possible and try to put a lot of pressure on his service games.

Q. How do you think you handled the occasion?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Got the win, so I must have handled it okay (smiling).

Yeah, I felt pretty good. You know, I was pretty pumped up before I went on. You know, I think I was able to block out everything else once I was out there.

Yeah, obviously you get asked the same questions for quite a few months leading into this tournament, then it's there, and you don't fully know how you're going to react until you're out there on the match court.

I think I had my game face on. Yeah, it might have been in the back of my mind a couple of times, but I was focused, ready, competitive, I guess, to get out there and hopefully get past the line.

Q. Pete Sampras just wrote a piece reflecting on his young career. He wrote a letter to his young self as a teenager. If you would sit down and write a note to yourself as a teenager, what would be one or two things you might say?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know, mate. Not in the frame of mind to think about it right now.

Q. You played a lot of tennis through the summer, exhibitions, et cetera, and a hell of a lot of matches. Do you reckon that helped in terms of being able to close out that first?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, yeah, for sure. I needed that. Yeah, it was definitely a blessing to get the call up to go to Adelaide as well and play those two matches, because I felt like after the Hopman Cup, then I played in Sydney, I sort of got in that motion again, that match toughness, and serving breakpoints down, and, you know, your position, just getting ready, handling the nerves of having breakpoints as well.

When you're not playing week in and week out, those are some of the tougher things to deal with. I felt very comfortable in those situations tonight.

Q. You have David next. You played him in New York on a pretty hot day. What makes him such an exceptionally difficult opponent to play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's like a brick wall out there. He competes as well as anyone on tour, as well. Yeah, he moves great. Everyone thinks he just makes ball, but he's a pretty aggressive baseliner out there. He doesn't get back too far behind the court.

He's been just under, I guess, winning that Grand Slam as well, you know, making the final at the French. He's made so many semifinals of slams. Especially on clay and hard court, he's a tough customer for nearly anyone.

Q. Do you give yourself a chance of beating him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I give myself a fighting chance. It's going to be tough, I know that. But I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough to go out there and give him a good run.

Q. What you wanted to get out of this final appearance at the Open, did you get it tonight or do you still want more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I want six more. But, you know, just take it one match at a time. I do all the right things. I've prided myself my whole career on preparing as well as possible and doing all the one percenters to try and get the best result possible. I'll do that again. If it doesn't go my way the next match, then so be it. Everything in my control. I'm going out there to give it my best shot.

Q. The lob tonight to end, very fitting.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Against the breeze as well. I threw it up there, and yeah, hit a couple of lobs tonight well, but that one was spot on.

Q. What did it mean to have Tony in the box? I think Mark Webber was there as well.
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's great having a lot of people that have supported me throughout the career. I have a very loyal team, group of friends and family.

You know, they're there for not only all the good times but the rough times as well, when you lose early in tournaments. You know, especially Rochey. It's awesome to have him there with me. He's meant so much to me.

Q. What sort of questions do you get from your kids with regard to your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much. Cruz was asking me right before I went on tonight if I was going in the ice bath right after the match. I said, If I win I would be. He thought we were going in regardless. He likes the ice bath (smiling).

Q. Back on the lob, is it nice going out knowing there's still quite a few parts of your game that are as good as anyone in the world?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, to compete with the best guys out there. Don't always get in a position to play the lob, though. It's not like a serve, a return, or a forehand. You got to be pushed into that position for it to open up to have that opportunity to play that shot.

But obviously my return of serves, when I'm feeling comfortable on the court, I still think they're one of my biggest strengths.

Q. You've been making good use of the Lleyton Hewitt emoji on Twitter. Is that a flattering tribute for you? Can you think of any tributes in the past that Australia has done for you like that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was good. The kids liked it, so that was important.

Yeah, no, I liked it. Obviously Tennis Australia has been fantastic. I'm employed by Tennis Australia as Davis Cup captain, so I'm part of the company. It's been really good. I've enjoyed this farewell month.

Everywhere I've gone, I obviously played in Perth, Sydney, an XO in Hobart in December. Went to Adelaide one more time; now here in Melbourne. I can't thank the public and the Australian fans enough.

Q. You went from being juice boy in Davis Cup to the captain. Talk about the process.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I grew up around Davis Cup for so many years. Such a high priority on my schedule always. Yeah, I was the orange boy maybe once or twice, then I got thrown in. I was kind of the fifth person for a long time.

When you have the likes of two top-10 players in the likes of Rafter, Philippoussis, and the Woodies, it was going to be hard to break into that team. Then I got into the team and played exceptional under that pressure and circumstances. Never looked back.

As I said, it was one of my priorities each year. Now moving into the captain's role, it's my priority to pass on my experiences to a lot of those younger boys, which I think is a good thing.

Q. The last five Australian Davis Cup captains were watching you tonight. Does that mean a lot to you as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Really? Yeah, absolutely. I get along well with all of them. I'm trying to think.

Q. Fitzy, Wally, Pat.
LLEYTON HEWITT: And Frase.

Q. Newc was commentating.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I saw Newc after the match.

Yeah, I saw Frasey. He probably had the best seat in the house. He was in the front row. As you get older you get a better spot to watch from. Pat and Wally were up in the media area. I saw them, as well.

I get along well with those guys. It's such a small group of guys. Obviously Frase and Harry Hopman and these guys did it for so many years. Not too many times the opportunity to be Davis Cup captain comes up.

Q. Will you come to Albert Park in March?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll have to see if I'm around. I've been to Silverstone with Webber in the past. I've enjoyed it.

Q. How far do you think Nick can go in this tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot depends on the draw. I was very impressed with Nick last night. I watched his whole match on TV. I thought he played great. First set was exceptional, and then how he closed out the match. He's moving really well. Best I've seen hit move ever.

He's confident. He's in a good space at the moment. Yeah, Cuevas is going to be another tough battle for him, but if he goes out and plays his game, then I'm liking that matchup. Then he has to step it up against quality, high-seeded players.

Bernie, I only saw patches of his match tonight. After losing the first set, it was pretty good he came through comfortably.

Q. The Australian women have had disappointing results so far. What sort of advice do you give to them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't watched a lot of theirs, so I can't really comment. Yeah, I guess they're all at different stages of their careers. I probably don't know them well enough to know what they're possibly doing wrong.

I saw Dasha had a good win. I like the way she goes about it. I saw her in the gym a lot in the pre-season. She works extremely hard. I think she's got a lot of good things ahead of her.

Q. Doubles tomorrow with Sam?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes. Fourth on. Looking forward to it.


Photo and Interview from Australian Open