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August 31, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was it out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was good. Extremely tough conditions so it was one match that you just wanted to get under your belt and get into the tournament get back into the locker room as quickly as possible. And I felt like I executed exactly how I wanted to out there considering I knew it was going to be extremely windy after the warmup. I had this morning with Roger. Went out with a game plan and executed it perfectly.

Q. Obviously you played pretty much the least amount of tournaments of any of the Top 30, 40 players this year. Is that going to impact your form when it gets into a real tight contest or --

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Couldn't have played probably more or less than I played before Wimbledon. As soon as I get in the big matches, the big situations, I know what to do and there was a couple of tight matches obviously at Wimbledon against Dent, tight four-setter. Then against Lopez, as well. I played my best tennis actually under those situations where I was down an early break against Lopez and the bigger the point the better I played. Hope that's going to be the same situation here.

Q. You guys' peril could lay anywhere, even in a first round, Andy obviously experienced that bitterly last night. Looking at first round, a guy who has won a Grand Slam event albeit he's not in top form, did you have any concerns about having Albert in that first round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, no more than any other first round, I think. Yeah, there's no doubt I got respect for the guy, winner of the French Open, winner of any Slam. In this day and age, they can play on any surface. Yeah, you know it going to be tough. He's a guy who never gives it away easily either. He's a workhorse out there. Yeah, in a lot of ways it could have been a tough and awkward matchup for me. I think I just handled the situation so much better and the conditions out there than he did today. Yeah, I don't think these kind of conditions suit his game too well.

Q. When you see the likes of Andy go out early round, does that affect your thinking at all? Did you watch the match last night?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't watch it. It doesn't affect me. Andy is on the other side of the draw obviously and, yeah, it's just -- always an eye-opener any time to see one of the top guys go out in the first and second round. But, you know, I've been on the other end of it as well. I know as well as any one that you can't take those matches lightly. And I played that Muller block last year in the Washington final after beating Agassi and he can play.

Q. Your part of the draw has opened up considerably. Does that make it easier for you or tougher? You have got a lot of claycourters, maybe Taylor Dent, looks like a relatively easy run.

LLEYTON HEWITT: As you saw last night, everyone was counting Andy to the semis and finals. There's no easy draws in this day and age. This court surface, I think a lot of the claycourters can play exceptionally well on this surface nowadays. Horna, Asacuso in the next rounds not going to be easy, Asacuso beat a lot of good players in Cincinnati to make a quarter there and played pretty well against Federer. And Horna, I beat in the Long Island final last year, but he made the final of a hard court event. So I am going to play the likes of one of those two guys.

Q. Has the "Cashy" headband been put back in the bag?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I just tried that for a couple of weeks.

Q. What was the idea behind that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just something different. That was it.

Q. Is that in respect to him and that sort of thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I loved Cashy growing up. He was one of my favorite players. Love the headband, too. It was a great thing for sport, a great thing for tennis I think. That was his trademark, no doubt about that. Obviously, I just had a thought before I went to Montreal, and obviously it didn't get the greatest stats, got pulled out the first round, but I called him up and asked if he'd mind if I wore a few of his headbands.

Q. They were his?


Q. Shipped them off to you?


Q. Injuries have played a part in your schedule this year. Obviously you are married now, going to have a child. Eight tournaments so far this year. Is that going to be a sort of similar plan for you next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No doubt I'd like to play few more this year, for sure. Next year, I haven't really set out a schedule, but as it's been the last three, four years now be focusing on the four majors and working backward from there. Yeah, leading into the French, I am not sure how much I will play. Obviously, I want to be fresh going into Wimbledon, being away that whole time leading and playing a lot of tournaments before the French. I don't know if that's the best preparation for me before Wimbledon. So I got to look at what holds in best stead for all the four majors and coming into the US. No doubt I'd like to play more tournaments this year as well coming in here. That's not to be, just got to try and do as well as I can with what is put in front of you at the time.

Q. As an expecting father, have you been talking to other guys on Tour that have young kids or babies get some tips what it's going to be like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. Tim Henman's made a few jokes here and there. That's about it.

Q. What has he said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably can't repeat it here.

Q. Did he mention the cricket, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's mentioned the cricket a few times.

Q. Any thoughts on that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not at the moment (Laughter). I still think we'll find a way at that win the fifth test blank, hopefully the Tour.

Q. Does it feel any different to come here as a married man to have the extra responsibility of family life?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. Once I get out on the court, practice court, match court, it's business as usual and matter of focusing on my job and what I am here to do.

Q. How about the evening sessions here, do you like them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I like the evening sessions, if I get any. I have played well in the evening in the past here, pretty good record, I think. I enjoying playing the evening sessions. It's a real buzz here, much like Australia in the night matches as well.

Q. Expect that you will travel with your wife and kid next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Most of the time, yeah.

Q. How are you expecting that to change your routine and your schedule?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have no idea at this moment. Obviously it's going to change, but 'til it happens, I have no idea.

Q. Just going to wing it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, again.

Q. Forget sleep?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's going to be a change(Laughter).

Q. (Indiscernible) on the weekend?


Q. Sent a message to the guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have spoken to a lot of the guys.

Q. How are you going to monitor these boys, Internet?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Depends, 7 o'clock in Adelaide, I don't know what I'll do. Depends on my matches and that as well. But I have a very keen eye on it.

Q. What's the tip?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We'll win. There's no doubt about that.

Q. How many?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Depends on how many players they have out. They still have a few of their guns still 50/50, I think. And a lot depends on them. I think if we get through this week, it's going to be a huge confidence booster for all the boys.

Q. (Indiscernible) Wednesday start be as opposed to an earlier start?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think now it's going to be no disadvantage. If it got rained out today, could have been a different story. Now that I got through, every second day, as per any Grand Slam, obviously until you get to the Saturday and Sunday back-to-back semi and final, but I am just happy I didn't get rained out today and I could get through.

Q. Did you make a request to play Tuesday, can you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I put in that I preferred to play Tuesday, but my half of the draw was Tuesday or Wednesday, and -- I think when Safin pulled out, as well, it made things a little harder, because there weren't as many key names to play on Wednesday.

Q. And the 11:00 A.M. start, how was that for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's fine. No, it's good to get it over and done with. Probably prefer that to hanging around and waiting - especially not knowing what this whether is going to do.

Q. Spoke to Rod Laver on the weekend. Obviously an opinion worth listening. Rod said while he likes Roger for the tournament, he thinks you have got a shot and he was feeling sort of the best thing for you is to not worry about what Roger is doing, what he's not doing, until such times as you were playing him.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's what I do every tournament. I don't worry about Roger until I come up against him because I am obviously doing something pretty well against the other 99 blocks of the Top 100 out there. So it's only a matter of worrying about Roger when you have actually got to face him, but then again, there's been no secret formula for anyone against Roger on any surface really the last couple of years. I'd look forward to hopefully getting that crack at him in the semi.

Q. Having said that, Albert was just in here. He said the difference between playing you now and last time he played you, he thought your serve was a lot bigger. He also thought you were a lot stronger. Is that something that you worked at in terms of looking at Federer or just in terms of being a better player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think in terms of just being a better player. There's no doubt that Roger has taken the game to another level though. Yeah, that might motivate, I think, the rest of the guys out there to keep improving and to keep getting better. One thing that Roger Rasheed and I worked on was strength and trying to add another dimension to my game and trying to become a better player. If there's no small areas of your game to work on, then you might as well hang your rackets up. That keeps you motivated and keeps you hungry out there to keep improving. Yeah, it hasn't just happened overnight. That's been something that we have been working on the last two years, 18 months, two years. I think my result have shown that. Physically, I have been pretty strong in all the majors that I have had to play. Probably the most in the Australian Open, getting through to the final.

Q. Peter Luczak said the other day to me he thought the difference from hitting with you a couple of years ago to now is that he said you might make a few more errors because he thinks you are much more aggressive than sort of to know the ball back to keep it in play. Is that again...

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think over the last couple of years that's happened more and more. Whether that means coming into the net a little bit more to add another dimension, element of surprise to your opponents or not. Yeah, it just gives me another area of my game to improve and work on. That's a lot different doing it in the practice court to going out and doing it in match court in match conditions, under match pressure, under 30-alls and Deuce points out there.

Q. If you sort of take away the Australian Open, and how dominant Roger has been. It has been really been Roger and Rafael from January on. They have would every Master Series event, two other Grand Slams. Can you remember a time when two guys won so many big tournaments?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I am sure Agassi and Sampras had it a few times in their careers when they played each other and they dominated. Obviously at the moment you still have to put Federer up there by himself. Yeah, he made a semi of the French Open, it's not his best surface either. He won Hamburg on clay, slow clay court there. I don't think he played Rome. So in everything -- he's lost like three matches for the year and like two of them and two of them I think he had matchpoint in both of them. At the moment I still rate him a lot higher than Nadal. But Rafael has had a great career, great year this year, and obviously more so on clay. But he's breaks in Montreal was obviously impressive.

Q. Did you lose a bit with Roger losing (indiscernible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think there was any black in there. Blue (Laughter).

Q. Lleyton, just with regards to Mark Philippoussis. What do you think? What do you think his prospects are maybe getting back in the Top 100?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mark's always going to be dangerous in any tournament - especially on hard courts or grass, in the Aussie Open, The US Open, or Wimbledon more so. But when your ranking gets outside 150, 200 there's no doubt that it's hard for anyone to come back from that situation and play well week-in and week-out. Because to rely on wildcards or to go back and play qualifying in some of the Master Series isn't easy. Hopefully he can work and put his head down, he's probably got a big opportunity in the Australian summer, I think to hopefully go out there. He missed most of it after in jurying himself after the Hopman Cup, I think if he can sort of bounce back and get the crowd behind him and play some good tennis at the Aussie Open, that could set up a bit of a change in the rankings next year.

End of FastScripts….

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