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June 21, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. You must be very happy with that start.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt good out there. You know, I felt like I played the first set pretty well, got out of the blocks well. Obviously, yeah, the second set was a little bit tougher, even though I felt I had the better of him the whole second set. I had a lot of opportunities to break. He came up with some good points at the right time, then he played a bit of a slack game at 4-All, you know. Once I went two-sets-to-love up, I think from then it was going to be pretty hard for him to come back.

Q. What do you think was the most pleasing thing for you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That I got off before that rain probably, I don't know. Felt like I, you know, hit the ball well, moved well. Yeah, the court's always going to be a little bit more slippery at the start of the tournament. Skid through probably a little bit more, as well. I felt like I handled the conditions, you know, a lot better than probably he did out there. And, yeah, to get through in straight sets, yeah, he's a tough opponent. He would have beaten, you know, a lot of players I think in the tournament. So, you know, I had a lot of respect for his game and, you know, I went out there and got the job done.

Q. Not as much pressure this year compared to last year when you came in as defending champion?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, probably obviously not, I guess, in the media or the public, I guess. But, you know, for me I've still obviously got high expectations of how I can play here and how I'm hitting the ball at the moment. Yeah, I don't think I put any added pressure on myself this year or even last year when I came back at No. 1 seed. Yeah, I feel confident where my game is at at the moment. Just take it one match at a time and hopefully I keep getting through like I did today.

Q. He got very frustrated at times, hit the ball on the roof, tossed down his racquet, went to the bathroom, things like that. For you, it must have been encouraging to see how upset he was getting at times?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he shows a bit of emotion I think out there. And, you know, I guess, you know, if you get some dodgey bounces, you've got to be able to deal with those situations, I think. He was frustrated - a couple of lets didn't get called, a couple of bad calls. I'm not sure. But, you know, obviously I just felt like things were rolling along nicely for me and I didn't really have to change a helluva lot out there throughout the whole three sets.

Q. Did last year's loss enter your head going into the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a little bit, I think, going out there. The good thing was, you got to have a positive. Only had one point to defend, so I wasn't worried about my ranking taking a dive anyway.

Q. Everyone says one match at a time. How much do you think ahead to a week on Sunday?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not at all. I think, you know, obviously what happened in 2002 and then what happened in 2003, that's a great example. You just can't get ahead of yourself at all. You know, there's too many tough players out there. Yeah, everyone can have a good day, especially on a grass court I think even more so purely because that service aspect. Only one or two points sometimes in a set, and it can change the whole momentum of a match, as it did in my match against Karlovic last year. I'm pretty much focusing on my next match now.

Q. What do you know about the two guys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Labadze, I never played before, another left-hander. A little bit like Melzer, very flashy, I think. Probably hits it a bit flatter off his forehand, probably got a little more power I think in his game. You know, I don't know what his results have been like on grass. Vliegen, I've hit with him quite a bit in Belgium, and he's a very talented player. He probably should have done a lot better than he has, you know, since he made the final of Adelaide a couple years ago when he qualified. He didn't quite go on with it then. But he's got a good game. I think he's well-suited to grass, as well. Yeah, there's both big hitters, I think. I've just got to go out there and worry about my game, see how it pans out early on in the match.

Q. Was today the best start you could have dreamt of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was -- I think any time you get through, especially in straight sets, I was happy with where my game was at today. So, you know, I can be confident going into the second round now.

Q. People are talking about you as being one of the main three or four contenders at here. Do you feel that's where you're at as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I'm capable of beating anyone on any given day. But, you know, there's a lot of tough players, you know, ahead of possibly playing in a final or holding up a trophy. Yeah, as I say, you keep saying one match at a time, but it pretty much is that. You can't look too far ahead. I think I don't know how many guys there are actually capable of winning the tournament, but there's a lot of guys who are capable of causing upsets throughout the tournament.

Q. Any comment on Gary Ayres today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I found out before this morning before my match. I don't know the full bit about it. You know, what can you say?

End of FastScripts….

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