AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Lleyton Hewitt
MS KELLEY: Well, Lleyton, congratulations on your second AAMI Classic Championship. And we'll have questions now?
Q Well, Lleyton, I guess that couldn't have worked out much better for you the way you played this afternoon?
A Yeah. No, it was good. I felt like every match I got better and better and more confident, and especially my ball stroking. Today I just felt like it was really coming out the middle of the racket right from the word go, and I was seeing the ball well. I moved really well and, you know, I felt sharp out there which is, you know, it's a good sign.
Q Are you little bit surprised yourself a little bit how well you played this week?
A Not really. No, I've - like I felt like in practice I've been hitting the ball well. I did a lot of hard training in November, December and, you know, as I said a couple of days ago Roachie and I - you know, we got out every training session with a purpose to try and improve and do certain things. Sometimes the conditions on this - on centre court here at Kooyong it's tough to play clean tennis. But against Berdych and even more so today I felt like I hit the ball as clean as I have in a long time.
Q (Indistinct) three guys (indistinct) what is it you want it to tell you?
A Oh, you know, next week's totally different obviously. Playing a major and over five sets and, you know, it just gives me confidence so that, you know - Del Potro or three of the biggest guys - you know, biggest servers out there and I was on their serves for a lot of this week which is for me a big sign of where I am and - and how sharp I am on the court and - and especially on second serves. I was putting a lot of pressure of their service games. So for those big servers if they are missing their first serves at least they know that, you know, I'm going to jump on it and do something with it. So, you know, that was one of the most pleasing things this week.
Q Have you put in a request for your first round match?
A No, I haven't, no.
Q You don't want - don't care really - - -
A No, no. I - I believe I'm playing Monday so - yeah, I don't know when yet.
Q You're getting better all the time though? I know you have been (indistinct) but is a return to the Top 10 or 15, is that a realistic goal for you?
A If I played every week I'm sure it is. Yeah, I don't know how much I'll, you know, play again this year. I'll still pick and choose and, you know, I've got a family look after as well and my priorities as I say is the - you know, at the start of the year the Davis Cup ties. Making myself available and - and working back. Like which weeks I want to play before a Davis Cup tie and then the Grand Slams and - and obviously for me, you know, especially the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US, they're the - the three that I feel like I can, you know, have my best chance of - of going deep in.
Q So the ranking is not really - - -
A It's not important to me, no.
Q You don't care about that - - -
A Not a lot, no.
Q We have to ask you about that first round (indistinct)
A Oh, it was a first round. It - you know, there's not too many easy first rounds though and - and when you're unseeded you know that - you know, within the first two rounds you're going to draw a seed. You know it's going to be someone anyway. So last year, you know, it was Andy Roddick and I obviously Raonich's (indistinct) in, you know, in second and third rounds. And, you know, Tsonga the first round at Wimbledon and now I've got another Top 8 seed obviously. So, you know, Tipsarevic is a quality player. He's - he's improved a lot in the last year and a half, two years and, you know, it's going to be a tough match but, you know, I'll be ready for it. I know I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I've done - you know, it's nice to know in the back of your mind you've done all the - all the right preparation to go out there and just play.
Q Do you feel he's maybe slightly vulnerable given that he didn't play much here this week, and he appears to be a bit troubled by that - - -
A Yeah. I don't know how much trouble with - yeah, I'm planning on him being 100 per cent come Monday.
Q What do you (indistinct)
A Yeah, I'll be doing recovery obviously this afternoon and this evening and then tomorrow I'll just have a light hit at Melbourne Park and obviously get ready for - for Monday.
Q You mentioned how good you feel. Can you remember the last time you felt this good (a) with your form and (b) with your fitness going in to an Australian Open?
A Not really, no. There's always been some kind of niggling injury so - yeah, I don't know. It's been a while.
Q Would it be five, six, seven years? Would it be that?
A I don't know. I'm not sure. Yeah, obviously I can't remember. You know, two years ago I was not doing too bad though. You know, when I lost to Nalbandian. That match point in that first round and a pretty high standard match, and I obviously won here in Kooyong the week before as well. So, you know, obviously closest memory as to how felt last year though at Melbourne Park, which was - wasn't fantastic.
Q Your court movement in all three matches looked - looks like it's back to what it was. Do you feel like it's that way when you're out there?
A Look, it's pretty good. Today I felt like - from the back of the court if I could get his serve back I felt like even as a big a ball striker as he is I still felt like I could run down a lot of his shots, which gives me a lot of confidence and obviously because I feel like I - you know, I can, you know, counterpunch so well out there. It's always been one of my strengths and, yeah, if I can keep making him play and - and get that extra ball back then, you know, the pressure builds as well especially over five sets.
Q Fitness-wise no problems - - -
A No, that's never been a problem.
MS KELLEY: Anyone else? Thanks very much. Thanks, Lleyton.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Juan Martin Del Potro
MS KELLEY: All right. Fire away (indistinct).
Q 1. Would've you have liked a bit better test?
MR DEL POTRO:
A Yeah. I think I played better today. Today (indistinct). There were - I was - won for today but anyway it is a good chance to - to see how the preparation is going about the Open and - and I think tomorrow's going to be a very good test for me before the - the Australian Open.
Q 2. So you said on court that you needed to still make some more improvement? Is that all around improvement or a specific - - -
A No, no, all around. This is our first tournament. The - the season just start and it's normal to - something - something's strange but with time and - and tournaments and matches everything is going - is going to be better. But I guess later tomorrow I - I repeat this is a good test to - to see how my game is - is doing.
Q 3. Is the fact that he makes you hit so many balls and even - - -
Q 4. No, I like - I like to play against him and he's very solid. I like to play a long - long points because for - for training and for practice it's just that it seems to - to see - fine in the Open. And also of course I will like to - to win tomorrow but the match is going to be really nice for me. Did you say on court that he was one of the players that you looked up to when you were coming through?
A Yeah, yeah. Him and - and (indistinct) they - they both - my - my idols when I was - I was kid and Lleyton means a lot for me. You know, he's - he's very - he's a big champion for - for Australia and he - he was the No.1 in the world. He won two Grand Slams. And he's very good example for - for works, for - for the sacrifice and many other things.
Q 5. And you would understand what he has had to go through to come back from injury, seeing that you had to - - -
A Yeah. He fight every - every year we come - some pains but he's still doing really well. He's very professional when he came to - to play a tournament. That mean he's ready to win a tournament. If - if he doesn't feel hundred per cent maybe he pull out but he's a very good - he's like a - a very good - he's a fair - fair player.
Q 6. When you were about 12 you started watching him? Twelve or 13 years old you started watching Lleyton and - - -
A Yeah. Well - - -
Q 7. What was it about him that you liked?
A I remember when he beat Sampras in the US Open. He was the long curve and he playing with the heart (indistinct). And he - I - I love - I love his - the way of his game and he run a lot and he - he was so fast and then he started to say, "Come on", every - every - every match and that's - I think that it's - it's important for - for the personality and for the show.
Q 8. Why were you (indistinct) with this kind of, you know, all the show that is going on? Like this, "Come on", and all this stuff? How it's affecting the other player on the other side of the court?
A Well, I think - I - I don't feel like - like this. You know, he's - he's a very patient and he - he do that because he's a very, very good professional and I - I love when I watch him doing all - yeah. It's very nice to - to watch - to watch him and the crowd will - enjoying a lot when he - he made that. And many other players can do different things but Lleyton is - is a - he's a very good player to watch.
Q 9. Thank you very much.
A Thank you.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Tomas Berdych and
Q What did you make of that match in there?
A Well, I mean, I would expect something at least a bit better – better, you know, from – from the matches that I play with him, or even so many practices that we had. But yeah, I mean, that's how it is and, well, I know that I have many things to improve for – for the next coming weeks. So, yeah, I mean, I need still to – still to work a lot on my game and, yeah, that's what I'm going to do for next – next days before the tournament starts.
Q What's the area you feel like you need to improve on most?
A Well, I would say like generally the – the feeling is not really the one that I would expect from myself to, you know, to be on court. I mean, it's really something that, you know, I need to – to see and talk with my coach, and what he sees from the outside and my feelings is. But, yeah, generally it's something with the, you know, with the timing, come forward with the shots. And then when I – when I feel like, you know, like strong from the baseline. That's – that's my game, so that's what I need to try to, try to bring back.
Q Do you get, given you won the Davis Cup, did you actually start preparing later for this season?
A Well, I mean, because the season was really late,
really long, then yeah, I mean, I came – came in the end of November back home and start – start to do my preparation. And you know, I was, I mean, basically almost all the guys besides the Top Ten, you know, which they finished in London, and us, we played the Davis Cup. And yeah, I felt really tired, you know, after that season. So that's why I was so – I need some break, and then starts to do. But yeah, I had a feeling that for that time I had, I was – I was doing everything what I – what I can. And of course, I mean, as long as you get more time, you have more, you know, you get more opportunity to – to work on more things. But, yeah, that's how it is so, you know, I need to deal with that as well and try to do my best for – for the next week.
Q Are you fit at the moment or are you carrying any injuries?
A No, no, no. No injuries, nothing, no. Everything is fine.
Q So today it was just a bit out of sorts?
A Yes, yes, yes, definitely it was nothing about - about any injury or any bad feeling, it's just kind of a feeling on court with the - with the ball, it's nothing that would be hurting me or anything like that.
Q How did you - how did you see Lleyton, in the way he struck the ball today?
A Well I - I mean, he's the one of the guy that he is - you know, he is the best, you know, with the - with the reading from the baseline and especially you know, when - when you move that well, like him, it's - it's obvious that he's going to give you that - that feeling, you know, so he's hitting the ball pretty well. You know, he had so many solid - solid points, but yes I mean, after - after all those - his injuries, it's really incredible to - to come back every time and be ready and be in the shape like he is.
Q Is he - is he moving better than what you've seen in the last couple of years, or was it - - -
A Well, I mean, it's hard to say. I mean, he is definitely better answer than me, but as long as I know it, if some - something I feel in my body, it's like, yes you can - you can get - get the movement from yourself. But once something is hurting you, it's - you know, you have something in - in your mind, you know, which is kind of - really irritates you and you have to go first over the pain or over the feeling and then, you know, do it so. This is probably much, much easier, you know, for him when he doesn't have any pain or anything and he can just really enjoy and play himself.
Q Do you feel like you've got enough time, like just one more match to - to sort of mend the problems you felt on court today?
A Yes, I believe so. I mean, there is - there is one more match, there is a couple of other days, you know, which - which I can take for my practice and yes, I believe it's - yes, it's going to be enough. I mean, there is no other option so, you know, I need to deal with that, do my best and let's see.
MS KELLEY: Thanks very much.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Lleyton Hewitt
MS KELLEY: (indistinct) Lleyton. Fine, I said that. OK, questions please?
Q How - how did you feel out there?
A Yes, it - yes, in the end felt really good. The start just, you know, his weight of shot and how heavy hits the ball and how clean, just took a few games to really get a feel of and sort of weather his storm a little bit out there. He's such a clean ball striker off both sides, and you know, with the wind up there I started against the breeze and you know, dropped a couple of balls a bit short and you just took care of it straight away. So it just took me a couple of games to get my confidence, in terms of where my depth was at and how hard and high and stuff like that, to - to hit the ball to him. So not allow him to try and dictate play as much. But in the end, you know, it was - it was obviously a good score line, but it was a lot tighter match than that.
Q How pleasing is it to go six and third, you know, late yesterday in this round and almost bounce out and really seemed to run through strongly, especially in the second set.
A Yes, no the body felt great. The second set, I - my confidence was up then and my ball striking, I was really happy with. You know, I was attacking in serve, I was putting pressure on it. Obviously whatever I could get a racquet on, on his first serve, but his second serve was, you know, the ones that were sitting there, I was taking care of it. And you know, I was putting him under as much pressure as he was putting me and you know, those bigger guys, they don't like to be dictated to, obviously. So you know, all in all, I - you know, I stepped it up from yesterday and yes, I was happy with the progress.
Q What sort of confidence booster is it for Saturday and next week, just given yes, his ranking and the year his - - -
A Yes, no, he's a quality player. I've hit with him an awful lot in practice. Haven't played him that many times, not in the last couple of years either, but he's good on all surfaces and he's the kind of guy who, you know, could easily sneak through and be dangerous in the quarters, or semis, or possibly final of the Aussie Open in a couple of weeks. So you know, it's good to get a win like that against a quality player and you know, you've still got to build on it though, as well, and you know it gives me a lot more confidence though, for sure.
Q Lleyton, last night Tomas expressed a bit of concern with that 25 second. What's your thought on it?
A Yes, I thought it was - it went over the top in what I saw in Brisbane, when I was there. Yes, I don't think I've ever - I can't recall getting a time violation in my career and I feel like I played, you know, not that quick, but not slow by any means. And you were thinking about it in Brisbane, and I don't think that's a good thing. I don't think it's a good thing for tennis. And that's the issue that I had with it, more than anything, is that you know in the third set tie breaker, I know Baghdatis, you know, lost the first serve or whatever, we just don't need that. You know, in the third set tie breaker, players shouldn't be worrying about that, they should be trying to - the game's hard enough as it is, so yes, that's where my concerns are.
Q Tomas said the only - the first time he knew about it, when he saw it on the wall in Chennai, he said it was sent by email. Were you aware of the change fairly early?
A No, the first time I heard about it was when I was at the net for my doubles match in Brisbane and the umpire told me. So that was how I was aware of it, which was interesting and I sort of joked with Paul Hanley, who I was playing against at the time, so we might just hit second serves anyway. So it was - that was the first I heard about it, I didn't - didn't know the full extent of it.
Q So you never got docked - - -
A Not that - not that I'd seen or checked. Maybe I don't check enough, or something, I don't know, but ? ? ?
Q But as you said, you play pretty quickly (indistinct)?
A Yes, I just felt that it's something that players shouldn't have to worry about. The game is tough enough as it is and - you know, and as I said, it was in my mind playing in Brisbane last week and it
shouldn't be. You know, I've never done anything time wise to - you know, to take away from your opponent. It's never been a reason, you know, to try and get a cheap point, whatever it may be and I don't think - you know, I heard Murray and even Tomas say yesterday, you know the final with Nadal and Djokovic, you know, that was six hours or whatever it was of absolute quality tennis and we don't want to, you know, take away from those guys doing that.
Q I think by definition I think it's supposed to be, by definition I think it's only supposed to be 20 seconds of Gram Slam.
Q Obviously it's a different - - -
A Yeah, yeah, it's all, it's hard when you've got the ATP as one and then the ITF another. That's, you know, and they've never seen eye to eye on anything, you know. And you know, I've always felt that with the Davis Cup anyway, you know, scheduling and everything. So it's, you know, some of the umpires are obviously the same that do both, both jobs, but that's about as far as it goes.
Q Do you think the Davis Cup thing is getting a bit messy with you now saying you won't, don't want to talk to Pat till September?
A Yeah, I'm not going to get into it anymore, you know. I don't have to worry about that. I've got – got a job to do here and in, you know, next week in Melbourne. And Pat and Bernie will work it out themselves.
Q Just with these (indistinct) in recent events and even practising, do you strive for perfection each time that you go out and play? Is that something that you think is - - -
A Yeah, I do. I always give 100 per cent, no matter what I'm playing. I try and play with a purpose or go out there with a purpose and, you know, I've always prided myself. That's why I love working with Roachie so much because every practice session we do, there's a purpose behind it. And you know, even going out there and playing the last two matches, you know, in the last two days, there's still areas that we're working on. And you know, I look up at Roachie and I can see him, you know, happy with some of the stuff that I'm doing and what we're trying to do out there to obviously become a better player. So, you know, that's always in the back of your mind in, especially in these kind of events.
Q Lleyton, a couple of your rivals here in this tournament have said that even though you are ranked about 82nd, they know they're not playing an 82nd ranked player.
Q Where do you feel your form is at the moment in terms of ranking?
A Um, I don't know. Yeah, I feel like I can compete with pretty much anyone out there. And you know, obviously playing the best guys over five sets, day in and day out, is pretty tough. But you know, when I go out there to play against these guys, you know, I hit with Roger the other day and hit the ball extremely well at Melbourne Park. You know, I feel like I can compete still against the best guys, otherwise I wouldn't be putting myself through all the – all the grind of getting up and doing all the hard preparation to be out there. But you know, playing in events like next week, that makes it all worthwhile.
Q Thanks very much, Lleyton.
A Thank you.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Milos Raonic
Q Yes, I would say (indistinct) it's a little bit more than (indistinct?
A Yeah, it's an improvement on a lot of things. I certainly – I think I even improved yesterday from (indistinct). I think I started pretty bad, and just sort of got better. I just lacked a little bit of energy at critical points so I was a little bit lackadaisical at some points. And today it's given me the opportunity, with the way this event is set up, to address that problem, and I think I did. I'm not – I don't think I'm all the way there, but I'm closer.
Q Any particular areas that are compared to (indistinct). Obviously there are, but in particular looking at (indistinct) parts of your game?
A Specifically for Australian Open.
A I think just getting a little more intensity and sort of a little more bigger behind – behind my tennis, behind my shots. I think everything will come together, all the work I did in the off season, if I just get that right.
Q So you're comfortable playing more naturally, just the right preparation for it?
A I don't know about just the right, but it's going to be a lot better. Yeah.
Q When we talked to you yesterday, could I just ask you about Lleyton? You lost in the third round of the Australian Open last year.
A Last year.
Q Can you describe as best you can, comparing his form (indistinct) especially in the last few years?
A I think – I think he's moving better. You can see he is healthier. That's the plain one thing. I think the one thing you see of him inside Melbourne Park is another level of intensity and it's something that the whole atmosphere, and I don't know if it was the A Match I played against him, but it brings out something extra in him, even though I don't think he was physically as good last year or he was fighting a lot more pain throughout matches last year. But you can see he's moving better, but also Melbourne Park I think brings something else out inside him. Because he's one of the very few players I can go very long periods without playing and be just as competitive as ever.
Q So given the pain free aspect now, how do you see him as a sort of wild card in the draw, and see the danger?
A He's a danger but it's tough. It's – it's who you draw. It's a tough situation so you can't really make any calls on that. He can draw a top player and it can be that type of day and he gets through it. Or it can be another opposite kind of day. Yeah, but he's definitely – he's definitely, I'd say, more prepared this year than he was last year.
Q Do you think he'd be a better player than his ranking of 82 at Melbourne Park, given that you know, how he performed - - -
A It doesn't matter where it is, every day of the year, he's a better player than the ranking of 92.
Q When you say - when you say you need to maybe put a bit more vigour and intensity into it, is he the sort of guy that you - to - to sort of, I guess, model your game on in terms of - - -
A Yes, I think his intensity and his - how competitive he is, is a big thing. But technical - technically and sort of strategically, it's very different. But if - if I can learn to compete as hard as - and as aggressively as he does every single point, for me sometimes I feel like I got a little bit up and down, I think - I think these conversations will be quite a bit different.
Q Just where do you sort of go to in terms of gaining inspiration to sort of, you know, raise your game that intensity, or is it just something that comes naturally when you start a major?
A I hate to lose, that's the number one thing. I hate losing more than I enjoy winning, that's the - that's pretty much it.
Q Do you - does your concentration lapse, or do you have trouble maintaining intensity throughout a long game, or what - what - - -
A It's not - it's not long games, it's - it's more - for me there's certain parts of the year where I'm great with it and then there's certain parts of the year where I'm not great with it. And I think it just - I haven't had that - that experience. Last year was my first year of actually playing a full year. The year before that, I missed out three months, due to hip surgery and last year was the first year I sort of - it's a lot more difficult because it doesn't matter if you're playing No.60 or No.10 or No.2 in the world. At this point, the guys are all very good players, you have to put it out there 100 per cent. And I think just because I had - had the experience of doing that every match and also being one of the higher ranked guys, and people headhunting more for you. I think it just tired me out a little bit more, because I hadn't had that experience. And I think that's one of the big things I look to change this year.
Q Are you feeling reasonably refreshed at this time of the year?
A Yes. I think it's just - it's just about sort of making the little click switch, going from pretty relaxed training, pushing hard intensity wise, but never having that sort of match pressure, or anything, where it's pretty much all physical. Turning it into the right way for the match. And I think today I was quite a bit closer to that, where I need to be.
MS KELLEY: OK, anything further? Thank you.
MR RAONIC: Thank you.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Tomas Berdych
Q So many players are having little niggles at this time of year, do you arrive fit and ready for the Open?
A Well I would say I arrived fit, definitely. Then if I'm really, really in the great shape, I still have a few days, you know, to get used to that, to get the conditions all the time different, wind and everything. What's - what's been different from - for me for last couple of months, so you know, that's also why I was trying to - to take this opportunity to play here, to get some more matches. And - but besides that, I feel good.
Q What's the biggest adjustment down here? What's the thing, is it the surface, is it the weather, is it ? ? ?
A No, no, definitely not the surface. Surface is basically same everywhere or very similar. The weather, I mean, you know - I mean, if it's warm or cooler, basically not - not a big difference. But the wind makes a lot of changes, you know, you have to adjust your game and get used how the ball is actually moving in the air because the wind takes it quite a lot. So then for the (indistinct) it's a bit different, especially for the ball toss, when you serve and - yes, of course, I mean the time difference is there, you know, it's nine hours from Europe for me. Six hours on the way here, so you know, I would say like every hour (indistinct) one day, so you know, it goes one by one.
Q Is there any big issue in men's tennis at the moment that is - I mean, what's the big issue? Is the 25 second time thing - - -
A I mean, yes, I experienced that last week and I was not happy at all. I mean, it's - I think there is many - many question marks around that and I don't really see one - one good reason of having this rule in the game.
Q And is it particularly pertinent when you have possibly the really, really hot conditions in Australia?
A Yes. I mean, the hot conditions are almost impossible to make it, that's - I mean, I had the experience in Chennai and - well, I mean, that was hot, that was really humid, which you need the towel every single time that you finished the rally. And I'm not the guy who is sweating or the hands are sweating quite a lot, then it really depends what the ball boys do, because I mean, yes, at the Open, every single Grand Slam, the boys are really, really ready and they go really fast. But every single - but it's not in the Grand Slams. So every single tournaments, the ball boys are - I mean, it's not that what you really need because really when you miss one or two seconds, it's - it's really a lot of time. In this 25, it - it goes really fast.
A So you really needs to be like organised and really precise and if you don't have this, you are losing and then - I mean, for me the worst is that the whole game goes away. The whole rhythm, everything what you've been doing for so many years, it's just gone in by one decision. And this, I mean - no, I think it doesn't, is - it doesn't going to help to improving actually the game. Probably there is no chance to see the matches like last year, Rafa was playing with Djoko in the final or - is no way, because the guy is going to need to do something different, starts to risk more, I don't know, do something different and - no, I don't think that the tennis is going to move - move higher in the - like every other single sport.
Q Were you penalised at all in Chennai for the time?
A Yes, I mean, I was like serving four times, second serve and you know, yes.
Q The umpire calls - called it against you or - - -
A Yes, well you know, basically the rule is, like if you miss it once you get just warning. When you miss it next time, you get a second serve and then every time second serve. So it was like four or five times serving second serve, yes.
Q That's - yes, 25 seconds is not very long when you're in 40 degree or 38 degree heat, is it?
A Yes. I mean, I haven't seen one single guy to be - to be delaying the game for a purpose.
A Not even a single one. Not my opponent, not the ones I seen in TV or in the court, no one. And I mean, they come up with this idea.
Q Are you on the council at all or (indistinct) - - -
A I'm actually not, but you know, I was asking the guy from the ATP about that and even actually I was - the first time I heard about it was in Chennai that I saw it written on the wall.
A I said, "What is this guys?" I mean - "Well we sent you an email with the change of the rules and there was a small article about this." I said, "You changing such a big thing to know for the people, the news is only like that." "Yes, we send an email."
Q That's it. So all the players heard about it by email?
A I mean, at least if you know it in advance, a little bit, you have a - you have a chance to kind of prepare in the off season, you know, because you really need to start to do the things differently.
A If you want to make it in 25.
A You really need to have someone who is going to count the time and you know, you start together, the rhythm for the shortened period and you really have to practice it.
Q Yes, sure.
A So if you know it, then it would be at least you can be prepared for that, but no I mean, I'm not - not a fan, definitely.
Q I think it's an issue that will obviously be raised in the next couple of weeks, for sure. Can I just change you to another subject, from a local of point of view on Bernard Tomic, have you played him and I'm just wondering, what you think of he needs to do - a young guy like that needs to do to get up into - like he aspires to be Top 10 like yourself and the other ones, I mean, what does - what does a young man like that have to do to in fact succeed and do that?
A Well, I just play him once, it was last year here in Kooyong and - well I think he has a great hand. You know, he has a really touch in his hand, which is a really good advantage. He can really read the game. I mean like, he really see well the situations on court and everything. But I think what's - what's he going to get into himself is that he really needs to start to live with the tennis you know, and go like every single minute. So I think that that's very important to get - to get to know that, because it's not only that you are, you know, professional but this really needs to be like, you know, when you've done practice, you still need to do the things that you need to - needs to be done and it's not like you're finished, you're done with the practice and then whatever. You know, it's - it's really - you have to, you know, mentally be prepared for that. I mean, I don't know if - whatever, I don't what he's doing, how he's - what he's like, life it is, but for my point of view, it's very important to - to have this - to have this aspect in - actually in yourself, you know, like you really live with the tennis, with the sport.
Q It's a bit like Janko said yesterday - - -
A Yes, yes, I think this is very important, you know. I mean, he really just, you know, find the right words for that meaning. Sometimes it's really hard to like, you know, find a way how to say it.
A And what - I mean, yes, that's the thing, what did you improve to be better and stay in the Top 10? I mean, I didn't improve forehand, I didn't improve backhand, you know. It's more that you really get the small details, which needs to be done and needs to be you know, like sit on the - on the right position and that's one of them.
Q Tomas, you play Lleyton Hewitt in tomorrow's match.
Q Your thoughts on that match up?
A Yes, I mean, we - you know, I know Lleyton really well and you know, many times during the last past few years, you know, we practice each other, we play a couple of matches, so yes I always have a really good - good game with him, so I'm, you know, expecting the same one. You know, it's always - always good to play this - this guy, you know, used to be No.1 in the world, winning the slams. You know, it's always a - always a big nice match, so yes, I'm looking forward to that and let's see for tomorrow.
Q What's aspects of his game will you be focusing on?
A Well I mean, you know, he's a - he's a really all?round player, especially with the great movement on court. You know, as he said a few days ago, that even his foot is - is almost 100 per cent ready, so he has nothing that would stop him, you know, in practice or doing on the court. So you know, I expect that he's going to be even stronger than - than the last time and yes, you know, he's a - he's a great fighter, he can - he can really come up with the - with the points that you would normally don't expect. But that's - that's his game, you know, he really moves well on court, he gets many, many balls back and you know, an experienced guy, really playing well.
Q Thanks very much, Tomas.
A Thank you, yes.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Lleyton Hewitt
MS KELLEY: Congratulations Lleyton on your win and welcome back to Kooyong. So can we have some questions?
Q The kind of match you wanted?
A Yes, it's good. Obviously really tough conditions for everyone out there playing today and you know, it's what you come to expect though, playing at Kooyong on centre court. It's always tough, you know, with the wind. If it's a calm day in the city, there's still going to be a little bit of wind out there on centre court and it's sort of blustery. It's very tough to get a guide on actually which way it's going. So a lot of it's sort of playing percentage tennis out there, but also yes, you've to hit your spots and you know, good movement and mental toughness, I guess, as well.
Q And all those things were as you wanted them to be?
A Yes, well obviously playing
Q Does that sharpen the focus, I suppose, with the ball moving in, it actually moved, I suppose, inside and then sweeping (indistinct) or (indistinct)?
A Yes, a little bit, I guess. You know, the only down side - you know, you don't want to be going out and just pushing the ball, you want to be able to go - go for your shots as well. But you know, as a whole, you know, I played pretty well. You know, in terms of serve, I served extremely well in the first set, hit my spots well. The second set, just didn't quite get enough first serves in and he decided to really step it up on my second serve. And you know, he's such a big guy with - with the dangerous shots, so I felt like I was on the back foot for a lot of the second set. And you know, early in the third set I sort of had to weather the storm and save a couple of break points and hang in there.
Q So given the preparation you've had, how many (indistinct)?
A I feel pretty sharp out there at the moment. As I said, you know, return wise I - I - you know, he's got one of the biggest serves out there and in tough conditions and whatever I could get my racquet on, I put him under pressure most times. So in terms of that, you know, there's a lot of positives. You know, there's always areas he gave me - you feel like you can do a little bit better, but you know, all in all, we move on to tomorrow.
Q How much has (indistinct) improved since you've been (indistinct)?
A It's a lot better than it was. You know, even - you know, it's started turning around for me, probably halfway through to the end of the
Q Do you have to compensate with special inserts in shoes or - - -
A No, no, just - I've just got a lot of screws and metal plates in there and I can't move it.
Q Does that have a knock-on effect beyond the physical, mentally when playing you don't need to think about that pain?
A Not really, it just - off the court, I - you know, this year compared to going into the Australian Open last year is - mentally it was very wearing for me last year, I had an injection before any warm up hit before a match. You know, so I don't know how many injections I had last January, it was just - it was getting out of control. So, in terms of mentally, I can just focus on what I need to do and my game, which is a lot - you know, that's refreshing.
Q Does it allow you to spend more time on the practice
A Yes, I could if I wanted. You know, I - sort of right at the moment, I felt like - obviously in January - November-December, I spent quite a bit of time and you know, could do whatever I needed to do and - whereas last year, I was obviously, you know, cutting corners a little bit more.
Q Travelling with Looch all of the year, (indistinct), what does he bring to your sort of entourage and your approach?
A Well firstly he's a good mate, so you know, it's always important to have people around you that - you know, you trust and get along well and he knows my game and what makes me tick as well. You know, so I have a lot of confidence in him with that. You know, plus he knows my strengths my weaknesses as well and how to get the best out of me. He's a very positive guy as well, which is a good thing and - so no, it's going to be a bit of fun. I've always enjoyed - got along extremely well with Looch, tried to help him out as much as possible when he was playing and you know, obviously we're pretty close family friends too.
Q So how much did you have to do last year?
A He only did a little bit, now and then. He did a lot more sort of practice weeks last year than actual tournaments, and then he was at the Davis Cup ties. Whereas Roachie won't do as much travelling this year, and Roachie will – you know, which is fantastic for me, because, you know, obviously Roachie will – I think he's going to be at Wimbledon and the grass court season and Davis Cup ties and everything anyway, so you know, I get both of them, and they get along extremely well, which is great for me.
Q Are they sort of co-coaches are they?
A Yes, I guess. Yes, I don't know what Roachie is he's a jack of all trades, you know, his golf partner, his everything so – only Roachie doesn't play golf, so - - -
Q So do you feel kind of reborn as a player with all these (indistinct) going to this year (indistinct) as you have (indistinct).
A Yes, as I've just said – you know for me mentally there's no stress or extra pressure about my body at the moment, which is – it just leaves me with a clear mind. I don't know what more to say – you know, I'm just – you know, for me it's just – it makes you happier to be out there doing the hard work and not grimacing every time you've got to do something, but you know, I've never said I can't do anything or whatever in training. But you've just got to push through the pain the whole time, whereas this I can sort of push myself a little bit harder, and still feel good.
Q You should be feeling better results (indistinct)?
A Yes, obviously – you know, a lot depends on draws obviously going into the majors and whatever, but you know, I obviously want to peak at the Grand Slam and you know, for me the Australian Open and Wimbledon are the two priorities.
Q You've always been known as a very mentally tough player Lleyton, do you see yourself now as mentally the toughest you've ever been in your career?
A I've always prided myself on being pretty tough mentally anyway, you know, even when I was 20 and world No.1 I – you know, I felt like I won so many matches through mental toughness back then, and doing the right things, and those one percenters really got me across the line in so many close matches. I don't think that's changed that much, you know, I still – you know, I still believe in myself and back myself out there. But – yes I feel like I - you know, when the going gets tough I'm there, and I enjoy those moments.
Q (Indistinct) next year, and you've come out now and said that you're not going to play the second one, is that disappointing for someone like you, who's always had their hand up?
A Yes, I guess. I haven't – has someone said something to me I haven't spoken to him about it, has he said it – yes, so I haven't – I haven't spoken – I'd like to have a chat with him obviously at some stage about it more and just seek, because I know Pat, you know, he's pretty frustrated, you know, for one – you know, he wants to have the best possible team we can have, and Bernie's in that, there's no doubt about it. So, you know, that's a tough one. Obviously, you know, he had to work on a few things before he got back in the tie, and whether that's had any influence on him missing the second tie then I don't know. But I personally haven't spoken to Bernie about it, but I feel like the last year and a half, two years, I've got - you know, I'm probably the closest out of anyone with him, which, you know, a lot of people would find amazing after a few years ago.
Q (Indistinct) persuaded him?
A I don't know, I haven't spoken to him, and I'm not going to talk to him right now about it. It's not the right time. So – you know, it's disappointing he's not playing the first tie, but that's for other reasons than Bernie, you know, missing it himself. That's not for his own reasons. So – you know, there's still a bit of time before the second one. We'll have to wait and see, and that's if Pat – you hope one season he's allowed to play two. That's Pat's call and Josh Eagle and Roachie, you know it's not mine.
Q OK, anyone else? Thanks very much Lleyton.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Juan Martin del Potro
MS KELLEY: Thank you. Welcome back to Kooyong, Juan Martin, and congratulations on your win.
MR DEL POTRO: Thank you.
MS KELLEY: Now, he hasn't got very long folks, so if you could just keep it fairly brief that would be much appreciated.
Q Were you happy enough with that?
MR DEL POTRO:
A I was - it was a match to start the year. It was really, really tight. We tried to play as best I can. The weather was - sometimes was horrible to play with the wind and the with the sun, but I think here is a very good chance to - to prepare the Open and play in the big matches before - before the Open.
Q The last 33 Grand Slams have been won by Top 4 players. You've - you're the only one, apart from maybe one, 33 majors. How long do you think these three or maybe four guys can keep shutting you others out of these tournaments?
A Yes, I think it's not the - it's not strange, because they are so good and they make difference every - every tournament with the rest of the players, but I think the more I go to that group, winning the US Open and you have now four names to - to win the Grand Slam. I mean, I'm the only one we're not Top 4 but maybe - maybe in this tournament or in this year, another names can win a Grand Slam. Like all the Top 10s are - are good players and they have conditions to - to win a Grand Slam. It's not this year, but if you have a fantastic two weeks, maybe you can do it.
Q Roger's another year older and Rafa has knee problems, do you think they can keep going, or?
A Well they - they are the favourites, Rafa, Roger, Djokovic, Murray and Rafa is going to - is coming - is coming soon, I think. He's - he's still working on his knees and he will be back very, very soon and for the tennis and for us, he's going to be great to see him playing again. I mean, I think that group is the best group of the world and we tried to - to get closer to them day by day, but it is not easy.
Q Does your (indistinct) in the US Open then seem even more of an achievement in hindsight, given how impossible it's been for you know, virtually anyone else to win one since?
A Yes. Yes, but I mean the US Open was three years ago and I have been working a lot to be at the Top 10 again. I - I got injury problem, my wrist, then my knees, my hip and I have a few - a few problems with my body, but now I'm in good shape. Of course, from - for this year, my big, big challenge and big goal could be win another Grand Slam but I have to (indistinct) further (indistinct) rest of the players.
Q With respect, you spent some of December with Roger (indistinct). How does that - what do you take from that experience, do you - - -
A Where? Where do you mean?
Q You spent some time playing exhibitions with
Roger ? ? ?
A Yes, yes, in
Q That wrist injury, I think it's three years ago, when did it first give you trouble? I think you played one match here a few years ago.
Q And then you reached the fourth round of the Australian and (indistinct) fairly played after it. Did you have the injury when you came to
A Yeah, I had it before I came here. I played only one match and then after this match I – and then when I put it on my wrist, my wrist for the open, I played like not 100 per cent in
Q And that's when you had the surgery?
A Yeah, I made surgery in May.
Q Juan, what do you feel? What do you need to beat the (indistinct)?
A I need as many things to be there, but I am working to be a better player day by day. I found the experience against them in the Grand Slams, I made semi finals in
Q Where does the Australian Open fit in the plans for you in terms of (indistinct)?
A I like this Grand Slam. It's so easy for the players. The facilities are really, really nice. We stay very close to the stadium. We practise a lot here, and the crowd is amazing and many, many kids come to see the Open, and miss the Grand Slam. That's amazing if you win the Australian Open,
Q With conditions suiting today, where would this fit, you know, (indistinct) in the order of Grand Slams that it was more likely to be. Which one, (indistinct) the Australian?
A Well, the use of everything.
Q Do you find it (indistinct)?
A I can't say, maybe the French Open. I don't know. What I said before, that's a matter which Grand Slam, you know, it's a Grand Slam and all Grand Slams means the thing, the same thing.
Q So if you achieve it, can you be a couple weeks more popular in
A If I win this Open, maybe, but it's so big for – for the world, you know.
Q Thanks very much. Thank you.
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Players' Media Conference
MR FELGATE: Welcome. Welcome to the media conference for this year's AAMI Classic.
I'd like to firstly just thank all of our major sponsors, or the major sponsor in AAMI of course, who is represented here today by John Bennetts, great to have you John. He's the executive manager of sponsorship. For the Seven Network, thank you, IEC in Sports, Schweppes, Nepenthe Wines, Lanson, Connoisseur Gourmet Ice Cream, Wilson, Roland Major Events, Park Hyatt Melbourne, Ticketmaster, Cougar, Mercedes Benz Toorak and Melbourne, Coffee Supreme, 3AW, Fox FM and of course, Tennis Australia.
I would like to introduce this year's field please, in order of ranking and if the players can move forward please and take your place here at the front table. You're very welcome here in
Can we start please with, from the
MR FELGATE: So ladies and gentlemen, would you please make welcome the president of this most famous of tennis clubs, the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, Mr Ian Hill.
MR HILL: Thanks John. Gentlemen, I've got the running sheet telling me I've got five minutes to welcome you all here to Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. I think I'll be done in about 30 seconds, but I'll do my best to say something intelligent here this morning.
This is the spiritual home of Australian tennis. So feel free to have an epiphany while you're here. We have got, I think, one of the best tennis clubs in the world. In the next four days, please make this your home. Use the facilities, enjoy the atmosphere at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club and in the two weeks of the Australian Open, which all of you will of course be there for two weeks, please also make use of this great facility. On behalf of the club, have a great event here at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. Thanks gentlemen.
MR FELGATE: All right, thank you Ian. And very important man now, guys. When you hear from John, you have to listen, is that OK? He is the - from AAMI, he is the executive manager of sponsorship, please make welcome Mr John Bennetts.
MR BENNETTS: Thanks Fitzy. It's lovely to be here today and AAMI again is delighted to be involved with the AAMI Classic here at, as Ian said, the spiritual home of Australian tennis at Kooyong.
Look, it's a fabulous event and it's interesting, I see Marie Kelley over there and it's some nine years ago that Marie approached us and wanted to talk to us about this event and we took on the sponsorship and we're now part of the Suncorp Group. And it's very interesting that we now look at our group and the group's involvement
in tennis and we are a sponsor of the Brisbane International with Suncorp. We're a sponsor of the APIA International, of course, in
The quality of the players is testament to Colin and his team and the respect he has. We talk throughout the year and Colin updates me on how he's going with his negotiations with the players and I think the line up this year is no exception to the quality that we've seen in past years. It's great to see the guys here and we wish you all the very best for the week.
I think one element of today which you have all noticed is the fan day, and congratulations to Kooyong and Colin and his team again for developing this day. We have got an involvement with the AAMI fan precinct and this won't mean anything to the international players, maybe Lleyton. But we've got Ketut from the famous Rhonda and Ketut AAMI ads at the moment. He's over there, and you can see there is a queue of people wanting to get a photo with Ketut. So it's a fabulous initiative. And also the kids on Friday, the kids' day on Friday will be great. It's great to see the kids from Challenge here today and all the best guys with the, over the coming period. And I hope you have a great day.
Look, we wish everyone a great event. To the media, thanks for your support. To the players, all the very best, as I say, for this week, and in particular as you lead into the Australian Open all the very, very best, and we wish you great success. Thank you.
MR FELGATE: Thank you, John. OK, now it's time for my old friend, Colin Stubbs, who will announce the draw, and of course the Wednesday schedule. Welcome, Colin.
MR STUBBS: Thanks, John, and thank you, John, for your kind words. It is my job to announce the draw and the schedule for tomorrow. But by way of explanation, I had a phone call from Juan Monaco's management this morning which indicated to me that he had a hand injury. They are not so sure how serious it is, but he has been advised by his doctor not to play in the next few days, with the hope that he can take his place in the Australian Open. So that allowed us to elevate
Paul-Henri into the exclusive eight, and Paul-Henri, I hope you enjoy your first stint down here at Kooyong. I know you have played here before many years ago, but welcome again anyway.
OK, Marie, would you like to unveil the draw please? OK, it's there for all to see. The seeded players are Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro, Janko Tipsarevic and Milos Raonich. And the schedule of play for tomorrow, Juan Martin del Porto v. Paul-Henri Mathieu at 11 a.m., followed by Lleyton Hewitt v. Milos Raonich, followed by Janko Tipsarevic v. Marcos Baghdatis, followed by Tomas Berdych v. Kei Nishikori. OK, I wish you all he best, not only this week but in the next two weeks which I know is of paramount importance. Thanks for coming along again. Thank you to the media for your attendance today and your faith in us over the years, and enjoy the week.
MR FELGATE: Thank you, Stubbsy. So if I could just kick this media conference off, I'm sure there will be plenty of questions from the floor. At least we hope there will be. Jump in at any time. If I could just kick it off though, I just want to congratulate Tomas Berdych actually. Winning a
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yes, thank you, and definitely it was. It was so fine, the last, you know, memories and experience that I had, you know. It was – it was really good for us when we were turning it around, winning that – that (indistinct). It was really huge, and I was really enjoying that moment.
MR FELGATE: OK, fantastic. And Janko, I want to just refer to you. You've just won another tournament on the ATP tour. You were telling me out on centre court it hasn't improved your ranking all that much because you were a finalist there last year, but well done last week in Chennai.
JANKO TIPSAREVIC: Thank you very much. Yeah, that was my first ATP title. I lost a very tight final to
MR FELGATE: OK, well done, mate.
JANKO TIPSAREVIC: Yes.
MR FELGATE: Juan Martin, it's been a couple of years now since you became the Grand Slam champion. You have a big stature in the game, I know especially in
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Thank you. Yeah, I am feeling – I am feeling really good too at the moment. It's a big challenge playing – playing the Australian Open after winning the Grand Slam a couple of years ago. But I may just have to repeat, but I will try my best.
MR FELGATE: Yes, fantastic. Well, welcome here, Juan Martin. Milos, welcome. First time here, a youngster. You are only a young man but you have done great things already in the sport. I noticed in your bio you were hoping to be a consistent Top 50 player in the world. I think you are underselling yourself, if that's true. But tell us a little bit about your past year and where you are at right now.
MR FELGATE: OK, and as a little boy, you came across with your parents to
MR FELGATE: Yeah, OK. How has your family adapted to Canadian life? I mean, are they all still there, or do you have family still back?
MR FELGATE: You mean you could have been playing Davis Cup for us?
MILOS RAONICH: This was, so it was only one page and my parents didn't speak any English, so that helped
MR FELGATE: Lleyton, you reckon he would have been handy. OK. Kei, well done. In the last 12 months you have really come a long way. A quarter finalist at the Australian Open, I know it was huge news.
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah.
MR FELGATE: Well, we think we know how big the news was in
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I played well last year at the Australian Open. I think I had the best result last year at winning my home country Japan Open and there was the amazing feeling and, yeah, quarter final at the Australian Open. So I hope, you know, I can do it better this year and hopefully good this year.
MR FELGATE: OK, well done. Welcome, Kei. Marcos, look, you need no introduction. I should just throw the floor open to you. I mean, you have been here so many times now. You were a finalist here. You're very popular in
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: For sure, yeah. I mean, it's a great tournament before, before the Open, and I'm happy to be here. It's a pleasure being here, and looking forward to play some matches here and have fun and getting ready for – for the Open.
MR FELGATE: Will the fan club be here?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't know. We will see.
MR FELGATE: You don't have a direct line to all of those guys?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: No.
MR FELGATE: OK. All right. Well, next to you is a man who is also a new father, and Paul-Henri, it's really good. It's a great thing for us to have you here. You've been a terrific player for a lot of years and you were a French Open junior champion a decade ago.
PAUL-HENRI MATHIEU: No, a very long time ago.
MR FELGATE: All right, but welcome here.
PAUL-HENRI MATHIEU: Thank you. I am very happy to be here, to play here for the first time, and hopefully, yeah, will be ready for the Open.
MR FELGATE: OK, congratulations. All right, Lleyton, a man who knows a lot about fatherhood, do you want to give these guys any coaching or - - -
LLEYTON HEWITT: On tennis or?
MR FELGATE: On fatherhood.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, yeah, three is a lot more than two, that's for sure. No, it's obviously fantastic to be back here at Kooyong. Yeah, it means an awful lot for any Australian to play at this great centre. You know, I was fortunate enough to play Davis Cup here. I've spoken many times about my idol growing up, Pat Cash, and the wins that he had here at Kooyong and, you know, the home of Australian tennis. So for me to have played the Kooyong Classic two years ago on my first time and
actually hold up the trophy was very special for me, and you know, it's fantastic. Colin puts on a fantastic event and it's great to be back. Obviously he's put together an amazing field again this year so, no, just looking forward to it.
MR FELGATE: Yes, well welcome Lleyton, it's great to have you here again. I'd like to throw it open to the floor, to the media contingent here to ask any questions they would like. Please feel free to - this is your chance to talk to these world class athletes. Over to you.
Q 1. Lleyton, I just wondered after a win and a loss in
A No, feeling pretty good. My movement has been - been great. The foot's not giving me any problems whatsoever, which is a nice thing to say, for a long time. So yes, obviously my movement is such a key part of my game and always has been. So you know, to have confidence back in my movement and my foot is - you know, gives a lot more self belief and you know, my practice sessions so far at
Q 2. You obviously had a good run to the fourth round at
A No, well I think I've - it's the only points I've got until
Q 3. Tomas, you were a late - I suppose, a late approach to the tournament, not enough matches last week or do you feel, you know, a late season finish in Davis Cup, has that hurt you at all or - your preparation?
A No, I don't think so. Yes, it was really a decision in the last moment and (indistinct) everything is really well at the moment - really the matches before - before to be in the Open and - I was just asking for the opportunity to play and thanks for calling to get me here for the last moment and yes, it's a good - a good felling to have those matches before we start next - next week.
Q 4. Just with - sorry, with Rafael being out next week, do you think that opens up the draw a bit for some of the guys - yourself and some of the guys next to you?
A It's really hard to say if it's open or not. I mean, he's a great player. We are missing him for a couple of months and - our sport is missing him and there is so many other, other great players in which - which you can meet in the first rounds, but you know, it's really hard to say just - but of course, yes, he's a great player and possibly yes, you can say that.
Q 5. Lleyton. Lleyton, you had to deal with some pretty significant injuries in the last few years. Have you learnt a little bit more about preparing your body at this stage of your career and if so, how has it changed?
A It hasn't changed - you know, it hasn't changed that much. Really, you know, the hardest thing obviously is going through all the rehab. and you know, after the last surgery I guess the self doubt in the back of your mind, whether it's going to get back to even close to 100 per cent and not having to go out and play in pain every match. And you know, that's a good thing for me for now, I can actually go out there with a clear mind in terms of just worrying about hitting the ball and competing against these guys. It's hard enough playing them when you are 100 per cent, let alone when you're in pain and you've got an injury. So you know, in terms of training wise, it was you know, so pleasing for me in November-December to be able to do all the exercises that I haven't been able to do the last couple of years.
Q 6. And given that fact, where you expect to be in the Australian Open? You've had a pretty injury-free run to this point, what are your expectations?
A Like all these guys, you just take it one match at a time. You know, the first week in any major you can lose and you certainly can't win it, so it's a matter of putting yourself in a position to be there in the second week. And you know, every match is tough and you've got to be prepared to play, you know, five set matches every second day. And you know, obviously a lot is going to depend on the draw but you know, I'll be out there giving 100 per cent, as usual.
Q 7. A question for Kei, if - Kei? Your confidence after being into the quarter finals last year, how was that - how important was that feeling in 2012? Talk us through the boost that it was for you?
A Yes, like I said, yes I played one of the best year, last year, so hopefully I can do better and yes, all the Grand Slam medals for me and I had a good week last week, so playing well and decent results. So you know, I tried to be ready for next week and yes, hopefully this will be a - play some good matches and ready for Australian Open.
Q 8. I think Fitzy, you said it was big news certainly in
A Yes, a lot of those things changed after Australian Open last year. You know, they see me different and my ranking goes up and you know, everything changed in my country. Yes, you know, it's good to - good to feel that way and you know, not many people can feel like that. I'm having fun and you know, hopefully my ranking goes up more.
A It will be tough to watch too much hockey with the time change, but it's good - for a lot of friends and a lot of people, it's a good thing.
Q 10. Tomas, how big inspiration was the presence of Ivan Lendl at home for the Davis Cup and support in
A Well it is really different situation for us because I know he is on the other side sitting with Lendl and you have your six million on the other side that was hoping within the first Thursday is (indistinct) Czechoslovakia at that time so, I don’t know it is, it is (indistinct) for him and you know, it was really big, you know, all the people around and especially with the - with the fire in his eyes, it was - it was a really incredible week.
Q 11. Kei, I just wanted to follow up on your knee injury
A Actually I haven't hit after that. Trying to hit today and let's see how it goes and hopefully I can play here.
Q 12. So you're not - you don't sound too confident? What chance would you give yourself?
A I don't know, it's - it's not bad actually, so - I don't know, let's cross the finger and hopefully it's OK.
Q 13. Juan, you develop in
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:
A Well, I mean, being No.1 is – is so, so tough. Not many players can win No.1 in the world. But I've been working so hard during this week before getting here. It always is like a, like a dream winning – winning a Grand Slam, and that's helped to go up in the ranking. But I know it's a long road. It's really difficult. But I – I will try to – to do my best every day in every tournament and I think the issue is to don't play Davis Cup. I need to work closer to my goals.
Q 14. Lleyton, we have seen Sam Stosur really struggle under the pressure and expectation of playing in front of a home crowd in Sydney and Brisbane in first round exits. But for you on the flip side, it seems you really thrive under that pressure. Are you encouraging all Australians to sort of create a bit of a Davis Cup like atmosphere both here at Kooyong and at
A Yeah, it's – it's always fun for me obviously playing in Australia and getting the opportunity of playing big tournaments in front of my home fans, and you know, the support I've always got wherever it is in Australia is amazing. You know, obviously it's hard to beat, you know, playing a night match at the Australian Open in front of 15,000 people barracking for you. So, you know, it's something that I've really enjoyed and I guess, you know, even towards the end of your career it's, you know, moments like that that you're going to miss when you do retire. So you know, I guess I try and take it in my stride as much as possible and enjoy it out there. And you know, it's something that I've had to do since I was 15 or 16 so I've sort of got used to it.
Back to top
AAMI Classic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Questions for Bernard Tomic
MEDIA SPOKESPERSON: Congratulations, Bernard. 2012 AAMI Classic champion. Well done.
BERNARD TOMIC: Thanks.
MEDIA SPOKESPERSON: OK. Questions please for Bernard.
Q Bernard, was that the perfect preparation for next week?
A Yeah, it was. It was very good to play, you know, three matches. I knew I was going to play three here and it was a good feeling to play well and get a lot of confidence and, you know, playing all three matches in three sets is - you know, it's - it's tough but, you know, I think I got a good workout. I played well. Got confidence up and played three world class players and had, you know, confidence over them and, you know, it's a good feeling to - to feel like that before you play on Monday or Tuesday.
Q Was there more intensity in the final than there was in your pool games?
A Yeah, there was. It was a little bit different especially in the third set. I think it was a matter of whoever broke - whoever first was going to win and, you know, I was lucky to get a break in that last game and play well and, you know, it was a - a bit different feeling in that third set. And, you know, it was - it was a feeling like there was a match. There was a good feeling and it was something, you know, like I can expect when I start
I start playing on Monday or Tuesday.
Q Are you aware of the history of this event? Some of the past major winners who've won this and - - -
A Well, (indistinct) did mention it and it was a good feeling to be a part of the guys that have won it and I know a lot of good players have won it, so to be up there with those names is - is great and, you know, what more can I say? It's, you know - I know I haven't lost a match here so I don't think - I can't lose here. It's - it's funny.
Q When did you first come to Kooyong, can you remember?
A Well two years ago when I had to play Novak and I think I won (indistinct) here. I don't know, it could all change next week, it couldn't.
Q Next week with Verdasco, I mean do you need to be more aggressive against him from the point of view that you've really not got a lot (indistinct)?
A Yeah, I think I'll need to be a little more aggressive. I think he's one of those guys that can play - you know there's only three or four guys that can play all day and he's one of them, so I think I need to come out and be aggressive and hit fast, like the way I was playing in the first few matches here at Kooyong. I think if I play like that and to his back end corner deep I think he can't really hurt me.
Q Do you still approach matches like you've got nothing to loose? Is that a mindset going in or are you just at that stage?
A It is, but sometimes you forget about everything and you just realise you're playing in that moment and there's a bit of pressure around, it's a tough point, so. There's always pressure and stuff and you know, any big point, whether it's four all in the third or you know four all in the fifth, it's still going to get to me either way, even if you're younger than I.
Q Are you going to celebrate a little bit tonight or in training - have to train again tonight?
A I don't know what I have tonight. Hopefully they'll realise go and have the night off and - but I don't know. I'll probably train tomorrow and do some stuff and you know, be ready to play.
Q When do you start preparing for Verdasco and how? Do you speak to someone about it?
A Well it's a good thing that I played him before, once when I - in Brisbane when he made that run and when he got to the semi's and he was playing well then. You know I remember I managed to get up two love, 40-15 and you know he beat me 6-4, 6-2. You know I learn from that and I remember playing him. He obviously - you know, he's had - he had the great year when I did play him, so I think it's a good
- it's a tough first round when you look at it, but it's a very winnable match for me if I come in focused and you know it's not like those big names. It's a good feeling to play someone you know you have confidence that you can win and not playing like a big seed.
Q Thanks for that.
A All right, thank you guys.