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August 31, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Quite a hard-hitting guy. How did you find that? How did you cope with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Couldn't get any rhythm out there today at all, just with the way he played, sort of acted out there on the court, pulling the trainer out felt like every change of ends. He was just a strange kind of guy, I think.

Q. What did you think of him calling an injury time-out when you're serving for a set at 5-4?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it happens quite a lot. Sometimes the French players do that. This guy has been a little bit known to do something like that. I wasn't that surprised. I've spoken to a few people before. He said he's pretty wild out there, he's going to distract you as much as he can. I felt like I struggled that first service game, didn't get any serves in 5-4 in the first set. I thought I came back strongly. Held at Love-6, five down. The tiebreaker, I thought I played very well, considering the way he was serving.

Q. Was it a concentration thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. You know, I didn't lose my concentration at all. I think he wanted me to out there.

Q. At 5-4, when you had to wait?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. Obviously it would have been nice to sort of keep that roll going because I had good rhythm on my serve. You know, it maybe just affected my serve a little bit just because I was thrown out of whack. I would have continued like I had been every other service game. You know, it was just a lack of first serves, I think.

Q. Overall, didn't look like you enjoyed the experience out there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I enjoyed playing. I enjoyed winning.

Q. The atmosphere of the match, seemed like --?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really.

Q. Have you played anyone before who is as distracting as he is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, probably not. You know, I've had times definitely coming up in juniors and satellites, you get it quite a bit. You know, I've been through that situation before. Definitely learn from it.

Q. What do you learn from that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just got to keep your concentration. You know, you've got to concentrate on your game; worry about your end, telling yourself, "This guy is 100% fit." You can't go out there and hope he's going to forfeit, serve, hurt his back a little more. He was coming out straight after he was complaining about his back and serving four aces.

Q. It looked as though you were talking to yourself, saying, "Concentrate, keep your mind on the game."

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a hard player just with the game he's got, as well, to get any sort of rhythm because he's so flashy. He'll slap a few winners, then make four or five errors in a row. One of those matches I had to stay focused and get through.

Q. When did you realize he was injured, or did you know coming into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. When he started playing with his back 4-3 in the first set, then called the trainer at 5-4.

Q. You might not want to answer this, hope you will. If you had to choose one thing to try -- as a triumph in the coming near future, either Lleyton Hewitt, Olympic Gold Medalist, or member of the Davis Cup Championship Team, or US Open champion, which one would you pick?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Can't say. You know, you just don't know till it actually happens. You don't know. I think you'll be just as proud doing whichever. Obviously winning the US Open would be fantastic. That's an individual, whereas you've got the whole nation behind you in the Davis Cup and the Olympics. So far in my career, the biggest highlight was the Davis Cup last year, the win. To be playing for your nation, it's the greatest honor.

Q. What do you think the chances are that you could sweep those three or be part of the team that won those three events?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think that's just ridiculous (laughter). I don't think there's much chance of that.

Q. What can you take out of today's match technically that you can work on before your next one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I felt like I returned as well as I could. Obviously I got better and better, I felt, returning-wise as the match went longer. I felt like I hit the ball pretty well from the baseline today. I didn't make a hell of a lot of errors. You know, I could have maybe been a little bit more aggressive. I think the big key today was I got off to a lot better start than I did a couple days ago against Vinciguerra.

Q. And Jiri Novak next?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Can't take him lightly. He's a great player. He did very well in Toronto, making the semifinals there. I'm going to have my work cut out with him.

Q. Have you played him before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've played him in Adelaide last year, second or third round, quarters maybe.

Q. Did they play Davis Cup against us in Adelaide?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I was a squad member, like an orange boy then.

Q. What do you put your better start down to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Just sort of learning from the other day. The other day, I was just sort of flat-footed right from the start. Today I was a lot better. I didn't give him sort of any cheap points on my service game early in the first set, which made things a lot harder, because his groundstrokes weren't as good a Vinciguerra 's.

Q. Were you happy with your serving?


Q. Been working on it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. One area of my game I've got to work on. Hopefully build up a bit of strength, as well, to sort of get a lot more cheaper points off my serve.

Q. Having the Olympics coming up so soon after the US Open, any chance of it being a distraction at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. This is what we play for, the Grand Slams. You know, all my focus at the moment is on the US Open. But obviously it's a nice thing to have in the back of your mind that you're going to be out there competing for your country in a couple weeks' time, the whole world is watching.

Q. Most all the players come out to the US Open in nice, air conditioned cars. You came out recently on the No. 7 subway, one of our more famous trains. Can you share your impressions of train?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was very quick. I think it's the quickest route I've had into Flushing Meadows the whole week. You know, obviously I found everything pretty convenient, just getting the tickets, hopping on the train. It was pretty easy. But I was with a few Americans, as well, which helped.

Q. Did you like seeing the variety of people on the train?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I actually didn't have that much of a chance. There weren't a lot of people in my carriage, where I was.

Q. Did you buy a Metro Card?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't grab it, but I was with a guy, one of the producers of the TV show. He did.

Q. Used his card?


Q. Any equivalent at all like that in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've only been on the Melbourne trains in Australia. They run very well. They're one of the best I've ever seen. It's a little bit different, I suppose, in New York, a much bigger city.

Q. Your countrymen seem eager to play for your nation. Americans are a bit different. Does that seem a little bizarre to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit, I suppose, just because from the background that I've come up, I've always wanted to play for my country. I enjoy sort of a team sport, as well. It's the only chance throughout the whole year that you're actually in a team. You go out to dinner as a team, play golf as a team, hang out as a team. I really enjoy that team spirit. I think Newc and Roche have done an unbelievable job of getting that feeling and spirit amongst all the guys. I think it's one of the main reasons why we won it last year.

Q. What has the talk been about Dokic's father being thrown out for the rest of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Read it in the newspaper this morning. Haven't spoken to anyone about it.

Q. What are your feelings about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously the guy has done it a couple too many times, I suppose. I don't know enough facts to be commenting on whether he should be left back in the tournament or banned for life.

Q. Do you see much of this angry parent thing going on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, once in a blue moon really.

Q. What were the circumstances of you coming on the subway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a TV, USA Network.

Q. What day was that?


Q. I assume you're going to watch the footie tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not. There's a slight chance. Obviously I'd like to watch it, sort of see all the pregame stuff. This is one of the first years I haven't been home for it. My team is not playing in it. Not the biggest priority.

End of FastScripts….

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