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January 20, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. What do you think made the difference in the end? Is there one point or one difference between you two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to reflect on the match straight after it. You know, it was as close as anything, you know, whether it was getting the break point early in the fifth set was probably my big opportunity I think. You know, but then again, you know, if I could have held serve early in the second set after I won the first and really sort of got in a bit of a roll, a bit of rhythm, he was spraying balls early in the match. I gave him that confidence boost early in the second set, and he took full advantage of that.

Q. I mean it's just a hell of a difficult match to lose and to have to come in so soon after is probably difficult to sink in as well. Not an easy one for you, is it?


Q. And all the circumstances?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. At the end of the day, I gave everything I had. And, you know, in all three of my matches, I had to work my butt off the whole time. I didn't get too many, you know, cheap points against the three guys that I played. They're all very class, highly rated players. Obviously the draw didn't go my way, I suppose, and I didn't give myself a chance to work my way into the tournament. But there's nothing I can do about that. You know --.

Q. Do you think you suffered a little bit almost for the way you play? You get dragged into long matches. It's almost the way you are.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, little bit. But I think still, you know, if I played three guys ranked 70, 80, 90 in the world, a qualifier, wildcard, then it could have been a totally different story I think. I drew a guy who's been No. 4 in the world, I drew a guy who's been No. 1 in the world and, I drew Tommy Haas, who I would have rated him probably before the tournament as the best unseeded player. I didn't get too kind in my section, but there's nothing I can do about that at all. You win some; you lose some.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually, I felt pretty good. Obviously, you know, I don't know how long it went, probably close to four hours in the end. But once it starts getting to that stage, it doesn't matter how, you know -- I'm sure Carlos is feeling it as well. Once you get into that long situation, deep in the fifth set, then you start feeling it for sure. You know, I felt pretty good for the first few sets out there. I was quite surprised, considering that, you know, I haven't done any fitness work or anything for the last four or five months. So, you know, I've got a good base to work on. That's what I'm trying to say.

Q. How do you see now the chances of Moya to go further in the championship?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, I think it's open. A lot depends on how he pulls up, though, in two days' time. I give him a very good chance of doing well. Whether he can win it or not, that's another story because, you know, last year he really struggled, last year and a half I suppose. But he is a class player and, you know, as soon as he gets his confidence back and he starts working that forehand, he has a very good serve on him for a baseliner as well. So he's going to be very hard to beat.

Q. How great was the expectation you felt coming into this as Australia's sort of favorite chance here I guess? How much of it did you put on yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't put any on myself. I came in hoping that I was going to be hitting the ball well before I sort of came into the whole summer circuit, then, you know, I was very happy the way I played in Sydney and got myself in good condition after losing in Adelaide in the quarters there. But, you know, it was very hard to expect huge things, because, you know, before the Davis Cup I, in my mind, was worried I was going to play the Davis Cup final or play the Australian Open circuit. You know, my breathing was that bad at the time. Darren had sat me down and said, "You're probably going to have to miss one of these, which one are you going to miss." I took my chances in the Davis Cup, and as it turns out, I've taken my chances for the Australian Open circuit as well. I really didn't give myself the greatest chances, I think, of doing well in both situations due to, you know, things that I can't, you know, are out of my control anyway.

Q. You were prepared to miss this event to play Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's what I did at the start, yeah. Davis Cup's my priority.

Q. Would it be fair to say that you would be pleased not to see any more Spanish players for a while?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got nothing against Carlos at all. You know, he's --.

Q. Just sort of the circumstances of Ferrero in Barcelona and now this tonight, you could probably do the --?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I can definitely -- I don't want to keep coming off against them. But, you know, that wasn't in my mind going into the match at all. You know, Carlos had nothing to do with Barcelona at all.

Q. What now before Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Try to get my body right. You know, I'm struggling with my hamstring at the moment. That's the priority - to try to get that right in time because, you know, I've been taking a lot of tablets and stuff to try and get it right for these two weeks. Now I've really got to get off that and try and get it 100 percent for the Davis Cup tie, then the American hardcourt season.

Q. Are you feeling twice your age at this stage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's unbelievable. I feel worse than Darren. He complains about his knees; I got worse things going on than him at the moment.

Q. Are you now looking to take a break for mental health reasons?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, the schedule doesn't really allow me to take a break. You know, I've got a Davis Cup tie on grass which is going to take a bit of getting used to after playing on rebound ace, switching to grass. You know, this stage, I don't really have an opportunity to sort of lay out four or five weeks. That was the problem with the breathing thing. You know, they recommended having surgery and that. I couldn't really lay out a time that I'd be out for four or five weeks which I could, you know, take that time off and get it done properly and then come back on the circuit.

Q. If you don't take a break, aren't you worried that you'll be forced to take a break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at the moment. My breathing's actually feeling a little bit better with the tablets I've been taking and the nasal spray. The hamstring, which happened practicing here a few days before the tournament started, that is a once off thing. If I can get that right before the Davis Cup tie, you know, I think I'm gonna be fine.

Q. There's no kind of situation where having to play as it were an indoor match affects you in any way, is there? Because clearly the air doesn't move around as much.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I feel pretty good out there. And in Barcelona I felt, you know, I'm definitely not normal, not 100 percent of what I've been in the past. But for the way that I've been going, I felt pretty good out there.

Q. Think Pat can win this event?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, I think the way that Pat's been playing, I've only seen his few matches, two out of the three matches that he's played, but he seems to be hitting the ball well. I hit with him this morning actually. He's confident I think. He hasn't had a lot of pressure I think going into him as well. He's been able to sort of build his game up. You know, it's a big test for him tomorrow, I think, to play his first real name player in the tournament so far, round of 16. I think Henman's playing very well as well. So, you know, I take Pat to win, you know, because I know that he wants it, you know, as much as I do and every other Australian, Andrew Ilie or whoever.

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