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July 1, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. What was the key point for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You know -- you know, the longer the match went, the better I felt I hit the ball and got into the match. Yeah, in the first set, I just lost my serve obviously early, but then broke back. I had a couple of Love-15 chances, and I just didn't quite go after it maybe enough on those small opportunities that you get. But, yeah, he served so well into the corners and gets a lot of lines out there on his first serve that, you know, it always makes it tough. So, yeah, he was able to break pretty early in the second set and get that set-and-a-break lead, and I didn't really have a look in on any of his service games in the second set.

Q. Did he out-psych you or out-play you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean "out-psych"?

Q. He seemed to be playing so well, it must be intimidating to play against someone who plays that well. Even when he makes a mistake, he just appears so cool and relaxed. Was it a psychological loss do you think or you just didn't make the shots you wanted to make?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's no doubt he was a better player. I don't think psychologically it had much to do with the match. You know, he served better than me today. He dictated play better than me. That's basically where he got the win.

Q. Did you sense improvement in your game? You came up to the net more than we've seen you do. You've done well there.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I hit the ball pretty well today. I didn't serve maybe as well as I would have liked. But he puts a lot of pressure on your service games, as well. He gives you have he few points. I think that's been the biggest turnaround in his game over the last couple of years. That's why he's really gone up a couple of notches because he used to give you a lot more cheap points on your service games, and you just don't get those any more. On his service games, he can rely on getting out of trouble if he's 15-30 down or Love-30 with big first serves. That's why he's the best player going around.

Q. Is it sort of hard being one of the best players in the world when like a freak like Roger comes along?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a little bit, but you've just got to bide your time, keep grinding away, you know, try and look for answers, I guess. But it's not easy. I felt like I've lifted my game the last 18 months or so. I've got no doubt that I feel like I'm the second best player going around right at the moment. It's just that the best player going around is pretty bloody good.

Q. You play a match against him, then you go back and come up with another plan, that plan doesn't work? Is it hard to keep trying find ways to beat him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's not like I've gone out there with absolute extreme game plans against him. At the end of the day I've still got to play my strengths. And I've got to back my serves and my strengths. There's very small changes that you try and make out there. But it's not something that I'm capable of going and serve-volleying every point out there. You know, it would be stupid. For me, there's slight opportunities out there that you've got to take advantage of it. Yeah, he's got very few weaknesses out there.

Q. Is there anything more you can add to your game to match him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. You're always looking for ways to improve. I've got no doubt that I can improve -- keep improving my game, otherwise there's no point in keep playing. You know, as long as I've got small areas there that I can work on, it's got to be a positive. But, you know, obviously I don't know what he's got to really work on.

Q. You don't get into many semis, a lot of players don't. How disappointing is it to lose?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always disappointing to lose, first round or semifinal.

Q. You've seen and played a lot of the great players over time. Is he the best you've seen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, when Pete was probably at his best, it was probably just before I got on the Tour and was competitive against those top guys, so it's hard to say. Because when I'm playing at my best now, obviously Roger is one of the best players that I've ever seen. Andre Agassi at his best, he was great as well. Totally different players, though. You know, obviously since Roger's been playing his best tennis the last couple of years, Andre hasn't quite been what he was maybe five years ago. It's hard to pinpoint, but there's no doubt he's in the top few with the greats.

Q. I know you're going to fight to the end no matter what it is. When you're two sets down against this guy, is there a sense of inevitability?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I actually felt like I had more opportunities in the third set. It's not like if you sit back now and you think, "Shit, I was two-sets-to-love down," it does seem like a long way to come back. But when you're actually out there and just focusing on trying to somehow get that third set. I came close at 6-5. I saved breakpoints throughout the third set. At 6-5 I had Love-30, that was my biggest chance of the match. If I could have squeezed out the third set, then you start fresh for the fourth set again. That's the way I was looking at it right now. Obviously anyone on the outside, yeah, sure, it's a long way to come back against anyone.

Q. Is it demoralizing coming up against that or do you see it as a challenge, looking for those extras that you can improve to try and beat him the next time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely a challenge. In some ways, it's a huge positive that I can keep putting myself in these positions. I can't really remember the last time in the last 18 months or so that I've lost a bad match to an average player. So in that way, that's a huge positive. But, of course, when you get to a semifinal, final of Slams, you want to try and take that next step and hold up the trophy. Anyone does. I'm obviously doing something right. But, you know, to come awfully close so many times now...

Q. I'm not sure if you watched last year's final or not, but what would you make of a Federer/Roddick rematch?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to go past Rodge. He's the best player in the world. Yeah, it would be very hard to go against him.

Q. Do you think your match with Federer should have been the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: On paper it should have been.

Q. Looking ahead to the Davis Cup, with Todd's retirement the other day, injury to Mark, Australia up against it now against Argentina?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always going to be a tough tie, no matter who is in the team, I think, just because it's on grass. They've got obviously Nalbandian, Coria. He's won matches here, made the fourth round. You know, it's not going to be easy at all for any of our guys. It's going to be another challenge.

Q. Looks like perhaps it will be you and Wayne in the doubles, playing the whole tie yourself.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't even thought about it so far. That's something I'm not going to dwell on till I get there, see how I'm feeling, play it by ear.

Q. How do you stay so relentlessly positive? A lot of times if they lost to Federer eight times in a row, they might be a lot more disconsolate than you are right now. Where does that come from?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. That's probably why I'm sitting here and you're sitting there.

End of FastScripts….

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