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August 16, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


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

Q. How serious was your stomach virus last week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Serious enough to pull out of a match when I'm on court for the first time in my career. So, you know, I got it just before we left Sydney last -- the end of last week. So it wasn't a pleasant flight over. Didn't eat for about four or five days anything. So, yeah, it hit me pretty bad.

Q. You still feeling any of the effects of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt a little bit awkward the last few days just training, getting back into the routine of things again. And, you know, I'm definitely a lot better than I was a week ago.

Q. How was your timing out there? How did you feel playing today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not too bad. Got better as the match went on. Having a lot heavier conditions today than what we've been practicing in as well, so, for the last four or five days. So it was totally different. It was amazing how much difference the conditions, you know -- it's so heavy out there, whereas --

Q. Balls were heavy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The balls were very heavy out there. It was hard to hit a lot of winners. And he works the ball well from the back of the court as well; he hits it extremely heavy. So that made life a little bit tougher out there.

Q. How did you like the weather?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The weather?

Q. Yeah, it was raining and your play was suspended.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you always prefer a bit better weather than we've had today. But this isn't really what, you know, we're all used to I don't think playing in Cincinnati.

Q. Is it tough to get into a flow like that when you play one game and all of a sudden you've got to go sit down again and wait?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. It was probably better only playing one game than getting to 4-All or something in the first set. So in terms of that, it wasn't too bad. It was just refocusing on starting the match again basically. But, you know, it was still important to try and get that first set under my belt. I felt like I played the big points when I needed to towards the end of the first set a lot better than he did.

Q. How much do you need just to get some matches in? With your marriage, the sickness, you haven't had a lot of court time since Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played two Davis Cup matches as well straight after Wimbledon. So, yeah, it's important, there's no doubt about that. But right at the moment, you know, try and get as many matches this week as possible. And I always feel pretty comfortable when I get to Flushing Meadows. I really like the atmosphere and the court surface there. I think the whole tournament really suits my game and my attitude as well. So, you know, I always look forward to getting there, and hopefully I can, you know, make a few steps in the right direction this week.

Q. Are you planning to go to New Haven?


Q. You come in here with any thoughts of last year being the defending finalist? Does that make a difference when you come to a tournament like this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, not in terms of defending what I did last year at all. More so I like coming back here because I've played well here in the past. Apart from my first-round loss two years ago, I've made two finals and at least one semi here. All the players that I've lost to have been pretty good players that have won this tournament in certain years. So, you know, I always feel it's nice to come back here. I like the atmosphere here in Cincinnati. I like the court surface as well. It's great preparation for the US Open.

Q. Are you back to full strength now after the stomach thing, or are you still working on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When you have, you know, four or five days where you don't hit a ball and you don't eat much, you got to try and get -- it's just a gradual buildup more than anything. So the first couple of days that I started hitting again, it was a little bit of a culture shock, especially it was pretty hot here the first couple days that I started hitting. So it took a couple of days to get back into it. I feel a lot better than I did when I first started hitting. I feel fully over the virus or the infection. But, you know, it's just a matter of, you know, getting matches and getting that practice and getting in that routine again.

Q. Was it just something you ate? Was it stress-related?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not 100% sure. I thought it might have been food poisoning first off. It was just my stomach basically that was playing up so I just couldn't keep any food down. And, you know, they did blood tests and whatever and couldn't find a whole heap. It was just some kind of virus that was in my system for about a week or so.

Q. Did you lose a couple pounds?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm sure I did, you know. When you're not eating, there's not a whole heap going in.

Q. It seems like you take a lot of pride in the fact that when you show up for a match the fans know you're going to be there until the end. You're not one of those players that will drop out for a minor reason. Is that the case, you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely. I think it shows with, you know, last week. You play with niggling injuries and little stuff the majority of tournaments most weeks. But last week was a case where, you know, I was sitting in the doctor's office 10 minutes before walking out on court still tossing out whether I was going to actually be able to go out there or not. You know, it's never a great feeling when you have to pull out of a tournament. I thought maybe once I got out there, you know, something miraculous might happen, but it just got worse and worse for the first five or seven games that I ended up playing. So, you know, there was no point doing any more damage, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about the Open being a tournament that also suits your attitude. You've always been a fiery and emotional type of player. Do you use that to get yourself going? Is that just something that you do that out of habit, when you show a lot of emotion on the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it just comes naturally for me. It's not something that, you know, I definitely don't have to work on, that's for sure. Yeah, it just comes naturally. In New York there's a great atmosphere there out at Flushing Meadows, whether you're playing in the afternoon or some great night matches that I've played there in the past as well. So, you know, I really enjoy going back there. And, you know, I've been fortunate the last four or five years to have pretty good success there as well.

Q. Yourself, Federer, Safin, a lot of players are going into the Open with a limited amount of match practice. Do you think that will open things up a little bit; you won't know what to expect because people aren't match tough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I still doubt it with those top guys. Federer is in a class of his own. I don't think limited matches are going to affect him too much whatsoever. He's played enough big matches and his record in finals against Top 10 players over the last two years really speaks for itself. I don't think it's really going to cause him a lot of havoc. Even the guys -- pretty much everyone's here fully fit apart from obviously Andre, but he's obviously hitting the ball well going on last week. So guys are going to get matches, a lot of practice in hopefully hot conditions the rest of this week, and then everyone's going to be training pretty hard next week at Flushing Meadows. Come Monday a fortnight from now I think everyone will be ready to go.

Q. Has your life changed at all being married?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Not a whole heap, no.

End of FastScripts….

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