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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 15, 2001, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Bohdan Ulihrach 6-2 6-4


MODERATOR: Lleyton moves into his first quarterfinal here at the Tennis Masters Series - Indian Wells. He'll take on Frenchman Nicolas Escude.

Q. Have you been following the draw? A lot of upsets. Does it feel like things are working in your favor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just take it one match at time. You know, look at the draw, every match is tough in these Masters Series events. Rios-Kafelnikov first round. There were so many great first-round matches. Definitely opened up a little bit with Ferrero losing. You can't take any of these guys lightly. To make it through to this stage of the tournament, they've got to be hitting the ball well.

Q. You feel you're hitting the ball well enough to feature on the weekend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, I've still got to get a little bit better, I think. Today was a big improvement I think from the last two matches. I really stayed aggressive for the whole time, you know, didn't get into too much trouble on my serve. I served very well today. Served a lot of aces, you know, mixed up my serve very well. I put a lot of pressure on him, as well, on his service games. I felt today was my best match I played all week.

Q. It wasn't really a match of contrasts, was it? Both of you preferred to stay at the back. Did you like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, it didn't disappoint me, I suppose, because I felt like the longer the rally went, the better chance I had of winning it. I felt like I moved the ball around great today. One of his weaknesses is probably his movement. I tried to exploit that as much as possible. In the end, I think just being able to hang in there, you know, work the point I think was the main area.

Q. It looks like had you some problems with the shoes on the court.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I found the court to be very average to move on, very hard to get back, after you put a shot out wide, to get back for the next ball. I don't know the reason. I don't know if it's grittier. It's a very rough-looking court.

Q. Too much grit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got no idea. It's a very gritty-looking court. That could be one of the reasons.

Q. I think Rusedski said that the courts were sticky. Would you describe it that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I wouldn't say necessarily sticky. I definitely feel it's a weird feeling, though. It's not a smooth court, I don't think. It's hard to move.

Q. What about the next match? How do you feel on that, Escude?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think we've only played twice. It's 1-All, I think, head to head. I won the last one in Adelaide in 2000, the semifinals there. I lost the first set, came back and won in three. He obviously steamrolled Clement today. He's in good form. I'm going to have to raise my game another level if I'm going to get past him.

Q. Did you get a chance to talk to Kim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't.

Q. I asked her, "Did Lleyton speak to you before the match?" She said, "Yeah. He said go out and have some fun. I said the same thing to him."

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure she had a bit more fun than I did (smiling).

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 16, 2001, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Nicolas Escude 6-1 6-3


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Pretty good match for you; not too many errors?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I came out and I just felt good out there today. I had a couple of doubles matches on Center Court, which I think helped as well. That was my first match, playing from Stadium 3 all week. I felt pretty comfortable out there. I think it's a little bit quicker out there on center from the outside courts.

Q. You haven't really liked the outside courts. What was the surface like there for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still not great, I don't think, for moving on. You know, I can't complain about the way that I played today, that's for sure. But it's still very gritty. There's something about it. It is totally different than I ever played on here. As I said, I think it's a little bit quicker out there than the outside courts. That probably helps a few players, Rafter, Sampras, guys like that, because the balls are so heavy out there, as well. Those guys need a little bit quicker court.

Q. What do you see out of your next two opponents, possible opponents?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's Agassi and Lapentti, I think. Obviously, they're both hitting the ball well to get through to the quarterfinals anyway. You know, Andre, he speaks for himself really, how good he is. Lapentti, he was on a bit of a downer towards the end of last year, wasn't playing great. Even through the Australian summer didn't hit the ball fantastic. We played him in Davis Cup on grass. He struggled there a little bit, as well. To his credit, he seems to have been playing a lot better. I've watched a couple sets of his matches this week. He's back to his old ways, I think.

Q. Is this about as good as you've felt all year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I still think there's areas of my game I can work on. The good thing is I'm getting better and better with each match, particularly the last three weeks. You know, this tournament has been good how I've been able to build it up sort of a step every match since my first round against Costa.

Q. The first round, three-setter. Then you say things have been getting better for you. If you were to compare this match to the previous round, how much better would you say today was from the previous round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, another 10%, I reckon, better. I made very few errors. Obviously, Nicolas can be a fantastic player as well when he's on. Today he sprayed a lot of balls. The way I came out there, I was mentally focused right from the start. I thought if I could get on top of him early, you know, really put the pressure on, that's what I had to do. I did that going up a double break in the first set. Then I went down an early break in the second set, was able to shrug it off, get my mind back on the job. I definitely played a better match than I did today by a fair bit, I'd say.

Q. Was the situation last night with your doubles match being moved a bit of a strange situation? What was your take on the whole thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it was probably lucky for the tournament that the Gambill and Kuerten match had just finished, and we had just walked out. We were sitting down, getting our racquets out of the bags on Stadium 2. The tournament referee started running over, screaming to us that we had to go play on stadium. Obviously, I'm sure the crowd and television and everyone was disappointed, even though you have Patrick Rafter. Maybe the women were a bit happier out there.

Q. Kafelnikov said that he still thinks that the veteran guys, veteran stars still have two, three years left of domination. Do you expect the new guys to really push them this year or do you think you still have a ways to go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think they've got plenty of good years left in them, no doubt about that. Gee, you know, if you throw Agassi, Sampras, Rafter, Kafelnikov in that bracket, then there's plenty of Grand Slams between those four guys left. I know Pat has been talking about retirement sort of the end of the year or whenever. It's no set thing. I believe he's got a few more Grand Slams left in him, that's for sure, especially the way that he's played this week, the way he played at the Australian Open this year, as well.

Q. But do you expect the younger guys to show up and push the older guys, nonetheless?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's started to happen now and then. You look at Safin winning the US Open, Kuerten winning the French. Obviously guys like Philippoussis, Gambill did well here. There's Federer, Ferrero, a lot of players capable of making upsets. Whether they're able to do it, you know, in the big matches, the semis and quarters of Grand Slams, that's another story.

Q. Say it is Agassi, what are your thoughts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. He had a bit of a downer last week losing the first round to Clavet. Looks like he's bounced back pretty well this week. He's had an extremely tough draw to get through. He got through it pretty comfortably, I'd say. But, you know, he's obviously hitting the ball well. I'm going to have to go up another level if I'm going to match it with him, you know, really give him a tough match.

Q. I know you get pumped up for everybody you play, but how much more do you get pumped up if you're coming up against Andre Agassi, Rafter or Sampras, Kafelnikov, et cetera?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I try not to look at it in that way. I'm worrying more about, you know, my game, going out there and playing my game. Hopefully it matches up well on the day. Obviously, you know, you've got to spend a little time working out the opponent's strengths and weaknesses. I don't think it's a matter of being pumped up. I'm up for a lot of matches. Obviously, playing out there on Center Court against a guy of Agassi's caliber, then it's going to be a fantastic atmosphere out there in the semifinals of a Masters Series. I'll be pretty pumped up just to be in the semifinals anyway.

Q. What do you think of Kim's chances against Serena? Do you think she's going to get too distracted by all the hoopla or do you think she can focus in?


Q. Davis Cup, Fitzy named yourself, Pat, quite a group to go down to Brazil. You and Pat have been playing doubles over here. Do you think that could make up a doubles combination down there? How would you feel playing doubles, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Obviously, the doubles has been a little bit of an up-and-down thing for the last couple years for us. On paper we've had the better team I think in most cases. I think Pat and I just playing doubles together gives us another option. Pat and I play totally different games. Pat can help me out on my serves. I make a lot of returns, which we may need on clay. I think it just gives it another option if we do go into that second day. A lot depends on how we're feeling after day one, as well. Who knows, we could have played in Spain, as well, yet I had a four-and-a-half-hour match with Costa, and Pat was on the drip after his cramping against Ferrero. It's nice to have that in the back of our minds that we may be able to do that, but still a lot depends on what happens day one and how we pull up.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 17, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt - Andre Agassi 4-6 6-3 4-6


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q.. To paraphrase Andre, he sort of suggested it was a bit of scrappy tennis out there. How do you see it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was tough conditions out there tonight. You know, it's pretty gusty, a lot gustier than when I first hit this morning or this afternoon. You know, it was actually tough. It was swirling a lot. There wasn't one particular way which I could feel the wind was going out there. I think the first set was pretty scrappy. After that, it got a little bit better. Obviously, you know, he made a lot of unforced errors out there tonight.

Q.. You got that break in the third set at the end there. Did you think you were going to have a chance to pull it out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, obviously when you get it back on serve, after he served for the match, I definitely gave myself another chance, I suppose. Like another life out there really, you know, because he's played so many big matches and closed so many big matches out. To get that opportunity to serve for it. But to his credit, he came out, didn't make too many unforced errors in the next game.

Q.. Think you're back on track after the couple of weeks of up and down?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, this week was good. I played I think five matches, five good matches. I got better and better with every match that I played, I thought. You know, obviously it's disappointing losing, but to lose to Andre Agassi, you know, he's in pretty good form at the moment, obviously coming off the Australian Open win. He's doing pretty well. Made the final of San Jose. It's not a bad loss, 6-4 in the third against him. Obviously, I had my chances, 2-All in the third set, I didn't take advantage of it. Hopefully I'm going to have a lot more opportunities here in Indian Wells, other big Masters Series events.

Q.. You're not one of the giants of the tour size-wise. A lot of people don't think somebody who isn't a giant these days can win. How do you feel about your chances?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's a lot of I think positives and negatives about being big or small. I draw confidence, I suppose, from watches guys like Andre, Michael Chang, those guys get to No. 1, No. 2 in the world, and stay there for a lot of years. Obviously, you're a lot closer to the ground, very quick around the court. Most of the shorter guys return very well, as well. Obviously we've got to try and counter-punch maybe a little bit more. I think it's nice to see. I think it's good for tennis to have mixtures of games. The big guys, you have Marat Safin, hits big and strong. You have Patrick Rafter, total serve and volleyer. You have guys like myself, try to stay back, drive from the baseline. I think it's good for tennis just to have different varieties. You don't definitely have to be 6'4" to win a Grand Slam.

Q.. Did you have the chance to see a bit of the women's final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I saw a little bit.

Q.. Have you talked to Kim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Not about the match.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 23, 2001, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Jacobo Diaz 6-3 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You must be pleased with the way you got off to a good start like that.

LLEYTON HEWTT: Yeah, it's always tough when you have a bye and you come out and the guy's obviously played a good match to get, you know, into the second round of the tournament. It's tough conditions here in Miami as well. You know, quite often it's quite swirly out there with the breeze, especially in a big stadium court like the Stadium out here. I found the balls very heavy out there the last couple of weeks as well. I don't know if the ATP's changed balls or not, but I think it's a pretty average ball at the moment. I'm happy to be through to the third round in the tournament.

Q. How do you find the speed of this court? Does it suit you?

LLEYTON HEWTT: I think the court speed does. Yeah. Just as I said, though, these balls are -- these new Masters Series balls are a totally different ball to what we're used to playing with. Especially at this time last year. I think the ball got heavier as the year went on. It's definitely fluffing up as much as ever right at the moment.

Q. And how do you feel you're playing at the moment? You're hitting the ball quite well. Are you happy with the way you're playing?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Not too bad. Still room for improvement, which is a good thing. You know, two semifinals the last two weeks, lost to Agassi last week 6-4 in the third then he went on to the win the Masters Series in Indian Wells. It wasn't a bad week result-wise but I felt there were areas of my game that I could improve on. That's what I'm trying to get out of this week and also going into the Davis Cup in Brazil.

Q. Does it feel different not having Darren here with you?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Oh, it's a little bit different I suppose. Obviously, Darren and I have had a fantastic relationship over the last few years, what with being, you know, on Tour traveling together week in and week out. You know, it's fantastic that he's had a kid as well. So it's a whole new stage of his life now.

Q. Is this the first time that he's been away for this long?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Yeah, since we sort of set out, starting -- I think we started in the Perth challenger in the end of '98, December '98 we started, was our first trip. Since then every tournament I've played he's been there. So it's a little bit different.

Q. Are you conscious of the fact at the moment that you haven't won a Tennis Masters Series event? Is that something you'd like to correct?

LLEYTON HEWTT: You know, I haven't held up a trophy, but I feel like I've been pretty damn close. Obviously I made the semis here last year and lost to Sampras in three. Made the semis in Rome, made the final in Stuttgart, lost in five sets to Ferreira. You know, if it wasn't for my breathing problem back then, you know, I feel like I should have won. I was playing possibly the best tennis I've ever played during that tournament and I just ran out of gas due to the breathing problems that I had. Made the semifinals in Indian Wells last week. It's not a matter of -- I definitely know I'm up there and capable of, I believe, winning one. Until that time comes when I get the opportunity to hold up the trophy, then I'm definitely getting hungrier and hungrier to win.

Q. I guess the fact that you picked up the semifinal spot last week has taken the pressure off you for here, having to repeat what you did last year?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Yeah, little bit. I didn't think about that going into it at all. But if you look at it that way, I've got basically nothing to, you know -- I think I lost second round in Indian Wells last year and made the semis here. If you want to look at the points and try and keep up as well as you're doing, stay in the Top 10, semifinals in Indian Wells last week was huge. Anything this week's a bonus.

Q. You've had about a year playing quality Top 10 tennis. Have you had a chance to think, "Okay, I've reached this point. What do I have to do to be No. 1? Do I have to add something to my game? Do I have to get stronger? Does my forehand have to get a little bit better?"

LLEYTON HEWTT: I don't know about looking at it being No. 1, but definitely to improve my ranking, there's definitely areas of my game. The main area's getting some cheap points off my first serve. No question. The big matches that I've played well in I've done that well, and, you know, that's the US Open semifinal, I think that's the best I've ever served, that tournament. I served more aces than Sampras in the semifinal. So I think that's the main area. I've just got to get more consistent. And, you know, in all the matches I play I have to get those cheap points. Maybe a little bit of an all-court game as well.

Q. Michael Chang reached a point in his career where he figured he had to muscle up. Five years ago he did, he went to the bigger racquet, did an awful lot of weight lifting, got his serve up to 115, 120, that area. He hit more double-faults, too. But is that sort of on your agenda now?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Not really. I think my off-court work you know, for me -- everyone's different. For me personally it's a lot of running I think. I've got to get a lot of miles in my legs. I've got to be capable of, with the game that I play, I've got to be capable of staying out there and lasting, you know, all day, four and a half hours, best-of-five set matches. You know, I've been doing that the last couple of years anyway. So for me, right at this point I don't think I have to make a huge change. (Inaudible.)

Q. According to the latest stats, you're actually in the Top 10 of effective servers at the moment. Were you aware of that, and how do you feel about it?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Must not have been the last couple of weeks. I feel that I wasn't great in the last few weeks. I think around the Australian Open and Sydney I was serving pretty good. Definitely towards the end of last year I was serving very well. Last couple of weeks I haven't served great. That's one area I've been concentrating on in practice.

Q. How are the breathing problems by the way?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Up and down, good days, bad days.

Q. Sometimes you still feel it, the way you did last year?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Yeah, for sure. You know, it's something that I try and block out as much as possible.

Q. Are you any closer to finding out exactly what it is?

LLEYTON HEWTT: No, not really. No. You know, I try and block that out as much as possible, as well. I'm sick of seeing hospitals and doctors and stuff like that. So, yeah, just positive thinking, I think, at the moment and just, you know, I've played so many matches now and a lot of five-set matches and long matches that I know that I'm capable of lasting. That's the main thing.

Q. So you're not looking into it any further?

LLEYTON HEWTT: I've looked into it -- unless I feel that I've got to take a couple of months off and whether it will be some kind of surgery or whatever, until that day comes I'm not going to -- until it starts affecting my tennis, then I'm not going to take it.

Q. As someone who has Patrick Rafter's ear, have you informed him that the world's going to stop spinning on its axis if he retires from tennis at the end of this year?

LLEYTON HEWTT: There's plenty of other people to watch. Maybe the women won't like it as much. But obviously --.

Q. A lot of us might not like it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: All the Australians definitely don't want him to retire, because we've seen the kind of tennis that he's still performing. You know, last week he played great matches I thought. He, in my opinion, he probably should have beaten Sampras in that match. He would have been very tough if he did get past that match. Semifinals of the Australian Open speak for themselves. You know, he's -- I believe he's still got, you know, a few Grand Slams left in him for sure. No doubt about that. And he's that kind of player, and I think, you know, Wimbledon this year, he and Sampras are going to be, you know, the one and two favorites.

Q. What are you going to do to force him to come back in 2002?

LLEYTON HEWTT: I don't think anyone can force him to come back. You know, at the end of the day, he's the person that's been traveling, you know, day in and day out for the last, I don't know, since he was playing the satellites and everything back in Queensland and wherever. So at the end of the day, he's got to want to play. No one can tell him to pick the racquet up and go out there and keep playing. If the will's not there, then there's no point.

Q. The fact that you're playing doubles with Pat, is that with an eye on the Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It gives us another option, I think. We definitely could have had a chance of playing in Spain as well but as it turns out, there was really no chance. I played for, you know, over four hours in my match. I was physically pretty tired. Pat, you know, was on the drip the night before the doubles after his match. So as it turned out, we really didn't have too many options going into the doubles. We like to keep our eye open going into a Davis Cup tie, especially this one coming up in Brazil. Gives Fitzy and Wally options.

Q. Do you discuss the options?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Not really, no. Fitzy and Wally pick the squad and no one's really spoken about it yet. Pat came up to me a few weeks ago and said, "Maybe we should have a bash in Indian Wells and Miami." I said, "Fantastic." I learn a lot from playing with a guy like Pat as well. It's going to help me in my singles game as well as hopefully that Davis Cup tie. There's no talk at the moment about who's going to play doubles.

Q. Given you've won a Grand Slam with Max, is it sort of a difficult decision as to who to play doubles with?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Yeah, well, I didn't play in Australia due to, you know, it was such a long year last year. I just wanted to, after the year before, I made doubles finals in Adelaide and Sydney as well as winning the singles, it made an extremely long January for me. I haven't played any doubles until last week. It took me a couple matches to really, you know, get into it as well. Once you're not in there playing week in and week out, you actually start to forget about playing it. You try to play singles on a doubles court. Obviously, I'd love to play with Max some time down the future. But when it comes to Davis Cup and preparing with Pat, then, you know, that takes first preference.

Q. Do you look at Pat as big brother, good friend, guru, what exactly?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Gee, I don't know. I try not to praise him too much. But, you know, a little bit big brother, for sure. Yeah, and I, you know, I look at it, I suppose, as I'm sort of the next generation of Australian tennis coming up as well. He was up there and, you know, he's won Grand Slams and been the world No. 1 and helped us in the Davis Cup and everything. I just feel that, you know, there's -- I'm not sure how many years between us, maybe eight years or something between us. I'm sort of coming up and he's going to retire and I'm going to try to slip into his shoes, I feel, and try and take over the responsibility of holding up Australian tennis like he's done for so many years now. You know, but he definitely, you know, he really did take me under his wing when I was a junior playing at French Open Juniors or whatever, and, you know, he was asking us to go and practice with him before his semifinal match of the French Open. For a guy to go out of his way to do that when he's got so many things on his mind, he's just a great guy.

Q. In one of his more reflective moments over a year, has he ever imparted to you a piece of advice about tennis or life in general that will always stay with you?

LLEYTON HEWTT: Not that I can think of off the top of my head. Maybe I don't want to say it publicly either, so...

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 25, 2001, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Nicolas Lapentti 6-3 6-3


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. The Oscars began at exactly the same time as your match. Have you got any interest in any of the films that are up for --?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I didn't even know it was on until my manager told me a couple days ago. It was a bit of bad luck. I normally would have sat down and watched it, but...

Q. I thought you would be in a rush to watch.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think that's the reason I played well, but...

Q. Apart from that hiccup at 4-1 in the second set, you barely lost a point on your serve. Are you a lot happier now with the way you were serving?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served fantastic. Actually, the doubles match yesterday against Sandon and Daniel Nestor helped me incredibly. We're out there, and we lost the first set. I really wasn't serving well. I lost my serve after we were a break up in the first set. Pat really helped me out on my service games. I just caught rhythm out there in the doubles. It really did help me. When I went to warm up before my match today, I was hitting my serve great. I took the positive thoughts that I had been serving well the last half of that doubles match and this morning in my practice with me out there tonight and that's the best I've served in a long time.

Q. Was it a lot different playing at night for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a lot heavier out there. You know, I spoke about the balls after my first-round match with the balls and just it's very humid out there as well. But it's just so heavy. I played a couple of night matches here last year, and I recalled from those previous matches that I have played it's always been very heavy here in the evening.

Q. Were you surprised by the level of support for your opponent tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We're close to South America, I suppose. They probably don't get a lot of opportunities to see their players play, so, you know, I suppose a lot of South Americans live maybe in Miami as well. So...

Q. Do you think Lapentti's a better player than that tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think -- I thought he played quite well tonight. You know, as I said, I played my best match I've played in a long time. You know, I really don't know where he could have, you know, done more damage out there, particularly on a hardcourt. You know, I think if it's on clay it's a different story maybe. But, you know, the last two meetings, the Davis Cup one on the grass, I came out and I got on top of him early. I wanted to try to continue that roll out there tonight.

Q. You're now the top seed in the bottom half of the draw. Does that give you encouragement?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I take it one match at a time. You know, I got Santoro next round, in the Round of 16s. It obviously will be great to make it through to the semis or the finals, but I'm going to have my hands full with Fabrice. We played a tough match in Sydney in the quarters this year. I got through that one. But if I play the way like I did tonight, I'm definitely in with a good chance.

Q. Have you ever considered establishing a base in this part of the world at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, obviously I'm one of the few Australians who still resides in Australia. At the moment, I just love going home and catching up with the mates. I'm not that fussed at the moment about taxes or whatever. I love getting home and hopping on the Quantas plane, whatever, you feel like you're almost there. So we do that much flying in the Juniors that it hasn't really affected me flying home for a couple of weeks then going back to Europe or going back to America.

Q. When the European season starts, will you base yourself somewhere in Europe?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's, you know, hard to say. I haven't really planned my schedule at the moment either. I've got to sit down. A lot depends on how I feel after Brazil. I've played San Jose through to Miami here, four tough tournaments. I've done pretty well. I've been there to at least Friday, Saturday, in all the tournaments. Obviously Brazil is going to be not only physically tough, but mentally very draining down there as well. I'm just going to sit down and think about it, you know, after that Monday probably or the week after the Davis Cup in Brazil and see how I'm feeling mentally and physically and where I want to start my clay court season this year.

Q. So you've left your schedule open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's very open. Yeah.

Q. Obviously the atmosphere tonight probably didn't compare to Spain but did it have a little bit of a Davis Cup feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I really try to block it out as much as possible. It really didn't worry me. I just went out there and played my game. Got pumped up on the points I felt like I needed to get pumped up on. That's when I play my best tennis. Obviously it's nice playing in front of a, you know, fairly big crowd as well, you know, night match. I enjoy playing the big matches.

Q. There's a chance you and Andy Roddick could meet at some point later in the draw. He's been described as not having any fear. For somebody who's pretty close in age to him and also not having fear yourself, how much of that is inherent and how much do you develop as a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot's just sort of born in you, I suppose. You know, that's how I played my footie when I was growing up as well and I just carried it over into my tennis as well. It really wasn't something I had to work on or a weakness at any point that I felt I had to get better. I think it's something that's just in you. You can't do much about it.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 27, 2001, 4th Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Fabrice Santoro 3-6 6-1 6-2


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. Good comeback after dropping that first set. You played pretty well in the three games after that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a weird match. I didn't really feel in it at the start and it was tough conditions, though. You know, it was, you know, pretty swirly out there. It's not as covered as this court so it's sort of coming in from the side. But, you know, I felt like I got better and better. I had a strategy and I didn't really play to that in the first set. Then in the second set I sort of put the foot down and started going after his forehand, coming to the net more. I served well and overall I got better as the match went on.

Q. What confuses you about this stuff?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's just a weird style of playing. You're not playing against it every day basically. You know, I think that's why a lot of the players have trouble with it, because it's just so different, so unique. You know, very rarely, you know, would I practice with Fabrice. I don't get a look at playing against him that often, and, you know, it takes a little bit of time I think to get a feeling to the match. You feel like you have so many chances and so many easy shots where you should put it away and, you know, he's so quick around the court as well. He makes up for it in a lot of ways.

Q. I guess it was good that you played him eight weeks ago or ten weeks ago in Sydney?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. I lost to him in Cincinnati last year in the first round. I played very well against him the second part of the first -- the second half of the first set, then the whole second set in Sydney, played really good tennis. That's when I really started to pick it up, I felt, for the Australian summer. Today I felt like I picked it up from the second set onwards.

Q. What do you know about Roddick?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap. You know, I've watched little bits of his matches, saw him play a little bit last year here as well, did pretty well. He's got a big game. He's definitely going to be a great player, there's no doubt about that. You know, I'm going to have to play, you know, as well as I can play, I think, to win.

Q. How curious were you to see just how Andy would come out after the big win against Sampras?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I thought he had a good chance against Pavel. I thought he matched up pretty well against him. You know, he looks like he's got his head on his shoulders and really, I didn't think it would be a big drama for him. I, you know, what I've heard and what I've seen, he's probably been under a fair bit of pressure and publicity for a fair time now because he's really been sort of the No. 1 American coming up. So, you know, obviously he's obviously done well to, you know, shut out everything and just get on with playing tennis.

Q. Were you in that situation ever? Do you recall being in a similar situation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Winning a big match, then coming out the next day? Probably for me it was beating Agassi in the semis of Adelaide in my first tournament then having to come up and play a final of an ATP Tour event the next day. You know, I had to play Jason Stoltenberg who's not such a big name around the world but back in Australia he always plays well in Australia. So, you know, I think I've had to deal with that a couple of times but, you know, I think it's always hard, though. You don't want to get too carried away when you're in the middle of a tournament. It's nice to have the big win at the end of the week so you can celebrate.

Q. We know how pumped up you get during the match and emotional you get. But he seems to be -- there are times you can see he's taking on a bit of an air of cockiness out there. Do you think this is going to be an interesting matchup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's definitely going to be interesting but just because, you know, we're both so young I think. You know, I'm sure this isn't going to be the only time we play each other either. I'm sure there's going to be probably bigger matches in Grand Slams down the track and in the next few years, that's for sure. But, you know, what I've seen, he does like to get pretty pumped up on the court. He looks like he's, you know, likes bouncing around and stuff like that and, you know, I got no problem with that.

Q. How are you bearing up with singles and doubles two long weeks, two tournaments back-to-back? Are you fine with it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I didn't feel 100 percent going out there today, but, you know, I feel not bad. I think the body's holding up fine. I think it's good practice for Barcelona as well, just getting more and more matches both if we, you know, obviously on the singles side and plus, you know, the more matches Pat and I play in doubles, if we have to take that option of Pat and I playing in Brazil, the more matches we play, the better off we're going to be.

Q. Do you think you're going to play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. As I've said the whole time, a lot depends on the first day. The key really is the first day. Depends how we're feeling, it depends, you know, what the situation is I suppose as well.

Q. Do you feel that something's starting to click into place with Pat in the doubles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We're definitely getting better and better; there's no doubt about that. The last couple of matches against Stolle and Nestor in the second round here, it was great tennis by them and by us. You know, I really enjoyed being out there, just part of it. I'm still learning, you know, a whole heap about playing doubles as well. I haven't played for -- basically since winning the US last year, so it's taking me a few matches to, you know, get back into sort of remembering, you know, just little things about doubles which you sort of forget when you're just playing singles at the time.

Q. Do you feel it's a good combination, the contrast in styles between the two of you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it works well. Pat can try and help me out on my serve as much as possible, and I can give him the chances, you know, for us to break as well. So at the moment, it looks like a pretty good team I think. You know, obviously we haven't played, you know, too many big matches yet, though. That's probably the key.

Q. Do you think you'll play doubles in the Grand Slams or do you think you'll just take it easy and just play singles there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. I wouldn't make that decision until sort of the week before, just see how I'm feeling. You know, especially with the French, I think, just because, you know, it's so, you know, clay court season is such a grinding season. To be out there going, I have to be feeling pretty fresh if I was going to play singles and doubles in the French.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 28, 2001, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Andy Roddick 6-3 6-2


Q. You looked like a lot more consistent player out there than he was. What was the key to the match from your perspective?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I went out there with the attitude I had to be solid right from the start. Obviously, he has had great wins to get to the quarterfinals here from a wildcard. He is coming through a very tough section of the draw as well. For him to keep doing that, though, match in, match out, it is going to be tough. I felt that I had to be solid and it was very gusty conditions out there on the court as well. So I didn't go out there and play silly tennis. I think I played within myself.

Q. You were playing his backhand a little; then you were moving him around a little bit. Was that sort of the tactics?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really seen a lot of his play, but obviously he has got a huge forehand and huge first serve. So I felt once I got into the match and I felt like I knew his game pretty well. Then I started moving the ball around and trying to work the angles a little bit and get him running.

Q. Did you feel that was a good matchup for you going in, someone who basically hits harder and harder?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is hard to say, if they are on, they are going to be very tough to beat. He has obviously been on for pretty much most of the week, so, I didn't look at it as it was going to be a great draw at all. I was going to be there for the tough match and I came out and as I said, I think I played one of the smartest matches I could play.

Q. The first game he was serving a hard serve into your body. It looked like throughout the match you were able to deal with his serve. He said earlier that he had to basically hit the hard serve. How did you feel about the way he served and the way you returned?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously one of my strengths is my return of serve. And in the past I have been able to return pretty much most guys' serves on Tour. So, his serve didn't worry me. But there is no doubt that he has got a great serve. It's big. He can serve anywhere. He has got a good kick serve. But I felt like once I got a hold of it then I was after, you know, the second or third of his service games, I felt I was really on to it.

Q. Another trip to the semis. This is pretty familiar territory for you. Would you say that just playing the bigger points a little better, is that just the only thing that is keeping you from taking the next step at this point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so, yeah. Really since I made the breakthrough at the US Open last year and made the semifinals there that was a huge stepping stone for me in the bigger tournaments whether it is the Grand Slams or the Masters Series events. Since then I made the Finals of Stuttgart, lost in five sets there, pulled out of Paris then next Master Series events made the semis last week. Had breakpoint on Agassi in the 2-All in the third felt like I was starting to play better and better as the match went on. In the end he was too good. It is nice to back it up with another in the final 4 here, two weeks in a row.

Q. Is the level you are playing right now good enough to win this tournament or do you have to elevate it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely room for improvement, I think. Whether I can win it the way that I am hitting the ball at the moment who knows. It has been a little bit of an up-and-down week, I think, for me. First round was a little bit scratchy then against Lapentti, I played pretty flawless tennis out there. Against Santoro I was a bit scratchy again. And then today I played a really smart match. I think I have played the big points well this week, so hopefully once we get into Friday, Saturday, Sunday then I will be able to do it.

Q. Lleyton, like you, Andy is still very young, but you had to go out on a limb and say five years from now you see him in the Top-10, Top-20, Top-40, where with would you put him if you had to project?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's definitely got a game that can be Top-10. He has got everything. He has got pretty much an all-court game. He moves quite well for a bigger guy as well. Got a big forehand; big first serve. I haven't seen him play on grass or clay though. That is half the year as well. So there is probably a little bit of the question mark there, but now I think he will probably get in most of the tournaments with his ranking so we will probably soon find out.

Q. One thing Newc said about you a while ago something along the lines that you were really blooded for this game, you just took to it very easy very naturally. Do you see that in Andy too, do you think he's a natural?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think for sure. He likes playing the big matches I think as well. He likes being the center stage. He likes showing emotion out on the court. I think it is good. There is no doubt that he doesn't feel the pressures of playing the big matches either as we have seen this week, so yeah, I think he has got good things going in his way, but he can't, you know, just think now that he's done well this one week and he has had a couple of good wins that is going to set him for the rest of the year.

Q. Last follow-up: Can you see in five years from now, you and him playing in the fifth match of a Davis Cup rubber to decide it all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe the fourth if we are both number ones, but, you know, obviously I think yeah, Davis Cup is a high priority I think for him as it is for me. So there is no doubt that, you know, maybe even next time when we play America in Australia it will be nice to play him.

Q. I am sure your main goal would be to win your first Slam. Is this a plan for US Open or do you think you have chances at Roland Garros or Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I have played good matches on all surfaces. Obviously hard courts is more my preferred surface at the moment just because I grew up playing on that. Clay I've played a couple of great matches - I think in the Davis Cup final against Spain against some of the claycourters in the world and showed that I could match it against the best guys in the world in tough circumstances there. So I feel on clay I am doing well. Grass, you know, with all the Davis Cup matches I have played on grass in Australia that I am getting better and better. I have beaten Sampras at Queens. I have beaten Pioline a couple of times on grass. I feel like, you know, I am doing better and better on all surfaces so I don't think, you know, I am definitely not going to be a favorite going into it, I don't think, but I definitely will be around the place, I think.

Q. Talking about Davis Cup, the fact that you are still in it over here, how important is that going into Davis Cup even though it is an entirely different surface next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There is, you know, some positives; some negatives, I suppose. Obviously it is great that Pat and I are still going both in singles and doubles because the more matches we get better we are going to be playing. And now that we are into the quarters and the semis and finals here we are going to have big matches as well. But we are going to be match hard when we get down there, but the tough question is playing on the clay, you know, Guga and all the other Brazilians I think are down there practicing at the moment. We are not going to get as much time on the clay. I feel with my game - I adjusted pretty well in Spain after I had a breathing problem; then played in Lisbon on indoor hard court; then had to go on to Spain pretty much on the Saturday/Sunday before the tie started, so it is not going to be too different to that one for me. For Pat it may be a little bit different but I think for Pat the more matches he gets under his belt the better off he is going to be.

Q. Is the breathing problem pretty much behind you? Still dealing with issues?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is definitely not behind me, but I am dealing with it at the moment as best as possible.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


March 30, 2001, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Jan-Michael Gambill 5-7 4-6


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. That point at 5-4, 30-15 when he hit the forehand. That was obviously pretty crucial in the end result.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in some ways you can look at it as being an extremely unlucky. Probably that shot is going to happen one in a million. After that, whether it was just that shot or, you know getting back to 30-All then having breakpoint there, he definitely raised his game. You got to hand it to him because he was a bit scratchy there. I didn't take my opportunity. I could have maybe broken twice in that set and won it 6-3. I had a lot of chance; had a lot of deuce points the game before. Didn't take it. In the second set one of those matches I didn't take my opportunities. I felt like I had breakpoints every second service game of his. I just couldn't get the big points out there today. There is always next time.

Q. That overhead was a real winner mid-court as I recall. Have you ever had anyone in a big match hit an outright winner off a straightforward overhead like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if it was that straightforward. It was very blustery out there. Obviously, you know, as I said, one in a million shot. I've definitely had guys who hit better shots than that. But that is the game of tennis. He guessed one way and just right at that time he was there and he just had a swing and it went bulleting past me. Not much I can do about it.

Q. When you say guys have had better shots off of overheads

LLEYTON HEWITT: Off of other shots, I suppose, but it is, I don't know, it is a great shot. But there is a little luck involved.

Q. You have been pleased with your form here looking forward to next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't had time to reflect on it, but it has been a good week. To backup another semifinal, obviously right at the moment I am a bit disappointed, just because I felt like this was a big opportunity for me. I don't think I played my best tennis out there tonight. Definitely going have to play a lot better if we are going to get over Brazil next week.

Q. You seem to be playing better every week that you play. Since you had a good week and now you are going into Brazil to play Davis Cup and what is your expectation of going into Brazil? Have you ever been there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No never been to South America. I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a challenge and our team likes challenges and hard challenges and this is definitely going to be one of the hardest that we have had to deal with. We are playing the best clay court player in the world in his home town. It is going to be tough. So I am expecting, you know, every bit as hard as a Davis Cup final that is for sure.

Q. How much harder do you think a crowd can be than Barcelona?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. Soon find out.

Q. He is developing a bit of a reputation as someone when he is matchpoint down, breakpoint down seems to be able to pull out the big shots. When you are playing a guy like that you are aware of that reputation, does that prey on your mind at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No. Of course I knew that he is probably lucky to get where he had got -- there is probably a couple of crucial matches, I think, for sure against Andrew Ilie in the first round, I think it was -- Andrew got ripped off on a line call as well which -- so yeah, he is probably lucky to be where he has got, but he is that kind of player, very flashy, he will come up with a big shot, a big single forehand shot where you are not expecting that because he uses double off both sides. But that is his game and sooner or later he is going to win some close matches but then he is probably going to lose some as well.

Q. Is his game even tougher under lights, his game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wouldn't say so. Very heavy out there tonight. The balls are very heavy.

Q. You have been getting to the net a lot more lately, haven't you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit now and then. It is doing -- it's area of my game that I have got to work on that is for sure.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


May 9, 2001, 2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Tommy Haas 7-5 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Quite content with that performance today, Lleyton?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good. Still feel like I could raise my game, you know, a bit more. It's always tough after having a few weeks off as well to come out and play great tennis straightaway, particularly on a surface like clay. You know, I think it takes a while just to, you know, get the -- get the miles on the legs and, you know, really grind it out out there. But today was a lot better than yesterday, that's for sure.

Q. If you could give us an update on your general health, Lleyton, we know you had some tests and everything and were waiting for the results. You took a bit of a break. What's the situation now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say. No one still has been able to pinpoint what it actually is. People have guessed that it could be like an allergy reaction causing, you know -- just depending on the places that I'm playing in, you know. And Rome's a pretty bad place for allergies, I've heard over the last few days. So, you know, I'm still struggling with it a little bit. I have to try to keep playing through it as much as possible. Obviously, the last few weeks has helped, having off. But, you know, there's been times where in Brazil I didn't really find it a problem at all. I haven't been able to sort of mark it down to one particular thing, whether it was next to the ocean or, you know, I can't pinpoint what it actually was that, you know, didn't make it so bad in that time.

Q. There was a theory that it might possibly be related to long-haul air travel.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. It -- no one's said that at all. But, you know, as I said, it could be a lot of things mixed together, you know. The people I've seen really haven't been able to pinpoint it down to one particular thing.

Q. Is this something now you've just got to come to terms with and live with, or is it something you're still trying to look at, perhaps keeping a check to see if you get the same reaction when you go back to places where it happened the last time you were there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely something that I'm going to try and play through as much as possible, especially this time of year, with two Grand Slams, you know, looming very closely now. You know, I've only got a few weeks to the French Open and Wimbledon comes straight after that. So it's not the time of the year to be worrying about it too much. But obviously, you know, when I do get some weeks off and stuff, you know, if it start -- it's always going to be in the back of my mind if I start feeling a lot better when I go back to Australia or something, I've got to try to pinpoint the reasons why that is, somehow. But it's gonna be -- you know, it's gonna take a while, I think.

Q. You did mention a lot of allergies in Rome, and of course you're going to be playing Alex Corretja next. There's been a few allergies between you in the past in your matches; bad things have been said. That didn't seem to bother you in the past, did it? Does it bother you now as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I'm going in, you know, I've said nothing bad about Alex at all the whole time. You know, obviously he's made comments, you know, in the past, and, you know, actually it's really something that I really couldn't care less about. I go out there, I play my tennis, and I, you know, I think I've behaved on the court, you know, fine in those times where, you know, I think he's gone over the top in what he's said. But, you know, that doesn't fuss me at all. I'm going out there tomorrow, you know, just the same as if I'm playing, you know, Pat Rafter. It really doesn't matter. You know, I'm going out there, I've had to do it in the past and, you know, this is -- he's a great player on clay. It's a good lead-up for me to play such a good player and a guy who's made the French Open final a couple weeks before going into the French Open.

Q. Now that you're one of the few top seeds left in the tournament, how do you feel about your chances? Do you feel they've improved?


Q. Do you see your chances as improved, now that you're one of the few top seeds left in the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You look at my section of the draw, all my seeds are still there. I've got Alex tomorrow, who's going to be no pushover, that's for sure. Then if I get past that, I've got Gustavo, who's, you know, a fantastic player. No doubt he's the best player on clay in the world. It doesn't really open up my section of the draw too much.

Q. Two questions. Why in Rome would this be more problems and dangerous for the allergic theme?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, the trainers told me that there's a lot of allergies with pollen and stuff this time of the year, and also there's a bit of pollution as well. So it's sort of a mixture of both of them.

Q. I was just thinking about Wimbledon. The reason that -- I never won Wimbledon because I began to sneeze in the first round all the time. So Rome, Rome is not so bad. (Laughter.)


Q. Second question is more technical. You have been the only one in the last year to beat Guga Kuerten on clay. Why do you think that happened, and do you think it should happen again, and how difficult is it going to be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, that was an extremely tough match. We played in extremely tough conditions in Brazil, and, you know, there's no doubt that that's the best match of my life so far. You know, the way that I stayed mentally tough throughout that tie. And to be able to come out and play three great days of tennis like that and on the last day beat the guy, you know, who's easily, in my opinion, the best guy on clay the last couple of years, that's for sure, and to do it in straight sets in his hometown is a fantastic effort. But to be able to, you know, do it all the time, that's still going to be another question. He plays fantastic week in and week out. For me, I'm still learning a lot of things about playing on clay. I'm getting better and better each time I play on clay. But to be able to do it and play the level that I did against him, week in and week out, is still going to take a little bit extra I think.

Q. May I ask if the crowd was milder in Florianopolis or in Barcelona? And which sort of clay did you have in Florianopolis? Can you compare it to our clay here and in Paris.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say. The clay there was, you know, it was quite soft the first few days that we got there. It was breaking up a lot, but it did get a lot harder as the week came to, you know, the time on Friday, Saturday, Sunday when we had to play. It quickened up. You know, the weather that we had the first few days before the tie started was, you know, a little bit of a drizzle and stuff, so it was quite heavy at the start. When the sun came out, it was quite quick, quickened up a lot faster than I thought it would be. Totally different than the Barcelona clay, because that was indoors as well, so it was a totally different kind of clay. I'd definitely say Barcelona was quicker than Brazil. The crowd in Brazil, they're out partying, it's like a carnival scene. They're loud, no doubt about that. But, you know, I think the Barcelona crowd was much more, you know, disturbing during points and, you know, they went over the top a bit more. Brazil really, you know, they enjoyed their tennis and they liked it I think, even though, you know, the result they would have liked to change.

Q. What was the thinking behind the partnership with Andre here? Was that your idea, his, or how did that come about?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, was just a little bit of mine, a little bit of Darren's. You know, we wanted to play a bit of doubles -- I wanted to play a bit of doubles anyway, just to get some matches on the clay and that, and I'm not playing doubles in Hamburg or the French. So I wanted to just get some matches in case I maybe bombed out early here in the singles. You know, Darren and Brad are good mates and I practice all the time with Andre. You know, we just, you know, asked Darren to ring Brad and asked if Andre would like to have a game, and he said yes. We'll see what happens.
Q. Looking forward to it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, to be out there on the court, he's given me a lot of time in practice. I practice with him nearly every tournament now. He's a great guy just to be around because he's got so much class. So, yeah, I'm gonna learn a lot.

Q. What do you know about the state of Pat's health? Is he going to be all right for the French and Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I spoke to him - might have been last week. You know, he's just taking it easy and enjoying a bit of time off I think. Yeah, he should be fine, I think. You know, I definitely rate him up there as, you know, definitely one of the main favorites of Wimbledon, that's for sure. Obviously, only having one week's preparation in Dusseldorf and the World Team Cup, it's going to be tough for him to try and do extremely well at the French. But, you know, he's capable of it. I think we saw that before he started hurting in Brazil that, you know, I think that he had a good chance of maybe winning in straight sets against Guga. So he can match it against the best guys on clay, but I definitely have him up there in the top one or two, maybe three for Wimbledon.

Q. Do you know if he's going to play Queen's or Halle?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I have no idea.

Q. What happened to the ponytail? Long story, is it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Just went into the hairdresser's and wasn't planning on doing it, then started -- she -- the hairdresser asked, maybe can I do what I want. I said, "Yeah, why not?" That's how it happened basically.

Q. How many years has it been since you've had it like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I had it sort of like this, I don't know, at least three years ago I think. But when I first won Adelaide, I had it a little bit longer, then I sort of grew into the ponytail and stuck with that.

Q. A hairdresser back home?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, in Belgium. I don't know if they spoke English well. (Laughter.)

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


May 11, 2001, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Alex Corretja 6-7(2) 4-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.

Q. Well, Lleyton, first of all, thanks for coming in. I know it was only three games, but there was a hell of a lot of effort and energy and everything else that went into it.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always hard coming off a rain delay, especially when you're a set and a break down. You can't be too slow out of the blocks. And yesterday, I, you know, I felt like I really got behind the eight ball the first couple of games of each set. I just, you know, struggled early and didn't get my rhythm going until late in the first set. That's when, you know, I fought back to get in that first set, and didn't play a great tiebreaker. That was a first set gone. And today I had to come out and be, you know, right on my toes right from the start.

Q. A lot of people will be expecting a lot of things from you in the next couple of months. What do you expect of yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, it's hard to say. I'm, you know, learning more about particularly playing on clay, you know. Obviously playing in Brazil gave me a lot of confidence, but to be able to play like that match in and match out in the big tournaments, you know, that's still another ball game. So I'm going to have to, you know, raise my level of, you know, competing - especially over at the French Open, over seven matches if you're going to win the title. So I definitely give myself a chance there.

Q. You're ready to win a Grand Slam now, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I believe in myself, and I believe if I play the way that I did down in Brazil, then I've got a hell of a chance.

Q. The clay in Brazil was different or similar to this one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit different.

Q. You mean faster or...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about faster. It was different to move on. It was probably, you know, this one is a bit more slippery than the other, the one in Brazil. It wasn't, you know, I'm not sure if that was more of a muddy sort of surface, but, you know, obviously this one probably got a little bit more like that today after the rain yesterday.

Q. You realize you are the only one who beat Kuerten on clay in the last year.

LLEYTON HEWITT: (Nodding.) It's good.

Q. What was your problem when you had the trainer yesterday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was just getting strange, I was getting a sharp pain in the back of my knee, sort of down a little bit towards the calf area. It was just shooting straight down my calf. So, you know, I was getting a little bit worried about it. It was just getting worse and worse. I got halfway through the first set, and it got worse and worse as it was going on. At first I thought it was a pinched nerve or something, might just go back and be fine after a couple of games, and kept going on. That's why I just called the trainer, and it was nice that the rain came down at that time as well.

Q. No problem with it today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still a bit sore. It wasn't 100 percent, but they're not really sure what it is. They couldn't really tell. But it was pretty sore.

Q. Have you been doing a lot of running in preparation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot, no. I put the racquets down and really did nothing for, you know, a good couple of weeks after Brazil. But it's been such a long start to the year, I hadn't had any time off. We played two Davis Cup matches, we prepared for those Davis Cup matches, I played two Masters Series, a Grand Slam, you know, it was pretty full on. Especially after the end of last year as well, it felt like I hadn't had a good break for a long time. So, you know, I didn't do a hell of a lot. So this week, you know, to have beaten Haas is a pretty good win in the second round in straight sets, you know, still to go down to Alex in a tight match where he's definitely one of the best clay court players in the world. So, you know, this week's, I think, been a good start for my clay court preparation.

Q. Do you sort of get your level of fitness back pretty quickly, or does it take you a while?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really, sort of comes pretty quickly.

Q. You said going in to the match that you did see it as a tremendous benefit to actually play Alex on clay, who is one of the top players on this surface. You said you could maybe benefit and learn from it. You found that, did you, hopefully?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't had enough time to reflect fully on it. But for sure, yeah, he plays a different style of game to the Tommy Haases and even Guga. You know, Guga goes for his shots a lot more than Alex does. So, you know, it's nice to know that there are still areas of my game that I've got to work on to play a guy like that. But I feel like I can adjust my game. I think I played a little bit better out there the last three games today, and I had game points in every game. Could have very easily just about snuck out of that second set. I feel like if I go out there and work on a couple of things in my game, then coming into the French Open, I feel confident playing, you know, a player who plays well there.

Q. You won a fair number of the longest rallies, too. There were some pretty long ones out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like -- it was strange. I fought my butt off to get back in the first set, had 5-all yesterday, break point, missed a pretty easy second serve really, didn't even give myself a chance. I felt like I was starting to get a little momentum going coming back from 5-3. But, you know, obviously that's disappointing. Today I didn't take the big points when I needed them. You know, that's something that, you know, some days you take them all, some days you don't take any. Hopefully when I get to the French Open I'll take everything.

Q. How old were you when you first saw a red clay court or actually first played on a red clay court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Would have been 13, yeah.

Q. Where was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: On a junior team, travelled like to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, I think.

Q. Was fairly competitive right through the match, today especially. It seemed at the end it was a pretty firm handshake. I mean, that's the first time you played since Lisbon when all things were said by Alex. Everything seemed fine at the end.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I haven't said anything. You know, I started nothing. So, you know, he doesn't really fuss me at all. So, you know, I went out there and I just played -- you know, it's another match for me, it's another clay court preparation, and I'm playing one of the best players on clay. That's the way I looked at the match. He was too good on the day.

Q. It seemed there was a long time until there was a "Come on!" Is that just the way it goes sometimes, or you made a conscious effort?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't help when you're 3-love down in about five minutes.

Q. You start to pump yourself when you play a good shot, you sometimes get yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, you know, I feel like I do it at the right times. You know, I got off to a shocking start. Wasn't much to get pumped about. Maybe at times I should have cracked my racquet or something, but I don't know about getting too excited about the way I was playing early yesterday.

Q. What is a key point for you to improve on to be able to compete for the title in Roland Garros, if you had one thing to work on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably start aggressive a little bit more.

Q. Do you also go on the theory that the more time you can get on a clay court, the better it's going to be for you when you switch back to grass?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean?

Q. Well, a lot of great champions at Wimbledon have always said over the years that a lot of the preparatory work they do on the clay helps them when they get on the grass because despite what people say, it's not just serve and volley, it is as much your return.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I don't know, you know, I bombed out last year in the Round of 16, had not a bad clay court season last year, for, you know, one of my first real serious goes on clay. And, you know, I came straight into Queen's seeing the ball like a football there. So it's hard to say. But I felt, you know, I wasn't hitting the ball that well at the French Open last year, and I still made the Round of 16s and still had chances, you know, to beat Costa in that match in the Round of 16s. Then came out, you know, strangely enough and played great the next week. So it was a little bit surprising last year. I'm not really sure how my game will, you know, suit up, whether if you do have a long clay court season, you know, make the weekend there, and back it up on Tuesday at Queen's or Wednesday at Queen's is going to be pretty tough.

Q. Did you view Wimbledon as one of the great disappointments of the year?


Q. Yeah?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely up there. I didn't lose too many first rounds. Probably Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Q. Where do you rate your chances at the French? For us, we say that Kuerten and Ferrero are the strong men on clay. Where do you put yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say really. Kuerten definitely is the favorite, I think. You know, the way that he plays in big matches and, you know, he obviously plays well at Roland Garros as well. But Ferrero, you know, he's playing fantastic. You know, to win Barcelona as he did and, you know, to beat Rios and those guys so comfortably the last few days, he's -- obviously he's playing well. I'd rank those two probably the highest as well. You can never take Andre out of it either. I don't think you want to be in his path.

Q. And yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, I think there's sort of a handful of guys. To say Guga and Andre, they've probably -- they've been there before. Ferrero, he made a semifinal last year and had chances. There's still the Kafelnikovs, these guys, even Corretja and Moya who have been in Grand Slam finals and they know what it's all about. You know, Ferrero and I are relatively new to trying to make it to that last Sunday of a Grand Slam.

Q. Have you picked up anything yet from your brief doubles experiences with Andre?

LLEYTON HEWITT: How to come back from 5-love down in the third. Never done that before. To do it in doubles is pretty good.

Q. How much had been said between you at that stage, or nothing? Did you just get on with it or what?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We still believed we could win. For me to have a guy, you know -- you know, normally in doubles, with most players you wouldn't think that you could win from 5-love down, got to break maybe two or three times. When you got Andre Agassi on the other side of the court with you, you know, it helps. We knew we were going to make a lot of returns, and we just had to hold serve. In the end, you know, he was really pumped up to win it. It was nice to get out of it.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


May 15, 2001, 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Arnaud Di Pasquale 6-3 6-2

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. Lleyton, was there some sense of relief to get through a match like that because it was a bit scrappy, a lot of breaks of serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I thought it was pretty good tennis though. That is the best he has every played against me. I played him a lot in juniors; played him once in the seniors and won last year in Rome. Forehand is big out there. Such tough conditions out there. The balls are so heavy and the clay is so slow out there and especially today with the moisture in the air, it's one of the slowest places I have ever played tennis in. So yeah, I am just happy to get through.

Q. Is it mainly because of the weather that the conditions are like that or were they like that when you were practicing in the sunshine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot has got to do with the weather. The German clay is a definite slower clay than the French Open clay. That has always been the case, I think, but here in Hamburg you get that moisture hanging over the court as well. It was pretty slow when I went out there to warm up this morning.

Q. When you had the break after the Davis Cup did you do much training and what did you do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not a lot. I put the rackets down and just rested up basically. Last year was such a long year with the Olympics and obviously making it through the Davis Cup final; then starting back in Adelaide I had felt like I hadn't had a break so just put the rackets down for a couple of weeks and went out to the movies, stuff like that. It's good to be back on the Tour right now.

Q. Do you feel that Davis Cup helped you a lot for the clay court season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No doubt it's helped me to be able to reflect on those matches and instill that confidence on clay that I beat Gustavo Kuerten. I didn't lose a set in three days of tough -- I don't think the pressure gets any tougher when playing Davis Cup tennis; let alone playing in Brazil against the best player in the world. Not dropping a set for those nine sets in a row is a pretty good achievement. I can definitely reflect on that and draw strength from that going into the French Open.

Q. Do you feel rejuvenated by the break that you have had? Do you feel fresher?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is always hard coming off a break the first week and normally I do pretty well, but coming onto clay it's always tough if you haven't put out a lot of hours I think. That is why this preparation - I played Rome, Hamburg, two big tournaments on the calendar; then I go to Dusseldorf which I am guaranteed a lot of matches and good matches against very good clay court players, going into the French so hopefully that is going to hold me in better form going in. Clay is one of those surfaces which it's quite hard to sort of get in a rhythm, sliding and stuff. So last week, even though I did lose, then I got to play a couple of good claycourters and that gives me a little bit more confidence.

Q. So you are reasonably happy at this stage of the clay court season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I am getting better and better. Today I felt like for the conditions, I hit the ball great. There is still a few areas of my game that I need to work on, but I have still got a couple of weeks before really start settling in in Paris.

Q. Will you be playing with Pat next week in Dusseldorf?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we are playing together.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


May 17, 2001, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Andrew Ilie 6-2 7-6(2)

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. What were the circumstances that might have made it so difficult for you to finish off that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He is a showman. Didn't play so many bad points; doublefaulted on the first matchpoint, but apart from that, he came up with some unbelievable shots in the matchpoints and it was very little luck. I felt like I played a high standard throughout the whole match and he had about ten or fifteen minutes there where he got on a roll. He got very pumped up and he hit some unbelievable shots. But that is Andrew Ilie.

Q. He is difficult to play against given that he is a bit theatrical and gets the crowd going as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he is tough. He just plays totally different. I have been lucky enough, I have got through the matches pretty comfortably the times that I have played him, but he comes out, sometimes you are just sitting there in surprise when he comes up with these shots and goes for these shots. Normally you are expecting one kind of shot from a player and he comes up with a totally different kind of shot from what you are expecting. I just had to stay patient out there and sort of weather the storm and I knew I'd get up again.

Q. Given that you played late last night then again today, how do you feel physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not bad. It's always tough coming off a late night, playing the next day. I felt pretty good out there today fitness-wise. I feel like I am getting better and better fitness-wise, just playing on the clay, getting some miles on the legs again. After a bit of a break and I was a little bit weaker I think last week in Rome I am definitely moving a lot better this week.

Q. The atmosphere last night was a bit strange. There were not many people and it was cold and do you think in some ways that prepares you well for some of the matches you might play in the French Open, particularly like the one against Costa last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say, that was an unusual match, to be playing with only about 10, 20 people, playing in rain, I couldn't work it out last year, but that is not my call. But next day we came back, it was a pretty big crowd, finished the match. Normally the crowds in Paris are huge and very loud and love to get into the matches. I shouldn't have that problem. Last night it was obvious, pretty tough to get into the match. I didn't really get a lot of rhythm in the first set; then sort of got the ball rolling in the second set. Could have been 6-2, 6-1 if I played properly.

Q. Do you feel on track for Paris?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. I feel like my game is definitely getting better. Each time I step out there I am getting more and more confident again. I still want to go up a couple notches going into Paris. I still got a week and a bit before that, maybe good matches next week in Dusseldorf against high quality opponents. No matter how I far go this week that is good enough, in the back of my mind knowing that I am still going to get a lot of good matches even though if something did happen here.

Q. What do you think you have to work on leading up to the French?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably just stay aggressive out there. I think when I play aggressive out there today I felt in control of the match. I think I have just got -- that is going to be my base, and I felt like I did that well against Guga and Meligeni in Brazil. I think I could do that hopefully for seven matches in Paris.

Q. Does it bother you that you have dropped your serve a few times in the last two days?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. This isn't Paris clay, not even close, so this is a totally different kind of clay and I don't think Guga and Andre and those guys will be too worried about going out early here because it means nothing going into Paris.

Q. Given the most of the seeds have gone now before the quarterfinals, do you think that is a good example of how unknowns perhaps can win a title like the French Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I think there is not too many unknowns normally win it. Guga was a great example of an unknown winning it, sort of coming from 60 or 70 in the rankings, I think, but still when I look at it this year, I think obviously the guys who won Slams I think are going to be the favorite. Then you have probably got Ferrero and myself sort of just coming up in that bracket. Guys like Federer and these guys who can knock guys off but I think the other guys ranked, you know, over 50 and so can definitely cause some upsets but to be out of the draws seven matches in a row, that is going to be tough.

Q. You don't think there is too much to be read into the fact that the big names are missing here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nothing, absolutely nothing. As I said, this is a totally different kind of clay. Come Paris it's going to be a different story.

Q. You have got used to the new hairstyle; are you happy with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not bad. Won a few matches with it. It's hanging in there.

Q. You think you will stick with it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I might shave it.

Q. Why do you think so many seeds have gone out at this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There is probably different reasons, I think. You know, Agassi and Sampras probably haven't played a lot of clay; particularly Sampras. Guga came off a tough five-set match in Rome; that is why you got to take your hat off to Ferrero obviously he has got a lot of confidence up in the moment as well which is a totally different story, but, you know, Norman is probably a little bit down on confidence at the moment, but come Grand Slam times he has been in Grand Slam finals he knows what it is all about and that is when the pressure really sets in. The Masters Series tournaments are big, no doubt about that, but come Grand Slam times and those guys who have been there Saturday and Sunday, of the Finals in Grand Slams, they know what it is all about. I think Magnus and those guys are going to as soon as they get into Paris they are going to go up a couple of notches.

Q. Does it give you anymore confidence that you are one of only two seeds left in the tournament and you have got a relatively easy passage through to the possible final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nothing is easy, mate. I got Gaudio or Squillari. Gaudio beat Safin. He is one of the up-and-coming clay court greats, I think, Squillari made the semifinals of the French. On these courts, you know, those South American guys are going to be very tough.

Q. Any preferences?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't matter to me. See what happens.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


May 18, 2001, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Franco Squillari 6-4 6-2

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. It's your second event on clay. How do you feel your game is coming together compared to the way you were playing last week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it is definitely a lot better. The more matches you get, the more confidence you get out there. Especially for me on this kind of surface it is something that I haven't grown up on, but I feel like every year that has gone by now, I feel like I am getting better and better and more confidence, I think it is showing a few of the victories that I have had on clay this year already. I felt I dominated most of the match out there. I felt pretty confident. That is definitely the best match I have played this week, that is for sure.

Q. Do you still consider it your least favorite surface even the way you are playing now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I wouldn't say "least favorite," no. It's definitely up there. After Brazil, it was my favorite. When I first came on the Tour Rebound Ace surface obviously was my favorite because that is where I got all my wins and that is where I got my first tournament victory. That is what I grew up on playing. Now that I have been on the Tour for a good two, three, nearly four years now, I feel more and more confident. I won a title on clay which I know it was green clay in America but still beat Grosjean and Malisse, guys like that, over there. I beat Sampras in Queens last year on grass. I am getting more and more confident on each surface.

Q. Just how dead were the conditions out there in the cold?


Q. Dead.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, such a slow court, it's unbelievable. It's nothing like Roland Garros. It really is sometimes like playing in mud out there. It's hard to move. It is so hard to hit a winner out there. But that is the kind of court that I think a guy like Squillari likes. He plays well on the slow court because he has got such a big forehand so I consider that a pretty good job on my behalf out there today to beat a guy like that in those conditions. Also the balls are so heavy. I have never -- I don't know why we are using necessary the new ATP master Series ball, it's the heaviest ball I have ever seen; fluffs up so much after the first two games. It's a bit ridiculous.

Q. Was the match really that easy like the result tells?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no, tough match. He had a lot of chances to brake in the first set. So did I early in the first set. We both played some good points on the breakpoints down. Then I came up a bit lucky. He had a high forehand volley on the net when he gave me that break, but you got to take your chances when you get them. In the second set I felt like I could have had -- I had Love-30 in the first game, second set, I felt in control of it. I think it was 2-1. He a couple of breakpoints maybe at 2-1 on me. But apart from that, I sort of tried to get up a gear after that.

Q. You have very good footwork, very good baseline strokes, you are patient, you can play very good tactically, you have everything you need to be a very good clay court player. Do you consider yourself as the favorite for the French?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I am definitely not the favorite, that is for sure. I haven't been there in the final of a Grand Slam yet, so I think there is no doubt that Guga is the No. 1 favorite. If the way Ferrero is playing, he has got to be up there as well, but you can't count out on the guys like Safin who has won a Grand Slam, Agassi who has come through so many times, even guys like Kafelnikov, Rafter, these kind of guys who have been there on the final weekend of a Grand Slam before. I give myself an outside chance for sure.

Q. You have very big conversation with your clans outside. Don't you feel that you lose concentration by that when you look over there after each point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I look around a fair bit. I look at other people in the crowd as well. But I just like looking around, I think.

Q. I saw you playing in Rome last week. Compared to that, are you feeling an improvement clay court by your performance?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure it is always hard coming off a break. I think it's even more hard coming off a break going straight onto clay because I really didn't hit a whole heap -- I wanted to put the rackets down; have a good break after Brazil. It was so not only Brazil was mentally draining, but the whole Australian summer, Barcelona, the Masters Cup at the end of last year, just went on and on, felt like I hadn't had a decent couple of weeks off and just put the rackets down and had a break. That is what I did and I really couldn't expect much going into Rome last week. I feel like I was lucky to get three good matches; ended up losing to Corretja, a top clay court player; that gave me confidence anyway, that I could match up with those guys even though I was not in my red hot form.

Q. Are you surprised that you left now in the Spanish Open here


Q. -- with three Spanish playing in the semifinals and you?


Q. So many top seeded left the tournament early.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's strange. There is not too many Australian players here. Obviously, it's going to be tough to beat those three players, for sure. Two of them at least. I have got to go out there and the way that I am playing at the moment, I give myself good chances, that is for sure. I am just taking one match at a time. I am not even worrying about the final yet.

Q. What would you say makes the French Open such a special tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's one of the Slams. I think that it is so hard to win just because clay is such a grinding surface. To put 7 tough matches together in a row on clay, against so-called clay court specialist, you can come up against Moya, Rios, these guys are going to be unseeded. They are top clay court players, let alone Moya won it before. You come up against those guys in the first round, even once you start hitting the other seeded players, you have got to play Grosjeans and these days who are good players on clay. Then you start getting into the Ferreros, Agassis, Gugas, these guys. I feel that so many of -- just the highest players up there are very good on clay. I think to put together 7 tough matches against those that are top players, there is no easy rounds.

Q. Lleyton, what are you expecting from the game against Portas?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Be a little bit like today, I think. Obviously I am pretty sure his forehand is his weapon so like Squillari I am going to have to try to work out a way to open up his backhand if I can, but I got to go out there with just the same confidence that I have been playing with and believe in my game; not worry about his game too much. The is the way that I have been getting better and better. With each match this week I feel if I am going to get over the line tomorrow I can play the way I did today; if not a little better.

Q. Think about the French Open, the way you have been playing here and also Brazil was a big thing for you as well, some people in Australia are going to be thinking that you could be the first Australian to win the French Open since Laver. Has that occurred to you at all? Have you thought about it in those terms at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Obviously it is a long way to go before I get that opportunity to be there in the final Sunday of the French Open, but as I said, I give myself an outside chance. I feel like I can go on the court with any player and I feel confident and that is all I can -- I give myself a chance in every match that I play. But as I said, to go out there and do it seven matches, it is going to be tough. I did it for three days in Brazil. Melangini, he was tough, but then I had to play doubles the next day. Then following day, I had to play Guga. I am going to have to do that two, three more times and do it for two weeks. That is going to be the tough part of it. I am getting better and better with each match. There is a slight chance I could be there on the weekend.

Q. With Philippoussis injured and Rafter underprepared, shall we say, what is the pressure like going into the French as the top Aussie?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There is no added pressure on that. I am going out there with the attitude, you know, I believe in my game and I believe that if the draw -- I think you need that kind of a little bit of luck in the draw as well in that kind of tournament. But, you know, I think Rafter, he has still got a chance definitely of being there in the semifinals. You have seen when he played great in Brazil, he could have very easily beaten Kuerten in straight sets there as well. Obviously the two of us are going to be the favorite Aussies, but then you still got Andrew Ilie and guys like that behind us as well who are capable of an upset here or there. I don't put anymore added pressure on myself just because I am the only player playing here and I am through to the semifinals on a clay court event. Rafter has been there before, everyone still expects a lot out of him.

Q. You said you believe in your game. What is it about your game that makes you think you will achieve success at Roland Garros?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It just feels I am getting more and more comfortable playing on clay. I went out there before and I was a little bit in the back of my mind, I wasn't still quite sure about the footing on clay and when to attack, when not to attack, when to defend, stuff like that, how to mix-up my serve, just little things, how to return. I have worked out a lot more how to play on clay just from being a part of these kind of tournaments over the last two or three years. And that has given me confidence and now I am taking what I have done in practice court, I have worked a helluva lot on my game, to play on clay, I am taking that into my matches now and it is paying off. It is just a (inaudible) thing from a 16 year old who has never played on clay to now a 20 year old who is Top-10 and won a clay court title and beat some good players on the clay.

Q. Could you give us a fitness bulletin. Your stamina seems to be fine at the moment. Obviously against Kuerten, that match was a long one. You know, your virus infection, whatever it was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no one can really put a finger on it. They tried to narrow it down to maybe allergies and stuff like that. I was struggling during Miami during Indian Wells, during Scottsdale. Went to Brazil and for some unknown reason didn't come up at all, so I don't know whether -- I was playing right next to the ocean there as well in Brazil whether that was a factor. In Rome I was definitely struggling a little bit last week but there is a lot of pollution. It was bad time for allergies with pollen and stuff at the moment as well. It's hard to say.

Q. Here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's been better than Rome. I wouldn't say great. But something that I have just got to try and fight through. But, you know, when I get my opportunities to take a few weeks off I have really got to take that time to sort of recover and then that is why before I had to pull out of Monte Carlo and that because it was impossible after that whole American stint and the whole breathing thing just gone over the top; that is when I really started to struggle then. It is something that I have to pick my times when to take off and hopefully it doesn't cause too many upsets going into the Majors.

Q. "Take off," you mean to get surgery or

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, just sort of recover. Just see doctors, get checkups, stuff like that.

Q. Is there some solution to it that

LLEYTON HEWITT: No solution.

Q. that the doctors can tell you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, allergies you can't do much about.

Q. How do you feel when it is cold like here in Hamburg?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, I didn't feel that bad this week. Sometimes when it's been moist in the air, I found in Miami humid, but moisture in the air, I struggled a little bit there, but I haven't felt too many problems this week which has been good.

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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


May 19, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt - Albert Portas 6-3 5-7 2-6

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. You looked very confident and of course played very good in the first set. But then I have the feeling that you started to make more mistakes. Also you played of course better, but you also played

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. I lost my rhythm out there a little bit. Once you do that sometimes is it hard to get back. That is how you found it today. I get in the first set hitting the ball good; not hitting it great. I get out of the set, I served for the 5-2 got a bit lucky, got the opportunity to break him at 5-3 to win the set. And then when I had -- I had my opportunities in the second set and I didn't take them. I had chances. I lost my first service game in the second set; that is when I really had to consolidate and go on with it and hopefully get up that set and a break early. Then I broke back for 2-All. Then I lost my serve straight after that. Then I think it was at 5-All, lost my serve again at 6 -5 --so it goes to 6 -5.I felt like even though I didn't play great I still had a lot of chances out there. Then the third set I just felt like I lost my rhythm at all. I was going for shots and they weren't coming off.

Q. How well does he disguise those dropshots?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he hits them great. He hits them very well. He hits a lot of them. But he hits them well, one of the best I have seen.

Q. How much were you struggling again with the ball today, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With the court and the balls, it is bloody slow. There is no other way of putting it. God knows why we are using these balls. I have no idea. But this court is slow enough without using -- going into Grand Slams where they are using a totally different ball, the Roland Garros ball is not even close to this. Obviously I think the players can put up with the court being different, that is for sure, but using a different ball, a week and a bit before the Grand Slam, is a bit strange.

Q. Do You think this has been a bonus week for you, nonetheless, even though you haven't reached the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure, I got good matches under my belt. That is what -- I wasn't coming to Rome or Hamburg -- I had had four weeks off where I hadn't even picked up a racket, really - I wasn't coming expecting to win both weeks. That wasn't in my mind. It was to get clay court practice and get, you know, a lot of miles back in the legs, start that sliding and grinding feeling again. I felt like I got it, even though I played a bad match today, going into Roland Garros I think I am going to learn and I am going to be a better player probably because I have lost this match. If I come out and winning everything, I am going to have a lot of confidence, but then once things don't go right at Roland Garros, you lose a set or down a set and a break, you don't understand what to do. Maybe because I lost this, this could help me in a couple of weeks.

Q. When you broke back twice in the second set he broke you immediately after. Do you felt you lost those games or whether he took them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit of both. I thought for a guy who has just been -- he lost the first set. He was up a break and then he has been broken again to come out and I thought he played solid the first couple of points of those games. He ran around, hit some huge forehands. Maybe I didn't use my serve well enough on those first couple. I went down Love-30 pretty quick in those games, you know, that is the only thing I probably would have changed trying to get a few more first serves in on those bigger points.

Q. First game, third set, bit of a killer because obviously helped him and still he was on a high anyway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know really what happened that game. I felt like I was -- I wasn't hitting my forehand that bad out there today yet that first game was a shocker. I turned around I think I made at least three forehand errors where I felt like it was quite gusty out there as well. And I really couldn't tell which way the wind was going out there. I felt like it changed during the match. I went for a couple of forehands, sometimes you live or die buy them - some other matches you might win the close ones, today it might have cost me.

Q. You said yesterday that he wants to try and (Inaudible.) He seemed to be camping really in his Ad court just running around, and everything. How frustrating was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I expected that. A lot of those Spanish players play like that. Obviously I thought he hit his forehand great. It was a big forehand. He didn't make too many errors off his backhand when I went there either. He made a few more in the first set, but it was hard to open up his backhand because he hit the shot, if I pulled him across wide on the forehand across, he is -- he had to stretch out. He actually hit that a lot better than I thought he would. It was tough to sort of work out where to go to. I think if I played him again though I'd do things a little bit different.

Q. How?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I will keep that in my head.

Q. When you said you put down the racket during those four weeks. How long did you stay without playing tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At least three weeks of that. Then the last week was only, you know, maybe an hour, hour and a half a day.

Q. No tennis at all but kept working physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, I did nothing for a good couple of weeks. As I said, with the stretch going, I needed a break. It felt like I hadn't had any weeks off since, I don't know, maybe after the Olympics, I had two weeks off last year; that is about the last time I could really remember putting the rackets down. I went through the whole European indoor season; then had to play the Masters; then played the Davis Cup Final; then decided to play in Adelaide in front of my home crowd. That sort of went through to the Davis Cup. It started again in America; went through to Brazil, so really didn't have much time off in that time. I felt that was a good period before Rome to put the racket down.

Q. How much better prepared are you going to be going into Paris this year mentally than you were, say, in previous years because you are that much older and wiser and much more experienced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have definitely got more confidence, that is for sure. Last year gave me a little bit of confidence. I lost in the semis of Rome, played pretty well there, lost in the second round here. Went into Paris with a little bit of confidence; not the same confidence that I got this year, that is for sure. To beat Squillari yesterday and beaten -- the guys this week have been those clay court -- you know, they are not the guys that win Slams, but guys who are going to make you work. They are not going to give you any easy points. To have those wins and obviously the win -- the two wins down in Brazil, that gives me extra confidence playing on clay. Especially going into the big matches.

Q. Preparation still the same going into Roland Garros?


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Re: Lleyton's Press Conference


June 26, 2001 1st Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Magnus Gustafsson 6-1 6-2 6-4


MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. How long can you sustain this run? Do you feel at all sort of weary by the events of the past few weeks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not really a run, I don't think. This is a Grand Slam. This isn't a normal ATP event. It all started for me yesterday. You know, I forgot about the past. I'm on a streak of one win now. I got off to a good start this year. I've done a little bit better and defended all my points from last year, at least.

Q. Did you expect it to be that comfortable today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not. He's been playing pretty good. He made the third round I think here last year. He's a tough competitor. He never gives in. I just felt like, you know, I've been hitting the ball well. I tried to take that confidence in, but you never know. On a grass court surface, he's got a pretty big first serve. Fortunately he missed a lot of first serves, gave me too many chances to get in the point today. That's when I really sort of capitalised on that. I felt I had a lot of breakpoints when I didn't convert out there, even though I won pretty convincingly in straight sets.

Q. What do you know about Taylor Dent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played Taylor. The only time I played him, the US Open Juniors in second round, beat him in straight sets, but a tight match there. He's a lot better player since then, that's for sure. But so am I. He's a big hitter. He's come through quallies. You know, he's obviously seeing the ball well at the moment. His confidence is high. He's got nothing to lose. I'm going to go out there, though, I'm not going to take the match lightly at all. You know, he's dangerous. I've got to step up there and be ready to go right from the first point.

Q. Seems a lot more people are writing about you as a strong chance to win the whole thing this year. Do you feel any extra pressure from that? Do you have any ways of avoiding the pressure?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't been past the third round here, so I'm not considering myself in the first few of the favourites, that's for sure. I give myself an outside chance. That's what I said the whole time. I believe I can play on grass. I'm not afraid to step out there against anyone on grass now. You know, that's a good confidence and self-belief to have in yourself when you step out there on a surface a couple years ago I hadn't played too many tour matches on. But there's a lot of other guys who have been to the latter stages of Wimbledon, you know, know it a lot better than I.

Q. Can you remember the first match you played on grass, how that felt compared with how it felt today, for example?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure what the first -- would have probably been Queen's a few years ago I think in qualifying. But it was a little bit of an unknown thing. I didn't really know what to do, serve-volley, stay back, when to come in. You've got to put so much emphasis on holding serve on grass. I know that I can break most guys on grass. Even though I'm going to get the opportunities to break, because the return of serve is one of my main areas of my game, so I know that I'm going to get my chances. I've got to take my chances on grass, as well. In my game, I put a lot more emphasis on my service games and trying to hold those because I know I'll get the opportunities later down the set.

Q. You had a very warm reception at the end there, especially considering it was a straight-sets victory. Have you any theory as to why the crowd has taken to you so well in England?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You know, I've done well in Queen's the last two years now, as well - last three years really. I think that's definitely helped. You know, there were a lot of Australians in the crowd, as well, today. They probably got the English going as well a bit back behind me. But I think they like to see, you know, a young guy coming here, not playing a normal grass court style of game, you know, matching it up with the best players in the world. That's probably one of the main reasons.

Q. How have the reactions been to your new haircut?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not bad (smiling).

Q. Some good, some bad?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, everyone's been pretty good so far.

Q. How does it feel, given that you've always had so much hair?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel quicker (smiling).

Q. With your different schedules, how much quality time do you really get to spend with Kim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, not a lot. She's obviously got goals going her way. They're paying off at the moment. I'm going my way. So, you know, especially at tournaments, the big tournaments like this, it's very hard.

Q. There's a lot of talk at the moment of the changing of the guard in men's tennis with the so-called older guys nearing the end of their careers, guys like you on the way through. Is that the way you see it? Do you feel you guys are starting to put pressure on them now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, in some ways I think a little bit. Obviously, you know, Kuerten, I think he's probably about 24 years old, so he's still young, winning Grand Slams like he has. Safin is another one who is 21, already beat Sampras in a final of a Grand Slam. You know, I think it's starting to come through. But those guys still, as Agassi has proven at the start of this year, he's in the best form of his career. He's capable of beating anyone on any surface. Sampras on hard courts and grass at the moment can beat anyone on those two surfaces, as well. You know, I don't know how many years they're going to keep playing for. I can't see Pete losing too many matches on grass for as long as he wants to play really.

Q. Sampras, is he, in your opinion, the favourite? Is he the guy to beat here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's got to be. Anyone with a record like his, he owns that centre court out there. One guy has been able to beat him in the last eight years. That speaks for itself.

Q. What about Pat? Did you have a chance to practise with him, see how his game is looking up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't. I've only seen him in the locker room. He's obviously concentrating on his match this afternoon. You know, what I've seen over the last year since he made the final here, his Davis Cup matches on grass, he's going to be very hard to beat, as well. I put Sampras probably the favourite, then Rafter, Agassi, Henman the next bunch. I really do put Pat up there. I think he's got a great opportunity this year. You know, I'd love to see him win it - if I'm out of it - considering it's going to be his last year.

Q. Would you put yourself below them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's probably a handful of guys below that. I'm probably in that group. I'm definitely not in that category with those guys yet who have been there. They've all been to the semifinals or better here at Wimbledon.

Q. What was the best thing about your game today? Was it your agility on court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I'm moving well. I've been moving well throughout my career. That's one of my main areas of my game. You know, I hit my forehand well I felt out there today. I returned serve well, even though he didn't put me under that much pressure with his first serve today. But overall, I was happy with everything. I think I've got to work on my serve a little bit. That's probably the main thing.

Q. Could we get the record straight on your allergy to grass, your physical allergy.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Don't know. It's never affected me on the tennis court, that's for sure.

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