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January 24, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. You were saying out there that you expect a tough match. Was it even tougher than you thought, the young boy tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I seen a little bit of his second-round match. He played a lot better tonight than he did in that second-round match, I tell you. He could have very easily been down two sets to one in that match against Ascione, I think, the French bloke. And it wasn't until the other guy started getting a few cramps that he actually got on top of him. He really went up another couple of levels tonight. Yeah, he's a great player. As I said before, you know, all the good stuff you've heard and seen in the past, you know, he's going to be very good in a couple of years.

Q. How far are you from your top form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played pretty well tonight, I felt. You know, went hammers and tongs right from the baseline. Didn't move back too much and really attacked right from the word "go." Felt like I hit the ball pretty well the whole night. Even the times I got broken, he played a couple of incredible points to break me. And I was really happy with how I came back in both the breakers. You know, I was down mini breaks early, and I just kept fighting and finding a way to get through those tight sets. Then in the third set, obviously got on top of him early.

Q. How is your injury pulling up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty good. Feel good at the moment. See how I feel. Tomorrow doesn't matter so much, but I'll hopefully be all right Monday.

Q. It was a good hit-out for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Very good match.

Q. What about Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, doesn't get any easier, that's for sure. You know, it's going to be a tough match and I've got to go out there and just worry about my game. And hopefully I can get off to a bit better start than I did last time against him a few months ago.

Q. Why do you think you've got such a good record against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think we played a lot probably before he was probably at his best, I think. That may be one of the reasons. He got on the tour just a little bit after me, I think, as well. You know, since then, since we've probably both been at our best, we've probably only played a couple of times, I think. Nearly all the matches have been pretty close. We played -- not only this Davis Cup tie, we played a Davis Cup tie in Zurich a few years ago, which was a tight four-set match. The only match I think I lost to him was in Basel in his hometown, in the semifinals of the Swiss indoors, and I lost 7-6 in the third. I think I had match point. We've played some pretty good matches in the past. I've really got to, you know, play some of my best tennis to keep up with him.

Q. Is there any difference at all that this is at a Grand Slam, and you haven't played before at a Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, we haven't. You know, I don't know. It's probably pretty similar to a Davis Cup tie in that the pressure is there for both of us. You know, Round of 16 of a Grand Slam, you know. You can take a little bit out of a Davis Cup tie, I guess. But, you know, I was very fortunate to get out of that match, as well. But, you know, it's the best-of-five sets, like that Davis Cup tie, so there's plenty of time.

Q. Is that the match you remember most with them, the Davis Cup one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was the most recent, so...

Q. The one that stands out of the nine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Obviously, I think apart from that other Davis Cup match, when we probably both weren't at our best at that time, apart from that, that's probably the only five-set match I think we've played. Yeah, it definitely stands out. It was the biggest match I think that we both had to play under pressure. You know. It was a hell of an outcome in the end for me.

Q. The role of the crowd in both tiebreaks, what influence did it have on you tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's great. You know, the crowd not only in the tiebreakers, I think the whole time. They were loud out there. Fanatics really got them going. Awesome atmosphere out there.

Q. Did you organize those seats for the Fanatics tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think Roger's done most of that with the Fanatics, and with Wozz, helping them out as much as possible.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how a crowd can help a player through a match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, crowds obviously, you know, if you use them the right way, you get an atmosphere like we've had tonight, then it's always a positive, I think, and you can draw a lot of positives out of it and try and use that positive energy in a good way. Then again, you know, there's some times when you feel maybe the expectation of playing in front of a big crowd going for you, as well. I've played some of my best matches in Davis Cup away from home when you've got to block out the whole crowd and just concentrate on what you're doing. There's positives and negatives for both ways. I still think it's a lot easier to go out there and concentrate when the crowd's all with you.

Q. The fourth round is where you got to last year, and fell against Younes. Will that play on your mind at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Younes was too good last year. He played a hell of a match. You know, I only lost my serve once for the whole day and I didn't break him in the whole match. There's not too many matches I can't recall when I haven't been able to break a guy once in four sets. I just had to live with that and, you know, I guess it was easy to get over that match, a little bit easier, because I knew it was a little bit out of my control. I felt like I played a pretty good match for most of it. Maybe just didn't take a couple opportunities when they popped up. But I won't be worrying about that on Monday.

Q. Did you get a chance to watch Todd's match against Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I watched a little bit on TV before I went out to hit the balls out the back there. Actually saw him go up a break. Came in, and he was finished. Poor old Todd I think was a bit tired today.

End of FastScripts….

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