19 January - 1 February 2015
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Start of Player Photo

Colin Fleming
Colin Fleming bio
Ross Hutchins
Ross Hutchins bio
Transcribed Interview Transcribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q.  What's it like to be back, and how are the conditions out there today?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  Well, it's amazing feeling to be back, and especially to get our first win since coming back in 2014.  You know, I think we have played some good tennis throughout this year so far, but unfortunately we lost our first two matches.  My level probably wasn't as high as I hoped it had been.

But I think we did well to dig out a win today.  It was actually brilliant to be honest, and I'm loving the feeling right now.

 

Q.  What's the response been like from the locker room players?  It's all over Twitter.
ROSS HUTCHINS:  Yeah, you know, it's strange, because you have certain people you're close to, especially sort of the Aussies, the Americans, people you hang around with.

There are a lot of people I have known since I was maybe under 16, same guys you seem to hang around with.  You sort of build up good friendships with them over the years.

So it's actually been nice to see a lot of people.  I have had a huge amount of support.

But it's also I don't want people to feel sorry for me, as well.  Like after we lost in the first week, you know, Chardy was saying to his coach he felt bad for beating me.

I'm like, No, don't.  I'm a player and I want to be treated as a player.  Today again at the end of the match the guys shake hands, like it's great to be back.  That's really nice, because it means a lot to me to have people actually say at that to me because I did miss the tour a lot, and especially I missed playing with Colin and hanging around with the guys and just seeing the guys that you see week in and week out.

It's meant a lot to me to have the support.  At the same time, I want to be treated as another player who, you know, has just as much chance to win or lose and to be ruthless out there with these other guys and just to become a better competitor and to win matches on our own, not for people taking pity on us, which hopefully they don't.  We can beat them on our own merits.

 

Q.  We have spoken a lot to Andy about how match sharp he feels after the layoff.  Do you feel as though you are as sharp as you would like to be yet?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  I think in all honesty now, yes.  I think in practice we have been very sharp, and then last week in Auckland I played pretty average.  I didn't feel that sharp.  I thought in practice as we were going into it we were winning practice sets, beating all the guys and feeling, Yeah, we're there.

As soon as we were on the court I felt like I wasn't quite matched up.  The start of today's match, I think we were both a little bit nervous.  We wanted it a bit badly.  I played a bad service game to start off, and then we weren't getting really very far in their service games.

Then end of the first, I think we picked our game up and a couple of things clicked.  Actually, we seemed to click into a mode of making a lot more returns, serving better, winning service games easier.

And then there was a big turning point end of the second set.  4 All, 15 40 down on my serve.  I served pretty well in that game and things just got gradually easier and easier.

But throughout the whole third set, we actually felt like I hadn't missed a year.  It felt like you're actually back and into the swing of things.  And obviously when you're rolling, you're playing well, then everything comes easier.

But it was good to be able to fight through a tough match and come out on top.

 

Q.  What were the conditions like out there?
COLIN FLEMING:  The conditions were not as bad as I thought it was going to be, to be honest.  We had a bit of cloud cover, which helped.

The other thing is there is no real humidity, which I find tougher, personally.  I think maybe Ross is the same.  I find it tougher than actually the heat.  You know, dry heat is not too bad.

I can remember playing the US Open in September, and there is a couple like    just so humid it was.  I found that tougher, to be honest, than playing today.

 

Q.  You said you were both very ambitious to be competing for Grand Slam titles.  Is that something you can do this fortnight?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  I think we should always be that ambitious.  That's the reason why we're here and why we play the game.  That's what I missed most last year playing with Colin, having the mindset, competing with the best teams, and improving our own team.

We talk off the court how we can be better and what other teams do well and we can improve, and that's something we have always been very open with and will continue to be.

I think it's something we have goals.  We know we have a tough match next round.  Generally we have been seeded in slams, so we have always met seeds in the third round when we have been involved in third round matches.

So we're going to play probably a high seed in the next match.  But, you know, all the guys are tough out here, but we feel we're at a good level.  And having that win and being in the tournament now I think released a lot of sort of pressure and stress off our shoulders and we were able to play loose.

We take each match at a time, but absolutely we're aiming to go for the long haul.  And we feel like our level is good enough we always felt we can go deep in slams.

 

Q.  Year ago today you would have been recovering from the first session of chemotherapy.  Can you really believe what's happened in the course of a year?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  Yeah, I mean, it's been sort of a strange 12 months.  I don't actually remember that clearly the last year.  So much has happened in terms of other things off court and with the illnesses and different issues.

But I don't tend to think of it as, Oh, a year ago I was in hospital.  I almost think that, Well, I've still been playing the last six or seven years and I'm back with Colin.  Doesn't feel like I've missed a year.  I know Colin has achieved a lot with Johnny and with Andy, on the court with other players.

So it probably feels more for him than for me.  I was very involved with tennis last year and still in conversation a lot with Colin most days about how he's playing, about what he's working on.

And I don't feel like I have been sort of out that much, but clearly I have.  I'm just, you know, so pleased to be back.  This is a fantastic tournament, and I'm just thrilled to be back involved and back able to hopefully try and win more matches.

 

Q.  Do you think you stepped up and they seemed to get dispirited?  They seemed to drain away.
COLIN FLEMING:  There was a big, big momentum shift in the match at 4 All in the second set.  We were 15 40 down with Ross serving, and he came up really, really strong at that moment.

Once we held that game we played a good game to break, and then started the third set strong and just kept the ball rolling.  And by the end mentally they had gone away.

So, yeah, to be honest, at the end I felt so much better than at the start of the match.  Like Ross touched on, I think we had a lot of sort of subconscious tension in our bodies.  You know, we hadn't started the year that well.  We were back on court.  Davis Cup is around the corner.

There is a lot of things on the mind, you know, in the back of your mind.  I think we were nervous, you know, and I think I had a bit of pain in my leg.  That was down to nerves and tension in my body.

At the end I felt great, and like he said, it feels great to get the first win.  Hopefully we can relax.

 

Q.  How hard was it to play with the Bosnian Nationals on the next court disturbing the tranquility?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  Amazing atmosphere, wasn't it?  It was quite tough, actually.  You know, it felt like    because we like to play with quite a lot of energy and a bit of bounce and that, and it just felt there was so much atmosphere over there.

It just felt like nothing was happening on our court.  We couldn't get any like    I don't know if you felt that, as well.

COLIN FLEMING:  Yeah.

ROSS HUTCHINS:  But I guess it must have been an amazing atmosphere in that match, that's for sure.

 

Q.  In terms of your incredible comeback, how much do you think it helped that you were a well conditioned, world class athlete, and also the support of the tennis community?  Secondly, what was kind of the toughest moment in this whole stretch?  When was the most challenge?  When was it most challenging?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  Well, the second part of your question, I'd say, physically it was after the 8th and 9th chemo session.  That was the toughest time.  I think my body was at its lowest.

I think normally when you have more chemo is what they say it gets tougher.  So that's when I was probably struggling the most physically and not feeling my best.

Since I have been in remission I felt actually really good, and I have built up slowly and had a good preseason.  I was with Colin in Spain for a week.  I was in Miami and did a week in London.  There's been no real hardships at all.

And then the first part of the question?

 

Q.  Being a well conditioned athlete.
ROSS HUTCHINS:  To answer, I don't know.  I think it helps being mentally quite stable on court.  I think we're both pretty solid on court in terms of we're able to deal with things quite well, and we have always tried to deal with things mentally quite well together.

I think that helped me.  The last few years we have discussed things and talked about things.  I'm very open.  I don't normally hold many things inside.  If I have an issue, I will often be quite open about it and talk about things.

I think that helps mentally, being able to deal with things and hopefully physically.  I don't know, to be honest.  I think it helps.

But I just know that, you know, the treatment was tough sometimes.  But whatever happened we got through it.  And myself, all you guys in the whole world sort of with your support, we got through it.

I feel great about it, and I'm feeling healthy.  Other than that, I don't know.

 

Q.  How tough was it for you to carry on playing, playing with a different partner while Ross was ill?  And was there any worry in your mind that he might not come back or come back as he was before and you might say to him, I'm not sure you're going to be able to play at his level again?
COLIN FLEMING:  It was very tough this time last year playing.  Even though I managed to win a tournament in Auckland, it was sort of an emotional time.  And it was tough to play without Ross, but I never actually thought that he wouldn't come back, for some reason.  I don't know.

I spoke to Ross on the phone on the 27th or 28th of December last year, and I found out the news.  I said to him then, well, we'll team up again.

I don't know if that was maybe naive of me or what, but I never literally once thought we wouldn't team up again.

I saw Ross play in September, Davis Cup, and he was playing well then.  There has never been a stage where I thought, No, he won't get    he's hard on himself saying he didn't play well the last couple of weeks.  He's been playing great the whole time.  I'm excited for the future.

 

Q.  What was your problem in the second set?  Did you feel you needed treatment?
COLIN FLEMING:  Yeah, I'm not sure.  Just muscle tightness.  I'm not sure.  Just really started to tighten up in my quad.  It feels actually better now than at that stage during the match.  I'm not sure.  I'll see the physio again and maybe a massage on it again and loosen up.

 

Q.  Been a bit hot lying on the surface.
COLIN FLEMING:  Yeah.  I said to the physio, It's literally boiling lying on this, so can you hurry up?  (Laughter.)  It was frying my body.

 

Q.  I was reading in the New York Times about the changes you have made to your diet throughout the process.  Do you feel perhaps more confident in your body as a result?  Does it push you to do things you might not have done?
ROSS HUTCHINS:  I think it was definitely a big change for me at the start, to change what I ate.  It was basically sort of an accumulation of everyone who wrote in to me who have got through some of the diseases to mine and what they did.

I just put it all together in one.  I thought, Well if I have the chemo and the diet, surely I'm going in the right direction.  So I have kept a lot of the things going.

I mean, maybe I was a bit overboard, but I just thought it would help me.  I definitely feel in better shape now than I probably have done, as I've said to a couple of media people here, than in the last six or seven years.

I do feel really fit and strong.  I don't feel any sort of tiredness or any fatigue when I'm playing matches out there.  It was pretty warm today.  I felt pretty good.  We thought we could have gone five sets today because for some reason we weren't struggling.

I think physically we feel good.  Hopefully we can continue that.  Whether it's because of the diet and whether it's because we train at a pretty good level, I think it all sort of combined together to being hopefully good for us to have longevity throughout the year and to keep healthy and keep good, consistent results.



Post-Tournament
Thursday, 24 April 2014
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