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January 26, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Do you have any feeling about that foot fault?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously disappointing when you hit an ace and you get a foot fault called on you on a game point, I guess. But, yeah, I still wouldn't have won the match even if -- at that stage, anyway. I'm not going to take anything away from Roger's win. He was too good tonight. But, you know, it was obviously, you know, a bit disappointing, the only foot fault I get the whole night, hit an ace off it.

Q. How long did you feel that that took the wind out of your sails? It was obviously just a few games there where...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably only hurt me just that one game I think. I think Roger sort of felt a bit of a relief, I guess. Could have been 3-all in that set. You know, instead, he came out, worked a couple of forehands. There really wasn't much I could do in the next two points. So, you know, that was the one break for the set there. That sort of set the second set up for him, and, you know, I felt like I had a lot of chances out there tonight. I had a lot of love-30s, I had a lot of breakpoints, especially early in the second set there. I wasn't able to capitalize. Could have easily been up a set and a break. Had a breakpoint in the first game. Had some more later on as well, so...

Q. When he plays like that, does it get to a period where he's untouchable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He goes through patches where he's pretty good. You got to try and weather the storm as much as possible. I felt like I came out and I was aggressive right from the start, I put a lot of pressure on him. You know, probably just went in my shell there for a couple of games and he was able to step it up and take advantage of that, I think. Yeah, as I said before, I think I really had to try and get on top of him, you know, early in that second set after I got that first set in the bag. He came up were a couple of big serves, big forehands on those points. And, yeah, there really wasn't much I could do probably on those breakpoints anyway. I needed to probably get a little bit of a look at a few more second serves, I'd say.

Q. Is this the best you saw him playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about the best. You know, he played in patches tonight extremely well, yeah. I still felt like I had a lot of chances out there, though. You know, I'm -- it's hard to say that, you know, I guess the semi and final of Wimbledon last year, that was probably as well as he's probably ever played, I'd say.

Q. Can't rewrite history, of course. Do you think with the experience...


Q. We can't rewrite history.


Q. Sadly for you. But do you think that at the point 5-4, where you could have maybe broken back 5-5, with all the experience of the Davis Cup, that might have changed things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, who knows, mate. If you're 5-all, you got a fighting chance anyway. I can't tell you one way or another. You know, he made a couple of -- you know, didn't quite go for as much as normal, I think, or as he was earlier in the fourth set, in the third set. That's normal to get a little bit tight under those circumstances. He was playing down the tougher end as well, you know, trying to finish it off. But to his credit, he came up with some pretty big, big points when he needed to.

Q. Both you and Mark came into this stage of the tournament playing fantastic tennis. Beaten in the fourth round. Hasn't been a happy hunting ground this fourth round of the Australian Open for Australian guys. Any idea what it is about this stage of the tournament that's been so unkind to our players recently, or how important it is putting this particular tournament in your career goals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know why but, you know, the years that I've made the fourth round, you know, I felt like tonight I gave it a good chance. I played a guy who was too good on the night. Last year was a little bit of a once off, I guess, playing El Aynaoui in the fourth round. I'd take that most times, playing El Aynaoui in a fourth round rather than Federer. But El Aynaoui played a hell of a match. Didn't break serve once. The time before that, made the fourth round, it was 2000, something like that, it was against Magnus Norman. At that stage he was 3 or 4 in the world. I quite wasn't up to it. In all those matches for me, personally, there's been reasons, I think, why I've probably lost in this round. But I don't think, you know -- Mark and I both played well, you know. I didn't see much of his match today, but he obviously didn't play as well as he probably could have today and has been playing. I ran into a guy who was too good for me tonight.

Q. How much of a distraction were the fireworks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit. We got told before we went on by Peter Bellinger there was gonna be fire works at about 9:15 for about 10 minutes. They tried to hold them off, but they weren't able to, or something. It was a lot louder than I thought it was gonna be.

Q. Generally speaking, would you like to see the surface here any different-paced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, apparently it didn't get resurfaced. Yeah, to me, it probably -- it felt like slower than it was in the September Davis Cup tie. Reasons for that, I don't know, whether it was because we laid a grass court on top of it, I really don't know. Felt a lot rougher. Felt like the balls were fluffing up a lot more out there the last couple of weeks. You know, I think the disappointing thing is we can't get a surface, you know -- I practiced on Adelaide before I went to the Hopman Cup, then I played in the Hopman Cup, I played in Sydney, I played in Melbourne, and none of them are the same. I think, you know, Sydney and Melbourne was the biggest difference of all-time. They're the two supreme tournaments in Australia, so...

End of FastScripts….

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