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August 18, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lleyton Hewitt. Questions, please.

Q. You started a lot better today. What may have been the reasons for that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just getting another match under my belt, I think. You know, just went out there, served a lot better today the whole match. Against Andreev I served a bit patchy in the first round, and against Rusedski I served ordinary the whole match. So that was definitely something I felt like I needed to do a lot better today. You know, Ancic takes a lot of cuts on second serves, so I felt like I had to get a high percentage in. You know, I served great for most of the match.

Q. It was just getting the matches under your belt; it wasn't continuing recovery from the virus that made you play better?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You know, I think maybe I'm feeling a little bit better. It's hard to tell when you're out there. I felt pretty good out there today. I was happy the way I hit the ball. I think I moved a lot better as well, you know. Not playing a lot of matches the last couple of weeks, I think that's the biggest thing in my game, is the movement side of it.

Q. Did you feel like you needed to get off to a fast start considering what happened yesterday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I'd rather be on the side of getting that first set 6-1 than losing it. But, you know, it wasn't something that I deliberately planned on, you know, doing any different today. I planned on doing it yesterday as well; it just didn't quite work.

Q. Has the virus made you second-guess how you feel every day; you don't know whether it's the virus or just the way you wake up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit probably a few days ago. I'd say not so much now. You know, I feel pretty good when I've woken up the last two or three days now. So, you know, hopefully the virus is fully out of the system.

Q. Between matches are you watching carefully what you're eating this week, or is it like back to normal for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not -- no, now it's a lot easier to eat, you know, whatever I feel like basically.

Q. How do the conditions compare here as compared to New York?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, pretty similar, I think. You know, humid conditions. You know, my first round against Andreev it was really heavy conditions out there, and I think that played a totally different part. Whereas I haven't quite felt that in New York quite as much, you know. Even if it's overcast or whatever, it doesn't quite get as heavy as it did here in my first match. Normally the ball, you know -- it's a different ball, the Wilson ball compared to the Penn. Normally, the Wilson ball at the US Open flies a fair bit through the air as well and can be sometimes a lot tougher to control.

Q. Are you a better player than when you won the US Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I mean, in a whole week in and week out, I think so, yeah.

Q. In what ways? You've got more of an all-court game, more variety?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I've probably got a little bit more weight behind most of my shots as well now. My movement's still -- you know, I don't think there was too much wrong with my movement back then, and, you know, it's not a whole different now. You know, it's probably a bit more weight, probably a little bit more variety as well, and I'm probably definitely serving a lot better.

Q. That gives you more tactical options?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it does. I guess when you're out there, you know, a lot of the guys these days are pretty one-dimensional. There's not a whole heap of guys like Greg Rusedski or Tim Henman, these guys that are capable of chip-charging, serve-volleying. So, you know, if I can throw in a little bit different tactic now and then, you know, you never know; that element of surprise can sometimes help.

Q. Roger Federer said the other day that one of the things that's changed for him over the years is he could change in the middle of a game. If something wasn't working, he could go to something else. Is that something that's happened with you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I've always probably got my stock standard, you know, not a lot of unforced errors out there, move extremely well, make my opponents hit a lot of balls. And, you know, I think that's definitely an area of my game that I've tried to work on the last couple of years, to try and dictate a little bit more and be aggressive when I need to and step up on the court. You know, I think it's definitely helped my game overall on every surface.

Q. They say a quarter of the body's heat goes out through the head. On humid days like this, does it make it cooler to play without a hat?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It actually felt pretty cool out there with a hat on today.

Q. It doesn't have any sort of physical advantages for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Yeah, it was a little bit strange not wearing a hat in hot conditions because I've just -- I've always been, especially with white, I think, reflecting the sun as well. So who knows what I'll do in the future.

Q. Every year we talk about how the tour becomes tougher and how there are more players that can win. Now we have almost as many wildcards and qualifiers left in the draw as there are seeded players. What does that tell you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just men's depth, I think. You know, we've said it for a number of years now that, you know, it's hard for any top player to go out; that you don't get given easy first-round or second-round wins. You've got to go out there and earn it every time you step on the court. You know, we see that whether it's Roddick last week, you know, losing in the first round in Montreal; Nadal this week. There's never any easy matches and, you know, you've got to bring your A game every time you step on to the court. I think that's making it tougher and tougher. You know, there are no easy matches. I think that's on all surfaces as well.

Q. There is a big effort to try to get the top players to play more doubles. Do you think the tour's too difficult now to play singles and doubles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: More doubles?

Q. Yeah. Is it too difficult for a top player, he's tested all the time in singles, can he cope with both?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say. I think in these kind of tournaments where you got to win six matches in seven days against Top 50 opponents in this kind of heat, I wouldn't really want to be doing it. Yeah, I think your recovery time you need, especially leading into a Grand Slam as well. So, you know, every week is different. Some of the smaller tournaments, you know, maybe it can help out. I play, you know -- when I pick and choose when I play doubles is more preparation when I haven't played a lot of matches and felt like I want to get a match before a singles. So a lot depends on the timing. But, you know, with so many tough matches, it does make it hard to ask the top singles players to play week-in and week-out doubles.

Q. As close as everybody is, what's the difference between you and everyone else in the Top 10 and then guys that aren't quite in the Top 10? You go out there and you're playing Federer or Roddick or any of those guys, what's the difference playing them as opposed to playing the guy you played today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They've probably got something, you know, a little bit extra, something a bit special, I guess, you know, that sets them apart from, you know, the big group that everyone can hit a tennis ball over the net and move pretty well on the tour these days. You know, a guy like Federer's got every shot in the game. You know, he moves extremely well. He's got a great serve. You know, everything. A guy like Roddick, obviously, his power serve and forehand. Yeah, I think everyone's different in certain ways. I think everyone outside of, you know, 20 to 50 to 100 in the world, you know, they're great tennis players, but maybe they don't have quite that something special that a guy like Roger Federer does.

Q. If you could say one thing that you have that's special, what would it be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know if there is anything (smiling).

Q. It doesn't have to be a stroke, it could be...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I think mentally I'm pretty good in pretty much any situation so...

Q. How did you get that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Grew up with it, I guess.

Q. Did you inherit it, or was it just through your parents or environment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Wouldn't have a clue. Don't know.

End of FastScripts….

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