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September 6, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Nice match, Lleyton. After a big push by Taylor, it was a different type of match today. You got a player coming up now, who spoke in a press conference earlier, and is playing very, very hot. He said playing you, he's got nothing to lose. Your thoughts about the next step in this journey?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Jarkko is a tough player. We played a couple times before. Yeah, he works the ball around the court well. He doesn't give you a lot of cheap points. Off both sides he's extremely capable of putting you under pressure. I don't think there's probably a weaker side. His backhand is probably a little bit more steady, but he's got a fair bit of firepower on his forehand side. So, you know, obviously a lefty. Just got to go out there and try and execute my game well. Make him play a lot of balls, and stand up in the court and be aggressive when I need to.

Q. You looked completely in control today. Was today the best you played this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I stepped it up today. Totally different matchup. But I got out of the blocks well today and, you know, I just went out there with the game plan that Roger and I had put together, and, you know, just executed it perfectly and did what I needed to do. And, you know, didn't feel that under pressure, you know, on either my service games nor his. Sometimes it actually felt like he was playing better on my service games than his own.

Q. When you read a guy like Dominik who says he's super fit and what he's going to do is try to run you around, is that extra motivation for you, knowing your own fitness levels?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. He's one of the fittest guys as well out there, but I wasn't trying to go out there and make it into a marathon match. You know, I'm very happy to get away with the win that I got and, you know, be in the locker room after a comfortable win as well and not waste a lot of energy. Physically, I felt great out there today. So, you know, he didn't put me under that much pressure.

Q. Did you work a lot on the serve in the day in between? Seemed like it was coming through a little more today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, didn't work on it a whole heap specifically. It was more just trying to get some rhythm yesterday in practice and this morning before I went out. But, you know, it was more just a mental effort to go out there and, you know, play the percentage game again out there against Dominik. You know, put him under as much pressure as possible.

Q. After the match with Taylor, do you feel like you really needed a match like today, something to get through quick, save yourself energy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's always nice to get through in these, especially coming off a match like Taylor which could have gone either way in a lot of ways, only a couple points here and there. Yeah, it's nice to go out there and bounce back like I did today. It's even better after playing a long match and you pull up and your body feels good as well. You don't have any doubts in your mind about your body, that's a huge positive.

Q. When you know there's a possibility you might play Roger down the line, is it doubly important to try to conserve energy along the way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, nine times out of ten I think if you're going to win the tournament, you're going to have to come up against Federer at some stage at the moment. So, yeah, it's just a matter of getting through your matches. It's not something you focus on, you've got to save your energy just for that match. So it's a matter of, you know, going out there against the opponents that you've got to play. And next Nieminen, whether it takes me an hour and a half or four and a half hours, I just want to get the win on the board.

Q. Andre has spoken about how marriage and fatherhood has changed his perspective on the game. Can you talk about that and what your expectations are.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't given a whole heap of thought. You know, marriage hasn't changed things that much just yet. Having a kid, you know, it certainly will. But, you know, I think it's going to be more of a surprise when it happens than, you know, to know actually how it's going to be right at the moment. You know, obviously the travel and everything. But, you know, Bec is the priority at the moment regardless, and, you know, Bec and obviously the baby will be the priority next year as well.

Q. Have you given any thought to dropping the lawsuit against the ATP? I know your manager has mentioned a little bit about that. What are your thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's still going on. There's no need for me to comment right now about it.

Q. You're not going to drop it?


Q. When you see next year, you know, I know it's a long way off, but do you foresee yourself as a guy that wants to keep playing tennis, you know, like an Agassi, into that sort of age span?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, there's too many things around the corner, you know, body and injuries. Yeah, who knows really. It's just a matter of at the moment taking as much care as possible, you know, with your body, and my body and especially my legs are a huge part of my game as well. So, yeah, I'd like to play as long as possible, as long as my body can put up with it. But right at the moment I haven't even thought about that.

Q. In terms of your - I don't want to say love for the game - but in terms of going through the grind of being a professional player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows? Who knows? As soon as you're not motivated, there's not much point being out there.

Q. Six years you've been in the US Open quarters or better. Does it feel as if it's possible for you to have done that? You're only 24. How do you sort of view that achievement?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good. I actually didn't even think about it until someone said it in one of the interviews there today. You know, it's a great record to have here. It's not an easy Grand Slam, not an easy tournament to do well at, and to go out successfully every year, you know, it's a huge positive, I think. I love playing in New York. I love the conditions, the court surface, the balls, everything about it. So as a whole, this tournament's been pretty good for me.

Q. Jarkko has never played in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. He said there's a certain exuberance being there the first time. You have experience over him. Is there a special danger in playing a young, hot player in unchartered territory, having that sense of momentum?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's a danger in that kind of aspect, I guess. You know, they've got nothing to lose in a lot of ways. But, yeah, that can work for a positive or a negative, you know, with the nerves of playing in that situation as well. So it's not a whole -- for me, it's more a matter of going out there with the mindset I always have, giving 100%, worrying about my game more than my opponent's. I've played enough guys now that it's been their first time in a quarter, semi, or even a final. David Nalbandian at Wimbledon, first final; it can work on either way. It's not something I dwell on too much.

Q. Roger Federer said being the No. 1 player in the world makes your voice carry. Did you feel a responsibility or burden being at the top?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about a "burden." There's no doubt that I think, you know, the weight of what you say or your comments, you know, carry a lot further down the line than a lot of other people, you know, in the game of tennis. There's no doubt about that. I'm sure any world No. 1 in any chosen sport would be exactly the same. So I'm sure Roger's really feeling that, obviously, at the moment, being clearly the world No. 1.

Q. How have you changed since you were No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap, I don't think. Really not much on or off the court, I think. I still go out there and prepare and put in all the preparation off the court that I need to work on my game, and fitness levels and all that, all the hard yards, yeah. None of that's changed.

Q. John Newcombe obviously says in commentary that he's concerned when you get in a lead, you try and protect it (inaudible). Would you agree with that at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Occasionally, I think. Sometimes -- depends in matches, I think more. Today was a match where the service games, didn't really mean a lot who was serving out there today purely because Hrbaty is such a good returner and he really wants to take that first hit in the point. Whereas sometimes I felt like, you know, it was easier actually on his service games. He played a little bit more negative on his serves games than on mine. So today was probably a little bit different. In some of the matches, I think -- you know, against Dent the other day, I just had a bad service game at 4-3 when I led in the fifth and, you know, it was good to close it out at 6-5.

Q. Why do you play your best tennis when you are behind?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if I necessarily play my best tennis when I'm behind. I don't think -- today I went out and played probably my best tennis first set. That's when, you know, I was clearly in the lead. But, you know, felt pretty confident out there.

Q. You obviously enjoy the challenge?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it doesn't worry me either way. I prefer to be leading than coming from behind, though.

Q. Yesterday McEnroe was saying that he thinks that you were getting in people's faces too much or opponents' faces. Do you sense a big deal is being made out of something that's not that much of a big deal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think a lot of people hopped on the wagon, yeah. Yeah, I think, you know, especially with the Davis Cup match in Sydney, I think a lot more people hopped on the wagon. That was probably the more disappointing thing because I actually didn't really know what I did wrong in that match. You know, in terms of that, that was disappointing, you know. Even Coria yesterday was mimicking Massu in his match, but no one really wanted to give him a hard time yesterday, or back in Sydney. So that was disappointing.

Q. Do you feel what you do is more aimed at internal-wise, like a fist pump or a "C'mon" is more about you than the other guy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's always got to do with me. It's a matter of spur-of-the-moment, the emotions out there, whether I want to pump myself up and, you know, just happens out there. It's not something you think about and go out there and do.

Q. Did you happen to notice his shirt?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah (smiling).

Q. Would you be apt to wear a shirt with gaping holes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wouldn't wear it. I wouldn't wear it. But it made it a lot easier for me to beat him today.

Q. You think the wind was blowing in that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about that. I just couldn't lose to a bloke wearing a shirt like that (smiling).

Q. There's always a group of Australian fans here supporting you and other Australians. What do you think about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they're great. They come to all the major events - not just tennis, but all the sporting events, whether it's cricket or anything overseas. They're great. Make a lot of noise out there, which I like. It's a good atmosphere to play tennis in, especially in such a big stadium. Two days ago, we had 25,000 watching me play against Dent. Whereas today it wasn't jam-packed, and it's nice to have a bit more emotion out there from some of the crowd.

Q. What do you see as the main improvements in your game from the kid that made the semis here the first year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I got a lot more variety in my game. You know, serve, no doubt when it's clicking, it's a lot better than it was back then as well. You know, in general I think my whole game as a whole, you know, I have more options out there on the court.

End of FastScripts….

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