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Old 06-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

May 12, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt

ROME, ITALY


Q. Is it fair to say that this one, getting to the Semifinal of this one, gives you greater pleasure than getting to the Semifinal in Miami?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd say so, more it does, for sure. Miami, I was hitting the ball well. It was on hardcourt, and I had beaten some great players, I'd beaten Yevgeny before. But to come here after having a bit of a break after Davis Cup, I didn't know what to expect, to tell you the truth. I only started hitting a week before I left. I had a little bit of a virus before that. Then, you know, it's always -- your first European claycourt tournament is always tough. To be through to the Semifinals now, I really take it one match at a time. A lot of people say that, but this week I've taken it one match at a time more than ever.

Q. It's taken some players years to figure out that stuff. It seems to have taken you about five minutes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: A bit longer than that, but yeah, obviously Darren Cahill's been a big help for me, you know, even though the way he plays is totally different to the way I play, you know. He felt that clay was going to be my best surface in two or three years' time. That was the attitude that we're going into it - the whole claycourt season this year - with, was to just gain experience. Obviously, I'm up there pretty high in the rankings at the moment. It was a great opportunity to go even higher. We didn't really expect much to come out of this, this was just a learning experience. And, you know, I don't think I've mastered claycourt tennis just yet, but, you know, I think I've definitely taken a big step this week.

Q. How did you feel physically at midnight last night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: (Laughing) A little disappointed that we did lose that doubles, because it was a big opportunity. We did have a lot of chances, but, you know, who knows? It may pay off come tomorrow that I didn't have to play another doubles match till later tonight.

Q. But it didn't affect you at all going into today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Obviously, I wasn't -- I didn't play 100 percent, I wasn't feeling 100 percent out there. But I gave 100 percent, I gave everything I had on the court and, you know, I think that's anything -- sort of what Woodforde would have asked as far as me going into that match. But it was very hard to get room service and stuff at one o'clock last night.

Q. Did you enjoy playing that match today as much as the crowd enjoyed watching it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. It was another -- I suppose another different experience for me, playing against a guy who has been brought up on clay and really, you know, most of his results have all been on clay. And he's had some great results this week, to beat Kafelnikov and Ferreira in back-to-back matches is a hell of an effort. I really enjoyed it out there. Obviously, once I lost the second set I had to raise the bar out there today, and that's when I was happy with my game. I sort of stepped up and sort of took it right to him. He's one of those guys that you don't really -- he's not going to lose the match; you have to go out there and win it. That's why I felt that I was pretty pleased today.

Q. In a curious way did that virus come at the right time for you? Because it's given you a break. You probably wouldn't have wanted it yourself, but you can come back now almost in the middle of this claycourt season.

LLEYTON HEWITT: In one way it may have been a blessing in disguise. In another way, I still got a zero-pointer in Monte Carlo. Who knows, I could have done the same there maybe my first week there. Obviously, it's a big disappointment to me to sit out on the big tournaments. When your ranking gets higher and higher, those are the ones you sort of go out of game for and it's a big opportunity to be playing against the best players in the world in those tournaments, because they have to play them now. It was a little bit of a disappointment, but who knows? I may have lost a few first rounds and had no confidence coming in here anyway.

Q. Did you play very much on the anthill courts in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Did I try on them?

Q. Did you play on them as a youngster?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, I played a little bit in Cairns, a little bit in Melbourne. I had the Claycourt Nationals, 14s and 16s I played on. I played in Canberra for one satellite actually, in Dubbo, all these lovely places out in the middle of nowhere. This was really all I've played on.

Q. And so really, I mean, as far as you're concerned, you are pretty new to clay? Clay is not a surface that you're particularly used to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, for sure. You know, it's -- it's one -- sort of an unknown factor a little bit to me. I've learned a lot sort of the last week or so, but I still have a lot to learn about playing on clay to be able to do it week in and week out.

Q. Cahill was saying last night that there are a couple of red claycourts at Memorial Drive where you boys grew up. Did you sort of just look at them and wonder what they were like? Did you ever go on them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's a little bit of a story behind that as well. I had practiced on those a little bit as a junior, so before I went on European Tours and stuff like that and in Junior squads, Tennis Australia put a lot of money into putting those courts down. One -- I think only one state got them, South Australia was lucky enough -- we had a good junior program -- to get them. Then this year the Next Generation Center, the new center next to Memorial Drive, took them over and I practiced on them in December and they took them over in January. And I came back to practice on them, then go away straight after the Davis Cup, to come away to Europe, and it was grass coming through them and, you know, very old, for a lot of money Tennis Australia put into it. So the guys at Tennis SA took them back in there, they got them ready. I had a week or five days of good practice on them.

Q. The reason we were laughing is that the bloke who owns Next Generation is David Lloyd, who keeps saying dig up grasscourt. So it's funny that there's grass coming in on the claycourt.

LLEYTON HEWITT: (Laughing) It is.

Q. How do you explain that difference between your game in the second and the third sets which seemed, just watching you, quite dramatic?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a strange match. You know, it was a little bit very up and down today and yesterday I suppose as well. So I just felt I had a lot of chances in the second set which I didn't capitalize on, and I felt that, you know, I should have probably been up an early break instead of down an early break in that set. Then sort of whether it had to do with a little bit of energy, sort of in the end of that set, I didn't worry about it too much. He played some great tennis and started serving a lot better, used his forehand a lot better, his backhand cross-court was unbelievable, he was getting a lot of angle off that. I just had to refocus and I just thought about yesterday's match, to tell you the truth, the start that I got off to on Thomas yesterday, and I tried to do the same thing today and it paid off.

Q. Who was giving the fists behind the umpire's chair? Was that family or...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That was some Australian guy.

Q. Really?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know, I'd never seen him before.

Q. How did you know he was Australian?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You could tell by the accent. Every time I'd stand up out of my chair, he'd say, "Come on mate, let's go, come on the Aussies." I just thought in the end I'll repay him a little bit, maybe he got some TV time as well.

Q. Talking about energy, you were obviously very tired when you played Norman in Australia. What are your thoughts about that match tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's going -- you can't take Magnus lightly at all. I don't think he's dropped a set here all week. He's obviously hitting the ball very well. You know, I'm going to have to try and start early. In Australia I sort of let him get away, he got this confidence going where he served huge and hit a lot of big ground strokes as well. I found it very hard to sort of get myself back in the match there. I just about scraped that third set out, served four, had opportunities in the tiebreak as well, and I think I got to try to stay with him early tomorrow. But, yeah, you can't take him lightly at all. He's a great player.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

May 13, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt

ROME, ITALY


Q. Lleyton, was it a case of maybe you ran out of steam today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit I think. You know, I definitely wasn't feeling 100 percent out there on the court and it was a tough match because Magnus, you know, obviously is feeling the ball pretty well at the moment. He's a great player. He's No. 4 in the world because he is playing so well at the moment as well. There's always going to be a tough match, but I really did have to be sort of 100 percent and have all my fighting qualities if I was going to get up today.

Q. This hasn't been a great place for Australians, but are you starting to like the clay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Well, I don't know, Rafter made the final last year, and -- for sure, this week was a big learning experience for me, and I'll be able to take away a hell of a lot from this whole week. I've played different types of players, you know, some real claycourt players and then, you know, probably Enqvist and Norman who are sort of bigger guys with big serves on clay and who sort of hit the ball a lot flatter. So I'm going to learn a lot sort of this week and hopefully that's going to, you know, improve my preparation for the French Open.

Q. Were you damaged by playing doubles as well as singles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, in one way it probably wasn't the greatest preparation if I knew I was going to be in the Semifinals on Saturday. You know, I missed out on a few lead-up claycourt tournaments, I wanted to get all the matches I could on clay, whether that's singles and doubles, you know. And to have the opportunity to be playing with Mark Woodforde this week, it was too good an opportunity to let up. So, you know, I don't blame playing doubles on my result today at all.

Q. Are you a wiser player than you were last Monday before this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. There's no doubt about that. I've learned a lot just in sort of the five, six days that I've been here in Rome, and to have made the Semifinals in such a big tournament as well in my first week on clay, you know, it gives me, you know, something in the back of my mind where, you know, I've still got a lot of things to work on but I'm going in the right direction.

Q. What did you learn from watching Norman today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He just sort of scraped a lot of balls back early every time I sort of had him on the run, and I just couldn't sort of, you know, the short balls, I couldn't do anything with them today; whereas every time he got a short ball he'd get a winner off of it. Obviously, his serve was a lot, lot better than mine today as well. I really struggled retaining his first serve, and normally that's where I'm preparing my game, I can sort of counterpunch the guy into a few loose errors and get a look at his second serve. I didn't get too many chances at that today at all.

Q. I was just wondering, when you lost the first set, did you know physically you didn't have enough to do anything about it? How did you feel after losing the first set from a point of physical tiredness?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I sort of knew, you know, once I was out that -- there's times where the whole week I've been able to scramble those balls back on the sidelines and the guy ended up not winning the point and I'd be able to work myself back into the point. Today, even in the first set early, I just couldn't do that. So I was struggling a little bit right from then. But you know, you just never know. I play -- got a little bit lucky to scrape back on his first set point there and had an easy opportunity to go to juice in that game, you never know if I could have sort of scrambled away with that game and got a little bit of confidence and got pumped up a little bit and it could have been a different story.

Q. Lleyton, as you said, you learned a lot from this week in Rome. Do you think it will be enough to claim a big role in the French Open? Do you think you still need to --

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've still got a lot to learn, I think, before I can win the French Open. You know, obviously I'm going in the -- just going to take it one match at a time again. But this year really at Roland Garros is going to be a learning experience for me. I'm probably going to be seeded now. It's going to be my first time seeded in a Grand Slam. You know, that's nice that I know that I'm not going to meet sort of your Agassi, Sampras and guys like that in the first round. But there's still a lot of smokies, sort of Moyas and Philippoussises that are outside the top 16. But you know, I wouldn't say that I'm one of the favorites for sure this year.

Q. Talking about Philippoussis, Hamburg's interesting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen it.

Q. No?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Do I play him first round?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That is interesting. (Laughter.) Obviously, we've played twice and it's 1-all. We haven't played on clay before, but, you know, it's -- well, it's a bit of a shocker. (Laughter.) I wasn't really expecting that. But obviously Flip is a great player and it's going to be a very hard match. There's no doubt about that. If he's on, he's very hard to beat.

Q. Have you had much to do with him lately? I know you played Pat last week, Woody this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. I haven't really seen him around a lot this week. He's played, I think, a couple of late-night matches. I didn't really see him at the courts too much this week at all.

Q. How much more time do you think you're going to need on clay before you can be as much of a threat as you are on a hardcourt?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, obviously this one's been great for me. You know, I've made a lot of sort of steps upward this week. But definitely playing I think Hamburg, Dusseldorf the next couple weeks, I think it's a lot slower play as well. That's going to be another learning experience for me. I think I will come back to the French Open, which is going to be very similar to here I'm led to believe. So, yeah, it's hard to say. But, hopefully, you know, by next year after the French Open -- I really won't play another claycourt tournament until next year on my schedule at the moment, the Italian probably. If we play the Davis Cup final against Spain, I'll be coming back to play on clay and I assume that they'd just choose clay.

Q. Have you learned anything about Rome?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot actually. I haven't had a lot of time to learn much about Rome. You know, I was here two years ago and obviously it's a great tournament. And last year I missed out because I couldn't make it for qualifying; I was still in America at the time so I was a little bit disappointed. But it's always nice to come back here. You get treated very well. It's a very well-round tournament.

Q. Have you seen anything of the city at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not this week. I had a lot of late nights.

Q. Two years ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I can remember, no, sorry.

Q. Lleyton, now you're in a position where you're expected to get to the closing stages on any surface. Have you got to be careful not to play too much, too many tournaments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, I suppose, at such a young age. It is very hard with the schedule; there are so many compulsory tournaments that you have to go and play now that it is very hard to sort of pick out a, you know, three or four-week gap just to chill out a little bit and hang with the mates at home and sort of recharge the batteries. But, you know, obviously I think if you're going to be very good on every surface, you have to have those sort of breaks and you just have to find it in the schedule.

Q. You were talking the other day about, you know, how long it takes you to get back home after every tournament, whatever. Now Mark is now based in Florida; Pat's based in Bermuda; Woody's based in California. You're still a very young lad who lives at home with your parents. Any thoughts about that at all? Or are you willing to suffer those 24-hour flights?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment I haven't really -- it's been in the back of my mind a little bit now and then. Obviously, I sat down and talked with Pat a little bit about it, you know. I'm not quite making the money that they are making as well at the moment. So, you know, it's definitely a possibility. But right at the moment I'm still pretty happy. I enjoy going home and catching up with the mates and doing what a normal teenage kid would be doing with all his mates at home. If I was going to set up in a new base, I wouldn't know anybody around the place and that would be a difficult thing for me, I suppose, at such a young age. At the moment, I'm still happy travelling and going home, you know. I really enjoy it every time I do go home.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

June 27, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt - Jan-Michael Gambill 3-6 2-6 5-7

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.


Q. How do you explain that, or can you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just had one of those days really. I struggled off the ground the whole day. The court I found very slippery out there. It didn't suit my game at all today. You know, you can't take anything away from the way Jan-Michael played. He was too good today.

Q. Would you say it's a psychological thing or more of a physical thing; it just didn't happen for you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's one of those days. You know, it's just a shame. You know you're going to have days like this, but you just hope it happens in a World Series event or a little bit smaller event than Wimbledon. There's not a lot I can do about it. You know, I'm going to get it out of my mind as quickly as possible. Obviously I'm going to learn a bit from this match, as well. You know, I've got to block it out and think about Davis Cup now and then the American summer.

Q. The first sets you didn't look particularly pumped up or your normal self. Were you nervous?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Wasn't much to get pumped up about.

Q. Sometimes you get yourself up.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I tried as much as possible out there. I really had very little chances, particularly on his serve in the first two sets. He just served bombs the whole time. It wasn't till, you know, halfway I think sort of the second or third service game of his in the second set where I actually got my chance. You know, he was serving a lot of first serves. He served a lot of aces. There's not a lot you can do about it when you're in that situation.

Q. Is there any other tournament where you could feel quite as hopeless when things are going the way they developed for you today because of the nature of the surface and all that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Obviously I haven't experienced any other, I suppose, worse than today.

Q. It's been sort of almost impossible to pick up a paper without seeing your picture in it. Has that affected you at all coming into this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I think I'm used to that, living in Australia, playing the Australian summer, doing very well in the Australian summer every year. It's probably very similar buildup to the Australian Open the last couple of years.

Q. Do you think you lost the game in your mind or on the court today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The whole time I still felt that I had a chance at winning. I never doubted myself until it was over today. Even though I was 5-2 up in the third set there, you know, even when I got 6-5 down, I felt like I could still break in that game. I did have breakpoint there. Get out of it in the tiebreak. You know, it was just a little bit disappointing that I didn't take my chance late in the third set there. Who knows, you're two sets to one, if I did break twice and win that set 6-2 - I think I had three set points, he served two aces on two of those - who knows if I could have broken him twice, would have had a lot more confidence going into the fourth and maybe even the fifth set.

Q. Was there anything about his game that surprised you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Jan-Michael is a great player. I think up to this date, it's a little bit of a waste I suppose, some of his results. He beat me in the Scottsdale final a year and a bit ago now. I got a little bit of revenge - when was it - Miami in the quarterfinals there. He's a great player. I've got a lot of time for his game. He's got a very big game. If he's on, he's very big.

Q. Did having last week off have anything to do with today's result?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I started hitting Thursday afternoon lightly, then just sort of built up as the days went on. You know, there's no excuse at all.

Q. What actually happened to you last week? Were you injured?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just had a little bit of a strain on my ankle. I didn't want to risk anything on average grass courts. Even though I did play well in Queen's, I tweaked it a couple times, had to have a lot of treatment and that. I didn't think that was the best preparation going into Wimbledon. Who knows, if I won a couple of matches there, it was going to maybe swell up and I didn't want to risk it.

Q. You were okay today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I was fine.

Q. Did winning Queen's and that match against Sampras take a lot out of you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. No, not at all. The only thing it gave me was a lot of confidence, I suppose. Yeah, today doesn't show anything of what came out of Queen's I don't think at all. You know, I've still -- if you think about the two tournaments that I did play on grass, it's probably a shame that you don't get to play more tournaments on grass. Obviously the next Davis Cup tie is on grass. I'm still going to have a lot of confidence going into the Davis Cup tie against Brazil. If I do play that single's spot, I'm going to go out there and hope. I'm sure that I'm going to lift my game from today and play something like I did in Queen's.

Q. Do you think this harms your chances of the single's spot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's up to Newc and Rochey. I'm a hundred percent behind whoever they select. Obviously I think we're pretty dangerous with the three of us, you know, in the team. I don't think it damages anything really. As I said, I played one bad match. I think everyone has that.

Q. How much slower was the court here than at Queen's?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was definitely a bit slower. I would say it was probably closer to the first couple of days of Queen's, I think. The semis and final days were lightning quick at Queen's. I think they cut it down a lot more. I just noticed it wasn't as true a court as Queen's, not even close. It's a lot more slipperier out there than Queen's.

Q. Are you disappointed to see you were playing Jan-Michael the first round, because he does have a reputation to create some upsets in his career, even though he hasn't that steady a career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, you know, he's not the easiest person, the person you would want to play first round. You'd much rather play him with a couple matches under your belt, feel like you're in the tournament. That's tenniis, I suppose. That's sport. I've had some good draws in the past, and I've had some average draws. There's not a lot you can do about it.

Q. The buzz this week is that you might be ready to break through and win a Grand Slam title. People are asking others if they felt you were ready. In your own mind, did you feel you were?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say, I suppose. I haven't made a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. I haven't been there towards the latter stage of a Grand Slam as yet. You know, that's sort of the next step that I've got to take, I suppose. The Masters Series I'm starting to get up there with a couple of semis now. The next step is definitely to sort of make it through to that Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the second week in the Slams. You know, there's still areas in my game that I've got to work on. Obviously in the back of your mind you don't think you're going to go out there and win Wimbledon. I was just taking it one match at a time.

Q. Pat said that the court was slippery, that he wasn't confident getting to the net to volley. Were you the same today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just felt the whole court was slippery. I don't know. You know, obviously Pat and I play totally different games. He's going to look for a lot more opportunities to come to net than me. I just felt I didn't have any footing around the court at all. It was very hard if you did get pushed out wide, with my more baseline game, I really did struggle to sort of get myself back in the point, whereas at Queen's, sort of I could loop a ball back, get my footing back, have a little bit of time, get back in the point.

Q. Can you remember the last time you felt as disappointed as you do now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You have it nearly every week (laughter). I don't like losing.

Q. Not Centre Court at Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Centre Court at the Australian Open playing Norman in front of your home crowd in the Round of 16 when you're hitting the ball, you've just won two tournaments, hitting the ball great. Probably more disappointing, I'd say that one. Yeah, obviously I've had a lot of ups this year and I've had a couple of downs. The Davis Cup final last year when you lost to Cedric, I think that's probably the all-time low.

Q. Is your disappointment lightened by Kim's win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't see the match. Sorry.

Q. Do you still feel you have a future in this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope so (laughter).

Q. Even though you lost in the first round today, beaten by Boris last year, two powerful guys that have beaten you. If you're going to have trouble getting to the net because of the surface, must be a bit of a worry.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No worry at all. I think I'm only going to get better and better here at Wimbledon. I see the way that I played at Queen's, if I can get through to the second week, you know, the court becomes quicker and quicker, obviously gets a lot dryer out there, better underfoot. It's no big deal. 12 months from now I'm sure I'm going to be a better player than I am now. I'm going to be hungrier, as well, to do better here.

Q. What are your plans now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Haven't even thought about it. Davis Cup is the next thing. I haven't really even thought about it.

Q. Staying here to see how Kim goes for the rest of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got to talk to Newcombe and Roche about Davis Cup commitments. Obviously Davis Cup comes first. I don't want to put anything -- I want to put everything on the line and give myself the best chance of playing well in Brisbane. There's not a lot of time after the tournament here.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

August 31, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt - Julien Boutter 7-6(6) 6-4 6-4

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Quite a hard-hitting guy. How did you find that? How did you cope with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Couldn't get any rhythm out there today at all, just with the way he played, sort of acted out there on the court, pulling the trainer out felt like every change of ends. He was just a strange kind of guy, I think.

Q. What did you think of him calling an injury time-out when you're serving for a set at 5-4?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it happens quite a lot. Sometimes the French players do that. This guy has been a little bit known to do something like that. I wasn't that surprised. I've spoken to a few people before. He said he's pretty wild out there, he's going to distract you as much as he can. I felt like I struggled that first service game, didn't get any serves in 5-4 in the first set. I thought I came back strongly. Held at Love-6, five down. The tiebreaker, I thought I played very well, considering the way he was serving.

Q. Was it a concentration thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. You know, I didn't lose my concentration at all. I think he wanted me to out there.

Q. At 5-4, when you had to wait?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. Obviously it would have been nice to sort of keep that roll going because I had good rhythm on my serve. You know, it maybe just affected my serve a little bit just because I was thrown out of whack. I would have continued like I had been every other service game. You know, it was just a lack of first serves, I think.

Q. Overall, didn't look like you enjoyed the experience out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I enjoyed playing. I enjoyed winning.

Q. The atmosphere of the match, seemed like --?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really.

Q. Have you played anyone before who is as distracting as he is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, probably not. You know, I've had times definitely coming up in juniors and satellites, you get it quite a bit. You know, I've been through that situation before. Definitely learn from it.

Q. What do you learn from that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just got to keep your concentration. You know, you've got to concentrate on your game; worry about your end, telling yourself, "This guy is 100% fit." You can't go out there and hope he's going to forfeit, serve, hurt his back a little more. He was coming out straight after he was complaining about his back and serving four aces.

Q. It looked as though you were talking to yourself, saying, "Concentrate, keep your mind on the game."

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a hard player just with the game he's got, as well, to get any sort of rhythm because he's so flashy. He'll slap a few winners, then make four or five errors in a row. One of those matches I had to stay focused and get through.

Q. When did you realize he was injured, or did you know coming into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. When he started playing with his back 4-3 in the first set, then called the trainer at 5-4.

Q. You might not want to answer this, hope you will. If you had to choose one thing to try -- as a triumph in the coming near future, either Lleyton Hewitt, Olympic Gold Medalist, or member of the Davis Cup Championship Team, or US Open champion, which one would you pick?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Can't say. You know, you just don't know till it actually happens. You don't know. I think you'll be just as proud doing whichever. Obviously winning the US Open would be fantastic. That's an individual, whereas you've got the whole nation behind you in the Davis Cup and the Olympics. So far in my career, the biggest highlight was the Davis Cup last year, the win. To be playing for your nation, it's the greatest honor.

Q. What do you think the chances are that you could sweep those three or be part of the team that won those three events?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think that's just ridiculous (laughter). I don't think there's much chance of that.

Q. What can you take out of today's match technically that you can work on before your next one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I felt like I returned as well as I could. Obviously I got better and better, I felt, returning-wise as the match went longer. I felt like I hit the ball pretty well from the baseline today. I didn't make a hell of a lot of errors. You know, I could have maybe been a little bit more aggressive. I think the big key today was I got off to a lot better start than I did a couple days ago against Vinciguerra.

Q. And Jiri Novak next?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Can't take him lightly. He's a great player. He did very well in Toronto, making the semifinals there. I'm going to have my work cut out with him.

Q. Have you played him before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've played him in Adelaide last year, second or third round, quarters maybe.

Q. Did they play Davis Cup against us in Adelaide?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I was a squad member, like an orange boy then.

Q. What do you put your better start down to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just sort of learning from the other day. The other day, I was just sort of flat-footed right from the start. Today I was a lot better. I didn't give him sort of any cheap points on my service game early in the first set, which made things a lot harder, because his groundstrokes weren't as good a Vinciguerra 's.

Q. Were you happy with your serving?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Patches.

Q. Been working on it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. One area of my game I've got to work on. Hopefully build up a bit of strength, as well, to sort of get a lot more cheaper points off my serve.

Q. Having the Olympics coming up so soon after the US Open, any chance of it being a distraction at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. This is what we play for, the Grand Slams. You know, all my focus at the moment is on the US Open. But obviously it's a nice thing to have in the back of your mind that you're going to be out there competing for your country in a couple weeks' time, the whole world is watching.

Q. Most all the players come out to the US Open in nice, air conditioned cars. You came out recently on the No. 7 subway, one of our more famous trains. Can you share your impressions of train?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was very quick. I think it's the quickest route I've had into Flushing Meadows the whole week. You know, obviously I found everything pretty convenient, just getting the tickets, hopping on the train. It was pretty easy. But I was with a few Americans, as well, which helped.

Q. Did you like seeing the variety of people on the train?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually didn't have that much of a chance. There weren't a lot of people in my carriage, where I was.

Q. Did you buy a Metro Card?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't grab it, but I was with a guy, one of the producers of the TV show. He did.

Q. Used his card?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes.

Q. Any equivalent at all like that in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've only been on the Melbourne trains in Australia. They run very well. They're one of the best I've ever seen. It's a little bit different, I suppose, in New York, a much bigger city.

Q. Your countrymen seem eager to play for your nation. Americans are a bit different. Does that seem a little bizarre to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, I suppose, just because from the background that I've come up, I've always wanted to play for my country. I enjoy sort of a team sport, as well. It's the only chance throughout the whole year that you're actually in a team. You go out to dinner as a team, play golf as a team, hang out as a team. I really enjoy that team spirit. I think Newc and Roche have done an unbelievable job of getting that feeling and spirit amongst all the guys. I think it's one of the main reasons why we won it last year.

Q. What has the talk been about Dokic's father being thrown out for the rest of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Read it in the newspaper this morning. Haven't spoken to anyone about it.

Q. What are your feelings about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously the guy has done it a couple too many times, I suppose. I don't know enough facts to be commenting on whether he should be left back in the tournament or banned for life.

Q. Do you see much of this angry parent thing going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, once in a blue moon really.

Q. What were the circumstances of you coming on the subway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a TV, USA Network.

Q. What day was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Last Friday.

Q. I assume you're going to watch the footie tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not. There's a slight chance. Obviously I'd like to watch it, sort of see all the pregame stuff. This is one of the first years I haven't been home for it. My team is not playing in it. Not the biggest priority.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

September 2, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt - Jiri Novak 6-3 6-3 6-3

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. How are you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not bad.

Q. Feeling fresh?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty good, fresh as you can be.

Q. Staying in Manhattan or on the Island?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Manhattan.

Q. Could be Enqvist, could be Rios. Last two times you played Marcelo Rios, he didn't want to finish the match. Something going on between you two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Between me and Rios?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I know of. The two times before that, we had very good matches. He came out on top in those matches. Doesn't matter. Going to have a nice grind later on today, because both those players are top players. Very hard to pick a winner between the two of them. Obviously you'd have to lean towards Enqvist just the way he's playing at the moment, just the way he's been playing on hard court, he's been pretty hot.

Q. You've had success with Enqvist. Do you match up with the flat hitters?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player. I think, obviously, in Indianapolis, playing him in the quarterfinals there, I think he was really struggling a little bit with fitness coming off the win in Cincinnati the week before. He had a tough match the way before against Carlos Moya. Probably got a little bit fortunate in that one. We played a tough three-set match in Adelaide this year in the final, which I felt like I got better as the match went on. You can't take any of these guys lightly. They rise to the big occasions like the Grand Slams. I've really got to step up to the plate now.

Q. Do you feel like you're getting better as the tournament progresses?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Today was the best match I've played, in the probably worst conditions, as well. Very humid and hot out there today. I think Novak was really struggling with the humidity out there today.

Q. You expected it to be tougher than it was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I've got a lot of time for Jiri. I think he's a great player. He's one of those guys that occasionally has the odd bad loss. But he's the guy who stands up in Grand Slams. I think he did very well here last year. He also beat Sampras in the Davis Cup tie in Los Angeles. He's sort of a danger match today. I think it was important to get off to a good start, get the first set under my belt. Got a little easier as it went on.

Q. How do you think you're playing at the moment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Played pretty well today. Obviously I'm not a hundred percent. You don't want to be at this stage. I'm into the second week now. Forget about the first week. You've got through your first three matches. Into the Round of 16 now. I haven't passed that before. It's going to be a big stage come Monday.

Q. How do you think the way your draw has opened up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hasn't really opened up a lot for me. I'm just taking one match at a time. Obviously, I've got one of the tougher matches, I'd say, for my Round of 16 match. I haven't looked past that. Obviously Agassi is out of the top there. Still very good players coming through.

Q. Who would you rather meet, Rios or Enqvist?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't really bother me at all. I'd like to see them have a long five-setter, though. I can tell you that.

Q. Just watching your game evolve, you're scheduling yourself smarter this year. On the court, how do you think your game as evolved?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, I think I'm a little bit more of an all-court player this year. I think it's shown on all surfaces this year. Obviously it was a big step up at the Queen's Club this year on grass for me. I did well in Rome, made the fourth round in the French Open on clay. I'm feeling very confident on all surfaces. I've still got a couple of areas of my game that I've got to work on, if I'm going to sort of cement my spot in the Top 10.

Q. Do you feel as though this year you have a better sense or better feel of when to be -- when to pick your spots to be aggressive and when to play the ball a little bit more safely?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. But I think that's still an area of my game that I've got to work on. You know, it's quite often that I do pick the wrong shots to come to the net on or to sort of go to the wrong ball to attack off. That's just the sort of thing that comes with being mature on the court and getting a lot of experience, as well.

Q. You've shown you can win tournaments on different surfaces. What do you think is the difference between players that can win tournaments and just the players who can do reasonably well and reach quarters or semis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, I think just confidence of being there. I think you look at Sampras and Agassi. They've been there before. You've just sort of got to get that breakthrough. If you look at the guys like Enqvist, he sort of just hasn't had that breakthrough. He made the final. Todd Martin is another example. I think he's made two Grand Slam finals, Cedric Pioline, but they haven't got that breakthrough yet. Tim Henman is probably another one. I think as soon as you get that first breakthrough, get a sniff of that, these are all great players that I'm naming. I think they're worthy of being Grand Slam champions.

Q. What about tournaments like Queen's Club, Scottsdale? You've shown you can take those titles.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just think, you know, confidence going into the week. I think just about everyone on the tour has won at least one tournament. You've just got to be better than everyone else in that particular week. A lot depends probably on scheduling, as well, whether you're coming off the Davis Cup tie, Olympics.

Q. Some players' games flow out of their serve. Does your game flow out of the service return?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It definitely gives me a lot more confidence when I'm returning well. You know, I still feel like I can play well even if I'm not getting a lot of chances against a guy like Philippoussis, Enqvist, Sampras, the big servers. It gives me a lot more confidence when I am actually making them play a lot of balls. Those kind of guys, they don't normally get that many balls back. They get a lot more cheaper points. I feel like if I can make them play, the more I make them play, the more they're going to get frustrated.

Q. They list you as 5'11" in the Players Guide.

LLEYTON HEWITT: 5'10" and a half.

Q. Most of the guys you are playing today have you by a few inches. How do you handle that on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just play to my strengths. I think I've shown that I can play on all surfaces this year. I take a lot of confidence from watching guys like Andre Agassi and Michael Chang do it in the previous years before me, as well. They're around my height, very quick around the court, they use their other strengths to sort of counter-punch or knock down the other guy's big serves. I get a lot of confidence from watching Agassi win on all four surfaces.

Q. Are you aware of the fact playing Novak, he's 6'4", are you going to make him bend and reach for balls?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Comes into your tactics a little bit. Obviously I felt like I move a lot better than Novak around the courts. I had to try to use that to my advantage, which I felt like I've been doing that pretty well against those bigger guys.

Q. Do you use a stretch racquet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I use normal.

Q. Would reaching the fourth round, going five tough sets against either Rios and Enqvist, and losing, be a satisfying result for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not. Obviously it depends on the whole match. I'm not looking at losing at all. I'm going out there. I believe I can win. I'm in the second week of a Slam, I believe anything can happen - even though I haven't made it through to a quarterfinal in the past. Obviously I'm going to have my work cut out with either of those guys. A lot is going to satisfy me on how well I play. I think this is just another learning experience sort of in my career to hopefully be holding up a Grand Slam title in the years to come.

Q. Can you talk about what role Cahill plays as a coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's been a big impact in the sudden rise up the rankings. Technically we don't work that much at all. On the practice court, we do a lot of fitness work. He's sort of organizing a lot of that for me. A little bit of strength work, stuff like that. Tactically, he does a lot for me as well because he was playing against most of these guys just a few years ago on the tour, as well. He's seen them play, done commentary on a lot of their matches as well. He knows most of these guys' games inside out, which helps me a lot. Also he's been through most of the pressures that I'm going through playing all these tournaments.

Q. He played the opposite, a very different style than yours.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes. I think that can help me a little bit, as well, to work on some of the strengths he had just to build into my game as well. Sort of my solid base is my groundstrokes, passing shots, return of serve.

Q. Are you going to take any different mental approach tomorrow than you did at Roland Garros when you got to the fourth round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I'm taking the same mental approach that I've been taking all week, just taking one match at a time. I'll be taking the same as I did in Indianapolis if I have to play Enqvist or the same when I have had to play Rios in Hamburg, wherever, Scottsdale.

Q. With your scaled-down schedule this year, a few weeks of rest, you hit 50 wins today. Does that seem like an amazing effort to you at this point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really thought about it. Obviously I got off to a fantastic start which sort of set the scene a little bit. Obviously, I think I'm up there in the most wins of the year at the moment. I think it's showing probably with the way that my ranking has gone up so quickly this year, as well. To be up there competing against all those guys now, competing for a position in that Champions Race, top eight at the end of the year, it's very satisfying to me that I'm in that contention at the moment at the US Open.

Q. Because you were probably small growing up, most Australians don't have a two-handed backhand. Were you taught that way because of your small stature?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot of kids, when they first start out, just because they struggle to hold a racquet up. If you start at four or five years old, that was probably the main reason. Then it just sort of stuck with me. It's always probably been my most consistent shot.

Q. Nobody ever said, "Let's change this"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nobody ever told me to change. Never went through my mind.

Q. What role, if any, does Patrick still play in your life?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Patrick Rafter?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously he's a little bit like an older brother, I suppose. It's fantastic to have him alongside me at the Davis Cup ties, just because he knows the pressures that you're going through, as well. You just get a lot of confidence. Even when he wasn't playing last year, he came to the tie in Brisbane, just to have him there with myself and Wayne Arthurs, Wayne was sort of a rookie going into that tie, just to have his experience on the sidelines, just giving you helping hands, and suggestions through Newc and Rochey, what to do on and off the court.

Q. Is he still around?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pat, no, he's back in Australia.

Q. Do you compare yourself to any of the other guys who are part of the "New Balls" campaign? Safin, Federer, Ferrero, do you compare yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't compare myself against them at all. Obviously we have our own goals, strategies. We all play a little bit different, I suppose. It's fantastic to be in that elite group, to get named in that, just to be alongside guys, probably the head guy being Gustavo Kuerten, just because he's won two Grand Slam titles.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

September 4, 2000

4rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Thomas Enqvist 6-3 6-2 6-4

Flushing Meadows, New York

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Your first Slam quarter. How does that feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. Obviously I would have liked to have played in a little better conditions than it was this evening, but I went out there and knew that the tennis standard wasn't gonna be great out there tonight. I knew that I just had to stick to my tactics the whole night and play my game, and hopefully come away with the win and, you know, get through to my first quarter.

Q. Just how difficult was it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a nightmare out there. It was the toughest conditions I've ever played in. Sometimes you play, you know, your pennant competitions and stuff like that on a Saturday afternoon in winter in Adelaide or Melbourne or whatever, and it's nothing compared to what it was tonight. I felt like a hurricane was behind me at one end.

Q. Ever? You've played worse as a player or as a pro?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Ever. Ever to step on a court. I thought Roland Garros was bad, my Round of 16 match, it was just rain. It wasn't as bad, as windy as tonight.

Q. Do you think it was a case of you handling it better than he?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it was a big case in that. You know, I just feel that I went out there with a game plan, I stuck to it the whole night. And, you know, we both went and hit I think a couple hours before we had to play out sort of after that last storm or that rain shower came. So we both knew the conditions, what it was gonna be like out there. I think it was whoever sort of handled it the best on the evening. I think it was important to get off to a good start out there tonight.

Q. Did you think, perhaps fear, that him being from Sweden he might be more used to these conditions than yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. But you have a look at his results, he's a very good indoor player which tends to suggest that he likes everything very calm, indoors. If you have a look at his game as well, he's got a very flat first serve, big second serve as well, which is hard in the win. Also a big forehand and backhand, very flat shot. I felt he was gonna struggle a little bit out there in those sort of conditions tonight.

Q. Did you and Darren have a look for his record?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We -- everyone sort of knows that Thomas is a fantastic indoor player. He's beaten Agassi last year, I think he won Stuttgart last year, beat a lot of top players there. He always does well in those last few months of the year.

Q. You were pretty pumped up tonight, pretty vocal. Is that because it's a Grand Slam and you've got this far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. It was another opportunity. And once those opportunities -- you don't know how many opportunities you're gonna get at this level. Once those opportunities come, I had to take them tonight. I think I learned from my loss in probably against Norman a little bit at the Australian Open, but more so against Costa at the French Open, the fourth round, just because I was on top of the guy early in the first set. I had I think Love-40 or 15-40 at 3-All in the first, lost that game in the end after a long game and then had 40-15 on my serve and lost that game the next game. So it was a big two-game swing in that match. I felt as soon as I could get a break in the first set tonight I had to put my foot down and sort of move up a gear.

Q. What do you think of Arnaud Clement in the next round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I only just heard that he won I think in the fourth set. He's obviously, you know, playing fantastic at the moment. You can't underestimate anyone at the moment, especially at this level. It's quarterfinals time. We're gonna be half way through the second week of a Slam. I wouldn't say that he's made a quarterfinal of a Slam before either, so it's probably, you know, it's a new experience for both of us. It's probably who handles the occasion a little bit better. We play similar.

Q. Have you played him before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him once last year second round Nottingham on grass, which I wouldn't take much out of that match.

Q. Given that this is the biggest achievement in your singles career, was it perhaps a little bit disappointing when you wrapped it up and you looked out and it's all empty stands?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. But the Australians were pretty vocal out there tonight. It was -- you know, it definitely wasn't the best atmosphere I've played in, like a packed house in Davis Cup or anything like that. It was a good feeling out there. I felt like most of the crowd was on my side. When I got pumped up, the crowd got pumped up with me.

Q. You've beaten a guy who's a seed higher than you. You have an unseeded player next. Is there a danger of looking one match beyond that

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't look at it at all. This whole tournament I've taken it one match at a time. I wasn't in, you know, fantastic form or startling form before coming into this tournament. I didn't look past Vinciguerra that first round match. After I lost that first set and he served for the second set, everything went so good. I'm getting more and more confident with each match, but I won't to be taking Clement easy at all.

Q. Allowing for the conditions tonight being so bad, do you think you've also got a bit better with each match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, it's a hard match sort of to say you hit the ball great out there tonight. One end, you felt like you could hit the ball so hard and everything was gonna go in. The other end you felt like you just touched the ball and it could go long. It was that strong a breeze out there. It was just swirling at times, you didn't know where it was coming from. It's one of those matches that technically you wouldn't take a lot from but technically I take a lot of confidence from that match.

Q. A couple of pretty exciting looking one-handed backhands cross court. You must have been pleased with the way you played the big points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that was I think towards the end of the second set to break him twice. He just gave me a little bit more confidence. I hadn't broken up that end, I'd always broken against the breeze. So, you know, it's one of those shots I think on the run with the breeze where I didn't actually have to make it, you know, a great shot. 'Cause, you know, Thomas isn't probably used to coming to the net as much as most players.

Q. You play today and it was windy conditions, other day it was kind of sticky. Do you think one of your strengths is your ability to kind of grub it out no matter what the conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd like to think so. Yeah, I feel pretty confident in most conditions, most surfaces. You know, I've got most things I'd say after tonight, as much as conditions go. So, you know, I've played in very hot conditions, very cool, I've played with rain. I feel like I handle it pretty well. It's just another learning experience.

Q. What makes you handle it well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Just my mental approach definitely tonight. I didn't let it bother me at all, which is a good thing. It was very mature, I think, sort of another step in my career.

Q. Was the wind blowing straight down the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was hard to say. It felt at times when you were serving at that end, it felt definitely like that. Then you'd get in a point sometimes and the ball would shoot off, it would stop up one end, it was a bit swirly out there once you were in the point. If you were standing there, you would have felt like it was coming from the far end down to this end.

Q. How does it feel to have reached this stage, I know you still are just thinking about your matches. It must be pretty exciting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm a bit tired at the moment. It's past 12 o'clock I think. I've got a doubles match tomorrow and, yeah, I'm, you know, inside I'm pretty excited just to have beaten a guy who's been in such good form on American hardcourts this season. You know, it's a real, you know, it's one to sort of put under your belt, a good win, especially in straight sets as well.

Q. What about this accomplishment of having done this well at a Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's fantastic. I'd like to do a little bit better.

Q. Will your performance here give you more confidence towards the Olympic games and the Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, definitely the Olympic games, just to know sort of 'cause that's going to be a big occasion as well, just like the US Open. Just to know I'm hitting the ball pretty well, it's a similar surface, a little slower, rebound ace, higher bounce maybe. I won the Sydney tournament earlier this year, the second week of the year. I feel confident of those surroundings as well. It's probably a little bit too far away to say that I'm in good form for the Davis Cup Final just yet.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

September 6, 2000

QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Arnaud Clement 6-2 6-4 6-3

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. Is it difficult for you not to get too excited now about how far you've come?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, I've still got hopefully two matches, you know, to win the tournament. You know, I'm taking one match at a time at the moment. It's been my whole sort of mental plan throughout the tournament. You know, I haven't looked past the guy I'm playing against next. Either Sampras or Krajicek up next. Both of those guys are Grand Slam winners. You know, they've got a lot of class, both of them. I'm going to have to return very well with whoever I'm playing.

Q. Will you watch Pete tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably watch a little bit, try to get a good night's sleep.

Q. Here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'll watch it on TV.

Q. If someone said to you 18 months or so ago you'd be in a Grand Slam semifinal at the age of 19, what would your reaction have been?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, would have been a little bit probably "You're joking." I feel like I've had a few chances, the longer sort of my career has been going and the rise I have had, making the semis of a couple of the Masters Series events this year. I felt it wasn't that far away. You know, definitely 18 months ago or two years ago, then I would have definitely thought you were joking.

Q. Is there a match this Open you've played better than the other ones?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've been getting a little bit better. The last two matches have probably been a lot more mental than actually technical out there on the court. Tactics has come into a lot to it, also sort of being mentally tough out there early in the first couple games, try and get that early break and get the first set under my belt. But I've definitely been hitting the ball a lot better with each match that I've played.

Q. Has your preparation made any difference coming into the US Open than it was, say, for Wimbledon or the French?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I probably would have said I was hitting the ball a lot better going into Wimbledon than I was going into the US Open. Obviously knocking off Sampras, you know, at Queen's gave me a lot of confidence going into Wimbledon. You know, I ran into a guy who was too good on the day. I think a lot of people would have lost to him at Wimbledon in the first round. It was disappointing, but not huge. You know, I struggled a couple -- had a couple of niggling injuries going into Toronto and Cincinnati. You know, I felt like I lifted my sort of standard in Indianapolis where I made the semis. You know, I served for the first set against Kuerten.

Q. Do you think your game can improve more from where it is now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. You're never perfect. I'm learning a lot and I've definitely been getting better sort of as the hard court season has gone on because there was a bit longer grass court season for me with the Davis Cup. I had a week or so off, so I didn't hit a lot of balls on hard court going into those American hard court tournaments, the first couple tournaments.

Q. When you beat Pete at Queen's, was there any part of you that thought, "I beat him, but it's Queen's, a warm-up to Wimbledon, am I really getting the full scope of Pete Sampras here?"

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Obviously he's a totally different player in Grand Slams, particularly probably at Wimbledon, as well, on grass. I felt like I played a pretty good match against him. I didn't make any unforced errors. I think I was hardly down breakpoints. I served a lot of aces. I returned unbelievable, probably the best I've ever returned. I think it was going to be very hard for him. He was sort of going to have to play his best if he was going to win on that day.

Q. To pick up his serve on grass that quickly, what do you see from the time he tosses the ball till he strikes it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes a little bit of guesswork. You know, it is very tough playing the big servers out there. You've got to wait for your opportunities. It's little key things that you pick up during a match obviously. It's very hard the first couple of games to pick up his serve because you start to get an idea of where a guy is serving as the match goes on, particularly looking at his second serve.

Q. Does he have any tendencies at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot, no. Maybe he's a little bit different on every day, I think. He's been a little bit every time he's played me.

Q. How does beating him the last time you met translate to the possibility of playing him again this time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd say very little. You know, it's a totally different tournament, on a totally different surface, and it's a Grand Slam.

Q. How about in your head?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, gives me a little bit more confidence, I suppose, that I am able to match it. You know, Pete's a great player and he can lift his game at any moment. You know, if I do happen to have to play Pete, you know, I'll probably have to go up another gear as well.

Q. Did you look at the draw and say, "I'm on the same side at Pete"? Was there any sense of anticipation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Took it one match at a time.

Q. Any thoughts on Super Saturday, the US Open, what that day means? Did you ever watch when you were a kid, whatever time it was in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I can't really remember a lot about it. Obviously a few years ago, Patrick Rafter, I probably took a lot more interest at that time, when he won his two titles, just because it was an Australian playing in it. You know, it's obviously a pretty tough to sort of make two back-to-back matches in five-set tennis. I'm going to have to be very fit. I'm prepared to be able to do that.

Q. How do you feel about having to wait now till Saturday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't mind. I've got a doubles later today. Gives me a couple more days' rest.

Q. How about Krajicek?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never played Richard. He's obviously a great player, as well. He's got a cannon first serve. I'm really going to have to be on my game with him, as well. You know, I feel like I'm returning well enough to, you know, get a few break chances, then I've got to come out and play very solid service games.

Q. What has been your biggest improvement this year, in what area?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think in one way believing that I can match it with a lot of these top players. As soon as I got in the Top 10, I think I really started to believe, you know, that I should be there, you know. I want to cement my spot in the Top 10 amongst these guys. This is just another step in my career. I started making the semifinals of the Masters Series events, then my next goal was to start making the quarters, semis and finals of Grand Slams. So far so good in this tournament.

Q. With Patrick Rafter being injured, do you feel you are now taking on the flag and carrying on that burden as being the next great Australian player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Obviously I look up to Pat a hell of a lot. You know, he's been a great champion. He's done so much for Australian tennis. I still think he's got a few great years left in him. He's definitely going to win some more Grand Slams, in my opinion. Obviously, he's struggled this year. Philippoussis has been a little bit injured over the last, you know, 12 to 18 months, as well. That's probably one of the main reasons why I've sort of been ranked the No. 1 Australian at the moment. Now, Pat had an early exit here, which was a surprise to everyone. But, you know, he didn't play a lot of matches. Philippoussis is in a little bit of a slump at the moment. It's fantastic to sort of be up there now with those boys who made the final of this event in the past.

Q. Pete Sampras paid you a very high compliment when he said, "This is one of the most competitive players I've ever played. He works for everything." How serious did you take that compliment? How much of an effect did it have on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It hasn't had an effect one way or the other, I don't think. It's definitely something just to keep in the back of your mind, I suppose. I think it sort of warns all the other players as well. I think everyone by now knows that I'm very intense on the court, I'm very competitive. Whether it's Love-40 in one game or 40-Love, I'm still going to be working every point to hopefully get that game. Until we're up shaking hands, I still believe that I've got a chance of winning the match.

Q. Whoever you play on Saturday, you and Krajicek or Sampras will be the marquis match-up, the second match. Does that seem like a long time to wait to play again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It will be a long day. It will be a very nice feeling, looking forward to a semifinal of a Grand Slam, as well. Obviously I'm going to have a few nerves probably the morning of the match and that. I feel like, you know, I like sort of being the feature match, as well. I like sort of being out there trying to put on a show for everyone.

Q. How long do you typically hit for on the day of a match like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll probably hit for 20, 25 minutes, just a warm-up.

Q. Safin said yesterday getting to the quarters, semis or finals here isn't good enough for him; he came here to win the tournament. Do you feel the same way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't come here to win it. I really have been taking it one match at a time, not looking past the guy I've been playing. Probably a bit stupid for me to come out and say "I'm going to win the tournament" when I haven't made the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam going into this event. That's not really realistic coming here and saying I'm going to knock off Agassi, Sampras, Krajicek, whoever, win this tournament, all these sort of great champions who have been in that situation before. You know, I definitely gave myself a chance of making the second week, being seeded here, knowing that these courts do suit my game, the humidity and the conditions. But, you know, it really has been a bonus to make it through to the semifinals now.

Q. If you play your best on Saturday, are you still beatable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Depends how my opponent plays. If they play their best, probably depends on the match-up, who I'm playing against, you know, conditions, a lot of things. A lot of other factors come into the match.

Q. Do you like your chances?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Of course. I'm hitting the ball well at the moment. I think apart from losing the first set of the tournament, I think I've won 15 sets now on the trot. I think anyone through to the semifinals obviously feels like they're hitting the ball pretty well and giving themselves a chance.

Q. You've played baseliners up to now. Now you'll have a guy who is really all over you. Do you have to adjust your practice for that, too?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't really adjust my practice a hell of a lot. I don't really mind. In the past I've played some big serve-and-volleyers, particularly playing pretty well at Queen's this year where a lot of guys served and volleyed as well. You know, I'm ready for whatever comes. Obviously, these two guys are going to be pretty much serve-volleying the whole day. I'm going to have to watch out for that and I'm going to have to return very well.

Q. If it's Pete Sampras, you're obviously going to have the crowd against you. How do you think you'll go with that? Will it be like Nice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think it will be as bad as Nice. That was probably the worst crowd I've ever seen. I'm looking forward to Spain this year. You know, it's just another thing that you learn to deal with. I think I'll be a better player because I went through that experience in Nice later last year. I did lose both my matches there. But, you know, I felt like I just got that big occasion where the crowd is totally against you.

Q. If you play Pete Sampras next, which Rocky movie will you watch before that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not going to watch any. I haven't been watching any the last couple weeks.

Q. You've given it up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't given up. You know, I just don't feel I need it at the moment.

Q. Has Darren said anything to you about the fact that he got to the semis himself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. It comes up at some dinners or stuff like that very occasionally. You know, we haven't talked about me making the semifinals now at all. You know, he's just come in and said, "Well done," in the locker room. That's about it so far. Obviously there's a few things. I think he lost to Wilander pretty easily here when he made the semifinals. Probably a few things that hopefully he can pass through to me just about being in the semifinals here, sort of the pressures and the nerves that you're going to be feeling on that day.

Q. Have you heard from Patrick at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Patrick Rafter?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I spoke to Rochey a couple times.

Q. You have just reached the semifinals the first time in a Grand Slam. You look very composed, quiet. When you are back at home, are you more expressive? Do you change your personality or you are exactly the same?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really.

Q. "I want it"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really (laughter). Not unless I was at a football game maybe. Apart from that, you know, pretty quiet, I suppose.

Q. How was that at the embassy last night? Something you were honored for>.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just went and met John Howard again, you know, which is very good. Fantastic to just know that his support is fully behind you, that you've got the nation sort of in your corner, as well.

Q. The planes overhead seemed to be a little more prominent today. A lot more peripheral noise. How much of a distraction is that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit, but you've got to block it out as much as possible. I did notice out there there was a lot more than the previous matches I have played out there on Center Court. If you're just about to serve, you've got to step away and take your time, regather your thoughts, just get your focus back. There's not a lot you can do about it.

Q. Your father played Australian rules football. Did he pass any competitive lessons on to you? Did you beat him in tennis at an early age?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, once mom and dad gave up their respective sports, they both started playing social tennis. That's how I got into it, just from them playing socially. I just started picking up a racquet at my local tennis club. Once I started hitting a few balls, I started getting coached when I was six years old. I can't remember the first time I actually beat him. You know, very competitive matches. I remember playing him in the final of our club championship one year. I beat him pretty easily.

Q. How old were you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't remember, pretty young. He sort of says that, you know, he went out there and didn't try (laughter).

Q. Were you screaming, "Come on"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. It was too easy to do that.

Q. What does Mats Wilander say to you? What does the name Mats Wilander say to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean? Remind me of?

Q. You have a similar style.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously he's a great player. He was one of the guys that I looked up to sort of growing up, probably based my game a little bit around his, as well. He has a very good return, kept very good depth off the baseline. You know, how many Grand Slams titles he won, great effort.

Q. Your mother was an athlete?

LLEYTON HEWITT: She played net ball.

Q. What is that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's a similar game to basketball, but you don't dribble. No back boards and you can't dribble.

Q. Are you more competitive than your parents were?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. They were pretty competitive, I think. Watching dad play on a few of the videos we have at home, I think he was pretty competitive in his heyday.

Q. How does the Hewitt family relax?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. We catch up with family, friends. That's basically it. I go and play a round of golf now and then with mom and dad.

Q. Did you get a chance to see your sister play here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I saw half of the first set. That was it. I had to go and practice.

Q. The Aussies have done really well here the last four years, Rafter, yourself, Philippoussis. Do you think this surface suits you guys better than Rebound Ace does?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so for me, not at all. It's hard to say. I think Flip can play on any surface. I think maybe Pat probably a little bit better on this surface than Rebound Ace. For me, I'd say apart from this result, Rebound Ace has definitely been my stand-out favorite surface.

Q. Who were the Australians in the crowd, have the flags, you were pointing to them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: One of the blokes is Wozz. He's the leader of our Fanatic group who follow us around the world with Davis Cup ties, a couple of his mates there. They've been at the French Open, they've been everywhere with them.

Q. Did he have a name?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The Fanatics is their name. Wozz is the leader of it.

Q. Have you had a chance to look at the statue?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What statue?

Q. The one that's of Arthur Ashe, the naked person.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Haven't seen it.

Q. You heard about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No.

Q. In other words, you're involved in the tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope so. That's the reason I'm here.

Q. You rode the No. 7 train with relative anonymity. If you keep this up, you'll not going to be able to do that much longer. Do people recognize you more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, definitely a little bit more. Probably making the semis of Miami and winning Scottsdale, doing well at the start of the year in America, as well, definitely sort of put my name in America a little bit more than it had been in the past. You definitely notice a lot more people coming up and asking for photographs, autographs, wishing you luck, just walking around the streets, in sports stores. I think it's a good thing to have a lot more people around the world sort of recognizing you, wishing you a lot.

Q. How are you going to relax away from the practice courts the next few days? See the odd movie?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that's probably about it. Jut relax, watch a bit of TV, I don't know, probably get on the Internet, chat to a few of the mates back home. There's not a lot you can really do. I'll be out here probably each day just practicing as well, just keeping my game intact and depending on the doubles, as well. That's another big thing.

Q. Have you been using the fist clench throughout your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much.

Q. When did you start doing that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably since I was six. I'm not sure. I can't remember. I've done it in all my junior tennis and everything.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

September 8, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton and Max.


Q. How does that feel for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's fantastic to have won my first Grand Slam title. I lost in the final of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. I wanted to do better in the final this time. We've had a very tough draw I think the whole way through this tournament, for our first tournament together, playing as a pair. It's tough in doubles to sort of just come out the first go. To do it at the US Open, to go through the teams that we've done, including the Woodies, then the Australian Open champions here in the final, you know, it's fantastic.

Q. Is this the start of a long-time team? What do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We haven't even spoken about it. Sort of a last-minute thing after the Indianapolis tournament. So far so good. It would be fantastic to sort of join partnership.

Q. How did you get together, you two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Max just went and asked Darren. I think it was halfway through Indianapolis. We both played in the final of Indianapolis, doubles there. Darren just said it would be fantastic because I wasn't playing mixed doubles here. Obviously, you know, if it was going to come into contention with the singles, I might have to withdraw. Everything went well.

Q. This must be a nice push going into tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's been very good for me just to have played the last two days, just to sort of keep that competitive spirit going a little bit, because I am very competitive out there on the court. I think just to be a bit more match-toughened, as well. Who knows, if I won pretty early on Wednesday, about lunchtime, I've got two and a half days of nothing. I think it's good for my game.

Q. You're feeling pretty confident about tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, as confident as you can be, I suppose. It's a little bit of an unknown factor for me, going into a semifinal of a Grand Slam. You know, I'm going to go out there and I'm going to give a hundred percent. Hopefully my game matches up well tomorrow.

Q. The serve was a little bit lower than you would have liked, 54, 36 in the second set, two doubles.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Three, actually. Yeah, you know, I just started struggling when we changed ends really. First set I served up the other end, served pretty well. From there on, I really struggled. I thought I got it together towards the end of the third set pretty well, especially in the tiebreaker.

Q. How would you evaluate this US Open in your tennis career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: So far, so good. To be here Friday afternoon, have won the doubles, be in the semifinals of singles, you couldn't ask for much more. You know, it's been a dream, I suppose, to have won the matches that I've won.

Q. It's right up there in your tennis career, the greatest week so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Obviously, the Davis Cup final last year was possibly the greatest thing just because you're playing for your nation. But this is up there, for sure.

Q. Are you surprised actually how well you've done? Had a pretty slow start to the summer.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, because I had a couple of niggling injuries throughout the summer. You know, I wasn't even close to a hundred percent fit in Toronto or Cincinnati. You know, since then I made the semis of Indianapolis, won the doubles. Feeling pretty good.

Q. Pete Sampras, who knows a bit about tennis, said the other day that you were the future of tennis. What are your thoughts on that comment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously, you know, it's a fantastic compliment to come from such a great champion. You know, you've still got to go out there and produce, you know, get the results on the board. So far so good. There's still a lot of guys coming up, though. We can obviously see Marat Safin. He's probably going to be, I'd say, the favorite going into the other semifinal. He's only a year older, I think, than me. There's some great young talent I think coming up, as well.

Q. And the Aussies are known for their camaraderie. What's the best piece of advice you've gotten from any of the Australian team, coaches, going into the semifinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think a lot of the people, Newc and Roche, Rafter, Darren, all those guys are trying to tell me, "It's another match out there, try not to get overawed by the occasion." I've got the results on the board so far, been getting better with each match that I've played. I've got to remember it is a semifinal in a little way, but I've got to go out there and I've got to attack. I can't be satisfied with making a semifinal.

Q. To win a doubles championship, have it come off of your racquet on an ace, how much can you translate that into confidence going into a singles match against Pete Sampras? Is it apples and oranges?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It just helps my game all around, just to keep sort of the eye in a little bit. Obviously it's very hard returning serve against Pete. I think it's really tough returning serve in doubles, as well, because you've got that guy at the net. You have to hit it at a particular spot on the court in doubles. I think that really helps my returning in singles just because I know that I've got to hit it in a certain spot in doubles. Playing a guy like Sampras, you hit it up a little high, it's "bye-bye now." I really think it does help my all-court game.

Q. Playing the doubles today, are you thinking about the match tomorrow, "I want to get through this thing, to keep my level up for tomorrow"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Really didn't go through my mind out there. I'm very competitive with what I'm doing. I wanted to win like nothing else out there today in the doubles. Sampras is tomorrow. From now on I'll probably be thinking about it.

Q. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, you've been in some pretty good form with Indianapolis and here. You must go into the Olympics with a fair bit of confidence, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. It has been a great tournament. You can't take that away from me, I don't think. Going into the Olympics, I've won I think -- I made the final of the doubles there, won the singles earlier this year in Sydney. I know the surroundings, I know the court. The crowd were fantastic earlier in the year. I think it's going to be even better playing in the Olympic games.

Q. Are you excited about your home country?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a dream to be out there. Even if I don't win a medal, I'll be giving a hundred percent. Just to say you walked out behind the Australian flag, into Stadium Australia, it's something I don't think words can express.

Q. The final, the mixed, champions in the men's doubles, to beat the third and fourth seeds with a fellow you haven't played for before, how was that?

MAX MIRNYI: Like Lleyton said, I guess it's just the way our styles of playing matched up, it worked out pretty well. As you could see, we came through three matches, third set tiebreaker, which is a -- part of it is we were very fortunate to come through those matches. What can you say? It's a great, great feeling to be able to play for the first time and win such a big tournament.

Q. Sort of a break-out couple weeks for you personally?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, sure, it's one of the highlights because I've played a number of matches. It's great to be on Friday afternoon to be still part of the tournament.

Q. (Question regarding having Lleyton on the court as your doubles partner).

MAX MIRNYI: It's a great feeling. I was very confident about Lleyton being out there because I've seen him play many matches. I've played against him sometimes. I knew what he's capable of doing. I was focusing on my part of the game; I knew he would take care of his half of the court, for sure.

Q. Max, you're from Belarus. How do you feel about the other players from Russia? Do you feel you're part of one country?

MAX MIRNYI: We stay close, even though politically the country split up into many different pieces. We grew up together. Now we're still, you know, traveling together. All year round, we're hanging out, going to dinner. We still feel we're part of a big family. It's good to be that way because that's how you become better, with the competitive spirit, you see one does better than the other, you try to keep up with the rest of the pack. I enjoy that kind of a feeling.

Q. Caught any stick from your girlfriend? Couldn't do it with her at Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not yet. She's been in my corner the whole time. Nothing but support.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

September 9, 2000

SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Pete Sampras 6-7(7) 4-6 6-7(5)

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. The first set you were on fire. What's your assessment of what happened after that first set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, sort of, it's tough to analyze a match so soon after a loss. But obviously to lose two of the three sets in breakers is very disappointing just because, you know, a tiebreak is sort of a 50/50, a little bit of a toss of a coin, particularly the first tiebreak where I actually had a set point on my serve. I still felt that I went for the right shot. The breeze was going a little bit that way. I didn't play the percentages really, didn't allow myself a big margin of error on that actual point. It's easy to look back on it now and say, "Maybe I should have, you know, gone to his backhand and come in instead of his forehand where the breeze would have brought it back in the court anyway." I felt like I played a pretty good match. Early in the second set, I played a bad service game, you know, from 30-Love up in that game. Apart from that, I led for a break for most of the third set, as well.

Q. You say it's so hard to analyze so soon after the match. What is the feeling in your heart and head right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously, anyone who has played any kind of sport, straight after you lose, you're always disappointed - doesn't matter how well you play. I felt like I gave a hundred percent out there today, and I didn't leave anything sort of, you know, in the locker room at all. I went out there and gave everything I had. That's something that I can be proud of and that's something that, you know, I think I've done for the whole two weeks, as well. There's no doubt that when I reflect on the last two weeks, there's a lot of positives that are going to come away from this. To win a Grand Slam title in doubles, to make a semifinal of the singles, as well, it's a bonus. But, you know, then there's going to be some down points, I suppose, where I had my chances today and didn't capitalize. I felt like Pete played a great match.

Q. You had set point in the first tiebreaker. You hit a forehand wide.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just spoke about it for about five minutes.

Q. Was that a turning point for you? Did that frustrate you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. It frustrates you a little bit. You're not human if it doesn't. You have a set point on your own serve. You work so hard. I can't recall, maybe 7-All in the tiebreaker, something around that. You've worked so hard for that set. To have, you know, had the point set up and make an easy error, obviously you feel frustrated straightaway. Pete played a great point the next point, not a lot I could do about it, came up with the big serve next point. Had to forget about it pretty quickly.

Q. Who do you like to win in the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard to say. That's the best Pete's played against me ever. You know, I've only played him four times before this. That's easily the best he's ever hit the ball against me. You know, I think he's really up for it, as well. The pressure is sort of off him. You know, this sounds like stupid, but the pressure is off him in a Grand Slam final. The pressure is always on him a little bit, but going for that record-breaking Grand Slam final, I think it's off him now, he feels a little freer. Safin is a great player, beat him in Toronto a few weeks ago. I think it's going to be a very good final.

Q. How were your nerves today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nerves weren't too bad actually. I felt pretty good on the court. I looked forward to the occasion. All the big matches that I have played in the past, I've really sort of enjoyed it as well. Some of those Davis Cup ties that I have played in the past probably helped me out a little bit today. But I wasn't really very nervous out there.

Q. Is he the best player of the big points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pete?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. He comes up with a lot of, particularly when he's serving, as well, a lot of big serves, big second serves. The 30-All, the 30-40 points, those kinds of stuff. When he starts getting in a little trouble, you think, "Maybe I have a sniff of a break here," that's when he really pounds you.

Q. Even those last three points, threw up a pretty good lob.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He hit two very good serves and I hit -- the 5-4 one, I thought I couldn't have hit a better return. I think Agassi would have struggled to hit a better return in the conditions out there at that stage of the match. I think it may have even been a half volley down the line which he came up with, which is ridiculous. That's one of the reasons why he's the best player of all time.

Q. The overhead he hit to get to match point, hit that thing to the baseline practically.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was an unbelievable shot. It was probably a little bit lucky that I got the ball that deep in the end anyway because it was such a great serve. I just sort of threw my racquet out. It turned out to be sort of a very good return - I thought anyway. He just jumped up there and put it away. That just shows he didn't let any lobs get over him all day. That just shows how good a shape he's in.

Q. What do you think is the most important thing you've learned today that you will take into your next match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say right at the moment, until I sort of cool down and analyze the match. Just the whole occasion I think of being part of a semifinal of a Grand Slam. Until you actually get there and you know the feeling, you're walking out alongside, you know, Pete Sampras in that situation, where he's done it so many more times. I think that feeling, next time I get to a Grand Slam semifinal, I'm not going to be sort of anxious, "What's it really like out there?" You know, the nerves that you feel out there at the start of the match. I think just to have made it so far, you know, these last couple of weeks, I think that's going to be a big bonus in the next few Grand Slams that I play.

Q. Did you think of that at all walking out on the court, this huge figure in front of you, were you thinking about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's an impressive person who you have walking in front of you, playing in a packed stadium, the President of the United States watching you. It was a big occasion out there today. I felt like I handled it pretty good for a 19-year-old in my first semifinal of a Grand Slam.

Q. Did he say anything to you after the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just said, "Well done, good luck tomorrow." He said, "Thanks." That's it.

Q. What about Darren?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've only just spoken to him quickly. He's got to go do commentary again. "Bad luck, it's been a good two weeks."

Q. Was the occasion what you expected?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. A little bit. Still it's unknown until you actually get out there, you know, feel the atmosphere, you know, feel the presence of such a great player up the other end on such a big occasion. You know, it's what I pictured a little bit for sure.

Q. What do you think Marat has to do to beat Pete?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Take advantage of his break points. I think Marat matches up not too bad. He does return very well for such a big guy and does move very well. We all know the power that Marat generates from the baseline as well. He has a big serve, as well. I think if you look at it, it's going to be two or three maybe tiebreakers in there. I think it's going to be hard for both players to break serve. I think the key is going to come down to, you know, if Marat feels the pressure at all. Pete has been in that situation so many times, I think it's a big question mark over Marat. Sure, he's won the Masters Series this year, done very well on all surfaces. Till you're actually out there in a Grand Slam final, it's hard to say.

Q. Is it going to be difficult to get yourself up for the Olympics?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. No, not at all. You know, if you can't get up for those -- it's a little bit I suppose like the Davis Cup coming back to Brisbane after Wimbledon. It was a long flight. We only had a couple days to prepare. You know, that's what you play for, those big tournaments. You know, I'll be sort of a hundred percent ready to go when the Olympics start.

Q. Any aspect of your game that you walked off the court today, "I must improve this"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My serve definitely went off as the match went on. From the start, I served unbelievable, the best I've ever served I think, for most of the first set. Then I lost it a little bit toward the end, got it back, then sort of for the second and third set really struggled, didn't make a lot of first serves. If you have a look at how many cheap points Pete gets off his serve, probably the big turning point, I suppose.

Q. What is your program between now and the Olympics?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, nothing much. Just head there when I'm ready, you know, practice for a few days, get into it.

Q. I know you're trying to get ready for what Pete is going to do on an overhead, do you ever just watch him and see how high he jumps? Does that amaze you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He definitely gets up there for such a big guy. You know, I don't actually watch and think, "Gee, he gets up pretty high." Yeah, he's obviously a great athlete. He's naturally gifted, I think, as well. But, you know, those jump smashes have sort of become his over the last few years.

Q. Did you get any expressions of support from back home from the semifinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, I've spoken to obviously Newcombe here, I've spoken to Rochey, Rafter, the boys, a fair bit of publicity. I think it's good for me because this is my first semifinal in a Slam. It's very hard, obviously the crowd was on Pete's side today - one, because he's possibly the greatest player to ever live; two, we're playing in America. It was probably twice as hard for me. To know you had that hundred percent support back home in Australia is a big bonus.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:47 AM   #25
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

October 31, 2000 STUTTGART, GERMANY

2nd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Richard Krajicek 6-4 7-5

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. You obviously are aware of his pretty impressive record coming into it. Your thoughts on the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You look at the draw and you see Richard Krajicek my first match up, because I got the bye here, obviously I'm a little bit worried. You've got a little bit of added pressure because you don't know how he's going to serve. He can serve you out of the match. I felt he didn't serve great out there today. I took advantage of those times and got the breaks when it counted.

Q. A couple of the guys have said that the courts are playing a bit slower for indoor courts. Does that sort of suit your game against the bigger servers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I found last week played pretty slow in Basel, as well. A totally different surface, though. I don't know if it's just my game totally down to the ground, because I tend to slide a little bit into my groundstrokes. You can't do that at all. You sort of come to a complete stop out there. You got to put on the brakes pretty quickly. I noticed, I had one hit yesterday before I went on the court, it's a totally different change coming from Basel to here.

Q. In terms of the race for Lisbon, it's obviously very tight, yourself and a possible third round match with Tim Henman, right in the mix.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got to block that out as much as possible. At the end of the day, we've all played the big tournaments, the top eight players are hopefully going to get in. I think it will be a little bit of an injustice if Andre Agassi missed out and then got in because he won a Grand Slam. Hopefully, you know, I hope Andre gets in for the ATP's sake.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:49 AM   #26
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

TMS - STUTTGART

November 2, 2000, 3rd Round

Lleyton Hewitt - Tim Henman 3-6 6-3 6-4

STUTTGART, GERMANY

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. Was that final set as tense as it looked?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It was a strange kind of set out there. You know, obviously I think at the start, Tim probably had a couple of chances to go up, early break. I sort of fought those off. Then, you know, I'd say towards the whole end of the set, I had every chance. I was winning my service games pretty comfortably. On his service games, there's that one ridiculous game, that 3-All game. Obviously that was a little bit nerves, I think. Nine times out of ten I think in practice I'd make those second serve returns. On those occasions, I hit pretty ordinary ones. I came out with it hard in the following game. He was up 40-15, slackened off a bit at 4-All. I took my opportunities, made him play, you know, came away with the points.

Q. Do you think on balance, too, you should have got the first set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's hard to say. I think it probably should have been a lot closer than it was in the end. I felt like Tim came out to a pretty nervous start, I felt, gave me the first game. He actually played a very good game to break me back, the first break. Then the second break, it was pretty much three of my unforced errors that he got the break and won the set there. He's a tough player to play, as well, when he's full of confidence. That's why, you know, if I went out there with a game plan, it would be not to give him so much confidence. I had to do it the hard way today. Thank God I came through.

Q. An important win for you in the Lisbon race, too.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very important. I think it's obviously a big knockdown for him, I think, because I was already in front of him, as well. I think he's probably the last guy, I think it's out of four guys, to make it. He was the last one going into this tournament. So obviously he's got to do better than the three other guys in it. Alex and Thomas went out early here. It sort of set up a big opportunity for Tim and myself. I think that played a little bit of a part of the nervousness out there in the match.

Q. Within six weeks you're going to have to play two Masters Series: Masters and the Davis Cup final. How can you handle that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough, you know. I'm one of those guys who likes looking forward to the big matches. There's certainly going to be a lot of big matches for me. Still my No. 1 goal is to win the Davis Cup. Absolutely, I want to be in tip-top form come December the 8th, going out there and playing singles on day one. That's what I'm really working towards. There's a bit inside me because it's Newcombe and Roche's last tie. It's going to be special to - trying to defend the cup again with Patrick Rafter back in the team. At the moment, I'm trying to forget about that. That's going to come in a few weeks' time. I've got a job to do at the moment here. I've got to try to make The Masters finals.

Q. By tradition, this isn't the most favorite time of the year for Aussie lads brought up under a nice blue sky and a burning sun.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You can say that again.

Q. Pat has never liked this European thing. Philippoussis, not too keen on it. How do you sort of come to terms with it? Is it something you have to grin and bear?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much. I'm not a big fan of it either. You know, you got to be mentally tough, I think, come this time of the year. So many players, you start talking about playing Sydney and the Australian Open, all these tournaments next year, sort of coming into the next Grand Slam, having Christmas and New Year's, all these great things. You still have four or five tournaments to finish off the year. I think it's tough mentally just coming here. You're sitting in your hotel room or you're indoors at the courts all the time. It's hard to get outside and get some fresh air as well because quite often it's raining. You know, obviously I think it's been a lot easier for me because I'm a lot younger, plus I've got a goal, as well, to try to make this Masters cup. I've got to go out there and treat it like a Grand Slam. You know, I think that's just in me, though, as well. Every time I step out on the court, I want to win. It's probably a lot easier for me than it is for other guys.

Q. How do you feel about tomorrow's match against Greg?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's obviously raised the bar of his game lately. I played him last week. You know, he's definitely got his serve back. He's playing a lot better from the baseline, as well. Very tight first set last week. I felt like I found some rhythm on the return, got on top of him there. I'm going to have my work cut out for sure against Greg. He's the kind of player who, you know, he can chop up guys, I think, on a surface like this, as well, as we saw with Marat Safin today.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:52 AM   #27
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

TMS - STUTTGART

November 3, 2000, QF

Lleyton Hewitt - Greg Rusedski 6-4 6-4

STUTTGART, GERMANY

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.


Q. That looked rather more straightforward than the television view of your last match with him seemed.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, for sure. Greg is a difficult player to play against, really. He's one of those guys who doesn't give you a lot of rhythm out there on the court. Today, I think I learned a lot from playing him last week in Basel, especially because he is such a good indoor court player. I got off to a good start today. I felt like when I got my second serves, I thought he was going to stay back most of the time. That's what he did last week. I knew that once we were sort of in a baseline rally, I had sort of the percentage on my side. I had to really take advantage of that. In the games that he lost, he gave me a couple of second serves. I took advantage of it.

Q. Did you sense he wasn't moving as well as he might?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that I could tell out there. You know, when he had to come in, I thought he played pretty well. On the passes that I did make, I thought they were pretty good passing shots.

Q. How did you feel he served compared with the last time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably about the same, I'd say. He probably served a little bit better, I'd say, in the fact that he missed a lot of first serves last time by a big margin. He just netted a lot towards the bottom of the net. I think he actually had a lot better rhythm on his serve out there today.

Q. Which was the tougher match for you, yesterday or today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. Greg is the type of player who puts pressure on you. If you do lose your serve, you really are under a lot of pressure. Tim is obviously a more all-court player. You know, I'd have to say that yesterday was definitely a lot harder match in the sense that I was a set down and I had to really fight and sort of dig deep. In the end, sort of that 4-All game, you know, Tim had his chance to win that. It could have very easily gone the other way yesterday.

Q. Greg was obviously very impressed with the way you served today. How do you feel you served today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I served one of my better matches out there today with my serving. I got off to a good start. I think I actually served more aces than Greg, which is not that common, I suppose, for a lot of players. I'm pretty happy with that.

Q. Lisbon is looking more and more of a reality for you. You're not there yet, but would that have been beyond your expectations at the start of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably. A couple of weeks into the year, I would have given myself a slight chance. Probably going into Adelaide, I think it would have been a little too much to ask, to have a fair-dinkum chance of making the top eight at the end of the year. My goal was probably to try to get into the Top 10, try and stay there as much as possible. But to actually make the top eight and secure the spot, it was always going to be tough. As you said, at the moment I'm not there yet. Sitting on a good ticket, I think, at the moment.

Q. What do you think of this campaign by the ATP?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's a great idea by the ATP. It's got all those young guys together. Wherever you look now on the TV, the ads, all the commercials and that -- I'm not sure how many players, maybe 12 guys in it. I think this is sort of the future of tennis. I think this is a good thing to sort of have us as so-called "gladiator guys." I think the photos turned out not too bad.

Q. Not too much pressure for the young players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. I think we've all had to deal with kinds of pressure so far anyway. If you look at the guys they've picked, they're sort of the guys who have been successful in some kind of tournaments, or probably ranked, I assume, in the Top 30 at least, around that.

Q. There's also a new campaign of the tournament, a group of 40 supporters for you especially. They get free tickets as long as you are in the tournament. Is that a good idea?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's been fantastic, particularly at the start of the week. A lot of the tournaments sort of struggle when you do have a big centre court like it does here. You know, you go out there Monday, Tuesday morning match, there's no one in the crowd. It's just sort of a dead atmosphere. I think it's a very good idea to get a bit of emotion out there. I think it's been good.

Q. How was their support?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Fantastic. I don't think it puts off the opponent. I think it's good to hear your name, you know, get the Germans behind you over here.

Q. Going back to the other thing, do you feel there's a changing of the guard now? Do you feel maybe Sampras', Agassi's generation is starting to slip, you young guys are ready to move up and take over?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, they've both won Grand Slams this year. You can never write those guys off, I don't think. Pete beat me just a few weeks ago in the US Open semifinal. I think those guys will rise to the occasion of playing the big tournaments, the Grand Slams. You know, I don't know how many years they've got left in them, but I think for sure the next group of guys are these "New Balls" guys coming up, for sure.
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Default Re: Lleyton's Press Conference

TMS - STUTTGART

November 4, 2000, SF

Lleyton Hewitt - Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3

STUTTGART, GERMANY

MODERATOR: Lleyton goes to his first Tennis Masters Series final. Questions, please.


Q. Yevgeny was saying that you both have too much respect for each other's game, you were both waiting for the right ball to come in, a bit of cat and mouse. Do you feel that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the start I felt that way, for sure. Towards the end, I just tried to play my game. That's what really got me back in the second set. I felt like I really took it up to him. You know, I was a bit stiff in the tiebreaker in the second set. I felt like I played a pretty good set to get back in the match. I was feeling quite confident going into the third set, if I continued playing the way it had been going. He had longer matches I think this week, doubles and everything, than I had. I was feeling pretty good.

Q. That's a heck of a section of the draw you've come through, beaten four class acts.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's been very tough. When Darren and I saw the draw first off, saw Krajicek playing a qualifier, we didn't know who the qualifier was at that stage. We all knew how important it was for the points; the Masters cup in Lisbon, as well. I think Darren and I were a little bit worried as soon as we saw the draw. It just got better and better. I'm full of confidence at the moment. I believe I can match it with anyone out there.

Q. Does that help you focus when you see a section of the draw like that, you know what's at stake?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've really been taking it one match at a time. I wasn't worrying about it. Obviously, I would have thought that Safin would have got through to the quarters. I really wasn't worrying about those matches. I was just taking it one match at a time. I think that's been the big bonus this week. Everyone that I've played has been really tough, and I've had to worry about getting through that match. It's turned out so far, so good.

Q. Is there any surface you go on and you think, "I don't like this very much"? You adapted to clay for the first time this year, grass, Queen's, obviously hard court you grew up on. You come indoors.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think my kind of game is suited pretty much to all surfaces if I'm playing well. You know, I feel confident in my return of serves on a grass court. I don't think it makes that big a difference. Obviously, I think I've had to learn how to play a more grass court game and a more clay court game sort of the last couple years. That's what Darren has been a big help, in that factor. Just coming up through the juniors, I didn't have a lot of grass and clay court preparation, it was all hard court. I never played indoors in my life. I don't find it that different really to playing on a hard court.

Q. Increasingly this year, again this week, we've heard your opponents say how mentally tough you are to play, you give them very, very little. Do you know that within yourself now? Is that an extra bonus for you when you are under pressure?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I think I've always believed that I've been mentally tough, you know, even when I was in juniors. It's nice to know that your opponents think like that, though, as well. When you're going out there, you get in a tough situation, they know you're not going to give them too many cheap points. I think that's a big thing to have in my favor.

Q. A lot of players this week have been saying how sticky the surface is. In that respect, is it very reminiscent of the courts that you do so well on at the start of the year in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's a totally different kind of stickiness or gritty court. It's strange. You can't -- I normally slide a little bit on my passing shots. You know, you go out there to slide - you probably saw today where I went to slide for a forehand with an open stance, my foot just stuck. You're sort of pulling back. That's when you're off balance. On a Rebound Ace court, it is sticky and hot, but it does give you a bit of give when you go to slide a little bit. That's why it is actually a strange surface, this one.

Q. You have a heck of a schedule coming up. Although it's not mathematically certain, we would be all amazed if you weren't in Lisbon. Then you have the Davis Cup a few days later on a completely different surface. Does that worry you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, it is a lot of tennis. The way that I've set my schedule is that I was going to make the finals in Lisbon. I knew that Davis Cup was going to be on clay, since Spain beat the US. I knew it was going to be the following week. There's nothing I can do about it. I feel like, you know, I'm probably a little bit different to a lot of the other guys. I don't need a hell of a lot of play on a particular surface, because I've done so well on all surfaces this year. I'll pop back on clay, after a few days, I'll hope that I'll be ready to go, come Friday. You look at Rafter, I think he's a different kettle of fish. I think he really needs to be sort of out there grinding and hitting a lot of balls. I'm sure he'd say the same thing.

Q. Are you aware of the results from Leipzig?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. Good day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not bad (laughter). Hopefully it's as good tomorrow.

Q. Have you spoken to her?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not after her match. I spoke to her before the match, not after.

Q. You have been in the race, in the Top 10, since the beginning of the season. Do you feel like you have been one of the most consistent players of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. A lot of guys don't play the first couple of weeks in Australia. Obviously, Agassi has been consistent here and there. He doesn't play the first couple of tournaments in Adelaide or Sydney. That's why you saw, I think -- I think the public was amazed because Santoro, myself, these guys are No. 1 in the world in the race. It also seems to pan out, I think, probably after Wimbledon a lot more. It's been working pretty well, I think, since then. I feel like I've had a very consistent year without doing something spectacular, I suppose, like winning a Grand Slam, which would be nice.

Q. Can't win it all the first time around; you have to have something to go for next time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I can go for another one (laughter).

Q. Yevgeny said he was very tired in the third set. Did you feel it by then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Me personally or feel that he was?

Q. Did you feel tired?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, but not too bad. I think he's played a lot more tennis this week than I have, just with the doubles, late nights, stuff like that. I felt that he was a little bit tired after he won that second set. He just didn't put as much pressure on me early in the third set as he had done throughout the whole second set.
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TMS - STUTTGART

November 5, 2000, Final

Lleyton Hewitt - Wayne Ferreira 6-7(6) 6-3 7-6(5) 6-7(2) 2-6

STUTTGART, GERMANY

MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Looking back on it, the fact that you played tough opponents all the way through the draw, do you think that was a factor of what happened today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I think match fitness was really the biggest difference. Coming into the last couple of weeks, I really didn't hit a ball, couldn't do a lot of fitness because I had a pretty bad virus and that. That was sort of a telling factor in the end.

Q. What was that? Sort of a flu or cold thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Breathing, stomach pain, the works.

Q. Where did you pick that up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No idea.

Q. Airplane?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, staying in hotels. Not a lot you can do about it. Air-conditioning, stuff like that.

Q. An extraordinary match. Wonderfully gripping, as well. Can you feel that yourself when you're out there playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit at times. You're trying to concentrate as much as possible. It is very hard to think about sort of how the crowd is seeing it, I suppose, the public. You know, definitely with as many tiebreaks, three tiebreaks out of the five sets, five-set tennis, you know, the whole crowd really enjoys seeing a very tight match.

Q. Do you think after getting that third set in which you had to struggle when it was in your pocket, did you think you would take it on from there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I definitely wasted an opportunity at 5-1 I think, just because the momentum had swung my way big time at that stage. To Wayne's credit, though, he came -- I played a couple of slack points. He played some good points, put a lot of pressure on my serve when I was serving for the set. To my credit, I gave a hundred percent out there. That's all I can ask.

Q. How weary were you in the fifth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's strange, because my whole life I've had to rely on a lot of fitness, I've put in a lot of hours into my fitness. With my game, I can go sort of all day. You know, it just wasn't there today. I think the main reason is just because I haven't been able to put in the work as usual because of this virus.

Q. When did you actually get back to work as you would like it to be before coming here? Was it a week before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hit a couple of days before Basel, that was it.

Q. Are you a bit surprised that you got this far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. I was a bit surprised I made the semifinals in Basel. I was going to pull out there in the first round. I kept struggling away each match. I'm very surprised, very happy, you know, that I got through to the semis there and particularly the final here.

Q. A week off next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes.

Q. Lisbon looks fairly secure for you now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. Tim can't catch you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's nice to hear (smiling). There's still two other guys, I suppose. Whatever happens, happens. That's just the way I've got to look at it. I have to go out in Paris and give everything I've got. I do that every time I step on the court. If everything matches up well, hopefully I'll be there in Portugal.

Q. You alluded to it the other day, but do you feel quite strongly about the fact that some guys have been scrapping out all year and Agassi is getting in there on the back of a tournament he won nine months ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't agree with it at all. I just think the whole ATP thing was to do with, you know, cutting out the Grand Slam Cup, sort of putting this one event, I suppose, for the best eight performers over a 52 calendar weeks. Obviously, I just think it's a little bit strange. I spoke to Pat about it. Pat said, "I didn't know that. If I won Wimbledon . . ." He's still ranked 16, 17 in the world -- he wins Wimbledon, he doesn't have to play all these tournaments, he gets automatic entry into the Masters Cup. That's what makes it a little bit silly, I think.

Q. Was that a one-year arrangement, or is that ongoing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I assume it's ongoing.

Q. I know it's this year's rules.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's ongoing. You could have come out at the start of the year, straight after Andre won the Australian Open, he was guaranteed to play in Lisbon.

Q. I don't know if you can remember this far back, at 6-All in the first set tiebreak, you changed your racquet. Can you remember that? Do you know why you did it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Because the string was going to break.

Q. Was going to break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah.

Q. You're still very young. Do you have one big goal you want to achieve in the future?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously I think the ultimate is to be No. 1 in the world someday. That's what you dream of when you're a youngster sort of growing up, watching all the big names play tennis. You wish you have that opportunity. I think everyone's dream is sort of to be the best player in the world. I've been given an opportunity I think. I'm getting up there now. There's still a lot of work before I can say that I'm the best player in the world, even if it's just one week.

Q. You have a pretty full diary for the rest of the year. How big a worry was that virus? Obviously the Davis Cup final is going to be big for you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a big worry. It's still a worry, I suppose.

Q. You're not all right?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a hundred percent at the moment. It's still a big worry. You know, I think that Davis Cup is the biggest worry because it is over five sets and it is on clay, as well. Obviously, probably can't last as long as today maybe, but it's going to last pretty long, I suppose.

Q. When have you been informed about Kim's match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I turned my phone on and had a message from her on my phone.

Q. After your match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. She's playing doubles, I think, at the moment.

Q. Did she win?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Singles?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, she won singles.
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TMS - LISBON

November 27, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt

LISBON, PORTUGAL

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.


Q. How are you feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, definitely getting a bit better just because I've had a couple of weeks off. I had time to chill out and play a bit of golf and just relax with some of the boys in Spain. Just sort of getting that team atmosphere, as well, just lifts spirits more than playing the individual tournaments each week. I'm definitely not a hundred percent at the moment, but I'm going to guts out the next two weeks. I feel I'm going to be able to do that, otherwise I wouldn't be playing the next two weeks. I'm going to go out there and give a hundred percent. I feel like I've got a very good chance both weeks.

Q. Have they found out what it is yet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen anyone since I pulled out of Paris. It's too hard. I feel like I've been asking the same questions to the same doctors. I keep sort of changing where I am, and it's hard to get any answer from one particular doctor because then I've got to move on to the next guy. I do one test in one country, another test in another. It's very hard. I think I've got to wait till I get home, as soon as I get off the plane, go and see one doctor that I have a lot of trust and faith in. I've got to sort of tick off every test we do and narrow it down to one thing, take a couple tablets and I'll be right in a couple weeks.

Q. What are some of the theories you've been hearing so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard. I've had sort of diaphragm things are coming to mind now. Since I've seen the Davis Cup physio, back in Barcelona last week, he seems to think it could be some kind of diaphragm problem, whether I have a spasm around my stomach area which is pushing the diaphragm up, which is why I'm getting -- finding it hard to get my breath back all the time. There's been a lot of things. I've been to a few homeopaths. They think I may have been a virus in my trachea that went down to my stomach. So many things at the moment. No one has been able to pinpoint what it is.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel like I'm hitting the ball great. It's just annoying when I get out on the court. I forget now because it's been going so long, I actually forget how I was breathing normally back a few months ago. It's frustrating. I still feel like I'm hitting the ball great. I'm hitting the ball better than at the start of the year as well when I had all my good results. Even I made the semifinals of the US Open with it, you know, then made the final of Stuttgart, had a very tough draw coming through there. I feel like it's probably bigger to get over the mental hurdle, I think, especially for the upcoming next two big tournaments. If I can mentally get over it and start believing in myself and know what I'm capable of, just get through that sort of pain barrier, then I think I'll be all right.

Q. Shortness of breath, when do you actually feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a hard feeling. You sort of feel very bloated in the stomach, sort of like a bit of a sick feeling in the stomach, but not like you're about to throw up. You know, the breathing is probably the main thing, especially being a tennis player, as well. I've just been able to notice since the start of the year where I'd be able to get my breath back in between points, I notice on the court I'm not able to get my breath back before I have to start the next point. The thing is, it's at rest as well as exercising, which makes it even more a tougher thing to find out what it is.

Q. Is there a possibility that it's a result of the busy schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. A lot of people have said virus and that you can pick that up in your hotel room, just with air-conditioning and stuff like that, or in the carpet, anything like that. You know, it's very hard to put a finger on what it is. Until they actually say what it is, it could be from stress, it could be anything. We can't really go out and say it's one particular thing at the moment.

Q. Are you thinking of reducing your schedule next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at the moment. That hasn't crossed my mind at all.

Q. What about Adelaide? You haven't entered there. They've kept a wildcard for you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just a wait-and-see thing. If I feel -- Stubsy and I get along great. I had to be honest with him. I've had a hectic year this year. The four Davis Cup matches I have to play this year, as well as the Olympics, I feel I haven't had a lot of time off. This sort of thing with my breathing has come along. I said, "If I'm right to play two or three days before the tournament, even if I haven't hit a ball, I'm happy to go out there and give 100% in that tournament to defend my title, play for the public, the Australian people as well." If I am going to risk myself or risk myself doing harm for the Australian Open, you know, it's going to be disappointing to lose those points and also not play in my hometown. If that's going to be better for the future and myself and tennis career, I've got to take that hard option.

Q. Would that mean there would be a bit of a doubt about Sydney the following week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, they're all up in the air at the moment, I suppose. I've entered Sydney. I sort of like getting those matches on Rebound Ace the week before the Australian Open, that's why Sydney became a priority.

Q. How exciting is it for you, a 19-year-old, to make the elite eight here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Unbelievable, sort of a dream come true. At the start of the year, I wouldn't have had it in my wildest dreams that I would be here in Lisbon. Especially, the feelings since the US Open, it's been the talk in the locker rooms, who is going to make the final eight. There's a lot of spots up for grabs, the last four, towards the end of the season. Luckily enough Stuttgart probably made it for me, making the final, beating Henman, one of the guys who was a big rival for the last position. I feel under those pressures, I've come through very well. It's just fantastic to look at the company, most Grand Slam winners or finalists here. It's just great to be a part of this. You get treated so well at this tournament.

Q. Obviously you want to win this tournament. Do you feel it's been a great road to get here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. I think you just have to be satisfied to look at it and think for the year you've been one of the best players in the top eight around the whole world. At 19 years of age, sort of my third year on the tour, I think it's a fantastic effort. It's a good achievement coming from -- you know, I hadn't really done a lot in the Grand Slams and Masters Series until the last couple. The US Open I really sort of made my mark in a Grand Slam. That gave me a lot of confidence being able to do it over five sets and the bigger tournaments.

Q. Were you at all ever concerned that you might not make it over here because of the health scare?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. You know, that's gone through my mind really since the US Open. If it got any worse or I felt like it was going to jeopardize my career in the future or something, I would have definitely had to pull out. Luckily enough, I feel like I'm hitting the ball great at the moment, well enough to get through the matches. I think it's good preparation for next week, as well.

Q. Is that the reason you pulled out from Paris, just take a little break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I was advised by a few doctors I had seen before that, I'd been in phone conversations. Even though I wasn't fully going to get straight into Lisbon at that stage, there was a good chance I was going to make it. I had to take the risk of not playing the last two events. Luckily enough I made it anyway. I feel the other guys bombed out, which was nice. Obviously it had been a concern that I may not have been able to play here, as well.

Q. You test the surface today in practice. You think it's going to help your rhythm? It's a little slow here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's probably a medium-paced court. The balls are probably the slowest aspect of it. They just get very fluffy sort of after five minutes of hitting. They're very fluffy out there, hard to put away. I feel like I've been hitting the ball well the last couple days. I hit on Centre Court. It's a great court. Very similar court to the Stuttgart court, which I played very well on a few weeks ago.

Q. Would you like to have more practice on clay for the Davis Cup final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I knew what my schedule was going to be if I did make Lisbon. The way I look at it, I hit on clay a few times last week. Whereas if I didn't pull out of those tournaments, I was still going to be playing on indoors. You know, that's probably one positive, that I have hit a little bit on clay. I have that feeling of sliding and grinding it out there on clay. I've definitely got to put in a pretty few good sessions as soon as I get off the plane to Barcelona.

Q. How many days were you able to spend with the guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I spent about nine days there.

Q. What is the mood in the camp?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Really good. Pat is really -- the player on the team who is there at the moment. You know, he's working very hard at the moment. He's hitting the ball great. He realizes that he's got to put in a lot of hours on the court if he does want to hold up the cup again. He's giving himself every chance of being able to do that. I think in Pat's career, that's one sort of thing he'd like to do, if he had to choose one thing before he retires, and that's get his name on the trophy of the Davis Cup. That's a huge thing for the boys, and also for Newcombe and Roche going into the final, as well.

Q. You're facing a daunting atmosphere in Barcelona. Do you think you'll be better equipped after Nice?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I'm a lot better player since then, there's no doubt about that. I think I'm a better player on clay than I was, a lot better. I just think overall mentally, I'm just a lot more mentally tough, sort of positive about the whole situation, about going there. I think Spain is going to be a lot tougher than even France was last year. I just think the depth of their side is unbelievable. Obviously playing in front -- I think the Spanish crowd will probably be worse than the French crowd. We're expecting to go through a bit of a nightmare, I suppose, there. You know, hopefully at the end of the day, we're going to be the ones standing holding up the cup.

Q. Do you think Australia are the underdogs?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think we're slight underdogs. I think just with the Spanish team on home ground and also, you know, we've only got two singles player on our team. If something did happen, they've got really three singles players and one doubles player.

Q. (Question regarding Alex Corretja.)

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think that's got anything to do with it. I've beaten him twice this year pretty convincingly. I wouldn't say that those matches have anything to do with the Davis Cup. For starters, it's on a different surface. The other matches were in my home country. The next one is going to be in his. It's Davis Cup tennis. You can't really read anything into from your previous matches going into a Davis Cup match. I think we've all sort of learned that in the past.

Q. How big is the Newcombe and Roche motivation for you guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's huge. I've been speaking to Newc nearly every day about different things, whether it be about my health, how I'm hitting the ball, other things. Just working with Rochey last week, seeing how much those guys want it again. You know, they've just done so much, not only for my tennis, but for Pat and all the other boys, sort of how they've brought us all together as a team, it's been pretty amazing. I'd like to go out there and come off with two wins for them, I think, really sort of give it to the boys, let them have one last hold of the cup.

Q. How do you feel being the youngest player in this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I'm only just the youngest player. Obviously, it's great to be here and be a part of such a fantastic and big event, to be sitting sixth in the world at the moment. It's another sort of dream come true.

Q. Have you recovered already from the virus?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a hundred percent, no. I'm getting better all the time. I feel like I'm able to give a hundred percent when I'm out on the tennis court. I'm hitting the ball fine. It's just one thing that I have to push through. Very rarely are you going onto a tennis court feeling 100%. There's always little niggling injuries that you always have. In the past, it's sort of been my ankle. I've had to overcome that. Now it's just another thing I've got to overcome. I've got to be mentally tough.

Q. Which players do you think it's difficult to play with on these courts? Which are the most difficult?

LLEYTON HEWITT: All the guys. You know, that's why they're here. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day. You look at the head-to-heads. I may have a good head-to-head on someone, but they may have a good head-to-head on someone else. It's hard to predict, especially in a round-robin competition.

Q. Do you enjoy the fact you're the leading player now in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't really look at it in that way sort of at all. Pat sort of, I suppose, is the leading player to a certain extent because he's done so much for Australian tennis. That was sort of the time where I was just starting to get into from juniors to seniors. That's when he won the two US Opens. I think he's just done unbelievable things. Just to see how many kids are actually out there now wanting to be professional tennis players, I think that's got a lot to do with Pat. At the moment I'm still happy for him to be the No. 1 man.

Q. At the beginning of this year, you said you wanted to get into the Top 10. You're well-entrenched there. What are your goals for the next 12 months?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard to say really. It sort of all happened so quickly at the moment. Obviously sort of to consolidate my spot in the Top 10, really try to force myself to get into the Top 5, maybe making a Grand Slam final, giving myself every chance of holding up the Grand Slam trophy in the next two or three years.

Q. You have just entered the tour. Are there too many tournaments? Do you feel it would be better if there were fewer tournaments and you have more time to rest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think with Davis Cup, for sure. I think it's very hard if you're doing well in Davis Cup in a year - especially this year because you have the Olympics in there, as well. You're practicing for a week or week and a half before the Olympics, as well. I just think, you know, maybe the Davis Cup, the ITF and the ATP have to sit down, sort of go through that. It's very hard. Whether they give the two teams who make the finals in the Davis Cup a bye. It feels a little bit stupid if we do win it again where we're going to go back, you know, a week after the Australian Open and go and play our first round tie again. I think just maybe you should give the first round a bye to the two finalists. I just think maybe they've earned it. Gives us a bit more time to celebrate, as well.

Q. John McEnroe talked recently about the Davis Cup, the Davis Cup setup. Were you surprised when he quit so soon after wanting to be captain so much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it was a big surprise to a lot of people. I think he's very good for the American Davis Cup team, just sort of getting -- because he is so famous over there, just to do with tennis, playing the senior and events still, I just think he was good for Davis Cup in America. Sometimes he gets overshadowed by other events, I think, instead of actually everyone playing the Davis Cup. I felt he probably should have hung in there a couple more years and tried to fight it off. Whether it's the fact that maybe Sampras and Agassi didn't play the whole year, it's hard to say. We don't know all the things behind the scenes. I think he was doing a pretty good job with the team that he had to put on the court this year. He probably should have given it a couple more years.

Q. You think he had a good point about having set dates.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't heard what he said.

Q. Just that each Davis Cup tie be the same weekend every year so everyone knew exactly when it would be.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's probably a lot better thing when you know when you're going to be playing and that -- you know, it's hard to say. I think someone has to sit down with the ITF and the ATP and just work out a schedule, just stick to it.

MODERATOR: ATP are currently in discussion with ITF on working out future calendars for Davis Cup. Obviously, over the next few years we're adjusting different calendars for different tournaments, trying to accommodate players with the season they have. At the same time we're trying to cooperate with the ITF to see where it can be a little better. We're currently involved with that at the moment.

Q. McEnroe recently said the doubles competition should be abolished, there's no point to play doubles. What do you think about that?


LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I still think doubles has got a great tradition in tennis. I think definitely from a tournament director's point of view, though, they have to look at another scenario to hopefully get a lot more of the higher profile singles players to be able to play doubles week-in and week-out. It was the odd time this year where Grand Slam champions weren't able to play doubles because there were so many other guys ranked 60, 70, 80 in the world, doubles specialist guys, getting in those spots. Maybe they should give a few more wildcards to the tournament, they can give one to the locals and the rest go to the Top 20 singles players.

Q. What about Mark Woodforde, how much influence has he been on you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously he played a big part in my career as well, just because he comes from Adelaide. It's going to be a pretty emotional time for him playing his last match just in such a big arena, such a big event. Who knows how the doubles will be played, who he plays with or whatever happens. Probably up in the air until we actually know what it is after day one. It's sure going to be a big event for him and he's going to be working his butt off leading into that so he knows he's in peak form. Clay hasn't been his best surface in the past. He's going to be working towards playing one last good match.

Q. Has he had a guiding influence on your career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, he's always sort of taken a lot of interest in my results, I think. He's always taken a big interest in South Australian junior results, as well, not only myself, but he supports a lot of the junior tournaments in South Australia which has been a good help for me because it gave me a chance to play those tournaments.

Q. We're making a story about players. Who has the best serve on the ATP Tour, in your opinion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's hard to say. You know, there's so many big servers I suppose this day. At the moment, I'd probably say Pete Sampras. He beat me in the US Open. His serve was a big difference in that match.

Q. Who has the best backhand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very hard to say. Probably either Safin or Pioline.

Q. What about the volley?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Patrick Rafter. Have to say that as an Australian.

Q. And the forehand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Forehand is hard to say. I'd say Safin, then Kuerten.

Q. Are you superstitious on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a great honor. Australia has such great tradition in tennis, I think, so many great players. To actually be up there, the other guys watching you on the sidelines, all those great players, actually just being part of that Davis Cup team, it's fantastic.

Q. They still don't know what it is, is it a virus?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen anyone over the last two weeks.

Q. Are you on any medication?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm on still the same stuff that I was on before which was really sort of the allergy sort of thing, some homeopathic drops, tablets, stuff like that. I'm taking everything under the sun at the moment.

Q. You're going to rattle when you go out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just about. I feel like I'm rattling all the time (laughter).

Q. You feel you have five matches in you this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel like I have seven or eight with the Davis Cup next week. I'm able to give 100% the next two weeks. Once that is over, I don't mind about taking a rest for a while, trying to really find a doctor who I do trust and have a lot of faith in, sort of -- really just trying to narrow it down to one particular thing I've got which is affecting my body, then really take it from there. Hopefully I can take just a few pills, be ready to come start January 1st.

Q. When you started to practice again, did you actually feel the benefit of the rest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say. Not really straightaway. It's something I feel like I've got to push throughout there on the court. I've got to go through the pain barrier, just get it out of my mind mentally. I think over the next two weeks, it's going to be how mentally tough I really am and how positive I am. I've got to be very positive on and off the court if I'm going to give myself a chance of doing well here and also holding up the cup next week.

Q. Do you feel a pain?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel a breathing disorder, a problem. I feel out of breath at rest and also while I'm exercising. I feel sort of a sickness or a sick feeling in my stomach. It's not a thing where I'm going to vomit or throw up. It's a tough thing to sort of put your finger on.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I definitely needed a lot more time off than two weeks. Especially I need to get away from tennis, as well. Last week I was around all the boys and that, as well. It was good for my spirits, though, to get some positive thinking, just start thinking about the Davis Cup tie.

Q. You were in Spain?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, with all the boys. But obviously if I do need to take some kind of rest, that's the time that I've got to go home and put the feet up, go to the beach, whatever, not to really sort of be around the tennis court or see tennis balls.

Q. The way you're talking, it sounds like Barcelona is more prominent in your mind than Lisbon this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously Barcelona because of the fact I was with the boys last week. There was so much talk about it. That's what all the talk is back home at the moment. It's such a big thing. Pat hasn't had his name on the trophy before. Newcombe and Roche, it's their last tie. So much meaning in that tie, it's hard to get it out of your mind.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Wouldn't worry me. I've played him twice in the past. I think those two matches are going to have little bearing on the Davis Cup match.

Q. Being the type of player you are, has it been considered that it's more of an emotional problem than a physical problem?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really.

Q. Never been a consideration?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't really feel that it's an emotional or rundown problem.

Q. Is there any reason why you never consider the emotional side, being the type of guy you are?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just feel inside, I think you can feel your body itself. I just don't feel it's an emotional problem. I don't know. You know, I can't put a point on it at all. You know, I just feel inside myself that, you know, I don't feel like it is some kind of an emotional thing.

Q. I mean, that you put so much into it, and you're so young.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I understand where you're coming from.

Q. I heard Fitzgerald told you to slow down.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken to him.
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