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September 4, 2003

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Lleyton, before we get on to the match, could we get something of a blow by blow of what you've been doing the last three days? Wally said you were bouncing off walls. Must have been very frustrating?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes. It's tough for everyone. You know, that's what I keep telling myself. I'm in the same situation as, at the time, the 15 other guys in the Round of 16 and I have to -- it's like playing a patience game. You know, I spend a lot of time at the courts obviously every day. You know, it was getting frustrating. Sitting around every day. And then finally it comes to 9 or 10 o'clock, they cancel everyone else (by/but?) Your matches. You're sitting around. Obviously, we went out and started the match two or three days ago. Threw a court change in there. I've never had that happen, not only in a Grand Slam, but maybe a local country tournament in Juniors back in Australia, playing a different court.

Q. Do you have a feeling life's a bit rougher if you're not American in this draw?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it's got nothing to do with that. It's a grandstand court, I warmed up this morning, there was water coming out. It's incredible. Never seen anything like it. It was like playing on ice. That's the only thing you could do. There's no way Paradorn or I would go out there, anyone would risk an injury out there on that .

Q. I meant in terms of scheduling, Andy got out last night.

LLEYTON HEWITT: They had no other option. Last night, you know, I was happy at least they sent us home at an early time. You know, the weather situation was ordinary. My half of the draw had sat around for a very long time, you know, every night. And, you know, I was pleased that we at least got home, go to bed at a normal time, and come back. Obviously, it's gonna be tough to win four matches in a row, maybe a disadvantage in that sense. But, you know, I feel like obviously Andy was prepared to play 7 o'clock last night. That's the way it should have been. You know, it's hard to sit around all day then got told, "All right, you're the night match, you're going on at 7 o'clock and we're cancelling everyone else."

Q. Does it make you fresher for a long weekend that you got through that one pretty quick today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know about that. Just take it a match at a time. Obviously, Ferrero just won then. You know, I don't expect him to pull up, you know, too sore. He's one of the fittest guys around. That's gonna be a grind again. I'm gonna have to put my head down and work extremely hard. You know, try to get into the semifinals again here.

Q. Obviously, the job is not done yet, but it must be nice to be back in familiar territory, a Grand Slam quarterfinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I know what it's like to do it. Obviously, the last time I made a quarters was here last year. You know, I've had great success at this tournament. You know, ever since I started playing the main draw, third round semi, win and a semi, now in the quarters. I enjoy these courts. I enjoy the atmosphere here. It would be nice to go one or two further.

Q. What can you take away from the quarter in Shanghai with Ferrero?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's gonna be a grind. I don't expect too much different from that match. Obviously, I had a lot of tough matches, very similar to if you make the final here. Back-to-back, I played Safin, Federer - late match against Federer - had to come back and play best-of-five sets against Ferrero. So, it's gonna be tough again tomorrow. I've got a guy out there, he's gonna run down a lot of shots. He's going to hit a lot of winners. He's got great movement. Just got to try to make him play as many balls and stay aggressive.

Q. When you play somebody like Paradorn, who after he wins the first set, sort of starts missing, started misfiring a lot, do you just try and get it back and wait for him to make a mistake?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's an awkward situation, playing a guy like him. There's not too many guys who off both side are just so flashy. He moves incredibly well for a big guy. You know, it's very hard to hit clean winners from the baseline against him. If you do get him on the stretch, then he can come out with a cold winner. Obviously, his forehand is a little bit bigger, strength in his backhand. I think when I went out there tonight, you know, it's obviously tough starting at 3-4 in the first set. I was just a little bit negative. I was probably waiting for him to make errors. He didn't. He came at me in that game, he ended up breaking for the first set. From then on, I tried turning it around, being more aggressive. Towards the end of the fourth set I played some of my best tennis.

Q. Did it take you a while to find your feet out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That, and I guess playing Paradorn as well, you get into a, not-sure-what-to-do, really, because you don't get that much rhythm. Whether you sit back, wait for him to make errors, run down a lot balls, or whether you go out there, play your game and try stay aggressive. I felt at the start I was just pushing the ball a little bit too much. Then at the end I really started working it well.

Q. The commentary, the balls were very heavy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very heavy. Not quite probably as heavy as two nights ago, whenever I went on the court for the start. That was incredible that night how heavy it was, the first seven games. It took me a few games to really get into it. Whereas Paradorn can hit through that heaviness a little bit easier than I can. I didn't really feel like I was getting much on the ball. Then again tonight it took me a few games to get into it.

Q. One of the things about having this delay that you've had, do you get any sort of irregular sleep? What's your regular sleep schedule? How has it been the last three nights? When you're sitting around, can you just play cards for five hours, sit down and play cards or do you need to move around?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the sleeping, obviously, I like to get a fair bit of sleep, probably nine hours or so would be great. And, yeah, it's just been tough because obviously that first couple nights obviously you get back very late, then, you know, have some room service dinner, then get a massage. Before you know it, it's 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning before you get to bed. You're waking up -- even though we're scheduled second or whatever, it's still raining, we're still going out to the courts, because obviously they're gonna cancel doubles matches before mine. You still have to wake up reasonably early and have breakfast and try to get in a normal routine that you're gonna be playing. Yesterday, I was a little bit better, I guess. We got back a little bit earlier, could have a decent meal and obviously go to bed at a reasonable hour. Then I had to wake up early this morning, sit around all day. It's been awkward every day.

Q. Have you ever experienced anything like this?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I don't think too many tournaments have experienced anything like this.

Q. Just at a Grand Slam, anywhere?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. The first thing that comes to mind maybe Junior Clay Court Nationals at Glenn Isles (ph). That's about it.

Q. Did you get the 8:30 car out there this morning?


Q. You were here around 9 a.m.?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just before 9.

Q. From all the players, it's only you and Andre with the experience winning at the US Open. What do you think how much this experience is important now in the last round? Then, do you think your part of the draw is, because of that fact, heavier than another one with Andy Roddick? Do you think the possible match between you and Andre will be kind of final before a final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: If I play Andre, it's definitely not a final before a final. It's gonna be an extremely tough match. At the moment I'm worrying about Ferrero. He's a guy who knows how to play in big matches. I've had very tough matches with him in the past on hard courts. He's getting better and better on hard courts. You know, he's one of the clay court guys. He stands up in the court and he's aggressive. He moves very well. There's no reason why he can't play well on this stuff. You know, the other side of the draw, I don't really know who won. I heard Nalbandian won, and obviously he's been to a Wimbledon finals. He knows what to do in a second week. Roddick, I think just confidence is rolling with him at the moment. You know, you just really got to take it one match at a time. Coria is starting to get, you know, used to playing at the end of Grand Slams as well.

Q. How much does the experience of winning US Open is important in the last rounds?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's important to have at the back of your mind. Obviously, I have great memories of this place. I know what it takes to win here. Obviously, Andre does as well; he knows more than me. So, yeah, it definitely helps, I think. But then again, you know, these other guys want to win it, you know, badly as well.

Q. Having gone further here than you've gone in the other Slams this year, do you have a sense this tournament has been successful for you, whatever else goes on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, I still believe I'm good enough to win. I take it one match at a time. I felt like went up another gear tonight and I had to against a top player, a guy who can really beat anyone on any given day. We've seen that over the last couple of years in Srichaphan. So, yeah I've still got to keep improving now and take it a match at a time. You know, I don't really want to go on it in the quarters at the moment. I feel like I'm playing well enough to go further.

Q. All these consecutive days of matches, how much of this tournament depends on survival of the fittest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In some ways it's going to be. If guys get out there, though, and have comfortable three-set wins, it's, you know, I don't think it's gonna be too bad. It depends if you have too many, you know, long four- or five-set matches, or even if you play night matches or late matches as well, and your whole routine gets thrown out now that you've got to play every day.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I sometimes look through them, not all the time. You know, I know pretty much what I do and how I feel out there more than anything.

Q. As you've won here before, tournaments you've done well in, do you feel that this is building in doing, like every match you seem to step up a notch, is that how it's been for you when you've ultimately won places?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Won Slams or...?

Q. When you won tournaments, do you normally find that you start to play a little scratchy and...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Every tournament is different, I think. There's obviously tournaments where I feel very confident and sharp from the start. Grand Slams, I feel like I've got to -- you've got to find a way to get through the first week. Once you get in the second week, that's when you've got to play your best tennis. So far I've been able to do it tonight.

Q. What's your maintenance program now post-match? Because you hopefully have four days of matches, do you do a lot of massage? Will you do anything differently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, the same as normal. I'll get a massage and try and get as early night as possible. That's about it.

Q. You would have noticed maybe there was an article in one of the New York papers yesterday that the ranking No. 6 was right for you; that you never were really No. 1. Did you read that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't read papers.

End of FastScripts….

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