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August 8, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. What's your feeling about your own performance today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit up and down, I guess, throughout the match. You know, the first set I had four breakpoints and wasn't able to take them. I had twice 15-40. I think the first one was at 1-all in the first set. I just really had to take my opportunities. When you're playing the best guys in the world, it's like playing Federer at the Australian and Wimbledon, you know. I had my opportunities, two or three points here or there, and I just wasn't able to take them. It was similar today, especially in the first set. If I could have got up early in the first set and started putting pressure on, otherwise I was really playing catch-up. And we all know how good Andre is as a frontrunner.

Q. You served well all week. What was the problem today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't serve great. First serves, I didn't make enough of them against a guy like Andre. Mind you, though, he returns that well that, you know, you either got to -- you slow it down and take the risk of him really getting on to your first serve, or you keep it up. I still had a fair few aces out there and not that many double-faults considering, you know, how low my first serve percentage was. But I could have definitely served better out there today, yeah.

Q. Obviously, a disappointment today. But can you just sum up the significance of this week for you, what you've done, what you've achieved?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's obviously disappointing at the moment straight after the match. But, yeah, it's been a good week. The guys that I've beaten this week are class players. And, you know, it hasn't been easy. Coming here and, you know, really felt like my game went up a notch with every match. And, you know, it's no disgrace losing to Andre Agassi in the final either; you know, he is a big-match player. I felt like I had opportunities and I wasn't able to take them. You know, fought my butt off to try and get back in the match. Yeah, I think it's a good thing for, you know, going in -- have a week off next week, Washington, week off, US Open. Hopefully, I can take the positives out of this week and use them in three weeks' time.

Q. Your first serve just wasn't there. How big of an impact did that have?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I just answered that question.

Q. Okay. I guess I just thought that -- can you talk about not getting them in...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I just talked about that. Thanks.

Q. What was your thinking after you won the second set? Did you feel like you were starting to control the match ever or...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Obviously, I felt like I had the momentum. But then again, it was like whoever was serving first in the set had control. They were always that game ahead, and they had the opportunity to go out there and go for their shots a little bit more in that returning game. That's exactly what Andre did in the first and third sets, and he did it well. He's a master at that. I felt like I was doing that a little bit more, I was getting through my service games pretty convincingly in the second set and that was opening up -- I always had that game lead to try and put pressure on him. You know, obviously, I just hung in there in the second set and tried, you know, hustling a few balls down there, then came up with a good get to get the break and serve out the second set. But, you know, in the third set he served extremely well. He hit a lot of first serves and a lot of serves right on the line there and corners and stuff. I just couldn't get into his service games.

Q. Andre is 34. He's playing three sets in a day match right after three sets in a night match. Are you impressed with his endurance and conditioning?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I don't think anyone's ever doubted, you know, his fitness. And, yeah, it shows in the tournaments that he's won in the past. He's been able to win the French Open, compared to a lot of the guys winning the French Open these days, at an older age. And that's pretty much one of the most grueling tournaments there is for your body. For him to be able to do that, and he came back from two-sets-to-Love in that final. He's always played well at the Australian Open where it's extremely hot. I don't think he'd have a bad record over five sets throughout his whole career, no matter what his age is. He's in great shape.

Q. If you compare this match to the match in the US Open 2002, what was the difference then? Did you play a different strategy today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. That match was quite a long time ago now. You know, over five sets as well. Wanted to try and get off to a bit better start. I went two-sets-to-Love down that day in New York. Had opportunities in the second set. You know, I was probably the better player in the second set that day, and then he was the better player in the third set and I ended up getting that set. I didn't really focus much on that match at all. I was more trying to worry just about my game going out there today and, you know, trying to work things out as the match went along.

Q. Do you train this coming week before Washington or are you going to take some real down time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll see how my body is. I'll definitely be in the gym. I may not hit every day. I've hit a lot of balls the last, you know, couple of weeks anyway and spent a lot of hours on the practice court. There's no reason why I won't be in the gym.

Q. How much of an advantage do you have, do you think, about going into the US Open when most everybody else is in Athens? Is that a big thing for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. No, you know, for me, for me to perform my best at the US Open, I feel staying in America and playing another tournament on this continent and, you know, in the same conditions that I'm going to get at the US Open, I think that's better preparation for me personally. I'm sure whoever wins the Olympics is going to be full of confidence and going to be on Cloud 9 going into the US Open, you know, to have two major, major tournaments within three weeks, you know, two weeks, with a week's gap there. So whoever does well there, or gets a medal at least, they're going to be riding a wave, I guess, going into it.

Q. Travel-wise?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, for me, personally, I feel like it's better preparation. But, you know, other guys, you know, I can't speak on behalf of other guys and what their travel situations are and how well they handle it.

Q. You talked about his serving in the third set especially. He had, I think, 16 aces last night. People don't normally think of Andre as a big server. Is he stepping that area up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he plays his serve -- he's always, I think, played his service games extremely well. He's played his service games his whole career, I think, for around his game, his base. He rushes through his service games extremely quick. He knows that if he can clean up his service games, he's going to put enough pressure on guys' service games to break purely because he's such a good hitter of the ball and such a good returner of serve. I think probably on this kind of court it helps him, his serve, I think more than maybe any other surface like a clay court or something. The ball's coming through. He hit a lot of, you know, close, close lines out there today, and that's the serve he's got. It's not a massive serve, but it's a very consistent first serve.

Q. You were obviously excited after you won that second set. What was it like trying to gain momentum out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's one of those matches, as I said, you know, he sort of -- I had the momentum after the second set. I felt like I fought extremely hard to get myself back in the match. Then the third set, he came out, held a quick service game first game of the third set, then I was sort of on the back foot the whole time. That's just how the third set felt really. I had, you know, the game that I lost, had 30-15 on my serve, and I missed two relatively easy forehands to go down breakpoint, and then play a long point, chasing every ball down and eventually miss one. You know, it was just sort of the way the match was going out there. You know, the next game, I think he made at least three, maybe all four first serves, and there's the break. Turn around, sit down and you're 4-1 down in the third.

Q. You were very frustrated at the end of the first set. Was it because he raised his level too high so you were not able to beat him, or you were not satisfied with your execution of your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just felt like I had chances throughout the first set and I just wasn't able to capitalize on them. And, you know, it's always going to be a bit frustrating. I had breakpoints early in the first set, and then throughout there I had a lot of 30-Alls on his service games. You know, and then even the service game I lost at 4-3, I didn't feel like I played that bad a service game and probably shouldn't have lost it. And, you know, that's the disappointing thing, as I said. When you're down that game during the first set, you can't afford to lose that game. And then Andre comes out, he's serving at 5-3, I had 15-40 to get the break back again and wasn't able to. I think, you know, just a little bit frustrated like anyone would be, having those opportunities and not being able to take them.

End of FastScripts….

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