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June 27, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Bit of a slow start today compared to your first match. Was that him playing really well or you just being a little slow to get going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was , yeah, a little bit slow, but I was still able to hold onto my serve. I didn't lose a service game all day. Even though I wasn't, you know, as sharp as probably normal, as I could have been, I was still able to, you know, get my service games under my belt, then, you know, have a go at his service game. In that way it was lucky. The way that he served, he's obviously a big server, and I didn't go down an early break because that would have given him a lot more confidence.

Q. Were you surprised by his form? He played really well in those first two sets, but seemed to lose it after the tiebreak.

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit surprised, but he's obviously got a lot of confidence going. He's won three matches in quallies, then won his first round here in four sets. You know, he served big. I asked around before the match and I knew his main weapon was his serve. You know, I really couldn't get on it that much today - his first serve. Every time he got a second serve, I felt like I would win 90% of the points. On his first serve, he served really well. Obviously, you know, he was a little bit disappointed he couldn't have won that second set tiebreaker, then he was probably on a bit of a high, then just came down, and that's when I tried to step it up another gear, you know, try and finish it off in straight sets.

Q. There were a couple of crucial calls in that tiebreak, one that went your way where there was an overrule, then another one that went your way. Do you think that affected him mentally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I don't know if you're calling the one I served, an ace down the T, but that was inside the line. I wouldn't say it was a huge turning point. He was actually walking before the late call came. I don't know about that one. I can't really remember his serve that he may have argued that much. He didn't make a big scene anyway. You know, I felt like the calls in the tiebreak weren't that bad.

Q. In the tiebreak you were a mini-break down, he was about to smash his way to a couple set points. Were you surprised to be given the chance to get the ball back into play?

LLEYTON HEWITT: As I said, his first serve was huge. He didn't miss a serve in the tiebreak until 5-4. Then, you know, he didn't play the best point at 5-4. He gave me a chance. Then he missed another serve at 5-All. I was going to take it every time after that. I was going to make him play as many balls as it took in that next point. I came up with a good passing shot at 5-All. To his credit, though, he didn't give me a cheap point at 6-5. He made me work extremely hard. You know, I felt like that was a huge turn around within two or three points.

Q. The difference in the courts, between Centre and Court 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a strange court. Yeah, it had cracks in it. It looks like, you know, there's all squares out there. It was strange.

Q. Was it slow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that slow. His serve was definitely coming through (smiling).

Q. Was it an even balance if there were cracks in the court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was more sort of towards the end of the baseline area, just beyond the baseline. But you could actually see where it looked like it had just been like a jigsaw . They put blocks out. Whereas I didn't notice that the other day, two days ago, on Centre Court. I don't know if the weather, a bit of heat, it's starting to crack a little bit more than normal. Maybe Centre is doing that now, a couple days on as well. I'm not sure.

Q. What was your take on yesterday with Pete and Andre and Marat going out? What do you think it does to the tournament overall?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Still a lot of good players left in the tournament, you know. What is it, I've won two matches, so there's five to go. For me, I just look at the five opponents that I have to play. You know, you can't get -- in Grand Slams, you can't get too far ahead of yourself. It was an extraordinary day to lose three of the biggest names around. But, you know, I'm not that surprised. The depth in men's tennis is incredible. You know, you have a slightly off day, you know, it won't be good enough.

Q. You said something very interesting the other day where you said that everyone learns from experience. It's now been close to a year since all that happened at the US Open, which was controversial, confusing. Could you take a moment and tell us what are the things you've learned from that experience?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just block out as many things as possible. I wasn't going to let anything, you know, ruin the way that I was playing throughout that second week, and nothing did. I got better and better with every match that I played. You know, I learned how to block out everything, apart from going out there and playing, you know, the tennis that I felt like I was capable of doing.

Q. Is that easy for you to have that focus?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd say I'm pretty mentally tough. I'm probably one of the most mentally tough guys around. You know, it wasn't that hard for me. You know, I concentrate on my tennis every time I step on the court. You know, it wasn't that hard, I don't think, for me to go out there and do it. Just concentrate on the tennis and nothing else.

Q. When you talk about blocking out things, today were you able to block out Kim's score?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I saw it. You know, can't do much about it. I didn't see a ball hit. You know, no use in me worrying about it when I'm out there. You know, just concentrate on my game.

Q. Appeared to be a little bit more aggression in your game today compared to the first one. You played the little dink across the court. Have you been working on that with anybody?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. You know, just felt like obviously Jonas probably passes a lot better than that guy today would. So I just tried to add a little bit more, another dimension, just to keep the guy on his toes a little bit, to be not as predictable out there. I felt like when I came in, I volleyed well.

Q. Was it difficult to get yourself up for this game against a fairly low-ranked opponent maybe not too many people have heard of?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, if you can't get up for Wimbledon, you can't get up for much. You know, I feel if you don't get up for matches, you'll have results like some of the big guys did yesterday, and Federer had a couple of days ago. You know, you've got to be prepared to play your best tennis and put your A game on the line every time you step out there.

Q. A British government minister today has said that the women's champion at Wimbledon should receive the same prize money as the men. Do you think that's fair? Do you agree with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. I don't have a huge -- if they're putting -- bringing as many people into the game, then I think that's the main thing. You know, we're still playing best-of-five sets, though, and lasting a long time. But I think at the end of the day if people want to come in and watch women's tennis more than men's tennis, they deserve the same. Until that happens, I don't know.

Q. I don't know if you've seen any of this fuss about John McEnroe and steroid. I wondered whether steroid abuse is anything you've come across in the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't read anything or heard anything.

Q. Come across in your own experiences?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. The only things I've heard of steroids, getting banned, was Coria and Chela and Korda. That's all I know about it.

Q. Do you think it would make any difference? I would think steroids in tennis wouldn't contribute that much to your game.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You'll have to ask the experts. I don't really know much about it. I'd say if it's going to help one area, it's probably training or something. I guess, being fitter and training harder. I'm not an expert on that. I wouldn't have a clue.

Q. Do you have any superstitions you take out there on court with you?


Q. After what happened yesterday, presumably you didn't want to become the next big name to go out, do you think because the public don't know the guys advancing and they do know the ones that went out, the tournament has been slightly devalued?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Wimbledon is Wimbledon. Really, I don't really care if I get to Sunday week who I'm playing. You know, qualifier, lucky loser, No. 2 seed, doesn't matter. We're all starting in the tournament. You know, obviously it's a shame I think for the crowd and the spectators maybe that they don't get to see Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi walk out and play again another match. We saw it happen at the Australian Open. A lot of big names went out early. I don't think it hurt the tournament at all.

Q. Ferrero lost today. Costa didn't come here. Obviously the French Open finalists didn't do well here. Do you think it's becoming harder to win both back to back? Do you think it can be done in this era?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's definitely going to be tough. You know, the French probably takes a lot more out of you, I think, energy-wise. To try and back it up, you still have a couple weeks, but normally if you win the French, it's going to be hard to go out and practice on grass the following week. You're going to need a bit of a break. With that, I think it's probably harder. I think you don't get as such good preparation if you go late into the French Open. You don't get that time to adjust maybe as well as some of the other guys who lose, you know, in the first three or four rounds.

Q. But it can be done, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sure. I'm sure some people still on the tour can do it.

End of FastScripts….

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