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September 4, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt

Flushing Meadows, New York

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Your first Slam quarter. How does that feel?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. Obviously I would have liked to have played in a little better conditions than it was this evening, but I went out there and knew that the tennis standard wasn't gonna be great out there tonight. I knew that I just had to stick to my tactics the whole night and play my game, and hopefully come away with the win and, you know, get through to my first quarter.

Q. Just how difficult was it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a nightmare out there. It was the toughest conditions I've ever played in. Sometimes you play, you know, your pennant competitions and stuff like that on a Saturday afternoon in winter in Adelaide or Melbourne or whatever, and it's nothing compared to what it was tonight. I felt like a hurricane was behind me at one end.

Q. Ever? You've played worse as a player or as a pro?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Ever. Ever to step on a court. I thought Roland Garros was bad, my Round of 16 match, it was just rain. It wasn't as bad, as windy as tonight.

Q. Do you think it was a case of you handling it better than he?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it was a big case in that. You know, I just feel that I went out there with a game plan, I stuck to it the whole night. And, you know, we both went and hit I think a couple hours before we had to play out sort of after that last storm or that rain shower came. So we both knew the conditions, what it was gonna be like out there. I think it was whoever sort of handled it the best on the evening. I think it was important to get off to a good start out there tonight.

Q. Did you think, perhaps fear, that him being from Sweden he might be more used to these conditions than yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. But you have a look at his results, he's a very good indoor player which tends to suggest that he likes everything very calm, indoors. If you have a look at his game as well, he's got a very flat first serve, big second serve as well, which is hard in the win. Also a big forehand and backhand, very flat shot. I felt he was gonna struggle a little bit out there in those sort of conditions tonight.

Q. Did you and Darren have a look for his record?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We -- everyone sort of knows that Thomas is a fantastic indoor player. He's beaten Agassi last year, I think he won Stuttgart last year, beat a lot of top players there. He always does well in those last few months of the year.

Q. You were pretty pumped up tonight, pretty vocal. Is that because it's a Grand Slam and you've got this far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. It was another opportunity. And once those opportunities -- you don't know how many opportunities you're gonna get at this level. Once those opportunities come, I had to take them tonight. I think I learned from my loss in probably against Norman a little bit at the Australian Open, but more so against Costa at the French Open, the fourth round, just because I was on top of the guy early in the first set. I had I think Love-40 or 15-40 at 3-All in the first, lost that game in the end after a long game and then had 40-15 on my serve and lost that game the next game. So it was a big two-game swing in that match. I felt as soon as I could get a break in the first set tonight I had to put my foot down and sort of move up a gear.

Q. What do you think of Arnaud Clement in the next round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I only just heard that he won I think in the fourth set. He's obviously, you know, playing fantastic at the moment. You can't underestimate anyone at the moment, especially at this level. It's quarterfinals time. We're gonna be half way through the second week of a Slam. I wouldn't say that he's made a quarterfinal of a Slam before either, so it's probably, you know, it's a new experience for both of us. It's probably who handles the occasion a little bit better. We play similar.

Q. Have you played him before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him once last year second round Nottingham on grass, which I wouldn't take much out of that match.

Q. Given that this is the biggest achievement in your singles career, was it perhaps a little bit disappointing when you wrapped it up and you looked out and it's all empty stands?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. But the Australians were pretty vocal out there tonight. It was -- you know, it definitely wasn't the best atmosphere I've played in, like a packed house in Davis Cup or anything like that. It was a good feeling out there. I felt like most of the crowd was on my side. When I got pumped up, the crowd got pumped up with me.

Q. You've beaten a guy who's a seed higher than you. You have an unseeded player next. Is there a danger of looking one match beyond that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't look at it at all. This whole tournament I've taken it one match at a time. I wasn't in, you know, fantastic form or startling form before coming into this tournament. I didn't look past Vinciguerra that first round match. After I lost that first set and he served for the second set, everything went so good. I'm getting more and more confident with each match, but I won't to be taking Clement easy at all.

Q. Allowing for the conditions tonight being so bad, do you think you've also got a bit better with each match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, it's a hard match sort of to say you hit the ball great out there tonight. One end, you felt like you could hit the ball so hard and everything was gonna go in. The other end you felt like you just touched the ball and it could go long. It was that strong a breeze out there. It was just swirling at times, you didn't know where it was coming from. It's one of those matches that technically you wouldn't take a lot from but technically I take a lot of confidence from that match.

Q. A couple of pretty exciting looking one-handed backhands cross court. You must have been pleased with the way you played the big points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that was I think towards the end of the second set to break him twice. He just gave me a little bit more confidence. I hadn't broken up that end, I'd always broken against the breeze. So, you know, it's one of those shots I think on the run with the breeze where I didn't actually have to make it, you know, a great shot. 'Cause, you know, Thomas isn't probably used to coming to the net as much as most players.

Q. You play today and it was windy conditions, other day it was kind of sticky. Do you think one of your strengths is your ability to kind of grub it out no matter what the conditions?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd like to think so. Yeah, I feel pretty confident in most conditions, most surfaces. You know, I've got most things I'd say after tonight, as much as conditions go. So, you know, I've played in very hot conditions, very cool, I've played with rain. I feel like I handle it pretty well. It's just another learning experience.

Q. What makes you handle it well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Just my mental approach definitely tonight. I didn't let it bother me at all, which is a good thing. It was very mature, I think, sort of another step in my career.

Q. Was the wind blowing straight down the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was hard to say. It felt at times when you were serving at that end, it felt definitely like that. Then you'd get in a point sometimes and the ball would shoot off, it would stop up one end, it was a bit swirly out there once you were in the point. If you were standing there, you would have felt like it was coming from the far end down to this end.

Q. How does it feel to have reached this stage, I know you still are just thinking about your matches. It must be pretty exciting?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm a bit tired at the moment. It's past 12 o'clock I think. I've got a doubles match tomorrow and, yeah, I'm, you know, inside I'm pretty excited just to have beaten a guy who's been in such good form on American hardcourts this season. You know, it's a real, you know, it's one to sort of put under your belt, a good win, especially in straight sets as well.

Q. What about this accomplishment of having done this well at a Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's fantastic. I'd like to do a little bit better.

Q. Will your performance here give you more confidence towards the Olympic games and the Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, definitely the Olympic games, just to know sort of 'cause that's going to be a big occasion as well, just like the US Open. Just to know I'm hitting the ball pretty well, it's a similar surface, a little slower, rebound ace, higher bounce maybe. I won the Sydney tournament earlier this year, the second week of the year. I feel confident of those surroundings as well. It's probably a little bit too far away to say that I'm in good form for the Davis Cup Final just yet.

End of FastScripts….

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