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January 26, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. What sort of treatment did you require after such a long battle like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: After the match?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, just stretching, a little bit of massage, you know, just to get the lactic acid out more than anything. You know, just ice, more recovery.

Q. How much petrol have you got in the tank?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably as much as my Ferrari at home. I'll keep going (smiling).

Q. Is it full?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I'll be sweet.

Q. You seemed determined to make the most of this event. If you're going to win it, you're going to win it the hard way.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I spent about 15 hours on court. I'm definitely giving the crowds their money's worth and getting the TV ratings up for Channel 7, doing all that. I'm doing all the right things for the tournament.

Q. Very strange match today, how it fluctuated. How did you read it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was weird. I played pretty faultless first two sets. You know, I spent a bit of energy, though, after being down a break early in the second set, trying to fight back and get up two sets to love. I just had a down period, you know, throughout the third set, then just couldn't really get it going in the fourth. His game picked up, he cut out a lot of his cheap errors. He started really moving the ball around well. His serve picked up a lot, too. Made a lot more first serves, didn't give me any opportunity on the second. You know, the final set then, you know, it was just a battle. You know, I had to hang out there. You know, it wasn't easy always being always down in the fifth set. Yeah, it was more a mental battle than anything, you know, serving to stay in the tournament there a couple of times. You know, when you're down, you're always down 4-3 or 5-4. Even though it was on serve, it still felt like a long way before you were actually going to be able to serve for the match. Yeah, couldn't have come quick enough. Yeah, I was going to be out there as long as it took, though.

Q. How much were you hampered by the injury tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The injury wasn't too bad tonight. Yeah, you know, it was just a little bit of stiffness out there more than anything. You know, more it was just I think my energy levels just dropped off after the second set when I went up two sets to love and I just wasn't quite able to maintain it. Then I just had to dig deep in the fifth set, and yet again the never-say-die attitude came out.

Q. When was the last time you were involved in a match with such consequence, so many overrules, bad calls, people changing their minds and all sorts of things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There was shit going on everywhere, wasn't there? Yeah, I don't know. It was weird, you know. A couple of times, you felt like you hit good shots. And, you know, nine times out of ten when you actually hit it off the bat, you've got a good feeling whether it's going to be in or not. Especially, you know, on the baseline when you're hitting. There was quite a few shots, I know for myself and I'm sure David had the same, that off the bat I felt they were good, and, you know, they got called out or overruled or corrections, late calls as well. But there's not a whole heap you can do. It's the same for both players. You know, I know you always say it probably evens out. Probably doesn't. But, you know, you've got to try and block it out as much as possible.

Q. But also at the same time keep your concentration as well as can you in the circumstances? Coming right down to the wire.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. In a match like that, when you have such a tough fifth set, no breaks of serve for so long in the fifth set then, you know, it's only going to be one or two points that can change an outcome. You don't want to get too flustered or worry about it too much because then, you know, it could change the whole momentum of the match.

Q. Do you ever surprise yourself at how well you go? You often talk about the never-say-die attitude. Do you ever walk off the court surprised by yourself, at how well you do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, not really. You know, I walk off the court. If I lose and I know I've given a hundred percent, there's not a whole heap I can do about it. You know, we're playing a sport that there's two guys out there, it's a two-horse race. You know, every time I step on the court, I give a hundred percent so I can at least walk off with my head held high. Even if I went down tonight, I gave everything I had out there. Yet again I was able to come through in the clutch situations, you know, such as the match against Nadal the other day. You know, Nalbandian has played enough big matches that I don't think there's a huge difference in experience between the two of us. We're the same age. I know obviously I've won probably a few more bigger matches than him. But he's a Top 10 player. He's a classy opponent. You know, I think it was -- yeah, in the end I just played some of the bigger points a little bit better.

Q. You talked about the fifth set being a mental battle. Do you think when it comes to that, you've got the mental edge over most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think I'm as mentally tough as anyone out there, yes. And I think I've won a lot of matches in the past because of that. But, you know, whether I'm the best at that, I don't know. I'm sure there's a few other guys. But, you know, I think mentally I go out there with, you know, a pretty good attitude. And, you know, it's won me a lot of tight matches in the past.

Q. As a boy, have you ever dreamt of being in the tournament the second week serving at 9-8 in front of 15,000 people?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never thought about it. Maybe a final instead of a quarterfinal. I'll take the quarterfinal (smiling). But, yeah, I don't know. You know, you always -- you know, you remember -- I remember Wilander playing, you know, I think it was 8-6 in the fifth against Cash here in the final the first year it was here at Melbourne Park. That's what you dream of, playing those matches. The atmosphere out there was electric once again. I've been fortunate that I've -- well, fortunate in some ways that I put myself in a position that we've had great atmosphere in nearly every one of my matches the last two weeks. Every match has been tight in situations during the match. Yeah, the crowd atmosphere out there's been fantastic.

Q. Roddick has played eight hours less than you. Would you concede he's got an advantage over you going into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's got an advantage he's in bed already tonight, too. Yeah, he's got an advantage in that point. But, you know, come Friday at 7:30, I'll be ready to go.

Q. Could it be an advantage to the fact you've been out there in tight matches, whereas he's sort of had this armchair ride through the semifinals, might not be match tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't think -- I don't think that's going to worry Andy too much. You know, with his game, I think he's played in enough big matches, enough tight matches, that I don't think it will really worry him. You know, I think you're always going to prefer to have spent less energy I guess out on the court leading into a semifinal when it gets really down to the business end of the tournament. Yeah, when you start playing, you know, it's the Top 4 players in the world playing the semifinals here now, as well. So, yeah, you're going to have to play your best tennis and you're going to have to have enough petrol in the tank, as well.

Q. When you played a match like this, you don't finish till midnight, come in here at half 1, at your hotel at half 2, how easy do you find it to chill out, calm down, get back into any kind of normal activity?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not easy to switch off, I guess, after you've been out there in such an atmosphere like that for, you know, four hours, just over four hours, and then to do your preparation and maintenance to get your body ready for the next match, as well. It's never easy. But I'm sure I'll have a good night's sleep eventually when I get to sleep. I think I deserve it tonight.

Q. Do you wind down with a few beers?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, probably my coach and trainer and that will have a couple. But I'll wait till next week.

Q. How important is the support you're getting from the crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's awesome. You know, I love playing, you know, in Australia. I think my record in obviously Davis Cup matches in Australia, even the smaller tournaments, Adelaide and Sydney, I think speaks for itself in the past. And I've played big matches here in Melbourne. Yeah, the crowd's been awesome. I think Melbourne as a sporting crowd, as I said the other night, is second to none. The way they support any sporting event and the Australians, it's pretty amazing.

Q. What about the Argentinian players, a bit of bad blood out there tonight again with Nalbandian?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't notice anything.

Q. It seemed like you may have touched him, turned around, was a bit upset.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think he brought it on himself a little bit, that.

Q. How?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He walked a little -- he sort of propped and waited for a bit of a shoulder, I think.

Q. What about after the match, were there words exchanged?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. He said, "Well done." I said, "Good tournament." That was about it.

Q. Can you explain how come you (inaudible) about the surface hit the fastest serve of your life?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, technically the ball actually doesn't radar when it hits the court, does it? It goes through the air. So you tell me why that happens. It's got nothing to do with the court, mate. And if you knew anything about tennis, you'd realize that.

Q. Last time you played with Andy Roddick, you beat him badly. How are you going to approach this match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that, sorry?

Q. Last time you played Roddick, you beat him big time. How are you going to approach this match? How are you going to prepare it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, I just prepare as any other match, I guess. But obviously that's in the back of my mind. I'm sure it's going to be in the back of his mind, as well, that, you know, I played a pretty good match against him in the Masters Cup in the semi there. It's not easy playing Andy in America. He loves the hype of playing in his home country. I played a pretty good match that time, so I'll be trying to emulate a very similar, you know, situation, I guess. But, you know, I'm sure he's going to learn a lot from that match and he's going to come out and want revenge.

End of FastScripts….

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