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September 10, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That must be a harder one to take because you've played so well for so long in that match. Do you feel like the second set might have been the key, if you would have somehow got that one, with all the set point chances, held on to that one, did you feel he was a little under pressure?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, yeah, once you go down two sets to Love against a guy like Roger, it's always going to be a massive uphill battle. But, you know, I would have made it a lot nicer, a lot more comfortable, I feel like, getting myself into the match as well at a set all, and try and put some pressure on him from there. After I was down an early break in the second set and I got back, once I got back in it, I felt like I was actually starting to dictate play a little bit more out there, and I was definitely having a few more opportunities on his service games in the 5-4 and the 6-5 game. I just wasn't quite able to grab them. You know, he played an unbelievable tiebreak, though. You know, there wasn't much I could do about it. He started at the better end and he dictated play right away. That made it tough to come back from there. But, you know, still, I hung in there, weathered the storm early in the third set and was able to hang in there and get a break and get on top. But, you know, it's always going to be tough, you know, after going down two sets to Love for him to play three average sets or, you know, not to play one outstanding one.

Q. In every press conference the past two weeks, I've sat in with opponents of his, heard variations of "He's playing on another planet," "He's not even mortal." You made him look mortal in the third set. What do people need to do to beat this guy? Can you comment on that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's playing extremely well. I felt like out there today, though, the first set I had opportunities early on and just wasn't quite able to dictate and take them when I needed to. If I could have tried to hang with him early in the first set and try and put some pressure on him -- I was sort of beating myself a little bit in the first set I felt. Once I got into the match, I felt like I was able to go toe-to-toe with him, you know, pretty well. But, you know, he's a hell of a shot-maker, the best shot-maker I've ever seen. He can pull the trigger on, you know -- anywhere on the court. So, you know, obviously, over five sets, there's going to be times when he hits them pretty well. So, you know, that's the tough thing, to go out there and actually try and dictate him for three out of five sets.

Q. Roger said you should take confidence out of that match that you can actually beat him. Is that how you feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's obviously a bit disappointing right at the moment. But, you know, it was a lot better effort on, you know, my part of getting myself into the match and having a bit of a tussle with him and trying to put him under pressure out there today. No one's really been able to put him under pressure for the last couple of years, especially on hard court - or grass for that matter. You know, he's definitely been the standout player. Doesn't matter how good you are. Not to lose, you know - what has he lost? Three matches, and two of them he's had matchpoint this year - that's an incredible year.

Q. Do you feel as though you played some of your best tennis today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played okay. I still feel like I could have played better out there. I definitely could have served better today. But, you know, he's a player that, you know, he's going to try and make you play worse out there as well. So it's not easy sometimes to play your best tennis against a guy like Roger.

Q. When you look back at the set points in the second set, do you kind of see that there's not a lot you could have done on those five points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the first two set points I had, he played a dink shot. You know, he hit a good first serve, I got it back. He came in, played a dink backhand, came into the net. Wasn't really much I could do. Next one I played a pretty perfect point, really. And, you know, he hit that forehand pass up the line. You know, when he actually hit it, I nearly thought it was going to go long, but it was against the breeze and he put so much work on the ball as well that it dropped in clearly.

Q. In 2000 Tiger Woods dominated golf in a way that one might say Roger is doing in tennis right now. Ernie Els, who was a runner-up to him, said it was too bloody bad he was playing in the era of Tiger Woods. Ultimately, the players said Tiger raised the level of their game. Do you see an analogy? Would you say the same with Roger? Is this what's going to happen to try to sort of stem his confidence?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. But, you know, I think everyone, once they get to No. 1, it's always taking the game to a new level, I think. There's no doubt that Roger has taken it to a new level, taking everyone a little while to catch up, to play the tennis that he plays week in and week out, to try to play that, you know, all the time against him. So, you know, in those terms, yeah, it is similar. But, you know, that's what motivates you. That's why a guy like Agassi wants to go out, you know, he's still playing at 35, and wants to improve and, you know, go out there and play against Roger in the final tomorrow. You know, that's what drives the competitive spirit, I think, you know, in a lot of the top players, to try to get to that next level.

Q. Was there a point where you got really got frustrated? You seemed to have a great attitude about it. Have you always seen it as, "This guy's going to make me better somehow and I am going to get him sooner or later"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You get frustrated, you know, but it's a matter of hanging in there and looking at the big picture, I guess. I still feel like I'm a better player than when I was No. 1 a couple of years ago. There's still small areas of my game that, you know, I feel like I can work on and make me a better player week in and week out as well. That's what you sort of cling to, I guess, after you have losses in majors and come so close yet again but not, you know, hold up the winner's trophy. But that's where you go back to the drawing board and, you know, keep working and look forward to the next major.

Q. What do you think we will see tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, you know, it's hard to go past Roger, I think. But Andre, two or three, I think, five-setters in a row. Obviously, you know, I think Roger is going to be the fresher out of the two. Their head-to-head matches the last couple years, you know, hasn't gone with Andre too much.

Q. What was happening with the umpire and the foot faulting? Secondly, did it have a bit of a cumulative effect on your serve in that fourth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. I just -- when I actually queried about I was getting called more at one end than the other end, I asked him. Actually, when I was talking to him, they were rotating anyway. So that was about that. No, I was just saying, you know, I had to block it out of my mind and, you know, there wasn't anything I could do out there about it.

Q. You had 12.


Q. He seemed to move you across the court, then got you coming to the net. Did that keep you off stride?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a, you know -- he plays with a lot of different spins and angles out there, a lot more than anyone really on the tour these days. So, you know, that's the hard thing of coming up against a guy like Roger, because he does play so much different, I think, to 90% of the guys out there.

Q. Could you look back at this year Grand Slams' result, are you satisfied with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm, you know, satisfied with it. You know, when you go out there and, you know, compete and give everything you've got, then, you know, I haven't left anything in the locker room in any three of the majors that I've played. You know, I've put pressure on, you know -- it's only been two guys that have beaten me in the three majors this year that I played, and they're not bad players.

Q. I was talking to Newcombe and Mark Woodforde just about your actual North American circuit, how it's a good base for you for the Australian summer. What are your thoughts about trying to win the Australian Open again and what's on for you for the rest of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously, the next focus will be about the Australian Open. You know, training, training towards that and getting in as good a shape as possible for that. Yeah, you know, it's a tournament that I love playing and I'm going to really look forward to it again.

Q. In a sense, is this loss harder to take because you played much better than you have your last probably three matches against him? Is it harder to take than even the final last year, that you made the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, they're all hard to take, I think. You know, I look back on them, maybe I'll take a bit more out of -- a few more positives out of today's match than the final last year. You know, who knows, in a few months' time, that might hold me in good stead down in Melbourne hopefully.

Q. Has your view of life and tennis in general changed now that you're becoming a father?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not yet it hasn't. I have to wait and see. I won't know until it happens, I think.

Q. When is your next tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure at this stage.

Q. Are you a certainty to play some more tournaments this year, particularly the Masters Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just we'll wait and see. I'm not sure how many tournaments. I'll see how my body feels and what I feel like doing.

Q. You're not guaranteeing you'll actually be in China if you qualify?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't go chasing points for it, no.

Q. I'll ask you the obligatory Crows question, did you see the score, listen to it on the radio?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I saw the score.

Q. Will you go next weekend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know yet, mate.

End of FastScripts….

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