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July 1, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Made you work pretty hard at the end. Is that what you needed?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good player. I was expecting, you know, a tough match going out there. I'm happy to get through in straight sets. I still wouldn't want to be deep in the fourth set. He was getting better and better as the match went on. It was pretty important to, you know, come out of those few breakpoints that I had towards the end of the third and get out of them, then able to put a little bit of pressure on his last service game.

Q. Conditions a little windy and cold.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was tough. Tough conditions. Conditions you want to, you know, not spend a lot of time out there. You want to get on and off and into the locker room as soon as possible. You know, I'm pretty happy to have got through in straight sets.

Q. I know you don't like looking forward. Must be interesting with your next match, Schalken, 2-0 in the last couple meetings.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a tough player. You know, I played him at the French in the third round. After the press conference, the Dutch journalists said he's never been past the third round in a Slam. I found that pretty surprising because he's a great player. Got a lot of respect for his game. He plays well on all surfaces, as well. I've seen him play well here in the past. We had an extremely tough match, I think 6-3, only one break in the match at Queen's two weeks ago. He won a tournament in Rosmalen last week. He's obviously seeing the ball well. I'm going to have to play better again, you know, if I'm going to get on top of him. Then again, I feel like I'm getting better and better with each match.

Q. Have you ever played in any colder temperatures than today?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure I have (smiling).

Q. I noticed you had a T-shirt underneath your shirt.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, that's one shirt.

Q. What's the difficulty of playing Schalken?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's an all-court player. He's got a good serve. As I said, he can play, you know, from the baseline. And he also can come in, as well. You know, I'm not that surprised to see him here in the quarterfinals. I'm going to take it really seriously. I'm going to go out there and play as well as I can if I'm going to win.

Q. You had some tactical advise for him for his Chang match, he said. Are you that close?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, he just -- we're good friends. He lives in Belgium, I think. Has his house in Belgium, as well. He just asked me a few things because I played Michael last week. You know, I get along really well with Sjeng. He's a great guy.

Q. Things couldn't have been much smoother for you up to the start of this week. Do you think it might have been better if you actually had one big test?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, I think it can work either way. If you're getting through, you've got a lot of confidence going, you know, you know -- I've had a few tight sets, there's no doubt about that. The last set out there today was tight. I've had to come through in pressure situations, breakpoints down, stuff like that. I've played already a breaker against Carraz in the second round. I feel good. At least, you know, I've played some tough matches, you know, some tough sets in there. But also I haven't lost a lot of energy so far, which is a good thing from the way I play and my standpoint so far through to the quarters.

Q. Do you enjoy being the favorite in matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me. You've got to deal with it somehow.

Q. How do you look at it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Go out there and, you know, I've got to win seven matches, just like a qualifier, or whoever, as soon as they get in the draw. You've got to beat the seven guys put in front of you. I don't look to see if, you know, Agassi and Sampras bombed out. They're in the other half. I can't do much about that. You know, I go out there and, you know, put it on the line every time. If I'm good enough, I'm good enough.

Q. Are you surprised that Henman has such a tournament?


Q. Henman.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I expected Draper to, you know, give him a good match. I've practiced a lot with Scott. I'm good mates with him. You know, he gave him a tough match. But then again, you know, Tim came through when he needed to. The same against Ferreira. I think everyone who expected, who knew tennis, knew it was going to be an extremely tough match. Wayne, you know, he was a serious contender. He's been around for a long time. I wasn't that surprised that it was that tough a match. Then, you know, today, I think he's up a break in the third now. You know, that guy's a good player. Not probably the best match-ups for Tim, I don't say.

Q. Several years ago players with big serves used to have an advantage on grass. Now that tendency seems to be changing. Do you think your play style suits the grass courts? How do you analyze the trend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's -- you know, I've practiced a lot on grass over the last couple years. I've always come and played normally the two lead-up tournaments before Wimbledon. It's not a long grass court preparation. And also Davis Cup ties, normally have to train a week and a half before Davis Cup ties that we play on grass, as well. You know, that added practice and playing a few more matches throughout the year is obviously a benefit for the Australians. You know, I don't know why guys, Nalbandian, Lapentti, are coming through. I'm not sure. I think if you return well and you stay aggressive from the back of the court and you pass well, then I don't think there's any reason why the baseliners shouldn't do that well.

Q. Is there anything that you sort of think about when you dig a bit of a hole for yourself? One occasion you were down three breakpoints. You have this extraordinary mental strength to get out of it. Is there anything that clicks in your mind, "I'm not out of here"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, one point at a time.

Q. It's a gift that you've got.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I don't panic. I don't worry about it. Because I go down Love-40, I'm not going to throw a point away. It's hard enough to get a break anytime. I'm not going to give, you know, the guy a break of my serve. Every time, I just, you know, try and guts it out, and play maybe a little bit more percentage tennis. But, you know, the last few matches I've been able to -- everyone the last few weeks at Queen's when I was facing breakpoints, I was able to come up with a big serve. That's another dimension to my game that I'm trying to add. In clutch situations, you know, you see so many times Sampras, these guys, come up breakpoints down, they serve an ace. You know, I'm not saying I'm going to serve an ace every time, but I want to at least, you know, try and put in a tough serve to, you know, put myself in the front foot right from the start of that point.

Q. You of course ranked second after Sampras in terms of number of wins on grass, yet this is your first quarterfinal in Wimbledon. How would you explain that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When you win Queen's three years in a row, that explains it.

Q. My point is, why you haven't been a breakthrough in Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think last year I played extremely well. I lost to a guy who was too good on the day. Escude played great last year. He took a set off Agassi before he got injured during that match. He's a great grass court player. I think coming in last year, I had a lot of confidence. It was only a few points that I didn't take last year. You know, I was able to -- I still lost to him in the Davis Cup final, exactly the same score. I came to Queen's again this year, you know, tried to start off in the same fashion. So far so good at Wimbledon.

Q. He mixed up his game in the second set, started going for the regular use of the dropshot. Did that make a particularly interesting challenge for you, the game today, his approach to the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was expecting him to hit a fair few dropshots. He played about 50,000 of them last week in Rosmalen. I was actually surprised that it took him, you know, deep into the second set before he started. You know, I think it was a way I was beating him from the back of the court at the time. He really didn't know what to do. He didn't know whether to come in. You know, that 5-1, I had two breakpoints at 15-40, he did two dropshots. It paid off in the end for him. He got out of that game; but it was half just about throwing the game away as well. That's the way I looked at it. It actually gave me confidence that he's going for those kinds of shots at that point.

Q. Showed he was in trouble.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think he really knew how to beat me from the back of the court at the time. He was trying everything. It was a half tank to throw away the second set. To his credit, though, he bounced back and played extremely well in the third set.

Q. You talked about being able to step up a gear on Saturday. Do you feel you still can or do you feel your game needs to?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think you can always get better. And I think, you know, so far I got through unscathed. I still feel like there's, you know, small things in my game that I can still work on for the next, you know, hopefully three matches. You know, come Wednesday, against Sjeng, I know I'm going to have to play, you know, better than I played today. You know, it's going to be an extremely tough match. But I still feel like I'm able to, you know, go up another gear when I need to.

Q. Any specific areas?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll find out (smiling).

Q. Everyone knows what this means to the British players. What does it mean to you, Wimbledon? Do you think you can be considered a great without actually putting this on your list?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, Wimbledon's Wimbledon. You know, growing up in Australia, everyone knows what Wimbledon is. You know, I'm sure, you know, if you ask 95% of the people in Australia, they'll know what Wimbledon is. They'd think it's the biggest tennis tournament of the year. That's how it stands in Australia. You know, in my mind growing up, it was one of the biggest tournaments of the year. You know, obviously the Australian Open is pretty close to my heart, as well. But coming to Wimbledon, you know, you see so many great Australian, you know, players in the locker room, the past champions. You know, some great memories, I think, of how well Australians have done here. To try to keep the tradition going, as well, some of the boys here who are Australian.

Q. You seem so comfortable and confident at Queen's every time I see you. Do you feel in any way differently on Wimbledon grass? Is it only a matter of your attention is higher?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty much the same. You know, obviously Queen's isn't quite as big as, you know, Wimbledon as a tournament. But, you know, I feel the grass isn't that different. You know, I feel capable. I've been able to this year take the transfer from Queen's to Wimbledon maybe a little bit better than the last few years. You know, it comes with the experience of playing Wimbledon, you know, three or four times now.

End of FastScripts….

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