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August 4, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt advances to the third round here. He will play either Hicham Arazi or Tim Henman. Questions, please.

Q. You waited around a long time, but it went pretty quickly once you got out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was an awkward day for everyone, you know, similar to last week in Toronto. So, yeah, these tournaments, every year you come to expect at least one day like this. Just got to be able to try and work through it. It's nice to get through and not have to worry about playing two matches tomorrow. But, you know, I was happy to get through in straight sets.

Q. Was this a case of knowing that you were coming up against, you know, a player you really respect and a real quality opponent and having to come up with a big performance?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in some ways, I guess. You know, Guga's obviously, you know, had a few injuries over the last couple of years, and that's why his ranking's down a bit. But, you know, he's the kind of guy that you've got to be very watchful about on any surface purely because he's so dangerous out there. I think he showed that, especially at the end of the match there when he sort of had nothing to lose and he was just ripping at every shot. There's very little you can do in that situation. So I was happy with how I went out there and played my game at the start. I felt like I was moving well, I was getting a lot of balls back. And any time I got into a rally, I felt like I was getting the better of him.

Q. Your consistency in the past few tournaments as far as advancing several rounds, what is that doing for you, you know, going into the later part of the summer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not hurting my confidence, I guess. But then again, you know, it would be nice to, you know, go a little bit further than the quarters at the French and Wimbledon. I ran into the two guys that went on to win the titles. But, you know, I'm winning matches. I'm doing something right, I guess. But you just got to take your chances when you get those opportunities. You know, against Gaudio I don't think I played my best match in the quarters against him, but, you know, he played extremely well. Against Roger, I felt like I played pretty well in that match at Wimbledon. So, yeah, I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough. Just against the best players in the world, as I said earlier, you got to just take those chances when you get them.

Q. Are you taking more of those chances than you were, say, a year ago, six, seven, eight months ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, in some ways. I don't feel like I've been playing -- pretty much since the US Open last year I felt like I've been playing pretty well. I really haven't played too many bad matches. Indian Wells, Miami, I didn't play my best tennis. But, you know, the guys that beat me, you know, they weren't the biggest household names out there but, you know, they had to play extremely well to beat me on those two days. Apart from that, you know, the clay court season, I felt like I played pretty well the whole way through. And the grass court season, the same. So I don't feel like my game's that far away from really playing well.

Q. You're a guy who's achieved almost anything you wanted to achieve in the sport. What's your drive like to get back there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously Grand Slams are, you know, that's what I guess you make the sacrifices for, to try and win Grand Slams and to try and win as many as possible. So for me, you know, I try and look at my schedule. Everything goes around, you know, the Grand Slams and Davis Cup at the start of the year. Obviously, Davis Cup took a little bit of a wrong turn this year. But, you know, just trying to focus now on the US Open coming up. That's, you know, the last major. After that, be back at the Australian Open.

Q. How have you adjusted your game? I mean, actually it was a similar situation, I would say, probably for maybe Courier and Chang. They kind of had the precision and whatever, then when the big servers came out, they had to learn to kind of adjust their game and they kind of matured. Have you felt like you've had to adjust your game maybe for the Roddicks or something?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe a little bit here and there. But I think that's just sort of my game just developing, I think, over time as well. You know, I came, you know, on the tour at a young age. Even when I was No. 1 in the world, I still feel like there was a lot of areas in my game that I can improve on - obviously, you know, serve more consistently, trying to get more cheap points off it. I think I'm probably serving better at the moment than I've probably ever served right at the moment. But, you know, then again, yeah, you got to keep your strengths, you know, at that high level, I guess, the whole time as well and not start, you know, forgetting about those and just focusing on other small weaknesses in your game.

Q. Obviously you've chosen not to play in the Olympics. Do you think that will put you at a real advantage come the US Open, the way the schedule has worked out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not particularly, I don't think. I just feel for me it's better preparation for the US Open. I'm sure whoever wins the Olympics is going to be very confident going into the US Open because, you know, it's still going to be a strong field at the Olympics. But for me, the flying back and forth isn't the best thing to do before a major that I've played, you know, extremely well in in the past. And that's what it pretty much boiled down to for me.

Q. Is it because jetlag hits you badly or you've had sinus problems?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've had viruses and stuff in the past. I got another one last week after flying from Australia to Toronto. I think at the end of the day, after I've been here - what's it gonna be - for six weeks or so leading into the US Open, into New York, trying to build your game up week by week to get ready and acclimatize, for me, personally, I think the worst thing would be to fly over there and play and then come back and try and play at my best level.

Q. Taking that into account, you're one of the rare Australians who hasn't found a headquarters over here - maybe in Belgium - but most found a place that would alleviate some of the traveling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't spend that much time in America in my weeks off. It's as simple as that. There's only a couple of weeks here and there really, you know, leading into this whole trip where I go to places that I'm probably going to play the week after anyway. Like the week before the US Open I'm in New York training on the court. So I don't really need somewhere to go and, you know, spend that much time. Apart from that, I can't think of too many weeks that I'm, you know, at a loose end in America.

Q. How much time would you say you spend in like Belgium so that you don't have to go back to Australia, or not that much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit at times. It sort of depends on, you know, the season - leading into the clay court season, I guess. You know, if you got any weeks off during the clay court season, then it's just a base to go back to, so it's more convenient in that way obviously.

Q. Home's still Adelaide?


Q. Obviously you could play Henman next. You've got quite a tasty little record against him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we've had tough matches in the past. Couple of them I've probably been a bit fortunate. It's been tough matches, could have gone either way. The two finals at Queen's I think. The last match I think we played was in Rotterdam in the semis there this year. I felt like I played pretty well that day. Tim didn't play his best. But, yeah, there's been, you know, some close matches in the past that could have gone either way. He's a tough competitor. Every time I go out there I've got to play good tennis to beat him.

Q. You mentioned that so much is sacrificed for the Grand Slams. Is that more important than making a climb back up toward No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If you win Grand Slams, you'll put yourself in a position to be No. 1. You know, I'm not the kind of guy that's gonna go out and play every week to get my ranking one or two spots higher.

Q. Maybe a little inside medical update on Kim's wrist, is she able to play at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, she can only hit forehands.

Q. She's not even hitting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, she hits some forehands now and then.

Q. She have any idea when she might play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Just I think, you know, pretty much after the US Open some time hopefully. But, yeah, depends every week.

Q. Any wedding plans yet?


Q. Not that you're going to tell us, or not at all?


Q. He doesn't have to tell us where or when.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No (smiling).

Q. Continent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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