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June 27, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. The first set, first four games, was that as good as you've played in a while?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. He started out a little tentative, though. First game, he hit two double-faults for me to break serve. But, you know, you don't get that many opportunities to break his serve, so when you get those half chances, you really have to take them. So in that sense, I was happy with the way I started. But, you know, I didn't -- it was only going to be the first set. I felt playing Taylor, you know, a guy like Taylor, the first set was going to be pretty big out there today. You know, it was good to get that one under my belt. From then on, I felt like I was in control of the match, you know, getting my opportunities now and then as well.

Q. How much will you take out of the US Open last year against Lopez?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit, I guess. A big court. You know, I played really well, especially at the start of the match. I came out of the blocks firing. You know, I was seeing the ball like a football that night. In a big situation. He's obviously playing well, though. And he's dangerous, you know, especially on a quicker hard court or a grass court, you know, with that big left-handed serve. He's had two very good wins in his last two matches. He's no easy beat.

Q. You're in a string of winning matches against the Spaniards. You beat the Spaniards maybe 11 times in a row.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Lucky I missed the clay court season (smiling).

Q. What can you expect with Lopez? He's not the typical Spanish player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he's not. He's very different, and that's why one reason he's succeeded so well on a grass court. You know, I didn't have a clue of that. I won't be thinking about that going into playing another Spaniard. I'll just be looking at Lopez' game, how that matches up with mine, areas of his game that maybe I can exploit a little bit more. Obviously his serve and his forehand are his two big weapons. He's got a good slice backhand as well and he moves pretty well for a big guy. So, you know, he can mix it up, serve-volley, stay back. In terms of that, he is a lot different to the traditional Spanish players.

Q. How is your form in comparison to when you won the title?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. You know, a lot depends on the opponents that you play. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I think I went up another notch or two today, which I needed to. So in terms of that, you know, Taylor Dent's a dangerous player. I knew it was going to be a dangerous match out there today. Felt like I went up a notch or two when I needed to.

Q. There were a lot of overrules out there today. Is that something that puts you off? Do you lose faith and confidence in the linesmen when there's so many overrules?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a fair bit. They're been a few, though, all last week as well. You know, I can only speak in my matches.

Q. Is that an issue? Is there something wrong with the level of umpiring and linesmen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, everyone's human. You know, you're going to make mistakes. Some matches you go through a match without an overrule, and then there's others where you'll go through a tournament where you'll have two or three in every match. I think sometimes, depending on the chair umpire that you have, occasionally there's a few chair umpires out there that overrule a lot more than some other guys and are probably open to overrule a little bit more. You know, it's very hard if -- anything on the far side of the court, you know, especially serves or whatever going so fast, it's very hard for any chair umpire to overrule those.

Q. Taylor suggested you put pressure on them, even intimidate umpires, even if you're not doing it deliberately. Do you think that's a factor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so, no.

Q. You're so emotional and intense out there. Could you reflect on there are so few others at your level in terms of outward emotion like the old days when there were so many.

LLEYTON HEWITT: There's probably more now, I guess. A lot of the younger guys out there. You look at guys like Nadal coming up.

Q. Excuse me for interrupting. Nadal is very emotional about the points, but less so about lines calls and the like. That's what I was referring to more than just getting pumped up about a winner.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, well, only questioned couple line calls today.

Q. Do you think the way you question the calls can put pressure on umpires or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, Taylor questioned calls as well out there today, so it's the same for both ends. There's a lot of calls out there you don't question either.

Q. Are you getting sneakily confident about your chances here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Is that funny?

Q. I thought it was funny.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Good (smiling). I still feel -- obviously, it was a little bit of a question mark purely because I hadn't played that many matches coming into this tournament - and in such a big tournament. But, you know, the first week was especially, you know, important for me to get through and just find a way to get through those matches. Now you come up against the name players, the real chances -- challengers for the title. That's when you've got to play your best tennis. I felt like I went up a notch today. But, you know, I'm still a long way from holding up the trophy.

Q. Going into the fourth round, you're ninth in aces. How important do you think that is or how telling a statistic is that to success on grass or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it is telling I think for my game purely because I'm going to get so many opportunities to break serve now and then on grass, even as good as some of the servers are out there - a Taylor Dent or Justin Gimelstob. I'm going to get opportunities. If I can hold my service games a little bit more comfortably and go out there and clean up my service games, then obviously that's going to help me, especially on this surface.

Q. Is it aces that tells you you're holding your serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't go out there and try to hit a lot of aces. It's a lot about setting up the point for my game.

Q. If you're hitting a lot of aces, do you feel like you're playing well? You don't look at that as a statistic?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't look at that as a statistic, for me in particularly. It's more about trying to get as many cheap points off my first serve, first-serve percentage, those kinds of things for me.

Q. Do you think London would be a good place to stage the Olympics? Do you think Wimbledon in particular would be a good place? How would you feel about playing in a tennis tournament, an Olympic tennis tournament, here at Wimbledon? Do you think the British people warm to international players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I'm sure they would. A big city like London, I'm sure it would stage an awesome Olympics. Then again, I haven't seen all the facilities. A bit hard for me to comment apart from just the tennis facilities. And we all know how popular Wimbledon is, what an arena it is, as well. There's a lot of traditions with Wimbledon and the tournament itself. Whether they want to even cross over that bridge into the Olympics, I don't know.

Q. Do you think the courts are really slowing down, like many players have said?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the start the tournament I think they were quite slow for a grass court. They've quickened up. Obviously, you know, you have good days. Weather like we've had throughout this tournament, we've been fortunate. You know, they're quickening up every day.

Q. Would you consider anything but winning The Championships here a successful fortnight for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that?

Q. Would you consider anything but winning The Championships a successful run here?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, of course. You know, you can go out there and every match is a tough one to win. I go out there and I expect to win. I go out there and I play to win. But you know that any opponent's tough to play out there. So obviously I'd love to hold the trophy up. But there's still three matches before I can do that. The names get tougher and tougher, you know, the further you go in the tournament. So, "succeed," you know, it's a tough word. What is success and failure, where do you draw the line? If you go out there and give a hundred percent, leave it all out on the court, for me, that's a success.

Q. Given that Lopez hasn't been through this situation, hasn't come through in these types of matches, what are the ways in which you can exploit that difference in experience?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think there's ways of me exploiting that. You know, it's more him holding his nerve, I think, in terms of the big situation and being on a big show court and playing big matches. He's come through and beaten two of the big danger men in the tournament in Safin and Ancic - both in straight sets. So he's obviously hardened his nerve pretty well at the moment. For me, it's purely -- I'm not worrying about his inexperience in big matches. He's played Davis Cup enough to know situations in the big time. I've basically got to play him on my game against his out there and work on the weaknesses of his game and try and exploit that.

Q. Another thing Taylor said about the dispute in the line calls was that a lot of the members of public actually warm to that, actually like players to show a bit more emotion. Do you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about crowds warming to it. Yeah, in the heat of the battle, obviously if we disagree with an overrule or want to question something, then obviously the crowd's going to get involved a little bit with that. Whether all crowds warm to players challenging umpires all the time, I don't know if that's the case in every tournament, every situation.

Q. Does it ever inspire you to play better or affect your game negatively or positively?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it can over time. Sure, there's matches where it's worked a positive and sometimes it's worked a negative. But today I felt like I was able to block it out extremely well and concentrate on the job at hand, what I had to do, didn't let it affect me at all. I knew that, obviously, I was a set and a break up, trying to consolidate that break in the second set. You know, I just really didn't want to let anything interrupt me.

Q. You've got a strong support group around you. I notice Kieran Perkins. Do you sit back and inspire each other before you go out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I heard he was coming today, but I haven't seen him or spoken to him.

Q. Is he a close friend of yours?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't know Kieran that well. I've only met him a couple of times. Obviously, he's a huge hero of mine, though, for what he's done in the pool and over the years in big situations. But I don't know about me for him.

Q. The foot-faults today, have you had any in previous matches leading into this? I think you had seven.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I had a couple in one of my previous matches. Yeah, today was more weird timing than anything. It was all happening up one end and not up the other. That's what my question was to the umpire at one stage.

Q. Can you explain what you're saying making sure the red mist doesn't affect your game. Are you talking about that or is it automatically that it doesn't affect you at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, today I was actually conscious of trying to not let anything affect me basically, and just think, "All right, well, that's out of the way. It's out of my control now. Why dwell on it?" I think I handled that situation pretty well today.

Q. There was a specific moment in the fourth set, an overrule, Taylor said he felt that you intimidated the official there, the official backed down.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. The overrule came and Taylor actually walked to the other side of the court. It was sort of Taylor's fault.

End of FastScripts….

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