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September 5, 2003

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Maybe not too many guys would have beaten him today, the way he was playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he was great. You've really got to take your hat off to him. You know, I felt like I went up another notch from yesterday. I felt like I hit the ball a lot better, especially my backhand. Backhand cross court didn't quite -- you know, backhand down the line, I probably didn't hit that great today. But, yeah, he played well. He mixed up his serve extremely well. You know, he's getting tougher and tougher on these kind of courts.

Q. What was the reason for the trainer coming? Did you have some sort of injury?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I got, you know, just -- actually not sure what it is. It's at the top of my sort of hip flexor area. I just couldn't serve, basically. It was hurting every time I went up to push off serving. It was grabbing. I wasn't sure if it was cramping or not. The trainer, Doug Spreen, just -- it was tightening up on me every time I'd gone out to serve. I had the problem once before at the end of the Ferreira match in Los Angeles, and hadn't had a problem since. So it was a little bit disappointing in that regard. It was very tough to hold serve from then on, especially against a guy who's working the ball so well from the baseline.

Q. Did you know after that when you couldn't get anything on your serve, did you know it was gonna be...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I knew I was gonna be struggling. I was trying to battle, but also trying to play a different style of game to what I'm used to as well. You know, trying to go for a lot of winners, I guess, which off the wrong balls, where normally I'd try and work the point a little bit more. Yeah, I take nothing away from him, though. He was too good.

Q. In the fourth set, it looked as if it hurt quite a bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. It was mainly the serve, to tell you the truth. My serve was the biggest worry. And once you start getting that feeling, then you don't go after -- you couldn't go after your serve either. That's the problem. Your mind is telling you there's pain there and you don't want to push up and get that pain. So it was hurting a little bit on my backhand out wide now and then. But, you know, I don't want to take anything away from him.

Q. Any risk of you not playing Davis Cup because of this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't think so. Unless Fitzy and Wally want to put in Wayne or Scotty or Todd for the singles.

Q. You are not expecting it to be hampering you two weeks from now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope not. You know, I didn't expect anything to hamper me here either. So it could be a little bit of a suck-it-and-see, and hopefully it doesn't happen. But my plan is to play Davis Cup and give everything I've got, and I'm sure Fitzy and Wally are going to put me in no matter how I'm probably feeling.

Q. What was the diagnosis after the Ferreira match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't really sure. My hip had tightened up a little bit. It could be coming from my back as well, so I'm not sure.

Q. Are you worried about it in terms of Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I'm a little bit disappointed only -- it's just frustrating. Last night I felt like I had to do a lot of running against Paradorn and didn't have a problem. I felt great the whole match. (Inaudible) back up two tough matches, you know, those two and a half sets, three sets, was serious running out there for both players today. Whether I happened to play a guy like that straight after a tough match last night, whether that's just throwing my whole body out of whack a bit with my back, I'm not really sure. That's probably the most disappointing -- well, aggravating thing a little bit.

Q. Looking back on the week, Andre Agassi said he could not remember a time in tennis that was more frustrating to him than having to go through these past four or five days. If you could reflect back on, you know, how it hampered your preparation, your thoughts on this lovely week.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was tough, you know. But it's tough for everyone. That's the try (sic) of mindset that I tried to have, I guess. We're all in the same situation. It's not too often you get this, and especially in a Grand Slam. You've always got, obviously, that day or two off between every match. Yeah, you got to be very mentally tough, though, and take it and not let it worry you too much, I guess. The tough thing is sitting around all day and just not knowing those three or four days if you're gonna get on or when you're gonna get on, when to eat. The schedule is getting changed left, right and center. It was just a tough situation for everyone.

Q. Once we had three days of rain here, in your view, should the tournament have gone to a 15th day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a hard one, I think. You know, probably not, if they could squeeze it in. It makes it extremely tough on the players, I guess, especially the men playing five sets four days in a row. It's a big ask for anyone - especially in these conditions. You know, today and probably the next couple days, it can warm up a bit. Playing in the afternoon can get pretty hot. So, yeah, it's a tough ask, but obviously TV and everything has times and they want the finals on on those times. You got to try and please everyone, I guess.

Q. Jennifer Capriati said after the match with Schiavone that she felt maybe having to wait three days could be tougher than having to play twice in one day. What are your thoughts on the advantages, disadvantages of playing back-to-back versus having to hang out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, women's tennis is different than men's tennis. I could see where Jennifer is coming from. Her match last night probably, I don't know, lasted 50 minutes or something. So the other girl only played I think just over a set yesterday. For women's tennis, I don't think that's too bad.

Q. Outside of the women's context then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough for everyone. There's a few days there I didn't get a hit at all. They opened up a couple indoor courts. I had a 15-minute hit there one day. I don't think I played that day either. Then I warmed up on Grandstand, on a wet Grandstand court yesterday morning, and had to go out at 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock or something last night and play Paradorn. So, yeah, it's frustrating for everyone. It's a tough situation whether you've got enough hitting in or whether you've rested enough or rested too much. I don't know what's the right way, what's the best way.

Q. When did you feel the hip? At what point in the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Towards the end of the third set at about 4-3 in the third set I think.

Q. You went up for a serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was feeling it on every serve after that.

Q. You win four matches here then you lose to a guy who's playing pretty well. Do you leave this tournament feeling like you're over this summer hiccup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel good. You know, I'm definitely not as disappointed as, you know, obviously Wimbledon or, you know, other times when you lose matches - only because I felt like I made a huge step up last night playing Paradorn. I played a great match, I felt. Especially coming back from a set down. You had to be mentally tough in that situation last night. Then today I felt like I even played a lot better than I did against Paradorn. I felt like I hit the ball great. If I can continue hitting the ball like I have and make the improvements that I have over the last couple of weeks, then it's a step in the right direction, yeah.

Q. You focused and structured your season to focus on the majors. It hasn't been up to your standards, your major campaign this year. Are you going to take a look at that next year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing next year at this stage. I got no idea what I'm doing at this stage. But my preparation, working on how many tournaments I play before the majors will be , hopefully, that I'm peaking for all four majors. So my scheduling before that, you know, before the Slams will, you know, end up, you know, how I feel like I'm gonna be 100 percent and giving everything in the majors.

Q. The last two years, definitely, you played a lot. Do you think this year maybe you didn't play enough?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, you play a lot if you're winning tournaments or doing well in tournaments, I guess. The last few weeks, I obviously haven't had that amount of success that I've had over the last couple of years. But, you know, I don't think that was a problem here at the US Open. I still felt like I was hitting the ball well. I got to the second week. You know, I went up a gear, and I wasn't quite good enough today. Obviously, you know, I took a fair while off after the Davis Cup in Sweden. That was more just I felt like I needed a break more than anything. I just really didn't want to play that many tournaments, especially on clay, leading into obviously the French and then staying over and playing Wimbledon.

Q. You had a great match with Juan Carlos in Shanghai, a close match. What's changed in his game in the last eight months?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I felt like he played a pretty bloody good game in Shanghai, as well. Obviously, in the end, I was a bit lucky to get over the line being down a break twice in the fifth set. I felt like I played an incredible match in Shanghai to win that. Probably not a lot's changed. The standard we were playing there for three sets today was pretty good. It was definitely up with the standard of Shanghai. In Shanghai I felt like I played great two sets and then, you know, got a little bit tired, I think, in the third and fourth, and somehow was able to find something late in the fifth.

Q. Did he do anything different?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a whole heap different. I felt like he was playing pretty well at the end of last year.

Q. What are your plans in terms of treatment for your injury?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Got no idea at the moment. Don't know.

Q. Are you gonna stay and watch Kim for the rest of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably. It's only a couple of days.

Q. Did you have a feeling today or did you think if you could squeak that third set - somehow - that you still had a chance?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I knew it was gonna be an uphill battle, the way that I was feeling. Especially playing a guy like that, who's so fit. Very rarely do you see him lose a match due to fitness. So even if I was two-sets-to-one up, there was no guarantee I was gonna be able to win one of the next two sets. You know, I was still somehow trying to get out of that set. At 5-4 there, came up with two aces on the two wide far lines. You got to just say "too good" to that. In the breaker, I fought back. He played a pretty incredible breaker. He hardly missed a first serve. Smacked a couple huge forehands on to win. Even his backhand up the line at 6-5 was a gutsy shot to go for.

Q. How fussed are you about Houston? If it takes a big push in the autumn, will you do that?


Q. Around the locker room during the rain delays, was there a feeling from the players they'd like to go Monday, Tuesday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I've got no idea. I haven't spoken to anyone about scheduling or anything, really - in the locker room, no other players or anything. So I don't know what the feeling of everyone else is. I'm sure everyone was, you know, pretty frustrated with the situation. But however it was dealt with, I guess they're all willing to accept it. I'm sure there was a few people that maybe wanted a Monday or Tuesday final or whatever, just to give them a bit more of a break.

Q. Last year you played a tough match against Andre in the semis. He comes out a little deflated the next day. Being on the other side of that, is there any sense how much Juan Carlos has in the tank for tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Juan Carlos is obviously fitter than Andre, I think, at the moment in their careers. So I couldn't see it being a huge problem. But then again, you know, I think Andre won in straight sets, you know, pretty comfortably today. He didn't have to play yesterday. So, you know, it's a huge swing, you know, in Andre's favor, I'd say. I wouldn't write off Juan Carlos. I haven't seen a lot of their matches. I saw the one in Shanghai last year. He played an incredible match there against Andre. On those courts, Andre's probably got a slight advantage. But he's going to be a very tough competitor, Ferrero.

Q. Next year will you again focus on Davis Cup and Slams, or is No. 1 something that you want to get back?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, at the moment it's Davis Cup and Slams. You know, I'll schedule my other tournaments. I feel like if you're gonna be No. 1, you got to play a hell of a lot of events unless you can go out there and win two or three majors. I'll schedule my other ATP events just around trying to prepare as well as I can for the majors.

Q. In terms of the Masters Cup, is there a feeling you've done that, you don't need to prove anything in terms of making that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. There's also a feeling I could be hurt for playing a grass court final in Australia, Davis Cup, which I hope's the case.

Q. In LA when you felt the hip for the first time, how many days after did the discomfort subside?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I didn't really feel it, you know, too much. I didn't feel it in my next match against Bob Bryan. Was only two days later, I think. You know, it wasn't the kind of match -- probably I got through it pretty comfortably. Yeah, it's something I've got to look at. I'm not really sure the cause of it at the moment.

Q. We haven't talked about this at all, but are you going to involve yourself at all in the legal case? Are you going to be involved in that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not gonna talk about it right now. Thanks.

End of FastScripts….

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