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June 25, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt.

Q. How is that as an occasion, apart from the fact you won in straight sets, but Goran's last match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's a weird feeling, I guess, walking out onto Centre Court knowing that if you win against one of the probably the most likable guys out there on the tour. Obviously, he's got the crowd support and that. It sort of puts an end to his career. You know how much Wimbledon means to him, as well. So it's an awkward situation, but, you know, I think I blocked it out as well as I could going out there today and just figuring that, you know, I've got an opportunity to get myself into the second week here at Wimbledon. That was my mindset right from the word go.

Q. What was the exchange at the net afterwards? What did you say to each other?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I think he said something like, "You killed me out there today," or something. You know, I just said, you know, "You're a great champion. It's been an honor playing against you out here on Centre Court."

Q. Were you more pleased by the way you returned his serve and dealt with his serve or the way you served, which was impressive today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, both, I think. There's no doubt it helped playing two left-handers in the first round. You know, Goran serves a lot better than both those two guys I played in the first two matches. But, you know, I was used to that left-handed swinging serve, you know, the awkward body serves. You know, I felt, you know, like I had a lot of opportunities out there even today, you know, to break even more out there. I just felt like I was seeing the ball really well right from the start of the match. I knew right from the start that it was going to be important to hold my service games, you know, as easily as possible. I felt like I served really well out there today.

Q. Your game is pretty much where you want it to be at this point of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm happy with it at the moment.

Q. Moya on Monday, Carlos. How do you approach that one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just gets easier, so... (Smiling). No, another classy Grand Slam winner. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match. Obviously, grass isn't his favorite surface, but he's the kind of guy, as we saw at the Davis Cup final when he beat Mark on the first day, he can adapt because, you know, he's got so much class. I got a lot of respect for his game. You know, I just got to go out there and try and worry about my game, you know, at the start of the match at least. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well enough to do well.

Q. What's he done well against you in the past? Obviously not your best head-to-head record.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel those matches were on clay, you know, those two or three in a row, that we played on clay. You know, I probably didn't play as well as I did, could have in those matches, and he was just sort of coming back. One of them was in Monte-Carlo, first round, when I was seeded No. 1. His ranking had dropped a bit. He went on to make the final of that particular tournament. The next week was in Rome on clay, as well. Apart from that, we've had some very tough matches in the past on other surfaces. We've never played on grass.

Q. What's the footing like out there, especially along the baselines? He fell several times, you at least once slipped.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I just -- there were just one or two games where I slipped a little bit. He was obviously slipping and sliding a bit more, I guess. Yeah, it was -- I don't know if it was that slippery, though. It wasn't like a lush court anymore, obviously, at the back of the court. It's been chopped up a bit. You know, there's some dirt around the back of the court. But, you know, I'm not complaining about that.

Q. How do you compare where your form is this year as 2002?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. But, you know, I don't think I've put a foot wrong so far. I feel like I've done everything I wanted to do so far. You know, you can't win a Grand Slam in the first week. But, you know, I've put myself in a good position to have a crack at it next week. So, you know, just take it one match at a time. You know, every match you sort of treat as a final out there. You know, I'll be looking forward to the challenge that Carlos presents.

Q. A lot of players say they get themselves up especially for a tournament like this. Is that the case for you? Obviously doesn't get much bigger than here.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's a huge tournament. I enjoy coming back here and playing every type I step out there at Wimbledon - even more so when you've won at a tournament like this, as well. Such great memories of two years ago, coming back and playing on such a great court out there with so much tradition. Yeah, you get goosebumps walking out there. But, you know, it's really enjoyable being out there.

Q. If you happen to win the title, would you put on an Adelaide Crows jumper for us?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, mate, if you want me to, I'd be happy to if I win the tournament.

Q. Could you expand for us a little on how you do keep that crowd stuff out? There was that moment, I'm sure, well, we were all aware when a single voice said, "We love you, Goran," and suddenly the whole atmosphere changed. How do you, first of all, keep the focus and, second of all, keep that away from you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just try to block it out as much as possible. I've played in arenas where I've felt like I've had to do it. It really wasn't that tough to do today. I felt the crowd was great. It was a good atmosphere out there. It definitely wasn't a hostile crowd out there at all. It was enjoyable to play out there. But I think I've played in a lot of hostile places in the past and I've been able to just focus on what I've got to do. You know, sometimes it's tough when obviously Goran was talking back to the crowd there, you know, in one game. Really, you've just got to, you know, focus as much as possible, maybe step, you know, back to the back of the court, take your time, take a couple of deep breaths and get on with it. You know, I guess I'm just used to being in that situation. It's sort of second nature for me out there.

Q. Knowing what Goran is like, the way he behaves on court, were you expecting a little more outlandish at the end of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I wasn't -- I was more concentrating on holding my serve after I broke.

Q. When the match ended, were you watching him at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I was watching -- I more wanted him to have, you know, a walk off the court last. You know, for the crowd, his last time out there on Centre Court obviously, for the crowd really to embrace him as such a great champion that he's been out there. I was more trying to get out of his way more than anything.

Q. Moya on grass for the first time. What influence do you think the surface will have on the outcome?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't know. Obviously movement. You know, the ball is going to skid through a lot more than it's going -- you know, he's not going to have the time that he'd like on a clay court. But he's got such a good all-around game, he volleys well, a lot of people don't give him credit for. He's good around the net. He moves extremely well. He's got a very underrated first serve. He's got a big first serve. I think that caused Mark the problem. He served extremely well against Mark in the Davis Cup on that first day. So, you know, if I can get enough balls back and get myself into rallies, then I'm going to put a lot of pressure on him.

Q. Not that many players you go into matches against with a losing record. Does that impact on your preparation at all or your mindset going into Monday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. It's a Grand Slam, it's Wimbledon. I won't be worrying about it too much.

End of FastScripts….

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