Pre-tournament press conference with Lleyton Hewitt
Q. How are you feeling after yesterday? Obviously a good result. What do you take out of Kooyong?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I feel good. Obviously just have a light hit today and get ready for tomorrow night.
Yeah, no, it was exactly what I wanted out of the week at Kooyong. The pleasing thing for me, I feel like I got better with every match. My sharpness and cleanness, even my moving.
Yeah, a lot of positives to take out of it.
Q. How do you compare how you are at the moment to how you've been in previous years? On a level scale, how do you feel?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The last couple matches I've hit the ball as well as I can remember when I hit it. I feel confident with where my game's at at the moment. There's still a couple things I got to try to take care of when I'm on the match court.
But all in all, when my moving comes together and I'm serving well, my returns and obviously passing shots and counterpunching has been pretty good anyways. Yeah, I've been practicing well on my off days. So far I haven't put too many feet wrong.
Yeah, you still got to go out there and do it tomorrow.
Q. The level of people you've beaten, is that a huge confidence boost?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, it's confidence in terms of going out there and matching it with the best players. They've got extremely big weapons. I was able to work around that, sort of open them up out there. I felt the way I was able to be aggressive with the bigger, stronger guys, all three matches are three of the biggest hitters out there. I was not able only to get their serve back but put them under pressure on their service games. So that gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.
Q. Tipsarevic, you've played him a bit. What's your take on that match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't played him for a few years now. But he's improved a bit in the last couple years obviously to get in the top 10. It's going to be a tough match obviously over five sets.
I feel like all I can control is my preparation and doing all the right things. I've done absolutely everything in my power. I look forward to the challenge tomorrow.
Q. Your 17th time at Melbourne park. Do you take confidence knowing you're playing him on Rod Laver Arena, and do you harness the support from the crowd?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not something I think before I go out there. I'm more worried about my game, getting off to a good start, getting my teeth into the match more than anything.
Once I'm out there in the atmosphere, the adrenaline is pumping, it sort of takes care of the itself. I've been in that situation playing big matches out on that court. I'm so familiar with it and I enjoy the surroundings. That's a positive and a bonus.
Q. How did you react when you saw you drew Janko in the first round and he's highly ranked? Did you go, Damn?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't care. I'll knock him off, try to take his spot in the draw.
Q. I saw yesterday that you have played the same amount of opens as Federer. A lot of history. You've achieved a lot. Do you feel pride being able to keep competing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, I've missed a lot more slams than Rog, too. I started before him. I've had a few more injuries than Rog and had to come back from a few surgeries, which is pretty tough.
But to play 17 Australian Opens in a row, main draw in singles, is something not easy to do. To be fit, I haven't been a hundred percent for all of them, but in terms of the staying power, being able to play through generations, is something I'll look back on and be pretty proud of.
Q. Are you completely injury free at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm feeling pretty good.
Q. When was the last time you played coming here when you didn't have anything?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. A couple years ago I was feeling pretty good coming in. I won Kooyong two years ago, then lost to Nalbandian in a high quality match where I had match points, could have gone either way. Obviously last year I wasn't close to a hundred percent coming in.
Q. Have you thought about the possibility that this might be the last one?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No.
Q. I believe it's your 17th straight Australian Open. Do you believe or have the belief in yourself that you can win this?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just take it one match at a time. It's the same as anyone out there. To win seven best of five set matches isn't easy on any surface. Obviously, I came really close in 2005.
Yeah, especially the first week, try to get through the first week and see if I can put myself in a position to be there in the second week.
Yeah, you never know. Strange things happen with draws, stuff opening up. I have a tough first up tomorrow, hopefully I can get through that tomorrow and go forward from there.
Q. With you and Bernard in good form, do you think our Australian Open hopes are as good as they have been in recent years?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously we're both hitting the ball well, but we're both unseeded, too. We probably had higher expectations when myself, Philippoussis and Rafter were in the top 10, top 15 in the world, and seeded at the majors.
But obviously with how the Australian rankings have been the last four or five years, yeah, we're both hitting the ball well, obviously confident coming in.
Q. On Bernard, with the form he's in at the moment, how far do you think he can progress?
LLEYTON HEWITT: In this tournament, I don't know. Obviously he's got Roger in the third round. He's had good matches with Roger, but Roger has always been a class above in all their matchups so far.
Bernie still has to get through one match at a time. He can't take anyone lightly, and I don't think he will anyway. But, yeah, it will be an interesting match now playing Roger now that he's got a bit of confidence as well.
Q. Do you enjoy, compared to when you were younger and higher ranked, the anonymity, maybe not anonymity, but the fact there's another young player that takes a lot of the media focus?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, doesn't really worry me (smiling).
Once I go out to play, it's not even in your mind. You do all the preparation. I'm so used to it now anyway, sort of been in the spotlight, played big matches in Grand Slams and everything, it's second nature to you. You don't even worry about it.
Q. Taking yourself out of the tournament, who do you like to win the tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. Obviously the top three guys are the main guys. There's no doubt about it.
Murray obviously is going to be pretty confident. He had a great finish to the year last year. He won his first major, which the monkey is sort of off his back now. He can sort of go out there and play with a lot less pressure and expectation to win that first one. He's going to be tough to beat.
Novak, the way he bounced back last year for the semi and final, he's going to be confident when he gets back out on Rod Laver Arena, as well.
Those two guys, the two guys I beat, Berdych and Del Potro, there's a handful of guys with a realistic chance.
Q. The crowd will be behind you. Do you need to block that out or do you soak it up?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I just use it to my advantage when I need to, I guess. It gets the adrenaline going. I enjoy being in that situation. Obviously I'd rather 15,000 barracking for me than against me.
No, I enjoy it.
Q. Do the night sessions suit you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't really bother me. I don't think tomorrow's going to be that hot playing during the day. It's probably not going to be a massive difference. If it was going to be a hot day during the day, sometimes it can be a difference at night playing in heavier conditions. But I don't think tomorrow will be a big deal.
Q. Are you happy with the court speed?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no. So far I've hit on Rod Laver quite a few times. I'm hitting the ball all right. Can't change it now.
Q. What do you think of the new facility for Australian players?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The new facility is fantastic. It's great. The young Australian players are very fortunate to have such a great facility to train in and recovery, everything. It's awesome over there.
Yeah, you just don't want to be complacent and think they get that everywhere they go. They still have to do the tough yards to make it and not get everything handed to them.
Yeah, the facilities are second to none.