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June 28, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. After last year's early exit, does this sort of feel like the way it should have been last year, moving through, defending the title? Do you feel comfortable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but I learned a lot I guess from last year's loss, as well. You know, I'd like to think that I'm a better player because of it. There weren't too many positives at the time. But, you know, when I come back a year later -- I think, you know, the memory's obviously there in the first round particularly. Once I got past that hurdle, I felt like, you know, really I got it out of my mind. Yeah, now I've just been focusing on the guys I've got to play.

Q. Someone mentioned to me earlier that you look as if you've got your freshness back. Did it go anywhere in that period of time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. I guess, you know, I had two years there where I, you know, played so many matches, I guess. When you throw Davis Cup into that equation, as well, you know, I had the chickenpox straight after I got No. 1 in The Masters Cup in Sydney, you know, played a Davis Cup final. You know, I guess, you know, maybe that wore me out a little bit at the time. You know, it was extremely important, I think, you know, to win that Davis Cup final against Spain at the end of last year that I took those two months off. Not a lot of people questioned whether I'd be able to come out and, you know, beat those guys who were top five in the world, you know, fresh out. You know, I believed in my ability. I think that held me in good stead as well for this whole year, as well. You know, just staying at home, you know, training extremely hard, but then again, you know, getting a break from, you know, the grind week in and week out.

Q. Do you believe you can beat Roger on Wednesday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I believe I can beat him. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match. He's the best player out there at the moment. Yeah, he's No. 1 in the world for a reason. And, you know, he's going through the draw pretty convincingly at the moment. So, yeah, I'm the underdog for sure. But, you know, I believe in my ability, and, you know, I've played well enough against him in the past.

Q. Different surfaces this time from the last two. Is there anything you have to do differently that's obvious to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. You know, the Australian Open, I felt like I had a lot of chances. I felt like really the first set and a half, I was a better player. Yeah, I could have very easily been up a set and a break there. He's an extremely good player. When he gets on that run, he's very hard to stop, when he gets confident. And he's a shot-maker. Yeah, I'll try and get off to a good start. But then again in the Davis Cup, in the semifinal, I came back from two sets and a break down. You know, I'll try and hang in there anyway.

Q. Do you see these championships as a stage, you clearly have a lot of faith in your own ability, but just to show everybody you do have it in yourself to get back to the very top?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. I'm trying to win Wimbledon, for myself more than anything. Yeah, doesn't worry me what people think. You know, I go out there and, you know, I believe I'm still good enough to beat any given player on any given day. You know, but then again, you know, it's not that easy to go out there and win every match you play either, so...

Q. You've had criticism, sort of, over the last year, maybe since you won Wimbledon. You've maybe not gone as far in Grand Slam events. Maybe you've had some criticism. How do you kind of handle it? Is it just sort of whatever kind of thing? How do you sort of cope with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, go out there, the same as any other tournament, I give my hundred percent. If I'm not good enough on the day, then I'm not good enough. You know, I can look back on the match and know that I did everything possible that, you know, put me -- both preparing myself for the tournaments and the Grand Slams that I've played. Yeah, you look at the guys I've lost to in the Grand Slams the last couple years, you know, there's no average players. Obviously, this year is Federer and Gaudio, the quarterfinals. You know, last year was Ferrero, who beat Agassi the next day. You know, I've lost some tough matches I think to some very in-form players at the time.

Q. How much will you draw on that Davis Cup win over Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much I don't think. You know, we played since then a couple of times and he's won both those. And, you know, he won a big one obviously at the Australian Open in the fourth round against me. So, you know, it's on a totally different surface. You know, if I was going to draw anything, you know, from the Australian Open, I might draw something from playing on the same court that I came back in the Davis Cup.

Q. The fact you came back from two sets and a break down, will that not enter into your thinking?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I won't be trying to get in that position. It's not my game plan (smiling).

Q. Carlos said the other day he wanted to make this the match he never played in the Davis Cup final. He wanted to come in because he wanted to play you that day in the fifth rubber. There were times when he looked like he was really playing like that, like everything was on the line. Did you feel any of that? What happens to you when you hear somebody talk like that? Does that fire you up even more?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Well, I didn't hear him say it, anything about it. But, you know, I prepared myself as if, you know, it was a Davis Cup fifth rubber as well in the final. I was extremely focused out there today. I seen the way he played against Flip, you know, that first day in Melbourne, on the Friday. He played extremely well. You know, he's the kind of guy that I think can adapt to a grass court very easily purely because he is got so much firepower out there. So if his serves going, he's going to hold his service games, then he's going to -- he's a good enough player that he's always going to get opportunities to break now and then throughout a set, as well. But, you know, it was a big match. You know, it's Wimbledon anyway for me.

Q. You have a winning record against both the No. 1 and the No. 2 seeds here. Can you describe Roger and Andy respectively and what the key to beating each of those guys is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, Roger's more finesse, I think. You know, he's a real shot-maker out there. Andy's more brut power. You know, the power he gets is incredible out there. You know, his serve and his forehand are his main strengths. Roger is more of an all-court player. Yeah, they're both not easy guys to beat.

Q. What is the key?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. You won't be finding out anyway (smiling).

Q. Why is grass so suited for Roger's game, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's an all court player. He's very capable -- he'll mix up the serve-volley, he'll stay back, he's got great groundstrokes, you know, he moves extremely well. He's not the biggest guy, but he's not short out there either. He really does move well.

Q. What have you seen in the last year since Andy had his grass court coming out last summer in the way his game has developed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I didn't play him last year on grass. You know, I played him obviously a few weeks ago at Queen's. Yeah, he's not a typical grass court player. I'd say Roger's more of a typical grass court player. Andy relies obviously on his big serve and then, yeah, he's staying back most of the time. Roger will venture to the net a lot more than Andy would. I think that's why Roger won the semifinal they played last year here.

Q. How taxing was that match out there today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt pretty good out there. I think my body should pull up fine for a couple of days.

Q. Were you surprised that Roger's not dropped his serve in this tournament? I mean, he doesn't serve at 140 miles an hour. Is it surprising he's got this far and not dropped his serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. He's got a great serve. He's got great rhythm. He gets great power out of very little effort that he puts in. You know, for him it's more placement than anything. You know, he sets up the point, you know, for his strengths with his serve rather than just out-and-out power.

Q. The last two champions here, you and Roger. You're both still very young. Do you think you could go on to have an epic rivalry here for years to come?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'd like to think so. But, yeah, we'll just start by this quarterfinal match, see what happens.

Q. It could be the sort of the match of the tournament so far? Is that how you see it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's the in-form player. If I beat him, I'll be extremely confident.

Q. How confident do you feel after beating Moya? Because he gave -- he was tremendous day.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a class player, as I said. You know, he's tough to beat on any surface over five sets in a Grand Slam. So, you know, if you look at probably all the guys, he was definitely going to be I think one of the toughest seeds, you know, the higher guys could have met in the Round of 16. You know, I got him put in my Round of 16. I had to try and deal with that. So, you know, I feel confident that I got through.

Q. Have you reflected a little bit on your luck in the seedings this year? You seem to get -- the two previous guys went on to win it. You seem to get them early.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What's that? What do you mean?

Q. You seem to run into the guys that go on to win the thing quite early.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I can't do much about that.

Q. You've had some not great luck in that department.

LLEYTON HEWITT: But I don't think I've been that far away either. The Australian Open I think I gave Roger nearly probably as much as he had probably the whole tournament, I think. Yeah, he was the best player in the tournament, and he won it. But whether I could have made the final if I was in the other half, it's hard to say.

End of FastScripts….

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