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August 12, 2003

Xavier Malisse

CINCINNATI, OHIO, X. MALISSE/L. Hewitt 3-6, 6-4, 6-2

MODERATOR: Questions for Xavier, please.

Q. At what point in the match did you sense the momentum had turned toward you?

XAVIER MALISSE: Probably around when I got my serve at 3-2 in the second, I broke him at 2-2. Felt pretty good, but it's never, you know, it's never a break until you hold your own serve. So I held my own serve, and I started feeling a lot better. First set, I made too many mistakes, and I couldn't get used -- I always have trouble on the center court. It just seems a lot smaller to me than other courts, so I got to get used to it. In the beginning I couldn't hit my shots. But, slowly, I got into the match, started serving better, and I think around 4-2 I really started believing like, "Just get to a third set and anything can happen."

Q. What were your expectations like before the match?

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, it's, you know, you just go out there, you don't expect to win; you want to win; you feel like you can win. But still, you know, it's Top 10 on the other side of the net. But I was confident the last weeks. I've had tough draws, but I played three sets every time against the Top 10 guys. I feel like I'm right there and it had to come, and today was the day.

Q. Not taking anything away from your win, you played well, but do you sense a different Lleyton Hewitt there than we had seen in the past? He doesn't seem like he's really in there.

XAVIER MALISSE: Probably, yeah, he made a lot more mistakes than he normally does. But it's tough, you know. If you lose a couple matches, your confidence goes down a little bit, and the shots that you normally hit, you might miss them in the net. I think everybody goes through it in this career, you've got some ups and downs. He probably knows better than I do, you know, you just got to keep working, and it will come back.

Q. You've had some tough draws. Did you just feel pretty unlucky lately?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, a little bit. I've played -- the last four weeks I've played Roddick, Grosjean, Roddick. First round in LA against Grosjean, first round Montreal, Roddick. Beginning of the season, too. Every time I've been close. But, you know, it's always nicer to play a different guy first round, and then maybe second round a Top 10 seed. But, you know, this is how it goes. Some years you get a little more luckier than other years. You know, it doesn't mean you lost before, you just got to keep working, and you can't play every week first round against Top 10 guys. You just got to hope for some more luck in the draws next week.

Q. Do you think playing those earlier Top 10s may have helped you today?

XAVIER MALISSE: You know, the good thing about it is if you beat a seed, then the draw kind of opens a little bit. Although in this tournament, every round is pretty tough, I would say. But in other tournaments, like in LA, if I beat Grosjean, the draw opens on the bottom. So that's a good thing. In Masters Series, there's no easy rounds. There's some unbelievable first rounds. But it's for everybody the same, you know. Everybody who gets on the court, it's a 50/50 percent chance.

Q. Do you feel you belong up there with guys like Roddick, Grosjean, Hewitt?

XAVIER MALISSE: I feel like, and I play, you know, three sets against Roddick last week, three sets against Grosjean before. I've beaten Top 10 guys before, so I know I can do it and I feel like if I'm in shape and I do my things, then I feel like I can definitely play with those guys and beat them. That's what's helped me over the last four, five weeks. I've done a lot more fitness than before. It's starting to pay off. I'm starting to feel a lot better.

Q. You looked almost kind of sluggish today in the first set. How were you able to get it turned around?

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, you know, you got to just move your feet. I noticed to myself that, you know, the first set I couldn't really move too much. But I think also breaking somebody and holding serve, and everything, gets you more into the match automatically. Your feet start moving. Those are the kind of breaks you need. And it's not easy, you sit around, wait for matches. One's long, one's short. It's kind of tough. You got to do some warm-ups before and try and get ready.

End of FastScripts….

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