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Discussion Starter #1
hey all... :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: ....here's to a great start of the year for KIM AND LLEYTON!!!

Does anyone know if this tournament is being shown in US television?
 

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an article

Hewitt takes Hopman lead
December 29, 2002

A RUTHLESS Lleyton Hewitt overcame a "funky" string pattern and an hour delay to lead Australia to a crushing opening win over Italy in the Hopman Cup.

Hewitt, who is more obsessed with his strings than any other tennis player, made the best use of an hour's break because of a power failure as he rectified his problems.

Hewitt eventually eased to a 6-3 6-1 victory over injured Italian Davide Sanguinetti.

It handed the home nation an unbeatable lead in the group B match at the mixed teams event in Perth.

The world No.1 backed up his team-mate Alicia Molik's good work in her surprise 6-3 6-4 victory over Silvia Farina Elia.

World No.52 Sanguinetti was always going to be up against it but an ankle injury in the first set ended any chance of a true contest.

A 55-minute break after power was cut from centre court at the Burswood Dome just delayed the inevitable result which came in just over an hour of play.

However, it was not all smooth sailing for Hewitt, who felt like he was playing with a "beach-bat" before the lights went out in the opening match of the second set.

"I couldn't hit a ball, it felt like I couldn't crack an egg out there," he said.

His problems stemmed from his racquet being restrung in an unusual style by the local tournament stringers overnight.

"The stringer put in his own string pattern which I had never seen before - and he's got some funky ideas," Hewitt said.

"Then I couldn't quite explain (how to fix) it and I kept on getting my strings (done) and they still stuffed it up.

"Actually (it was) lucky I came out after the light delay and actually had the right ones done."

Hewitt said it was an awkward match after Sanguinetti went over on his ankle.

"I wasn't sure how bad it was, there was points where he was running his butt off and there was times when I hit drop shots he didn't run for, it is tough in that situation to put an opponent away," he said.

Earlier the lanky Molik unleashed her power game on Italian Silvia Farina Elia with a straight sets victory in 69 minutes.

The 21-year-old showed why her game was so highly-rated and why she was a much more talented player than her world ranking of No.94 suggested.

After being down 3-1 in the opening set Molik found her range and made a mockery of the large gap in the rankings between her and Farina Elia.

Molik had been under pressure heading into the fixture after being picked ahead of Australia's No.1 female player and world No.48 Nicole Pratt.

Molik said she had enjoyed her best preparation for the Australian summer and the first-up win again provided reason for hope.

The South Australian said she had worked hard at increasing the potency of her ground strokes.

"It is something I have been working on hitting the ball a bit heavier .. there is a lot of kick coming off the court so I'm trying to use it to my advantage," she said.
 

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Friday January 3, 07:21 AM

Australia storms into Hopman Cup final



Australia has claimed a place in the Hopman Cup teams tennis final with a nail-biting victory over the Czech Republic.

Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik clinched the Group B tie with a 4-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) win over the number three seeded combination of Jiri Novak and Daja Bedanova.


"Bloody good, that's how good it's been," Molik said after the match when asked to describe her winning streak.

"Forget the singles, that mixed doubles tops everything."

Molik had set the number two seeded Australia pair up for a likely win in the tie with a hard fought 7-6 7-5 win over the more fancied Bedanova in their singles clash.

But Novak, ranked number one in the world, put the Czechs back in the running with an upset win over world No.1 Hewitt 6-2 3-6 6-3.

It gave the Czechs an opportunity to try to win a second Hopman Cup since 1994 when Helena Sukova teamed with Miloslav Mecir.

But the tightly-fought battle went Australia's way despite the Czechs taking the first set of the mixed doubles 6-4 after 34 minutes.

Half way into the second set it seemed a foregone conclusion that Australia was out.

But the Australians fought back, saving three match-points to standing ovations from the sell-out crowd.

Hewitt brought the crowd to its feet after clinching the second set with a winning forehand down the line.

The pair rode the momentum into the deciding third set tiebreaker, winning it 10-4.

"The adrenalin was definitely pumping. Lleyton and I were chasing down everything and I really can't believe we are standing here right now and we've got a place in the final," Molik said.

Australia will play on Saturday the winner of Friday's Group A clash between Belgium and the United States.

Hewitt said he would watch girlfriend Kim Clijsters match against world number one Serena Williams tomorrow but not the Belgium-US men's clash.

"I'll watch Kim play and I probably won't watch the guys play," Hewitt said, adding he had no preference of his final opponent.

"I've played (James) Blake four times and I'm 4-0 so far.

"I've played Xavier (Malisse) and I'm 2-0.

"It's good but both guys are playing extremely well."
 

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Lleyton celebrating victory over Czech republic in the mixed doubles :D


Lleyton and Alicia giving high fives :D :D


And finally......
Lleyton and Alicia hugging after their win AWWWW :hearts: :angel: ;) :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
oh no...kim just lost to serena...7-5; 6-3...

xavier has to win his match then win the doubles!!!

good luck xavier and kim!!!
 

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:sad: :mad: :sad: :mad: I HATE USA (I already did but it's getting more and more:fiery:)
They kept us away from a Lleyki final and I'll never forgif them that:p
 

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I know I hate USA too. That bad line call in the final set tiebreaker when Kim served and Serena hit it long but it was called good was crap:fiery: :fiery: The lines man may as well of given USA the match.

It was so funny though on the next point USA hit it long and IT WAS CALLED OUT and Xavier just stood and stared at the linesman till he got the call and then Kim gave the linesman a thumbs up:D
 

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Is that like getting out of jail?
(Alicia) Better.
(Lleyton) I don’t know, I haven’t been in jail. It’s a big relief, I guess. Obviously when you’re in the mixed doubles, 6-4, 5-2 down, you haven’t had any opportunities really to break most of the match. Somehow I got out of my service game and then I served pretty well to save a couple of match points. Then of all the servers it was going to be Jiri serving, and we had to break him to stay in the match. It was a bloody good effort to get out of it.

Where did the game turn, do you think?

(Lleyton) I think definitely that game at 5-4 with Jiri serving. The momentum just changed. We saved one match point on that game, he made a first serve and I felt like I put in a really good return. I knew Bedanova wasn’t going to cross so I felt like I had half the court. I just had to hit a crosscourt backhand in. I made him play a low volley, and he probably shouldn’t have gone for a drop volley like he did. Once we got that next point, Alicia put up a tough sort of lob – not a really high defensive lob – but a tough one, and Bedanova couldn’t quite…it was one of those awkward ones you don’t know whether to volley or smash, and she smashed it into the net. I knew as soon as I got break point that I wasn’t losing that next point. I think that was the turnaround – those two or three points in that game.

You’ve been in matches where the momentum has shifted – just like that.
(Lleyton) Well, I’ve been in some matches where it’s done that. Probably the Tommy Haas match a couple of years ago in the Australian Open, two years ago in the Australian Open, in the second round. I was 5-0 down in the second set and I got out of it and won that 7-5. I was 4-1 down in the second and won that 6-4. I was 2-0 down in the third and won that 6-3. It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does happen you’ve got to take it.

Alicia, you’ve had an incredible week. Did you think you could play that well on a sustained performance?

(Alicia) Yeah, I’ve been practising really well the last couple of weeks. I really expected myself to perform the way I have been. But, no doubt, with the quality practice I’ve come into this event with a lot of confidence. I mean, I have been playing great, but I haven’t been surprising myself too much – a couple of shots here and there – but on the whole I’ve really expected myself to play at this level.

The fact that you’re now in the final, Alicia, Australia has a chance to win two times.

(Alicia) Yeah, absolutely. This is our second year having a shot at it, Lleyton and myself. Come the finals, that’s going to be tough either way – Belgium or the US. They are quality players. We’ll be doing our best. We’ll have that ‘never say die’ attitude like we did out there today, and hopefully things will fall our way.

Will you two sit down after tomorrow’s finalists have been decided and have a five or ten minute talk about what to do, come Saturday?

(Lleyton) Not really. I think going into the singles matches we’ve both got to concentrate on our own games. At this stage I don’t think we can worry about the doubles too much. Our priority is to go out there and obviously try and get the job done in two matches and make it a lot easier and not have to have too many heart attacks out there on the court again. You know, Alicia is going to be watching Kim and Serena play, and I’m going to be trying to…well, I know both James and Xavier well. I’ve played them a few times, so I’m going to know how they play anyway. If it comes down to the mixed doubles then, after the singles, we’ve played enough together. We grew up together. We know what each other is thinking as well as anyone around the place. We’ve just got to go out there and believe in it. I think if we don’t spend too much time dwelling on ‘I’m going to serve here’, ‘I’m going to do this’, and trying to work on it…I think in mixed doubles it’s a situation you’ve got to play point-by-point a little bit and see how the flow is going and how the opposing girl, for me, is playing, and just little things.

Alicia, is that your thought on the mixed as well? It just seems you’ve been improving your combination all week. How much does that help you in the finals?

(Alicia) Yeah, like Lleyton said, we’ve played enough together, really, in the past – especially the last couple of matches. Yeah, when we’re walking out there and change of ends, obviously we’re discussing it, but it’s not like we sit down and map out a game plan or anything. Like Lleyton said, we just have to check the flow of the match and see what the guy is doing and ways to counteract his big serve or to get on top of the girl’s serve. We just have a chat about it when we’re out there.

Lleyton, you’ve either got to play against the world number one or your girlfriend – which one would you prefer?

(Lleyton) I’d prefer my girlfriend. Even though it would be extremely difficult, I guess, to go out there and play. Yeah, I’d love to see Kim and Xavier – obviously I’m closer to the Belgians with Kim. If we’re both in the final, obviously one of us is going to win it, and I think if you’re not playing for the same country, that’s as well as you can do. I’m pushing for the Belgians, hopefully.

Lleyton, you said in the beginning of the tournament it was important to be here because you have three matches. Now you have four. How far away are you from your best level?

(Lleyton) Still a bit away, I guess. The other day, two days ago, I felt like I played really well against Dominik. I served and packaged my game together really well. Tonight I just didn’t serve well – it’s as simple as that. I just made life too difficult on myself. I served a lot of double faults; I didn’t get a high percentage of first serves in. When you play a guy like Jiri, he was going for it out there on second serves. He was putting me under pressure and it paid off. In other times there were chances where maybe if he went for it he could miss it, and I may have held a couple more service games a little bit more easier. Still, saying that though, I fought the second set out not playing great tennis. I had two break points in the first game of the third set and I had chances. I can’t remember the first one, but I dumped a backhand when I went for the winner crosscourt on the second one. I played a very slack game the next game to go down the break and that was the set, basically, from there.

Is there some extra special pressure for you playing Melbourne as a Grand Slam as opposed to the US Open or Wimbledon?

(Lleyton) Yeah maybe there’s more outside pressure, I think. I don’t put any more pressure on myself going into the Australian Open. I really look forward to it. It’s something that everyone knows by now I love challenges and I love going out there and competing and seeing where I’m at. The Australian Open for me, that’s sort of a goal. I couldn’t care less if I win it in ten years or this year. But, If I could win it someday it would be fantastic. Still, saying that, I think the way that I handled the situation being number one seed at Wimbledon, that’s a pretty prestigious thing, to be number one seed at Wimbledon and go through the tournament. Apart from one little hiccup there in the quarterfinals, I played pretty faultless tennis there. I don’t think it’s any more pressure on myself than going into Wimbledon as number one seed.

Reports are the courts are a bit quicker this year. Peter McNamara puts a ten per cent estimate on it. Does that suit you?

(Lleyton) I don’t know how he puts a percentage on it. Last year I thought it was extremely slow. I thought it suited a lot of the clay court players that came over. I think they performed a lot better on that kind of court. I’ve grown up on rebound ace. I’ve hit on Memorial Drive so many times, and every year it’s not exactly the same. It’s such a tough surface to get exactly the same every year – it’s nearly impossible. So I think it’s always going to be a little bit different. If it’s a little bit quicker, I think it’s probably a good thing. I think the balls over the last year have probably been a little bit heavier. There was that one year that I played Corretja and ended up losing to Norman, I think, in the fourth round. That year was lightening – that was real quick. From what I’ve heard I don’t think it’s going to be anything like that.

The weather is more of a factor with rebound ace than other surfaces?

(Lleyton) Yeah, it is. Obviously the ball is going to come through a lot quicker if you’re playing a day match where it’s 38 degrees or 35 degrees, rather than overcast. You just don’t know with Melbourne weather either. There’s a good chance that I’m going to be playing night matches as well, hopefully if I can stay in the tournament, at some stage during it. That’s going to be a totally different situation. A night match is going to be a lot heavier conditions. It’s going to be tougher to put the ball away. You’ve just got to go out there, I guess, and weigh it up on the day, and who you’re playing against and see what happens.

Alicia, is it quicker, Melbourne Park, from your experience at the training camp?

(Alicia) I thought it was a little bit quicker than last year, but not a great deal. I just think the top layer, the top surface, just seems to be a little less grit in it than last year. I thought they were a little bit quicker. (Lleyton) It’s hard to tell when they first lay it, I think. I hit on Adelaide as soon as it got laid and it was pretty slow, I thought, straight up. It’s meant to be pretty similar, I think, to Melbourne Park. The more you hit on it, by the time it gets to the Australian Open tournament I think it will be a lot quicker than when it’s first laid anyway.

Just back to the finals for a minute. Apart from having a look at the singles, will you have any special preparations? An extra practice session?

(Lleyton) Not really.
(Alicia) Stick with what works, I reckon.
(Lleyton) Yeah, I’ve been playing golf on my days off, that’s probably a chance.

Will you have a game of golf?

(Lleyton) I’m not sure. I’ll see how I wake up. It’s pretty late anyway

So you have one practice session each scheduled?

(Lleyton) Yeah, I’ll hit once just with Jason and go out there and do exactly what I’ve been doing. It’s been a good schedule for us, we’ve been playing every second day. It’s like a Grand Slam where you get that one day off where you can have a bit of a sleep in and relax and not worry about your match so much. And go out there and have a good hit out and sweat it out for an hour or so, an hour and a half, and sort of relax for the rest of the day.
 

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Lleyton, you’ve either got to play against the world number one or your girlfriend – which one would you prefer?

(Lleyton) I’d prefer my girlfriend. Even though it would be extremely difficult, I guess, to go out there and play. Yeah, I’d love to see Kim and Xavier – obviously I’m closer to the Belgians with Kim. If we’re both in the final, obviously one of us is going to win it, and I think if you’re not playing for the same country, that’s as well as you can do. I’m pushing for the Belgians, hopefully.


Aww :angel: Makes it even more of a shame that it's not gonna happen :fiery: :sad:
 

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So true Cilla!! I really was looking forward to Belgium-Australia!
Anyway, I really hope that Australia wins tomorrow!!!!
Gooo Australia!!!
 

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Aw so cute. Esp when she lifted him up.

Did you read Serena's response when she wasasked what would it be like ot share a court with Ll? She woulsn't say until they went and asked Ll first. She was asked three times. Maybe she didn't mean it that way but I thought it was rude. Ll would have answered.
 

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Lleyton, Alicia bank on Adelaide connection

By DIGBY BEACHAM
04jan03

LLEYTON Hewitt thrives on pressure . . . that is a given.

It was evident on Thursday night when Hewitt picked up his game to guide Australia out of a perilous position in its live mixed doubles rubber against the Czech Republic and into the Hopman Cup final.

In today's showdown against the US, again he will carry much expectation as Australia seeks its second victory in the international mixed teams championship.

Carrying the hopes of a nation today shapes as the perfect preparation ahead of the Australian Open, the Grand Slam he craves more than any other.

The world No. 1 heads to Melbourne tomorrow for a week of training ahead of the year's first showpiece event, starting on January 13.

However, he denies the spotlight that will shine brightly on him later this month is unnecessary baggage as he strives to become the first Australian male to win in Melbourne since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

"Maybe there's more outside pressure, I think (but) I don't put any more pressure on myself going into the Australian Open," Hewitt said.

"I really look forward to it. It's something that everyone knows by now – I love challenges and I love going out there and competing and seeing where I'm at.

"The Australian Open for me – I couldn't care less if I win in 10 years time or this year – but if I could win it someday, it would be fantastic."

Hewitt pointed to his effort when successful at Wimbledon last year as a gauge of his temperament.

"I think the way I handled the situation being number one seed at Wimbledon, that's a pretty prestigious thing, to be number one at Wimbledon and go through the tournament.

"Apart from one little hiccup there in the quarter-finals, I played pretty faultless tennis. I don't think it's any more pressure on myself than going into Wimbledon."

Alicia Molik, unbeaten in her three singles matches despite being the highest-ranked woman in the event at 94, faces her toughest assignment to date – world No. 1 Serena Williams.

If she is unable to repeat her heroics that netted wins against world No. 17 Silvia Farina Elia and world No. 37 Daja Bedanova, Hewitt will need to defeat James Blake to ensure a live mixed doubles is required to determine the tournament's winner.

That does not phase Hewitt, who is confident of getting the job done with his fellow South Australian. "If it comes down to the mixed doubles after the singles, it's not a problem because we've played enough together, we grew up together," Hewitt said. "We know what each other is thinking as well as anyone around the place. :angel: :D

"We've just got to go out there and believe in it. I think if we don't spend too much time dwelling on `I'm going to serve here' and `I'm going to do this', we'll be okay."
 

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Comfortable Aussies Eagerly Eye Hopman Cup

Fri Jan 3, 8:40 AM ET

By Ossian Shine

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik won't be discussing tactics before heading into Saturday's Hopman Cup final -- there's little point, they say.

The pair of 21-year-olds grew up playing tennis together as kids in South Australia and know each other's games inside out.

"We grew up together... we know what each other is thinking as well as anyone around the place," Hewitt said after the pair guided Australia into the final of the mixed team event at the Burswood Dome with a sensational mixed doubles victory over the Czech Republic.

"We've just got to go out there and believe in it."

They may need a little more than belief considering they will face women's world number one Serena Williams (news - web sites) and James Blake in Saturday's showpiece.

Still, Hewitt and Molik are on a mission.

Last year's bid here was cut short against eventual winners Spain when Hewitt was felled by chickenpox having eluded it on the playgrounds as a youngster.

This year, spot-free and full of life, he is determined to make amends.

"It was obviously pretty disappointing last year," he said. "I felt like I played really well here the two matches that I played.

"It was obviously pretty disappointing for both Alicia and myself that we had a very good chance, I thought, last year. Alicia went out and beat (Arantxa) Sanchez, and I felt pretty bad that the way I was playing I was pretty sure I was going to beat (Tommy) Robredo.

"That would have put us through and then they ended up winning it, so it was disappointing.

"I don't know if it's just with another South Australian -- it would always be fantastic to win it."

Molik vows the pair will give it their all. "This is our second year having a go at it," she said. "And it is going to be tough.

"We'll be doing our best, we'll have that 'never-say-die' attitude... and hopefully things will fall our way. (LOL! Someone's spending too much time with Lleyton! :p)
 

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Lleyton and Alicia's interview after the mixed duboules win over Czech republic :D

Is that like getting out of jail?
(Alicia) Better.
(Lleyton) I don’t know, I haven’t been in jail. :p It’s a big relief, I guess. Obviously when you’re in the mixed doubles, 6-4, 5-2 down, you haven’t had any opportunities really to break most of the match. Somehow I got out of my service game and then I served pretty well to save a couple of match points. Then of all the servers it was going to be Jiri serving, and we had to break him to stay in the match. It was a bloody good effort to get out of it.

Where did the game turn, do you think?

(Lleyton) I think definitely that game at 5-4 with Jiri serving. The momentum just changed. We saved one match point on that game, he made a first serve and I felt like I put in a really good return. I knew Bedanova wasn’t going to cross so I felt like I had half the court. I just had to hit a crosscourt backhand in. I made him play a low volley, and he probably shouldn’t have gone for a drop volley like he did. Once we got that next point, Alicia put up a tough sort of lob – not a really high defensive lob – but a tough one, and Bedanova couldn’t quite…it was one of those awkward ones you don’t know whether to volley or smash, and she smashed it into the net. I knew as soon as I got break point that I wasn’t losing that next point. I think that was the turnaround – those two or three points in that game.

You’ve been in matches where the momentum has shifted – just like that.
(Lleyton) Well, I’ve been in some matches where it’s done that. Probably the Tommy Haas match a couple of years ago in the Australian Open, two years ago in the Australian Open, in the second round. I was 5-0 down in the second set and I got out of it and won that 7-5. I was 4-1 down in the second and won that 6-4. I was 2-0 down in the third and won that 6-3. It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does happen you’ve got to take it.

Alicia, you’ve had an incredible week. Did you think you could play that well on a sustained performance?

(Alicia) Yeah, I’ve been practising really well the last couple of weeks. I really expected myself to perform the way I have been. But, no doubt, with the quality practice I’ve come into this event with a lot of confidence. I mean, I have been playing great, but I haven’t been surprising myself too much – a couple of shots here and there – but on the whole I’ve really expected myself to play at this level.

The fact that you’re now in the final, Alicia, Australia has a chance to win two times.

(Alicia) Yeah, absolutely. This is our second year having a shot at it, Lleyton and myself. Come the finals, that’s going to be tough either way – Belgium or the US. They are quality players. We’ll be doing our best. We’ll have that ‘never say die’ attitude like we did out there today, and hopefully things will fall our way.

Will you two sit down after tomorrow’s finalists have been decided and have a five or ten minute talk about what to do, come Saturday?

(Lleyton) Not really. I think going into the singles matches we’ve both got to concentrate on our own games. At this stage I don’t think we can worry about the doubles too much. Our priority is to go out there and obviously try and get the job done in two matches and make it a lot easier and not have to have too many heart attacks out there on the court again. You know, Alicia is going to be watching Kim and Serena play, and I’m going to be trying to…well, I know both James and Xavier well. I’ve played them a few times, so I’m going to know how they play anyway. If it comes down to the mixed doubles then, after the singles, we’ve played enough together. We grew up together. We know what each other is thinking as well as anyone around the place. We’ve just got to go out there and believe in it. I think if we don’t spend too much time dwelling on ‘I’m going to serve here’, ‘I’m going to do this’, and trying to work on it…I think in mixed doubles it’s a situation you’ve got to play point-by-point a little bit and see how the flow is going and how the opposing girl, for me, is playing, and just little things.

Alicia, is that your thought on the mixed as well? It just seems you’ve been improving your combination all week. How much does that help you in the finals?

(Alicia) Yeah, like Lleyton said, we’ve played enough together, really, in the past – especially the last couple of matches. Yeah, when we’re walking out there and change of ends, obviously we’re discussing it, but it’s not like we sit down and map out a game plan or anything. Like Lleyton said, we just have to check the flow of the match and see what the guy is doing and ways to counteract his big serve or to get on top of the girl’s serve. We just have a chat about it when we’re out there.

Lleyton, you’ve either got to play against the world number one or your girlfriend – which one would you prefer?

(Lleyton) I’d prefer my girlfriend. :hearts: Even though it would be extremely difficult, I guess, to go out there and play. Yeah, I’d love to see Kim and Xavier – obviously I’m closer to the Belgians with Kim. :angel: :hearts: If we’re both in the final, obviously one of us is going to win it, and I think if you’re not playing for the same country, that’s as well as you can do. I’m pushing for the Belgians, hopefully.

Lleyton, you said in the beginning of the tournament it was important to be here because you have three matches. Now you have four. How far away are you from your best level?

(Lleyton) Still a bit away, I guess. The other day, two days ago, I felt like I played really well against Dominik. I served and packaged my game together really well. Tonight I just didn’t serve well – it’s as simple as that. I just made life too difficult on myself. I served a lot of double faults; I didn’t get a high percentage of first serves in. When you play a guy like Jiri, he was going for it out there on second serves. He was putting me under pressure and it paid off. In other times there were chances where maybe if he went for it he could miss it, and I may have held a couple more service games a little bit more easier. Still, saying that though, I fought the second set out not playing great tennis. I had two break points in the first game of the third set and I had chances. I can’t remember the first one, but I dumped a backhand when I went for the winner crosscourt on the second one. I played a very slack game the next game to go down the break and that was the set, basically, from there.

Is there some extra special pressure for you playing Melbourne as a Grand Slam as opposed to the US Open or Wimbledon?

(Lleyton) Yeah maybe there’s more outside pressure, I think. I don’t put any more pressure on myself going into the Australian Open. I really look forward to it. It’s something that everyone knows by now I love challenges and I love going out there and competing and seeing where I’m at. The Australian Open for me, that’s sort of a goal. I couldn’t care less if I win it in ten years or this year. But, If I could win it someday it would be fantastic. Still, saying that, I think the way that I handled the situation being number one seed at Wimbledon, that’s a pretty prestigious thing, to be number one seed at Wimbledon and go through the tournament. Apart from one little hiccup there in the quarterfinals, I played pretty faultless tennis there. I don’t think it’s any more pressure on myself than going into Wimbledon as number one seed.

Reports are the courts are a bit quicker this year. Peter McNamara puts a ten per cent estimate on it. Does that suit you?

(Lleyton) I don’t know how he puts a percentage on it. Last year I thought it was extremely slow. I thought it suited a lot of the clay court players that came over. I think they performed a lot better on that kind of court. I’ve grown up on rebound ace. I’ve hit on Memorial Drive so many times, and every year it’s not exactly the same. It’s such a tough surface to get exactly the same every year – it’s nearly impossible. So I think it’s always going to be a little bit different. If it’s a little bit quicker, I think it’s probably a good thing. I think the balls over the last year have probably been a little bit heavier. There was that one year that I played Corretja and ended up losing to Norman, I think, in the fourth round. That year was lightening – that was real quick. From what I’ve heard I don’t think it’s going to be anything like that.

The weather is more of a factor with rebound ace than other surfaces?

(Lleyton) Yeah, it is. Obviously the ball is going to come through a lot quicker if you’re playing a day match where it’s 38 degrees or 35 degrees, rather than overcast. You just don’t know with Melbourne weather either. There’s a good chance that I’m going to be playing night matches as well, hopefully if I can stay in the tournament, at some stage during it. That’s going to be a totally different situation. A night match is going to be a lot heavier conditions. It’s going to be tougher to put the ball away. You’ve just got to go out there, I guess, and weigh it up on the day, and who you’re playing against and see what happens.

Alicia, is it quicker, Melbourne Park, from your experience at the training camp?

(Alicia) I thought it was a little bit quicker than last year, but not a great deal. I just think the top layer, the top surface, just seems to be a little less grit in it than last year. I thought they were a little bit quicker. (Lleyton) It’s hard to tell when they first lay it, I think. I hit on Adelaide as soon as it got laid and it was pretty slow, I thought, straight up. It’s meant to be pretty similar, I think, to Melbourne Park. The more you hit on it, by the time it gets to the Australian Open tournament I think it will be a lot quicker than when it’s first laid anyway.

Just back to the finals for a minute. Apart from having a look at the singles, will you have any special preparations? An extra practice session?

(Lleyton) Not really.
(Alicia) Stick with what works, I reckon.
(Lleyton) Yeah, I’ve been playing golf on my days off, that’s probably a chance.

Will you have a game of golf?

(Lleyton) I’m not sure. I’ll see how I wake up. It’s pretty late anyway

So you have one practice session each scheduled?

(Lleyton) Yeah, I’ll hit once just with Jason and go out there and do exactly what I’ve been doing. It’s been a good schedule for us, we’ve been playing every second day. It’s like a Grand Slam where you get that one day off where you can have a bit of a sleep in and relax and not worry about your match so much. And go out there and have a good hit out and sweat it out for an hour or so, an hour and a half, and sort of relax for the rest of the day.
 
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