January 16, 2003
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A win is a win obviously for you. Is it tougher if you're wiping the floor with a fellow Aussie?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always tough playing Aussies, anyone from the same country, I guess. But, you know, this is a Grand Slam, and you've got to try and block it out as much as possible. That's why I guess I try and block out who I'm playing, you know, from whichever country he's from really and just try and play my game against theirs and see how it matches up on the day. This is such a big tournament, you can't go thinking about taking it a little bit easy out there or whatever. I had to just try and get on and off the court as quickly as possible. It's nice to do it a bit easier than I did in the first round, too.
Q. Does it put a bit of an edge around the Aussie group of players playing one another instead of us against them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. There's nothing really you can do about it. I think everyone knows that and accepts it. You know, if you're drawn to play each other, it's too bad. Basically you got to go out there and do as good a job as you can and then you'll be mates afterwards and talk about Davis Cup ties or whatever. That's always been the case, I think. Yeah, I don't think anyone's really had a problem with it.
Q. Who inspired you the most, Kim or Andre Agassi yesterday?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Pardon?
Q. Who inspired you most to win that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No one really inspired me too much. I just tried to get a win on the board.
Q. Were you aware of the score of Kim?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I knew she won today. She cracked half an hour. It's a good effort.
Q. She said afterwards she feels a bit sad and bad for her opponent. Do you have the same emotion?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always tough, yeah. But as I've said, I saw how, I guess, Andre went out there and chopped up Lee the other day, as well. You know, this is a Grand Slam. You know, you can't take any match lightly. You got to go out there and play your A game and hopefully it's good enough. I've seen so many matches won and lost when you're still cruising one or two sets up, two sets and a break, and you lose it. You just can't afford to do that in this game of tennis these days. There's too many good players.
Q. Was your need for a quick match heightened by what happened in your first match, long, tough match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's always nice to have an easy match after a tough one. But, you know, I felt good out there today. I felt really good. I felt like I bounced back really well. I felt hungry. I felt eager out there. I felt quick on my feet. You know, when you put in your work before a Grand Slam starts, you've got to be prepared to play seven best-of-five set matches. You've got to be prepared to go the distance in every one of those matches. You can't be thinking about trying to get three or four, just cruise through to victory in an hour and a half or an hour and 20 minutes. You've got to be prepared to last three, four hours, maybe seven matches. Hopefully I've done enough work to be able to do that.
Q. Stepanek next. The sort of trend today is not to volley very much, but he volleys a lot. Is that going to make a difference?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough player. I've only seen him play a few times. To beat Guga again, he beat him in the end of the season in the Paris Indoors, I saw that match. He's a different kind of player. He plays with a lot of finesse. He moves extremely well. One of the best movers I think on tour. He's probably one of the most underrated players. He's really come sort of from that doubles sort of playing and then sort of joined the singles, I guess, and got better and better. I think he's learning a lot from playing. I saw him play a lot with Jiri Novak over the years with doubles. I think he's learning a lot from Jiri in the way he's stepped up to the plate and got into the Top 10 in the Masters Cup now. He's had a big win. Obviously, he's going to be a little bit tired. I've got to try and take full advantage of that come Saturday.
Q. So what's on your agenda tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Nothing.
Q. Nice celebration?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Bed.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, we had a bit of a dinner last night. I didn't think I was going to be off this early tonight.
Q. The new shirt, is it a little bit too close for comfort to a Port Adelaide Magpie shirt? Does that not worry you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, doesn't worry me. Actually, I like black and white, I really do. I think it's actually a really nice-feeling shirt out there. I think Andre and I are the only two guys who have the actual black one with the white stripes. I like the look of it. I think it's a pretty nice shirt.
Q. Does it get hot in the sun?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The black? That's why I'm only wearing it for night matches. I'm wearing the white one with the two black stripes for the day matches. It does get too hot. I think that's probably -- if Andre plays a night match, he'll probably wear the black. I think he's wearing the white during the day as well, so.
Q. Apparently James Blake was given dispensation to wear his sleeveless shirt in this tournament. Is this something you would consider?
LLEYTON HEWITT: The sleeveless? He's wearing that?
Q. He was wearing it.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I haven't really thought about it too much. You know, it's a bit of a fashion statement, I guess. For me it would be a weird feeling going out there and play with no sleeves on your shirt. At the moment, I feel comfortable just playing in a normal shirt. You know, I guess times have changed a little bit, you know, with colors and stuff out there at the moment. I'm probably not quite ready to make that adjustment yet.
Q. You just mentioned the Masters Cup in Shanghai. Do you think your winning the Masters Cup have impacted encouraging you to win the match in Australian Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: To win the tournament?
Q. Win the tournament.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, last year -- it gives you a lot of confidence, coming off winning a tournament like the Masters Cup, knowing that you're among the eight best players in the world at that tournament. You have to play, you know, incredible tennis to win such a prestigious event. But this is a new year now. It's a totally different format than the Masters Cup. You've got to get through, you know, seven best-of-five set matches, whereas in the Masters Cup there's only the final that's best-of-five sets. It's a different situation, but I guess, you know, I feel confident, I guess, coming off the last few wins I had in the Masters Cup, beating Safin, Federer and Ferrero three days in a row. I felt like I played extremely good tennis that whole week.
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