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August 2, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt advances to the second round. He'll play the winner of the match that's going on. We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Is there something you're particularly trying to work on specifically in this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I guess just trying to get some match practice and get your confidence level up there in a big tournament against quality opposition going into the Grand Slam in a few weeks' time. If you're winning matches here, then you're obviously going to be confident going into New York.

Q. Can I ask you, just off the subject a bit, can you just think back to when you were with Darren. What did he bring to your game, what strong points did he bring as a coach when he was working with you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I guess at the start it was a little bit different 'cause I was, you know, I'd probably only been on tour for one year when Darren really took over. It was the end of '98, December '98. You know, I guess just for me, more than anything, I'd never really -- I was just traveling with my dad for that year, first year on tour. For me it was more having someone there who'd been through everything and, you know, the ins and outs of playing tennis, injuries. You know, he had a lot of experience, I guess, in that not as a coach on the tour but obviously as a player. I got along extremely well with him. We're both from the same state, and same city. You know, just overall I think he had a good presence.

Q. Do you think it was important to have a mate as well as a coach?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think all the time for me it is. You know, tennis isn't like a football team where, you know, one coach has to look after 25 to 40 guys. You know, it's very one-on-one, and you've got to get along extremely well. He's got to be, you know -- for me and I'm sure most guys, you want to have a mate traveling with you because you spend so much time just the two of you.

Q. Just one more thing. When you got to No. 1, did your coaching needs change a bit vis-a-vis not about the split, but just in general, what you needed from a coach, what a coach could bring to you because he'd gotten you there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I think there's things, you know, you can pick up from a lot of people, you know, little different areas that can help you. And there's no doubt that Stoltz brought a few different things to my game when he took over. You know, it was just some fresh ideas, I think, more than anything. I think that, you know, helped me out those two years that I worked with Jason. You know, I guess Roger, you know. I get along, I've been fortunate that I've got along with three coaches. They've been young guys who have been able to hit balls on the court. They have the same interest as me. I've got along extremely well with them.

Q. How close do you think you are to the kind of form that saw you reach No. 1 for two years in a row?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think there's been patches. Yeah, it's hard to say. There's been a couple of matches, I think, here and there. I think at Wimbledon, you know, right through the tournament I played pretty well. You know, it was no disgrace losing to Roger in the quarters. You know, I felt like it was probably, for me, probably the final out there that day and, you know, I went into the match like that. I think I handled the situation pretty well. You know, French Open, I felt like there was matches. Against Gaudio I didn't play my best tennis in the quarterfinals. But up till then I felt like I played as well as I probably ever played on clay through a whole, you know, tournament. I've had patches in the past when I was No. 1 that I'd have a good match here and there. So I think that was a big improvement this year even, even though I wasn't No. 1.

Q. Do you get more satisfaction from those kind of wins than perhaps you did towards the second year of being No. 1? Do you get more out of them because it's been a challenge to get to this point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. I think, you know, on clay it's a little bit different probably. It's not my favorite surface, and it's something that I have to work extremely hard to get good results on clay, on that surface. This year, you know, it was rewarding. The guys I lost to, you know, in all the clay court tournaments were extremely good players and especially on that surface. I felt like I got better and better as the clay court season went on. I think that was rewarding. And hopefully that's gonna be, even though it's another 10-month break until I play on clay again, hopefully that's going to be a good stepping stone for next year.

Q. I guess it would help you coming into surfaces like this as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess just having that confidence that playing on not your favorite surface and you're competing with the best guys in the world. So, yeah, definitely gives you -- it's very satisfying, I guess.

Q. This is somewhere where you've had very good results in the past. How confident are you of kind of taking the title here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, every match is tough. All these tournaments are the same. Indian Wells, Miami, Toronto and here are very similar tournaments. You've got to be able to win six matches in seven days against, you know, as tough an opponent as you're going to get in Grand Slams. I feel confident. I've played well here in the past - you know, except last year probably. I made a final and a semi. But, obviously, if I play Guga next, it's not an easy second-round match purely because I've got so much respect for his game and the kind of player he is as well.

Q. You've had one or two tasty matches against him in the past. Seem to remember one in Florianopolis.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that one went all right. Yeah, it's always tough playing him. He's a class player. He's been there and done that. He likes playing on the big courts with the big arenas and a lot of emotion out there. He played well last week on hard court as well. So, yeah, he's won the title here. So if I play him, it won't be easy.

End of FastScripts….

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