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June 24, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt



Q. Obviously Goran has just pulled out a hugely emotional five-setter. You've got him next. Can you talk a bit about it, maybe even where you were when you watched him play Patrick a couple years ago.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- it doesn't get any easier, you know, third left-hander in a row. Yeah, he's going to be the toughest out of the two guys I played so far. I think he saves his best for this tournament. Obviously, this is his last time coming here and he's going to throw everything he's got at it. Yeah, he obviously played extremely well. I watched a little bit of the match. Volandri I thought was playing very well from the back of the court. So I'm going to have to, you know, step it up a notch and, you know, hopefully I can get over.

Q. Everyone knows the fantastic serve. The two guys you faced so far, does that help at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Helps I think in the fact, you know, I played a lefty at least. You know, I've been fortunate enough to play two, now I get Goran. So at least, you know, returning-wise I've seen what lefties -- Goran is obviously a better server than both those guys. But, you know, I feel like I've been returning, you know, well enough. You know, I've just got to try to make him play as many balls as possible.

Q. You played him before, the surfaces?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I played him on grass I think twice. I won both.

Q. When he played that final against Patrick, did you watch it? Where were you? What were you feeling?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was somewhere in another country, you know, watching on TV. You know, obviously it was weird because I felt Pat was probably the better player for most of the match. He was the one, you know, fought steady, got on top of Goran. You know, I felt like he -- I just felt that he was going to have, you know, more opportunities to break Goran than Goran was having to break Pat. As it turned out, yeah, Goran played a great game to break, and then Pat had chances to break back. It's a tough match to watch, I guess.

Q. Did you have some emotion for Patrick?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, for sure. You know, I've known Pat, yeah, so long and looked up to him. You know, and I think I knew how much he wanted to win this title here, you know, and lost in the final the year before to Pete. Yeah, it was awkward watching the whole match.

Q. Goran is a huge favorite here, and he'll have enormous support against you. Is that the sort of atmosphere you revel in?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it doesn't worry me too much. I go out there, just going to focus on my game. You know, hopefully I'm going to go out there, you know, the crowds have been great. There's a lot of Australian support here in London. You know, it's been great every time I stepped out on the court here in London.

Q. Do you like it when there's a big crowd making a lot of noise, most of it for your opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, doesn't worry me, mate.

Q. You haven't dropped serve yet in two matches. Today early on you served really well. Has that been a bit of a positive for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I served well today, yeah, especially early on. It's a good sign. I faced a couple of break points out there today. Faced a few against Melzer in the first round, but I was able to come up with, you know, good serving at the right time, I think. You know, in the first couple of sets, probably set and a half, I felt like I had great rhythm on my serve out there today. It wasn't like I was having to, you know, serve that hard. I was just hitting the corners and served extremely well - more placement than power I guess out there. You know, the third set my serve probably went off a bit, but, you know, I won it 6-1.

Q. Hard guy to play against being that he's so hit-and-miss. Good one to pull out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, he's up and down. You know, I felt like the first set could have been 6-Love. But he saved a lot of breakpoints, you know, with good serves, you know, a couple of big forehands on the line. You know, I just felt like I had a lot of opportunities. Second set he played probably his best tennis for the match. Then, you know, once I got that second set under my belt, I felt like I was under control of the match.

Q. In terms of your play, you're playing quite well, especially your footwork seems to be quite good. Is it something you've been working on or does it just come naturally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I haven't been working on that particularly. You know, I'd like to think my footwork's pretty good most of the time. You know, I feel like I'm (inaudible) the ball well, though, at the moment.

Q. Are you hoping for a little warmer weather to maybe quicken up the grass surface, take the moisture out of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think the longer you stay in the tournament, you know, the harder the courts are going to get. You know, I could even tell today from my first match, you know, the first match on Court 1. Obviously very lush out there at the time. It was pretty slow conditions out there. You know, I'd like it to get a little bit quicker, but that's going to come with, you know, the grass getting lower, there's going to be more dirt patches out there. It's not going to be so lush, you know, towards the end of this week and all of next week.

Q. What makes Goran's serve so exceptional?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Good variety, I think. You know, he's got all the serves that, you know, a good left-hander's got, like a Wayne Arthurs or a guy like that. He obviously backs it up pretty well, though. He's got good groundstrokes. I don't think a lot of people give him credit for, you know, his return of serve and groundstrokes. Yeah, he's good from the back of the court, as well.

Q. Is it pretty amazing for you, you know what it's like at this level, for a guy basically in two years win two matches, trying to make a run at Wimbledon? Does that seem pretty amazing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is. I saw him play a couple of weeks ago against Hanescu; he lost first round at Queen's. You know, you could sense, though, being on grass, getting towards Wimbledon, he was starting to play better than he probably played all year in the few tournaments that he had played. You know, he's got nothing to lose. He goes out there. He's fortunate that he's got that kind of game that suits a grass court so well. So he can go out there and win off his serve, you know, a lot of cheap points. He's only got to play a few good games on the other guy's serve and he's got, you know,a set here and there.

Q. Will the need to convert breakpoints be crucial for you, considering you left one out of 11, you didn't manage to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You got to take your opportunities against a guy like that. You know, it's like playing a guy like Flip or any of those big servers, Pete in the past. You know, you don't get that many opportunities to look at breakpoints. Especially if you're getting second serves or opportunities, you've got to take advantage of them.

Q. How comfortable are you where your game's at right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel good at the moment. But, you know, I'm not getting too far ahead of myself.

Q. He doesn't look nearly like a hundred percent fit, looks a little huffy-puffy when it gets towards the end of a long match. Will that be in the back of your mind if things are tough in the early part of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much, I don't think. You know, purely because, you know, it's a grass court, and he can get so many cheap points, you know, with his serve. You know, there's not going to be long rallies out there. It's going to be very hit-and-miss I guess out there, and he's going to be charging the net after his serve. I'm going to have to, you know, make him play a lot of tough volleys and hopefully, you know, get a few past him as well.

Q. How important is a lob when you're playing him or is he too tall?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's important against guys that come into the net, I think, because it just gives me more variety. You know, I think I hit it probably as well as anyone out there. So, you know, I have confidence in that shot. You know, if all things are going well, I'm passing well and lobbing well, yeah, he can't sort of, you know, crouch over the net so much. He's got to hang back a little bit.

Q. Have you ever played a Grand Slam where there were so many quality players in your quadrant of the draw? You have Moya, Federer, Johansson, Ivanisevic, four or five guys that could win the tournament in your quadrant.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, haven't really looked too far ahead. I'm sort of just worrying about Goran right now. But, you know, there's always going to be tough guys I think in the draw. Especially if you get -- you know, if I pass Goran, you put yourself in position in the last 16, there's going to be no easy matches. You know, you expect the best guys to come through, you know, the high-ranked seeds to get through in those situations. So you're expecting to play the tough matches, you know, from the Round of 16 onwards.

Q. How would you like to see the match against Goran go in terms of strategy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd just like to win.

Q. Is there anything you'd like to see happen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You won't find out.

Q. Wayne Carey, what's going on with the Crows?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I might be lacing them up soon.

End of FastScripts….

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