June 30, 2009
The quarterfinals of grand slam events often times provide some of the most electrifying matches the tournament has to offer. Not only it terms of sheer number of great matches that will be played—4, but also the instant elevation that each and every player will have to perform if they are to stick around.
Alright folks, without taking a slips on the remaining lush parts of Center Court, let’s get right to the whose, who of this years Wimbledon retro, final eight.
6th seed Andy Roddick vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Head-to-head record: Hewitt leads 6-5, with Roddick winning the pairs last four encounters, as well as both matches on grass-courts.
The skinny of this contest will be as followed: Classic serve vs. return match—not often seen nowadays.
Roddick did struggle early in the event, but did pick it up significantly against Berdych in round four. His willingness to win is ever present.
Hewitt has returned to his pesky determined self during the fortnight. His comprehensive win over del Potro in round two, was followed up by vintage Aussie comeback against Stepanek in the previous round. With fists pumps flowing, the Aussie would fully welcome a 2002 resurrection.
With that being said, you would have to think Roddick holds the advantage.
Andy is clearly the fitter of the two players, and you would have to think that the old Aussie is feeling his glorious run, each and every morning he wakes up. Roddick is fresh as a daisy, with his year-to-date air tight regime with Coach Stefanki, appearing to pay dividends.
Hewitt does hold the volley card, and will be looking to employ his forward movement if possible. Roddick will look to keep Lleyton away from the net.
If Andy can impose himself in his serve games (simply vital for Roddick), then his return game, which is the worse part of his grass-game, can loosen up. Pound for pound Hewitt has a better over all grass-game, with Roddick holding the supreme x-factor in the serve. The serve is important here people.
It’s been a great fortnight for Hewitt, but is says here that what goes around comes around. Roddick is a player of pride, and will be looking to gain karma and avenge his 2001 loss to Hewitt at the U.S. Open (a tournament Hewitt). A bum call late in the fifth-set sent Roddick into a frenzy, and Hewitt towards a finals win over Pete Sampras. But wait, there is hawk-eye this time around.
Pick: Roddick in 4-sets
3rd seed Andy Murray vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero
Head-to-head: Murray leads 1-0, with the pairs only match coming a few weeks ago at Queen’s Club.
Last on Center Court—all of Britain watching—the Nation at a stand still. Sound familiar? Yes, Andy Murray is playing.
With the Scot three wins away from relieving tennis a starved country in search of a hero, a wild card, and some potential drama are up next on Center Court.
Stan Wawrinka and the possible sabotage of roof-gone-wrong almost up-ended Murray in round four. Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero will hope his rendition of a Stan Wawrinka gone-right, will spoil the engaged hopefuls throughout the U.K.
It will be unlikely.
Although Ferrero has been on fire throughout his matches thus far, the “mosquito”, or new found “lawnmower”, will have his forehand doing most of the talking.
The Spaniard is at a distinct disadvantage against Murray in every category. From serving to slicing, Andy owns the pot.
Perhaps the few nods of encouragement, which Ferrero can call upon reside in his experience (he’s been there done that, pretty much everywhere), and let’s not forget his wild card factor.
The generosity of the All England Club has often backfired on the powers that be. Remember Goran Ivanisevic taking out Tim Henmen during the 2001 Championships? Gulp.
But in all seriousness, Ferrero can not rely on the canon serve which Goran was blessed with. His pop-less serve will provide little-to-no-adversity towards Murray.
Once again, Ferrero will continue the retro theme throughout the fortnight, but will come up significantly short in front of a crowd which will be staring his defeat, from the first ball struck.
Pick: Murray in 3-sets
4th seed Novak Djokovic vs. 24th seed Tommy Haas
Head-to-head record: Djokovic leads 2-1 overall, with Haas winning the pairs lone grass-court match.
The old versus the new.
Tommy Haas has put forth somewhat of a renaissance effort this fortnight. His reservoir of all-court traits, match-up well with the high-flying, acrobatic showmanship of Djokovic.
In terms of actual ability, this is a close affair. Both players possess great ground-strokes and more that adequate serving tools.
In terms of actual mental focus, well, once again this is a close affair. With Djokovic proving to go “South” when things are not in his favor— Haas is not to be outdone, by displaying a lack a perspective during tight matches. These two chaps are a matched made in mental fortitude. But will certainly have a good crack at one another.
If we were to base the outcome on sheer credentials, Djokovic would have to get the nod. He is a grand slam champion after all, and has won numerous Masters 1000 titles.
Haas on the other hand, pound-for-pound maybe the grass-court player. His ball striking, and ability to flatten-out his shots are slightly more extenuated on the lawns.
With that being said, Djokovic also holds the youth factor in his back pocket. Although Haas has survived up until this point, one would have to think that his 31-year-old frame is reaching maintenance mode.
All in all, should be a shot-makers dream come Court 1 on Wednesday, with a full force effort by each combatant.
Over all Haas has put together a better fortnight, but Djokovic has proved his footing to be in place, which ultimately will make the difference.
Break out the popcorn, gonna be a great one.
Pick: Djokovic in 4-sets
2nd seed Roger Federer vs. 22nd seed Ivo Karlovic
Head-to-head record: Federer leads 8-1, with the Swiss winning the pairs only grass-court encounter.
Rise and shine everyone, the first match on Center Court will be filled with a few missiles and a military jacket.
With Doctor Ivo not losing his serve the entire fortnight (or the entire grass season for that matter), King Fed will have to be at his utmost best, when standing on the returning line.
With no symphony for rhythm being allowed by Karlovic, look to check back, in oh, an hour after each set, to view a tie-breaker. That is where things will get interesting.
Karlovic has always had a knack of gaining close scorelines with the Swiss—his serve speaks volumes, and often times sets.
But on the flip side of the perpetual bombs which Ivo serves up, lies a stone cold racket guru, who embraces the battle of cutting down tennis’ giant.
Federer loves the power game. And although Karlovic will certainly pop his fair share of non-returnables, to, at, and past the Swiss, it has always been Federer’s chess match mind which is focused on how this story is going to end—”You can’t hang with me in the ‘breakers Ivo.”
How many players have actually verbally expressed their eagerness for returning the Karlovic serve? How many great players (Tsonga, Verdasco, etc…) have left this fortnight, wishing Dudi Sela had crossed thier paths? Not Federer.
Bottom line, get ready for a pot-of-coffee, and a rock-and-sock-em tennis match. Undoubtedly, Karloivc is playing the tennis of life (finally), and if there was ever a moment to progress to the final-four of Wimbledon, based on form, this would be his year.
However, across the net from Ivo, will stand a statue of tennis brilliance, with his formidable and elite grass-court game never shying away from the leaps and bounds of his opponents. Although Karlovic will see over the statue, he will not break it.
Look for a close one, with the guy who shows up with two bags advancing.
Pick: Federer in 4-sets
June 30, 2009
News came out of Spain today that Rafa Nadal has been left off of the Spanish team’s roster because his knees are still not completely healed. The defending champs will surely miss the #1 player in the world’s presence but will still have a power packed team when they host Germany in their upcoming tie. The team is made up of Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer, and Feliciano Lopez. The match will take place in Marbella.
The German team will be without Tommy Haas who has had a resurgence this year but wants to rest is 32 year old body. They will have Philipp Kohlschreiber, Nicolas Kiefer, Mischa Zverev and Andreas Beck.
Spanish news video below:
June 30, 2009
June 30, 2009
First off, sorry for you faithful Tennis Connected readers who were expecting the same daily coverage from me as in Roland Garros. I’ll be participating in a Open-level tournament in 2 weeks, so right now my time is pretty much split between practice matches, physical training and cooling off at the pool.
Quite a shocking turn of events, really. Looking at the Men’s Quarterfinal Draw, I cannot help but think that, somehow, we’ve gone back in time and ended up in 2004, when guys like Ferrero, Roddick, Hewitt, Haas and Federer were in the prime of their accomplished careers. Yet, 5 years later, they are alive and kicking in the second week of the Championships. Roddick’s bullet serve is deadlier than ever, while Hewitt seems to have recaptured the intensity which fueled his championship run here in 2002, recovering from a 2 set deficit and defeating the ever-tricky Radek Stepanek in 5 sets today.
Ferrero took out a fading Gilles Simon easily, hugging the baseline and playing anything but like a clay courter on the grass of SW19. Tommy Haas looked like he was on his way out in the 3rd round when Marin Cilic roared back from 2 sets to love down and went up in the deciding set, but the enigmatic German, a throwback with his full-natural gut string setup (as opposed to the polyester/gut hybrid preferred by most pros today) kept charging forward. With that victory he both avoided stumbling after gaining a 2 set lead (like he did against Gilles Muller last year at the US Open and against Federer a few weeks ago in Paris) and obtained his first quarterfinal showing at a Slam since 2007. And as for Federer, well, Roger’s become once again The Man.
Apart from a temporary lapse in judgment against the streaky Phillip Kohlschreiber, Federer has been absolutely money on clutch points, as demonstrated by his win over Soderling. With the score 5-4 on the Swede’s serve in the 3rd set tiebreak, Federer bunts back a heavy Soderling delivery and is pushed behind the baseline. Robin runs around his backhand and absolutely pummels a forehand which lands a foot inside both lines in Federer’s forehand corner. On the full gallop, the Swiss calmly draws his racquet back and answers with a forehand drive of his own. His frame whips up behind the ball and comes to a controlled stop right over his head.
Meanwhile, the ball rifles past Soderling’s outstretched arm crosscourt and kisses the far sideline. Who says you’re only young once?
Hewitt in 5
Murray in 3
Haas in 4
Federer in 5
June 29, 2009
|Centre Court - Gentlemen’s Singles – 4th Round|
|Andy Murray GBR (3)||2||6||6||5||6|
|Stanislas Wawrinka SUI (19)||6||3||3||7||3|
|Match Statistics||Serve Statistics|
June 29, 2009
Courtesy of Wimbledon.org
Q. Were you convinced that was going to go into a fourth? The way the serves were coming down, tiebreaks all around.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I had one little chance early on in the third, you know, to get the break. Then I think maybe things would have been easier in the third.
But, you know, it was sort of a serving contest out there today. Not many rallies, so maybe not as much fun for the people.
But I stayed calm, waited for my chance, and thank God I came up with a good forehand when I had to in the breaker. It was always gonna be hard for him to keep serving those big second serves when they really mattered. That’s why I wasn’t particularly surprised he hit a double?fault at 5?All in the breaker.
Q. A letter has gone out from the club about some ball?boys being sent home with flu?like symptoms. What have you been told and are you concerned about it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I was told about it a couple days ago. For sure not good news, you know, especially, you know, for the players traveling around the world, meeting so many people. It’s obviously not a good thing.
But I’m sure the club, ATP, ITF, they’re trying their very best to protect us as much as they can. Being careful I think is very important right now.
Q. There’s obviously a lot of pressure on Andy Murray this fortnight. Is it helping you, the fact that all the eyes aren’t on you for once?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, we’re playing not on the same day, so I don’t really feel it’s that way. Doesn’t bother me anyway. Either way it is, you know, it’s fine.
Important is that I keep on moving in the draw, that I’m playing well. I thought I played a great first week. Today was different just because there’s not that many rallies. It was a different type of match. Could be the same again the next round.
So I’m excited I’m through to another quarter.
Q. Do you prepare any differently for a match against someone you know you have that 10?0 record against?
ROGER FEDERER: It definitely changes when you play a player for the tenth time or for the first time, just because when you play someone for the first time you go ask many other players, many other people, you know, How does this person play on big points? What’s their strengths, their weaknesses? So, you know, you try to scout out as much as you can, obviously with your coach.
When you play a player like Soderling, for instance, you know, who you’ve beaten already ten times in the pasts or you just play them very often, you know, it just shoots through your mind. All the information is right there, you know, stored somewhere.
I was expecting more baseline play, for instance, today. But I think you prepare particularly well for these kind of matches. You know, again, he’s got nothing to lose. Grass is more dangerous than clay, let’s say, that’s why I knew there was danger all over.
If I was able to serve well and play well, I knew I obviously had a good chance, because I’ve got some confidence against him.
Q. You said you’ve been quite pleased with how you’ve played, how you’ve made it through to this point. What have you been most pleased with so far in your game?
ROGER FEDERER: Just being relaxed out on court. You know, no signs of panics, what I maybe had, you know, six months ago when I played. I would just feel uneasy. I wouldn’t be exactly sure what the right plays were.
Now I feel perfect. You know, so from this standpoint it was great. I think I’m moving well, serving well. My rhythm from the baseline is well. So, you know, I’m just really, really pleased from this aspect.
Q. Is there a way to explain a period where you go through and you say you feel uneasy, unsure of which shot to play, after so much success, is that just basically the human mind or the human brain at work?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I think every tournament is, again, so different. Every player makes it so ?? tries to make it hard for you, tries to play the way that you don’t like it. The rankings sometimes don’t tell the truth, you know. Even though I guess at the top they do, you know. But in the back, I’m just saying between 10 and 50, there is so many good players that it’s so hard to really get the edge over every single player. It’s just difficult.
Once you maybe start off feeling that great, very quickly you fall into maybe that hole where it’s kind of hard to get out of. I mean, I didn’t have the problem, you know, to lose first and second rounds.
So thank God for me I made it to the semis and finals almost every tournament I played so I still had enough confidence. I guess I’m just a good enough player, you know, that I don’t need to worry too much about losing in the early rounds.
But still, the danger’s always there, and that’s why I play well.
Q. How do you prepare to play against someone against Ivo Karlovic?
ROGER FEDERER: Same as I do against other players. I like those sort of challenges, you know. I mean, it’s maybe not the most fun match to go through. But I like to beat this guy, you know, because he makes it hard on us, you know, to beat him. He’s become an excellent player. Not only just his serve, he’s got to have something more otherwise he wouldn’t be ranked where he is and he wouldn’t be beating all those good players.
He’s not to be underestimated. I’ve played him on all surfaces in my career: indoors, outdoors, grass, clay. I’ve even played him here, so I would like to play him.
Q. But in practice sessions…
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t practice with him. No, nothing.
Q. I know, but when you practice, do you practice returning this serve?
ROGER FEDERER: No. That’s why it takes a little bit get used to in the beginning. I’ve also played him eight times. Nothing new for me.
Q. Despite last year’s final, do you still regard this court like home cooking? It’s like coming home to this court?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think having been here so many years now, having had so much success, yeah, definitely feel like there’s a sense of coming home here. The finals of last year doesn’t change a thing actually.
Q. The first time you were on the Centre Court, was there a feeling of awe or fright? Rod Laver said he just wanted to leave as soon as he could; he was overwhelmed.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I had an especially interesting first Centre Court appearance with playing Pete obviously. That adds to the whole drama. I mean, normally you only make it on Centre if you’re very good yourself or if you play a top player yourself.
So from that standpoint it’s always very interesting, always your first Centre Court appearance. Obviously playing Pete, going for his fifth Wimbledon, quite ironic now looking back at it. Cold hands. Pulse was racing. Disbelief, you know, that I was actually playing my hero, but also being for the first time on Centre Court. So my head was spinning.
But took me a couple of games and I was in it. It’s interesting how the mind then, you know, goes into focus; whereas before there’s so many questions, so many things flying around all around Centre Court.
Q. I think tennis fans would find it interesting that you have sort of all the scouting reports in your brain ready to go. Is there an example of where you really have had to change a scouting report and approach against a major player?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I always talk about my matches with Severin, for instance. I would like to play the way probably the opponent would play, what his strengths, what his weaknesses are, what’s been working in my game so far this tournament, and whatnot, you know, how to avoid playing bad.
You know, you just put everything on the table and you talk about how you would like to approach the match. And I’ve done it many times. There’s times where, you know, when I didn’t have a coach, didn’t have a manager, you just walk out on court. I spoke to Mirka a little bit, because she knows also a little bit about tennis. Today I don’t talk to her about it anymore, I talk to Severin. So it works really well.
Q. Does an example come to mind where you changed your strategy or approach with a particular player?
ROGER FEDERER: The more you play a player, the more you know him. It actually helps and makes it easier normally. Of course if you don’t have a very good record you try to look into that particular player maybe a little bit more, but there’s only so much you can analyze. Afterwards you got to kind of perform, you know.
Q. How have you been killing time away from the court? Do you stay around Wimbledon? Do you get to go into London itself?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, try to go to London sometimes, you know. Not very much just because Mirka needs to rest. So we like hanging around at Wimbledon. It’s quite relaxing, especially the whole clay court season is tough. The traveling. It’s nice to get one of those weeks where you just stay put.
Q. Verdasco might be your next round opponent. That match is going on now with Karlovic. What is your scouting report on him and the different type of challenge he would be for you?
ROGER FEDERER: I played him in Indian Wells this year. I thought it was a tough match. Had it under control. He came back. Was supposed to win the second set. I think he served for the set there.
But he’s a great player. He’s really improved I think the last nine months since he won Davis Cup and played so well in Australia. He’s always been dangerous, you know. He’s always had that. But just now he seems more stable in his game and his mind and everything. This is obviously a big test for him right now.
June 29, 2009
Courtesy of Wimbledon.org
Monday, 29 June 2009
Q. You must be very pleased. Another excellent performance.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah, of course. I’m very happy about the match ’cause, you know, the beginning was a little bit tough to get his rhythm. You know, I think he played very solid at the beginning with no mistakes. And he was everywhere, because I think he was running very well on grass.
But then, since I get his rhythm, I think I start to play a little bit better. And, you know, after winning the first set, I think I played very well match.
Q. What was the key for you? Obviously served for the set at 5?3.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I think recover. I think recover in my mind, be focused in my game and not fixing his game, you know.
I think I try at the beginning to not do many mistakes, you know. But I think the way I was playing the whole tournament is be aggressive all the time. I decided to be like this, and is the way I played.
Q. You’re now the first wild card since Goran in 2001 to reach the quarterfinals.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I would like to repeat what he did. But, you know, of course it’s a little bit difficult yet to say (smiling).
But, you know, of course I’m pretty happy about the wild card, and, you know, happy about the game that I’m playing.
Q. As someone who has had his share of injuries, how do you feel physically at the moment?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Physically I feel very good. I recovered very well from the last match, but was five sets. Always is tough to recover in two days. Always had the pain in somewhere.
But this time I felt very well on the court and I was very fast, running well, so I feel very, very good.
Q. You seem to be in a new resurgence. You reached the final at Queen’s, doing well here, won in Casablanca. What do you put that down to?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I think especially I start to feel very good physically. And I think was the key to, you know, recover little bit of confidence to play again the same level as I was playing in the past.
Q. It’s quite possible you’ll play Andy Murray next.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah.
Q. You played him at Queen’s. What did you learn from that that you’d be able to take into a possible match here?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I think right now I’m with a little bit more rhythm than that week. And, you know, of course after the match I play against him I learn something. That is, I have to do my job, be aggressive all the time, because he likes to play in one level, and then he change the rhythm very fast.
So I think is very difficult to play against him because of this. So I will try to be focus in my return, because his serve has been very, very big. So if I want to win, of course gonna be, you know, very difficult. He’s at home and he wants to win and everybody wants him to win, so it’s gonna be tough, as every match is.
But, of course, I want to take the chance to win, of course.
Q. It will be obviously an intimidating atmosphere. Everyone on Centre Court will be for Andy.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Of course.
Q. You’ve been around long enough now…
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah, we play around the whole world. Every tournament when you play against the guy who he’s at home, always is like this. So, you know, is gonna be tough. But I will be there, you know, with my team. They gonna support me. Is enough.
Q. It’s been a tournament or a day when a lot of the experienced players have done well. Can you think of any reason why that may be?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I don’t know why. I don’t know why. You know, some tournaments happens some things like this, and you don’t know why.
You know, I was talking about Lleyton. He was pretty happy about the match that he played. He was injured a little bit in the first set, then he recovered very well. So, you know, I cannot answer that question really good.
June 29, 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
Q. What happened there with your thigh?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Just a bit of a strain midway through the first set. Was just, yeah, causing me a couple of issues out there. I wasn’t quite able to move the way that I would have liked early on in the match.
You know, it was frustrating through the second set. So, yeah, just got some treatment. Yeah, tried to forget about it as much as possible.
Q. It was like a different game from then on.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, I was able to start dictating play a little bit more and sort of put a bit more pressure on his forehand. He was hitting his backhand extremely well. He was attacking both sides off it and returning well if I missed my first serve.
My serve definitely picked up from then on in, though. I was struggling a little bit pushing off with my left leg on the serve. Got better as the match went on.
Q. Did the treatment do the trick, or were you pushing through a bit of pain in the last three sets?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Still a little bit of pain. Had to get more treatment during the rain delay, as well. Just, yeah, tried to give myself as much chance as possible to go out there and compete.
Yeah, still a little bit of pain out there. But it was enough to get over the line.
Q. Sometimes if you cool down during the delay, it might come up again.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. Wasn’t sure whether it was going to work in my favor or not, to tell you the truth. Wasn’t a lot I could do. I was able to see my physio, as well, obviously in the locker rooms and then. He knows my body as well as anyone. Yeah, I have a lot more trust in him, as well, knowing what’s going on.
Q. Will you have to have any more treatment? Are you confident it’s going to be all right for the next match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope so the way I finished off today. Hopefully I didn’t do any more damage to it, you know, from that first twinge when I first felt it, yeah, late in the first set.
Yeah, well really we’ll do all the same treatment we were doing and everything. Obviously we can work on it today and tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll be very close to a hundred percent by Wednesday.
Q. What was going through your head? You’re two sets down, probably hurting a bit. Are you thinking, I might be out of here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It was tough ’cause I was trying to block out my leg more than anything and focus on not looking at the big picture, trying to get back in, and yeah, winning in five sets.
I was more trying to get the third set under my belt. I really wanted to try to get up a break. Even though I lost the first two sets, in the second set quite comfortably, I felt like I had chances on his service games and I was going to have a lot of chances on his service games.
I just wasn’t quite returning the way I would have liked the first two sets. I felt like I if I could start getting into his service games, and put pressure on that, then, yeah, hopefully my whole game could pick up. That’s what started happening. I started returning a lot better and I started putting a lot more pressure on his serve.
Q. Are you starting to feel the invincibility of the days when you were first in the world?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don’t know. Right at the moment I’m just taking it match at a time. Yeah, obviously when you’re making the second week of Grand Slams, you know, all the time then sort of on autopilot a lot of times.
You go out there and you trust what you do. Yeah, that’s why I’ve tried to play a lot more tournaments the start of this year to get back in that groove of playing a lot of matches. Obviously winning, you know, these tight matches against quality opponents, that gives you a lot more confidence.
Q. Going back maybe 18 months, two years, do you think you would have been able to pull out a comeback like that with the state your body was in back then?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I’ve always been fit enough an hungry enough to keep fighting and that never?say?die attitude. Probably more so only that last that year, that eight months whatever with the hip, six to eight months that I was playing and not feeling a hundred percent. Just wasn’t a hundred percent sure whether the hip would hold up more than anything. And then other muscles around the hip would start shutting down.
So, you know, it was probably more a question mark just in that period last year.
Q. You made a point of going over to thank your supporters. How much of a role did they play in lifting you today, and how much have they helped you through the tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they’ve been great. Yeah, they’ve been fantastic. I draw a lot of emotion and energy from those guys out there, as well. Yeah, the rest of the crowd, as well, seemed to be all going for me, as well. It’s been nice playing Court 2 the last couple of matches. It’s been a good arena to play at. I’ve had a lot of crowd support.
Yeah, especially in today’s match when you’ve got to dig deep, try to find a way out of it, you know they’re going to be there for the long haul.
Q. Given the Australia/England thing, do you particularly want to play Murray?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, doesn’t bother me. At the moment, I’ll just start worrying about Roddick leading at the moment. You know, I’m not worrying about Andy Murray too much yet. I’m worried about Andy Roddick.
Q. How do you feel about Andy Roddick? Can you turn around that result from Queen’s, do you think?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Queen’s was only one or two points in the match. You know, I felt like I had the better of him in the actual service games that we were playing. I didn’t face a breakpoint in the whole match. Had one breakpoint opportunity on his serve. Wasn’t able to take it. Two or three Love?30s on his service games.
You know you’re going to get aced out there. You know he’s going to come up with big shots. You’ve got to weather the storm and take those small chances when you get the opportunity. That’s what it comes down to playing these big matches at the end of these tournaments.
Q. With Andy Roddick, you’re both veterans on the tour. Probably nothing that is going to surprise him about you, and vice versa. How do you go about preparing matches against an old rival like that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I’ll probably focus more on my game than probably his. As you said, we both know each other’s games pretty well. We played at Queen’s on the same surface, similar conditions only a couple of weeks ago.
So, you know, I’ll just try and work on my game and make sure that I’m executing how I want to, and obviously I’m gonna have to go out there and try and take care of my service games quite comfortably, as well. You know, just wait for those opportunities.
Q. The fans today, are they the same guys that have followed you over the years?
LLEYTON HEWITT: A few of them are. Obviously a lot of expats living in London that have sort of joined in with a couple of the regulars. Yeah, a couple of the guys I know as part of the Fanatics that are at all the Davis Cup ties. There’s a couple there that I know.
Q. You haven’t got them tickets?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, they’ve camped out the last ?? I keep getting text messages from Wozza saying the boys are camping out every night. I think they’re already starting to camp out tonight for Wednesday.
Q. Is he here, Wozza?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, Wozza is not here.
Q. Do you think it gets annoying or a bit unfair for your opponents when you’ve got them being quite as loud as they were today, being told by the stewards a couple of times to tone it down?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don’t know. You know, I’ve played in a lot more hostile places I think than playing here. I think they’ve been great. It’s been a good atmosphere. Yeah, for an opponent I’m sure they’re not thrilled about it, but, yeah, going against them. But then again, they’re not in their face either.
Q. Bec sort of left. Not sure whether she needed a comfort break. She came back at the start of the third. Are you superstitious who is in your entourage, where they are?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. She might have been seeing the kids. I don’t know what she was doing. Yeah, doesn’t bother me at all.
June 29, 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
Q. Your concentration on some key points was quite impressive. Also giving the history of Court 3, can you elaborate on that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, thank you. I have been trying to not underestimate my opponent, even though I was a favorite in that match.
But, you know, he obviously had a quality, reaching the fourth round in Wimbledon. So I knew he’s a very fast player that I need to be aggressive, attack all the time.
And I didn’t play for a long time, for two years, on the Court No. 3, so I needed some time in the start of the match to get used to it. It’s a different bounce, I guess, and it’s faster than the Centre Court.
But generally I’m quite happy that I finished in the straight sets.
Q. You will be the last player to win on that court.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Really?
Q. You play Tommy Haas next. Can you turn around Halle? What went wrong in Halle and what will go right this time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it was a very strange match for me because I haven’t felt comfortable on the court at all in that finals. I had some good matches and some really bad matches, ups and downs in that tournament. I was still getting used to the grass and movements, the way I should play.
But here it’s a different story, you know. I already played really well last two, three matches. Quite confident. So, you know, Tommy, he’s certainly a great player, and he’s playing really well lately, taking Roger to five sets in French Open, winning Halle, and here some marathon matches.
He’s very aggressive, you know. He plays serve and volley. He goes for both serves. He’s gonna put obviously a lot of pressure on me, so I just have to be patient and wait for the chances.
Q. You seem to be more serious these days than you used to be.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Am I (smiling)?
Q. Is that right, or am I getting the wrong impression?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, serious questions, serious answers.
No, no, maybe you’re getting the wrong impression, you know.
Q. Serious question, Novak.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, really?
Q. Fourth seed on Court 3. Were you surprised to be out there in such an important game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, you had so many important encounters today. So many good players, interesting matches. You had to put all these players to the show courts. I mean, I’m not pissed off or something. I’m not criticizing the organizers.
It’s all right. I’ve played on that court before. It’s normal you have to adjust all the time. You can’t play on Centre Court all the time.
Q. Your form has been a little bit variable this season. Is it much to do with the change of racquet or your health?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think combination of things. But on the start of the season was certainly the change of racquet that little bit affected more mentally I think than game?wise.
But I got time to get used to it, and things were going really well from Miami where I played finals, and then clay court season was fantastic until the French Open. There I just didn’t do what I needed to do, what I was expected to do.
But, again, I think I was quite consistent, except the French Open, in last two, three months. So I have to look on the positive side and try to motivate myself for the upcoming challenges.
Q. As far as you’re concerned, is your form coming good at the right time for Wimbledon?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, yes. Well, now, of course, closer we are getting to the final days of the Wimbledon, of any Grand Slam, you get tougher opponents, you know, longer matches, and you have to I guess lift the level of your game in order to perform well.
So I’ve got Tommy Haas now. In case I win that match, I got Federer. So, you know, it’s not going to be easy certainly. But I think right now physically and mentally I’m in the right direction.
Q. Players have talked a lot about the courts having got slower. We seem to be on the way towards a Grand Slam record in number of aces being hit this tournament. Can you explain that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’ve seen players working on their serves more than usual (smiling). No.
I don’t know. One thing is for sure, that the courts are slower than they used to be 10, 15 years ago. I mean, I was not playing, so I cannot say from my own experience. But just watching the tennis ten years ago and now, it’s a different sport because you got many serve?and?volley players who were dominating the game back then.
It’s a pity that you don’t have many of those today. That’s why I think we miss players like Ancic, these players, Henman. They were playing serve and volley. It was just nice to see that game. And now you got more baseline players, which I guess it’s more suitable to my game and it’s better for me. But still I think the people would love to see some serve and volley.
Q. You just played a young Israeli tennis player, Dudi Sela, who is ranked way below where you are located. How would you impressed by his tennis today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think I was dominating throughout the whole match. That’s what I needed to do. I mean, as I said before, Dudi obviously has a quality reaching the fourth round. Anybody who reaches a fourth round in a Grand Slam is a quality player, and he beat some good players here in this tournament. So you got to give him credit for that.
But I needed to be focused and I needed to be aggressive and serve well today and try to open the court and get some opportunities to end up the point, which I did. As I said, I was keeping the control of the match, and I needed to do that in order to finish in straight sets.
Q. The rest day in the middle of Wimbledon, is that a bigger advantage to the bigger players or the unknown players?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You mean…
Q. The Sunday off. Is that a big advantage to the big players?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It certainly is an advantage to the players ?? to any player who got maybe long matches in the first week. But it depends from what perspective you’re looking.
But I think for me it was good because I had two days of recovery and practice at the same time, so I can, you know, get fresh in the second week.
Q. Have you got a cold?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no.
June 29, 2009
Q. Just near the end when you got the mini break up, he knocked back a forehand winner to you and you got a pretty big smile on your face. It seemed to suggest, That’s all I have; you’re too good. Would you say that summed it up?
ROBIN SODERLING: No. But, you know, I think I ?? at 5?4 I think I played a very good point. I hit a great forehand on the line and he came up with a winner. It’s not much to do.
Apart from maybe the double?fault, I don’t think that I lost the last tiebreak, I think he won it.
Q. You’ve played him 11 times now and lost 11 times. Going into a match like that, do you think this might be your time?
ROBIN SODERLING: Thanks for reminding me, by the way.
Yeah, yeah, I think like every time I go on court against doesn’t matter who I’m playing, I have to believe that I can win. I mean, I never want to go on court and think I’m gonna lose. That’s not a good way of thinking, so I always believe in myself.
Q. Are you getting closer to him or not?
ROBIN SODERLING: I think so. You know, I think I played better today than I did the last couple times we played. So today wasn’t ?? I mean, I lost in straight sets, but I think deserved maybe a better ending ? a little bit at least.
Q. How are you feeling physically compared to the other day?
ROBIN SODERLING: I feel good. I feel much better. Getting better.
Q. Have you ever served so well and still lost a match?
ROBIN SODERLING: Of course, I think so, yeah. I served good today, but, you know, I served much better before.
Q. If you could pick a game you would like to play against him, with Federer, out of tennis, what would it be?
ROBIN SODERLING: I think I will beat him in marathon ? easy.
Q. Do you now think that Roger will go on to win Wimbledon?
ROBIN SODERLING: There’s a lot of good players still in the tournament. It’s going to be tough. But I think he’s the biggest favorite.
If he plays well, I think he’s gonna win. But, you know, he definitely need to play well every match.
Q. He only broke your serve once. Did that surprise you?
ROBIN SODERLING: No. I didn’t expect to be broken many times. You know, I’ve only been broken I think twice during this tournament, maybe three times. So, you know, I’ve been serving very well since the first match.
That’s what I always do. When I serve well, I always play well, as well.
Q. Why the marathon?
ROBIN SODERLING: I’m pretty good at marathon. I’m a strong guy. I think I’m stronger than him.
Q. Comparing to other matches against Federer, what do you think about his performance today?
ROBIN SODERLING: I think he played well, like always when we played. He’s a great grass court player, and I think he’s ?? the faster surface he plays on, I think the more aggressive he plays.
So today it was really fast. He was tough. So I think he played very well today.
Q. Did you find him harder or easier to come up against than in France?
ROBIN SODERLING: Well, he played great both matches. But I think I played a little bit better today.