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January 18, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. What did you think of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not too bad. It's always tough playing your first match at the Aussie Open I think any time. Great atmosphere out there, though, tonight. To come away with a straight-sets win against a tough opponent, I think he'd be awkward for most guys out there. He doesn't give you too many cheap points and he makes you work extremely hard. He makes you go out there and earn it. He's a name player, so it's a match you really have to get up for.

Q. Was that the maximum of your enthusiastic level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Wasn't that much, was it? Yeah, I don't know.

Q. What about tactically, you must have been happy from the word go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty good. Just sort of feeling each other out, I think, at the start more than anything. Felt like he served extremely well at the start. I just couldn't get into his service games. He was serving a lot harder and making a lot more first serves than he had in Adelaide and Sydney when I played him the LAST two times. It just took me a little while to get on his serve. Then he started out the 4-3 game with a double-fault and I really just tried to step on it from there and get up that break and try and get the momentum, which really turned around at the end of the first set, start of the second.

Q. Have you improved your own serve in the off-season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think -- I just tried -- I think I was serving extremely well, you know, at the end of last year. In the Masters Cup I felt like I served really well in most of my matches there. Even at the whole US Open Series leading into the US Open I served well. And it was more just trying to keep that going, I think, over the off-season more than actually working on anything in particular with my serve.

Q. Two hours on court tonight. Did it confirm your initial worries about the court or has your mind changed at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, it's pretty slow out there, I think. I think, you know, Wayne Arthurs summed it up pretty well earlier today.

Q. Your thoughts on James Blake?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a tough second-round match at any Slam I think, on any surface. He's very flashy and he's got a lot of firepower out there. So he's a lot better player than what his ranking is at the moment, coming back from injury and illness last year. It's not going to be an easy match at all. I've got to go out there and, you know, play my game and worry about my game more than anything, though. If I play well, then, you know, hopefully I'll be able to come away with the win.

Q. You seem more driven with each passing match in your career. Do you get more driven as your career goes along? And, if so, why is that or how is that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if I get more driven. You know, I think I'm, you know, motivated most of the time. And, you know, something that, you know, you sort of set yourself goals or standards, I guess, as your career goes on. You know, you try and work towards those things. You know, what motivates you is obviously for me Grand Slams and Davis Cup and playing in the big tournaments. You know, that's why you want to try and improve your game and prepare as well as possible, I think, for those tournaments. You know, I think that motivates me more than anything right at the moment.

Q. What about the pressure, how you handle the pressure concerning the expectations of a whole country here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think there's two of us, two men in the second round. I'm sure Nathan Healey and I will split it 50/50 (smiling).

Q. But was that the answer of the question?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, you know, I handle it pretty well, I think, most times I play in Australia.

Q. Do you think you could beat Roger Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not really worried about Roger Federer right at the moment.

Q. Last weekend in Sydney and now here I couldn't help but notice your voice sounds a bit husky. Do you mind if I ask whether that's okay, or is it just a cold?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's fine. I had a bit of a sore throat the start of Sydney. No, I feel fine. Just my voice. You know, all the screaming on court probably doesn't help that either.

Q. Have you been to the beauty bar here or do you think you want to go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To the what?

Q. There's a beauty bar here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I didn't know. I don't even know what that is, so... (laughing). Cheers.

End of FastScripts….

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