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August 8, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Well-played. That was a good match. Was it more of a fight than you expected?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. I'd never really seen him play. I saw some results of his. He sort of came out of the blue last year and end of the year at Stockholm where he made the final and I think had matchpoints and that in the final there. I heard a little bit about him, but really didn't know how he sort of put it all together. That was probably the toughest part about today - wasn't really sure what to do at the start. And to his credit, he's a really good player. You know, I think there's no reason, you know -- he was what, 150 at the end of last year? Now he's what, 50 or 60, I think? He's a good player and he's only going to get better and better.

Q. How did you sort him out at the end? You came forward quite a bit, didn't you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I had to mix things up a little bit. His backhand was superb there - he was really crunching it - and he didn't make many mistakes. He was probably a little bit looser off the forehand than the backhand. It was hard to sort of work out what he was trying to do. He was sometimes rolling his first serve, then other times he would try and hit a 120 mile-per-hour serve out wide. As soon as I started getting a bit of a feeling for the match, I tried to come in a little bit more, tried to put a bit more pressure on him. A few times when I did come in, it looked like he really liked a target as well.

Q. Is your mind in the shape you want it to be after what's been going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably as good as it could be, I guess, you know. I mean, I've been able to block out distractions before, and this is no different.

Q. Has Mark Miles answered your phone calls yet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't spoken to Mark Miles, no.

Q. The last couple of days you haven't been able to assess your game because you didn't get to play much. How did you feel out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. I'm glad I had a good workout out there today. That's what you want in these tournaments going into the Grand Slams. That's obviously the big one, is the US Open for me. Want to be hitting the ball and peaking for that. Last week was -- I felt like I didn't, you know, prepare as well as I probably could have. And, you know, it's nice to get a few tough matches under my belt now here and to get through to another quarter.

Q. Could be Andre tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, it's gonna be tough either way. They're both big hitting players who, you know, can go out there and smack anyone off the court - both of them. Enqvist is obviously playing a lot better than he's probably played over the last couple of years. I've had tough matches with both guys . Won some, lost some against both. So whoever I play, it's gonna be -- I'm going to have to play a lot better than I have so far this tournament.

Q. Can you talk about your history with Andre. Your wins over him have been big wins for you personally.

LLEYTON HEWITT: We never played, you know, in a Slam I guess, which is, you know, probably a little bit surprising. Obviously, you know, the first win when I beat him in the semis of Adelaide when I was 16 was huge back then, you know. The other one was probably the Masters Cup last year to try and get that No. 1 position. You know, I've played well in the past against Andre. It's always been great matches, you know - I think anyway. Possibly the best match of the year so far was the San Jose final. So, you know, if we play another match like that, then it should at least get the crowd into it I guess.

Q. Do you like the idea of playing him because you have such great matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's always nice to play the best players in the world, and I think he's up there. He is one of the best players week in and week out and on any surface. You know you're going to have to play at the absolute best that you can play if you're going to walk away a winner off the court. It's a good challenge to have when you go out there.

Q. What do you remember from that San Jose match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I remember being pretty lucky I guess. You know, I won the second and third set, both in breakers. I saved matchpoints. You know, that was my first week back after, you know, the whole chicken pox debacle down in Australia. So for me that was a big stepping stone, I think, for the whole year. And, you know, it was Andre's first week back as well. So for two guys who had an injury and an illness to come out first week back and play that kind of tennis, there's something special, I think, about the matchup.

Q. Did you ever find out where you got the chicken pox?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Where from? If I was guessing, I'd say I actually went - after the Masters Cup final and Davis Cup, about a week later - I went to my primary school. They wanted me to go to my primary school and, you know, just speak to the kids in front of everyone. On the way out, the principal wanted everyone to shake my hand or give me like a "High 5" as I walked out (laughter). I actually didn't even think about it until one of the mothers came up to me a few weeks later, and I didn't have a clue who she was. She actually said, "I guess that's probably where you got the chicken pox from."

Q. They High 5'ed you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know which kid gave it to me, but... (smiling).

Q. Someone's feeling guilty.


Q. Do you remember the first match against Andre? You're young, you're playing this guy. What was that like for you? Then beating him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was obviously pretty nerve-racking, I think, at the start for a 16-year-old to go out and play a guy that you've looked up to for so many years and, you know, who's such a great player. For me to go out there in my hometown, I couldn't have asked for a better situation I guess. I was really going out there just hoping to get games. At the end of the day, I hadn't played -- apart from qualifying for the Australian Open, I hadn't even played in a professional tournament. It was a weird feeling, I guess, going out there and coming off with the win. I couldn't believe it. I know Andre was ranked 100-odd in the world at the time, but he was just starting to get back at that time. And, you know, it wasn't soon after that that he got back in the Top 10 and then went to No. 1 again.

Q. When you're building up to the US Open, is it possible to prioritize what your aims are? Are they to get matches or to win the tournament or to work on certain things in your game? Which would be more important? Is it possible to say?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think definitely, obviously, working on your game is probably, you know -- so that you're peaking for the Open. But then again, you know, you want to get -- for my game I think anyway, you want to get a lot of matches and try and get on a bit of a run and get match-hardened, I guess, out there. I think it's always nice to win titles though as well and have that confidence, that winning feeling going. But in the end, yeah, if I go out there and I, you know, I feel like my game's improving day by day, week by week leading in to the Open, then I'm going to be happy even if I don't hold up the trophy.

Q. A lot of players, after they win Wimbledon in particular, get a lot of endorsement deals thrown at them. Have you signed any? Are you mulling any over?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot of things obviously pop up I guess, and I sort of pick and choose what I think's best. I really don't have that much time, you know, to do many things either. I'd already, you know, done a deal which will be coming out shortly. But we organized that before Wimbledon as well. So, you know, I haven't signed too many deals actually after Wimbledon just yet, but we're still looking at options here and there.

Q. What's the one that's coming out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll find out when it comes out. It's better coming from them than me I think.

Q. Do you feel any different after winning Wimbledon or just the same?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel, you know -- the achievement of winning Wimbledon, I don't think until -- at the time, you don't really understand the whole thing about it. And, you know, growing up, Wimbledon's Wimbledon, you know? To me, that's probably the biggest tournament of the year. To have won that at such a young age now, it's an incredible feeling. I'd spoken so much, you know, at the time about, you know, watching Pat Cash do it and that. It's such a big thing to see a guy from your country win it. For me to be in that same situation, it was probably the biggest dream come true.

Q. They talked about the fact that they slowed down the courts this year fairly significantly.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know how . It felt a little bit slower, but not that much slower to me. I was actually talking to the Chairman of Wimbledon, and he couldn't work it out. They didn't do anything.

Q. They said they did something with the soil.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, the Chairman of Wimbledon didn't know about it at the dinner, so I don't know for sure.

Q. Your countryman Arthurs is doing well in the second part of the draw. Can you talk about meeting him in the final. Have you played with him? What is your record against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If we play each other?

Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: My record... I think it's either 2-nil or 3-nil to me, but I'm not -- 3-nil. It's 3-nil. We played in Adelaide and Sydney first round in the same year, and I played him at the US Open in the second round one year, so... All on hard court. But, you know, they're all tough matches. And, you know, he's got a huge serve; I think everyone knows that. He's a totally different player when he's very confident, as he is at the moment. He's extremely tough to beat. You know, he can go out there -- I got, you know, full confidence that he could make it through to the final. It wouldn't be that big a surprise to me and all the other Australian guys to see that happen.

Q. The fact that you as an Australian have won Wimbledon, is that likely to have any effect on whether Pat Rafter comes back or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so. I really don't. You know, I've probably thought about it a bit, whether he would come back or not, whether that would motivate him more or not. I don't think it would mean anything to him, you know, whether -- give him extra motivation or not. I think after he's had the baby and that now, I think it's, you know, gonna just come down to, you know, him, if he wants to pick up a racquet. And obviously it's going to take a couple months. He hasn't picked up a racquet since the Davis Cup final, so it's going to take him a couple of months to get in shape and get on the court training. Your guess is as good as mine whether we're going to see him back or not.

Q. Do you hope he comes back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think everyone does.

Q. Would you be surprised if he did, though? He seems pretty happy from all accounts.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, would be a tough thing to come back from nearly a year out I guess. The longer he sits out then the more surprised I think you'd be to see him back. But, yeah, I wouldn't rule it out totally.

End of FastScripts….

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