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January 20, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Gave you a hell of a fright?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a dangerous player. He always is. Yeah, had not a lot to lose out there when he went out there. You know, he's got as good a forehand, you know, as anyone out there when it's on. You know, had opportunities. I had the first opportunities in both the first and second sets and wasn't able to get those breaks. You know, he played -- he came up with some big serves on all the breakpoint opportunities that I had. Just had to, you know, hang in there and wait for my opportunities. I felt like I was starting to get, throughout the second set, I was starting to get in most of his service games. I just had to take my chances when I got them.

Q. Come out of a match like that, almost one point away from being two sets to love down and get through.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good because I felt like fitness-wise I was always going to have the upper hand as well. So, yeah, it's always nice to get through. You just sort of look at it as, you know, it's a dangerous match. As I've said all the time, you can't take anyone lightly. But I think my first two opponents, Clement and also Blake now, they're two tough players. You look at the guys in the whole draw who aren't seeded, they're a couple of the toughest because they're big-match players. Clement has obviously made a Grand Slam final, been in the Top 10, 15 in the world. Blake has been in the Top 25 or so in the world and has beaten a lot of the best players. So it's never going to be easy.

Q. Tell us about the emotions out there with the roller coaster of that tiebreak.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a lot of momentum swings out there. Just kept trying to hang in there more than anything. You know, I don't know. You just give 100% and, you know, things fell my way towards the end of that tiebreaker. At the start of the tiebreaker he served extremely well. I just couldn't get into his serves at all. You know, as soon as I got some second serve opportunities, then I really capitalized on those late in the tiebreaker. Played a great point to end up winning it. It was a huge momentum swing.

Q. You bounced your way over to the chair. You were obviously pretty pumped up at that stage. Did you expect the third to go the way it did?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that, but I felt pretty confident going in there after winning that second set. I just felt like there had been a huge momentum swing, and obviously after he served for the second set at 6-5 as well. You know, just felt like I was starting to get on top of him at that stage and just really had to put the foot down. I was able to do that at the start of the third set. He obviously went away a little bit towards the end of the third set once he was down a double break, but then I knew I had to regroup the start of the fourth because he was going to come out and try to jump me a little bit there. It was good I was able to get up an early break in the fourth as well.

Q. What did you think when he sort of mocked you there in that tiebreaker?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually didn't see it. A few people told me they'd seen it. I didn't see it.

Q. What do you think now that you've been told about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they can keep doing it if they want. I took it off of Wilander, so....

Q. Didn't see it like an insult or anything like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Seems like I'm sort of the only bloke doing it at the moment so, yeah -- yeah, doesn't bother me too much.

Q. How difficult or otherwise do you find it when you get here on a day, you know you're playing last in the day session, then today there was a long five-setter, there's a couple hours you have to fill in somehow. Take us through how you go. Do you find it a bit hard when you're waiting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a long day. You get here quarter past 11 or so, warm up at 12 o'clock, then sitting around until, I don't know what time we ended up getting out there, must have been close to 5 o'clock, just before 5 maybe. There's a lot of empty time there. You're just sitting around, listen to music. You know, watched a little bit of Nadal-Youzhny match just because it was starting to get a bit interesting there for a bit. That was pretty much it. Then just do the same routine, you know. Obviously thought that Venus was going to -- as soon as that match went on, I thought that would go over pretty quickly, obviously. Pretty much as soon as that men's match finished, then I started getting myself geared up, ready to go.

Q. The extra wait and the conditions when you got out there, the wind looked like it was gusting around. Overcast, a bit cool. Were there a few things that combined to make you feel flat at the start of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really flat. I didn't feel flat going out there. I felt ready to go right from the start. I felt like I was the one early on that had the opportunities. You know, I had the first breakpoint in the first set. It was weird, though, because, you know, you play that last match during the day, and the shadows start coming across the court as well. So it's a lot easier to play once you get that whole -- the shadows come, you know, the whole way across the court rather than half and half and you're serving either out of the sun into the shadow or vice versa. Yeah, it was definitely -- one end was a lot easier. You know, the end that we walk out on to court was a lot easier to play with the breeze today than the other end. Really felt like you were hitting uphill the other end, so...

Q. During the tiebreak, when you hit that lob over James, he stood at the net for a long time clapping. Did you see him there at all? Or had you already turned around to the cheer squad?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't see it. What point was that? I can't even remember.

Q. 7-all.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Okay, yeah. No, I can't even remember. No, didn't see it all.

Q. Little bit of animosity between you guys before. Could you describe the state of your relationship now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we get along well. Practiced together in the past. He's a pretty down-to-earth guy as well. He's very easy to get along with.

Q. Can you talk about next round.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Juan Ignacio Chela. Get ready for a long match, I'd say - about as long as his name (smiling). We've had tough matches in the past. We played twice last year, both on hard court. He won the first one in three sets in Indian Wells, and I won the next one in three sets in Long Island right before the US Open. So he's a tough competitor. He obviously beat Wayne Arthurs in the first round. But it's going to be a little bit different matchup, him playing Wayne compared to playing me. There's going to be a lot of long rallies. It's going to be a real battle out there. But if I stay mentally tough, you know, hopefully I can come through.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the cheer squad, the Fanatics, what they bring to a match and what they bring to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're awesome. Wazzo and the boys are fantastic. Something that I've grown up playing the Davis Cup with them there, you know, every time. You know, there's been a lot of away ties, I think, where if it wasn't for them, then I probably wouldn't have got over the line on a lot of occasions. They've really helped me out a lot. I try and help them out and get a good feeling here at the Australian Open as well by getting them some tickets. You know, I really enjoy their support. I think they get the crowd going, singing the National Anthem, stuff like that out there. I know I've got to be concentrating, but it's pretty funny.

Q. What do you say about Joachim Johansson's achievements last year?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He had a great last year. Obviously at the start of the year, he, you know, lost in qualifying in Adelaide. Then he's gone on to finish 11 or 12 in the world, so he's had an amazing year. He's always had the potential, though. He's got amazing firepower. It was pretty much just a matter of time before he matured as a player, I think. He's dangerous on all surfaces and, you know, as we saw at the US Open, beating Andy Roddick in five sets in a quarterfinal at the US Open is not an easy thing to do. You know, he'll be around for a while.

Q. Do you think you had any impact on him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Probably copying me with a few things, but I don't know (smiling).

Q. Did you see the Federer-Suzuki match last night?


End of FastScripts….

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