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June 30, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. What is your overriding emotion out of all of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Disappointment, I think, at the moment anyway, straight after. Losing, you know, the match. Yeah, in the fourth set I guess, you know, I felt like I had, you know, chances. I was a better player the whole fourth set, you know, have very little to show for it now. You know, one minute you're up a break, 4-All I had breakpoints. On a couple he came out with big serves. 5-4, I felt like, you know, I didn't play that bad a game. He just, you know, attacked and went for it a little bit and it paid off then. Then you're in the locker room. You know, at the moment, it's Wimbledon, you're always going to be disappointed.

Q. Did you feel like you gave it your best shot or does it feel a bit empty?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Mate, I gave everything I had. I felt like I played a good match. You know, first set, I actually didn't feel like I hit the ball that badly. You know, he just played incredible tennis. You know, I had a lot of opportunities,, breakpoints here and there. You know, even in the first set, I was the first one to have a breakpoint, wasn't able to take it, missed a return. You know, when he's got that confidence going, he's a very difficult player to beat.

Q. Did the score line actually reflect the actual game? It seemed as a viewer a lot closer than that.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was -- it was tough out there. You know, I felt like even at the start of the third set, after I won the tiebreak, I had tiebreaks in the first game, I think at least two breakpoints in the first game of the third set. At that stage, I felt like the momentum was starting to swing my way. You know, I just played a bit of a loose game. But, you know, he really stepped it up, as well. You know, you got to give him credit. He's the best player in the world at the moment. He stepped it up in that second game. You know, even the breakpoint that he ended up breaking me in the second game of the third set. You know, I played a pretty good point. I don't know how long it went for, but he had to come up with an unbelievable backhand up the line to win it. Yeah, I played well out there.

Q. Is there any satisfaction that you are playing close to your best, if not your best tennis, in a long time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- not right at the moment, there's not too much satisfaction. But I'm really happy with the way I've been hitting the ball. I've done all the hard work. You know, I feel like all three majors this year, you know, that's what I focused, with the Davis Cup at the start of the year. I'm happy with how I prepared. You know, I feel like I prepared as well as I could for all three majors so far. And, you know, at the end of the day, I've been beaten by, you know, Roger in two of them and Gaudio in the other. The guys were just too good.

Q. Those two sets, 6-1, 6-Love, when you were playing good tennis, is that an indication of the huge gulf between Roger and the rest?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't play great, I don't think. My worst part of the match was probably halfway through the third set. You know, so, yeah, he gets very confident, though. He's a shot-maker out there. You know, me personally, I felt like he probably played his best tennis in the first set, not the third set. He came out and was, you know, right on fire right from the start.

Q. Is he ahead of everybody else?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know. I felt like out there I had a lot of chances. You know, when he's playing that kind of tennis he played in the first set, you know, he's very tough to beat. He was seeing the ball very well. His returns are a lot better than they used to be. He really cut out a lot of those unforced errors that he used to make two or three years ago. But then again, in a five-set match, you're always going to get chances here and there. You know, I felt like I had those chances and I took them a couple of times. There was other times when he came up with, you know, big serves on breakpoints. There was very little I could do about it.

Q. Does the fact that you played so well and still lost mean it's even more frustrating and more disappointing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think it's disappointing any time you probably lose in a Grand Slam, and especially Wimbledon. But, yeah, it's just more I guess that I had a few chances out there and just wasn't able to capitalize. You know, against the best players in the world, and especially against the best player in the world at the moment, you've got to take those chances.

Q. You're known as you're never out of a match. You're one of the best, if not the best competitor, on tour. Roger, we've heard a lot about what kind of talent he has. How would you rate him as a competitor, a fighter? He was put in certain situations and he got out. Where would you put him in that category?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good competitor. He's a lot better than he probably was a couple years ago, I think. Yeah, he gives a hundred percent out there. It's not too often I think that he goes away. I think that's why -- you know, that's a part of his game he's probably worked on over the last couple of years that's really made him be one of the best players around.

Q. What could be the solution to beat him at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: To beat him?

Q. Yes. What could be the solution to beat him at Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Believe it or not, I didn't feel like I was that far away today, as I go back to, you know, the chances that I had. You know, first game of the third set, as I said, I felt like there was a huge momentum swing then, after winning the second set tiebreak 7-1. You know, the fourth set, if I could have gone up 5-3 and consolidated that break, you win the fourth set, and the whole moment's with you going into the fifth set. Yeah, he's going to be a tough player to beat on grass. You know, he's the favorite now for the next two matches, for sure. But, you know, I don't think it's impossible.

Q. Do you feel that he knows that when he comes to play you, it's never going to be three sets, it's never going to be easy, and there's going to be peaks and valleys, and at the end when it gets to five sets, it doesn't matter if he played two brilliant sets, but somehow when it gets to five sets, there's always that chance you can beat him? Do you think he knows that? He had periods where his confidence seems to have gone today.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he was up and down a little bit out there today. Whether he knows that or not, I'm not sure. But, you know, I'm sure he knows in the back of his mind, you know, that I'm not going to go away. I'm going to try to make it as hard as possible, as I possibly can, for him to win the match. Yeah, as I said, you know, he played pretty incredible tennis against me in Hamburg a month or so ago. But it's over best-of-three sets. Best-of-five sets, you're always going to get those opportunities, and it's just a matter of taking them.

Q. He hasn't served and volleyed much this Wimbledon. Did that surprise you? Were you trying to draw him in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, no. You know, I'm not sure how much he really -- I didn't see much of last year, but how much he served ad volleyed then. But he doesn't have a Roddick kind of serve with brut power. He serves to set up the point with his strengths, which is obviously his forehand. He's got great variety out there. He can serve-volley. That's what makes him such a great player, because he's got so much variety in his game.

Q. Would you consider Roddick to have one of the best second serves in the game, if not the best? Where would you put it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, is got to be up there. For a guy that hits his second serve that hard, he doesn't hit a lot of double faults, and especially on big points. I think that's one area of his game that when he came on the tour, you know, at the start he served a lot more double faults going for that second serve. He's got a pretty reliable second serve for as hard as he hits it.

Q. Can you take us through the rain delays, what you think it did to you, to him, to the flow of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well the first one when we just warmed up didn't do a lot for anyone (laughter). After that, you just sit in there, relax. You try not to focus on it too much. It's pretty hard when you're in there and once the covers came off we saw on the TV, we're getting ready, and the next minute they're back on again. I just tried to, I guess, stay sharp and be ready because, you know, as soon as they take the covers off, we're told we got about 10 minutes before we're on. You got to stay alert, stay ready, and not relax too much in those breaks.

Q. Did you think he perhaps wasn't quite as sharp in the second set when he came out as you were? You seemed maybe a -- he wasn't as sharp as he was in the 6-1 set.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he played incredible tennis in that first set. But, you know, as I said, it would be awfully hard to keep that up, especially on a grass court, when you're getting some dodgey bounces. I was making him play a lot of balls out there, as well. He'd be an incredible tennis player if he could play that standard that first set right through the whole of the match.

Q. What are your goals for the rest of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well now, you know, for me, look forward to the US Open, the last major of the year. I feel like I got a good game to play at Flushing Meadows. Every year I seem to play well there. Obviously, I like going back to somewhere that, you know, you've done well and won the tournament. But it's not going to be easy either. There's a lot of good players, and especially on that kind of hard court.

Q. Have you had any second thoughts about the Olympics, Lleyton?


Q. Will you miss them when you're at home watching the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I'll be in America getting ready for the US Open, so.

Q. One thing you did win today was the crowd support. Did that feel strange, having a largely British crowd supporting you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, there's a lot of Aussies here, as well, I guess.

Q. You still did have a lot of British support. They seemed to be right behind you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's good I guess. You know, I guess it's always tough. Roger and I have both won here before. You know, I guess they more wanted to see more tennis more than anything. Especially in the fourth set, I had a lot more crowd support I think to try and get me back in the match.

Q. How bad was the quad injury?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's very sore.

Q. Were you fit coming into the match with it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I did it against Moya the other day, two days ago. Yeah, I've been struggling the last two days. Probably wasn't able to practice as match as I'd like to yesterday. It definitely affected me out there today.

Q. Was it something that affected your serve in terms of your kickoff?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, my serve was the worst.

Q. That's where it hurt the most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It got worse and worse as the match went on.

Q. People especially in the media are quick to coronate Federer as a multiple Grand Slam winner, other than the two or three he's won. Do you think that's a legitimate posture or do you think the media is perhaps a bit quick to award him trophies before he wins them due to their hunger just to have someone kind of chosen or anointed that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think, you know, personally I can't see too many guys beating him, you know, this week now. So, you know, I'd be very surprised if he doesn't win his third major on Sunday. So, you know, there's another one to him. That's two in one year, I guess. He can play on all surfaces. You know, the way that he played in Hamburg on clay, on a very slow clay court, which really shouldn't suit his game that much. Beat Moya, Coria in the final. I think he's going to have chances at every major.

End of FastScripts….

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