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January 16, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. How's the body feeling after that epic one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, you know, it was a very tough match physically and mentally out there tonight. It's just sort of wait and see really how it pulls up tomorrow, and then hopefully on Thursday I'm going to be, you know, 90 to 100 percent again.

Q. The treatment you had, was that for the hamstring?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I twinged, sort of twinged it a little bit during practice a couple days ago, basically when I first arrived here in Melbourne. So that was a bit of a concern going into the match as well tonight. I've been getting treatment sort of basically ever since I've been here in Melbourne and it just wasn't getting any better out there on the court tonight, so I needed something out there. You know, it's something that I just had to put, you know, play through out there.

Q. With all that in mind, does it worry you how much you might have left for the other rounds, particularly with your hard second-round opponent to start off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's just sort of wait-and-see really. You know, Tommy's going to be a very tough opponent. Come Thursday, I'm going to have to be, you know, playing my best tennis if I'm going to get over him. You know, there's certainly a little bit of concern I think. But, you know, I've been able to get through a five-set match out there tonight against Jonas Bjorkman.

Q. You're a definite starter against Tommy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah. At this stage, mate. I am going to get as much treatment. This is the Australian Open, this is a Grand Slam. Davis Cup and Grand Slams, that's what you live for as a tennis player. For me, playing in Australia, it's my favorite, you know, tournament of the year and, you know, I'm going to go out there and, you know, try and give it everything I've got.

Q. Must have been great having that sort of crowd behind you after what you went through in Barcelona. We were pretty much the exact opposite?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the crowd was fantastic. You know, they lifted with me out there tonight, and, you know, I was two-sets-to-one down in that Costa match in the first rubber of the Davis Cup, and it sort of brought back a few memories when I was two-sets-to-one down in tonight's match as well. The energy that I could draw off the crowd tonight, you know, it was fantastic. It was unbelievable.

Q. Do you feel you can reverse it against Tommy? You mentioned as you came off the court you felt you'd be better prepared this time because you didn't have much practice going into Adelaide.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Adelaide was really a warm-up week for me this year. I didn't give myself a chance of winning that title at all this year just because, you know, it was such a long and demanding year both physically and mentally last year. I didn't get to finish until a couple of weeks before Adelaide started. I didn't know until two days before the tournament whether I was going to play or not, so I really had very limited practice and preparation going into that tournament. I started to find some rhythm in Sydney, which is good, and just try to keep the ball rolling basically now.

Q. Congratulations for your big victory. You are a big fighter. When you were playing, what did you feel knowing that Rod Laver was in the public and watching you? Did you feel more energy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With the crowd or...?

Q. Yes. Knowing that Rod Laver was in the public.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Rod Laver, oh.

Q. Did you feel something?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's fantastic. I got the opportunity to, you know, hit with Rod a couple of days ago in the charity day here on Vodafone Stadium over there. It was just, you know, a privilege being out there with, you know, possibly the greatest player of all time. You know, he's an Australian hero, he's an Australian champion, and unfortunately I never got to see him play. But by all remarks, he was an unbelievable player. It was fantastic to hit a few balls. For him to be out there, I'm playing in his arena, it's the Rod Laver Arena out there, for him to be sitting front row with all the Tennis Australia people, even Goolagong was there as well, it gives you a little bit of a lift I suppose.

Q. Did you think you were gone at any stage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I never thought I was gone. I was definitely struggling out there, especially when I was two-sets-to-one down. It was a pretty big turnaround after I was a set and break up in that game. I held, then got broken.

Q. How do you keep yourself going? How do you keep yourself in a match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard. You got to draw on something in your will, in your body. You got to stay positive out there. That's the main thing. Once you start believing that you're beaten, then you are beaten. You know, in any of my matches, I never believe that I'm beaten until, you know, you shake your hands at the net. You know, it was just, tonight there was a lot of things that I could draw from. It was the crowd out there. It was, you know, just the feeling, you know, I had all my family and supporters in the crowd as well. You know, Wazza and some of the fanatics who followed us at Davis Cup there and the other section of the crowd. There's a lot of positive energy and vibes I could draw from out there. They helped me get over the line.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was very strange. I think Jonas gave all his tickets to the guys who paint their faces.

Q. Lleyton, considering the hamstring problem and the fact that you were down two-sets-to-one, how would you rate this week compared to some of your other better wins?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's, the way -- you can't really look at it. The way I hit the ball was fantastic out there tonight. Obviously I had to deal with a few problems out there. But for determination and guts, it's definitely up there with, you know, it's equal to the Davis Cup thing, Davis Cup match against Costa. You know, that match was for your country. It's probably a little bit bigger, but this is right behind it I think out there tonight.

Q. After this win, the crowd, do you rate yourself favorite against Tommy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, it's probably even I'd say. You know, last time Tommy beat me in Adelaide, time before that was in Miami earlier last year where I actually, you know, beat him pretty convincingly in that match. So, you know, I feel like it's probably a pretty even match. Tommy sort of struggled there for probably about a year. After he started doing well, he beat me here a few years ago actually in the second round and went on to make the semifinals.

Q. Is he a special player for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think he's a very good player. I think he's, you know, he's going to be in the Top 10 very shortly. You know, I think he's a hell of a player.

Q. Did you plan to come to Italy this year for the Italian Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Rome again? Yeah, well it's a Masters Series event, so, yeah. It's in my schedule at the moment. I played well there last year. I made the semifinals there, so I enjoyed playing.

Q. We look forward to you coming to Italy.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope the crowd's on my side.

Q. How about the Swedish crowd?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're very loud. I've been coming to the Australian Open for years and, you know, I used to idolize Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander. You know, something that other players have to deal with when you're playing a Swede. I think it's good for the Australian Open. They're always there with their faces painted and their bodies painted and yelling out each side to each other. I think it's good for tennis. Obviously tonight it was sort of -- I had the rest of the crowd on my side, so I was very happy. They're very vocal for a small group of Swedes I suppose.

Q. You were throwing some glances at them a couple of times?


Q. You were watching them a couple times. Were you ever disturbed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I never really focused on them at all during the match. You know, maybe I looked at it -- I was looking over toward my coaching group which was sitting close to them. I never really -- I block them out as much as possible.

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