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June 9, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How difficult were the conditions out there for you in the end?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, they weren't easy at all the whole match, really. The court actually felt really slippery out there as well, you know, behind the baseline a bit today. Slipped over, you know, a few times. And, you know, the light, obviously, you know, wasn't easy. And then when Henman's match was finishing, I lost concentration just a little bit, I think. It was hard to hear a lot out there, you know, purely with the crowd leaving and obviously being pretty happy that Tim got through. So, you know, that's when I lost my serve early in the second set and had to really regather my thoughts and concentrations early in the third.

Q. How big a match was that for you, a win for you, considering that he's given you some really tough times in the past?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Max is always a tough competitor and gives 100%. He's got a different style of game to most guys out there. And, you know, I felt like I actually returned really well out there for probably 80% of the match. There was just -- the end of the second set, he started getting on a bit of a roll with his serve. Apart from that, I actually felt like I was on top of his serve first and second, and he had to stop mixing it up, serve-volleying, staying back off both first and second serves, which was unusual for him. I felt like I was winning that little battle out there. But we've had a lot of tough matches in the past, and I knew today was gonna be no different, especially on a grass court.

Q. You play Karlovic next. Have you had nightmares about him over the last couple of years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, you know. Obviously, it's disappointing when I lost to him, but, you know, I've won some big matches since then. So not too many.

Q. With this still being early days on your return, the fact that Mirnyi has a big serve, now coming up against Karlovic, how important will that be for you going into the Karlovic match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's definitely going to help. They play similar games, I guess. Obviously, they rely a lot on their serve. It's pretty similar. They mix it up from the back of the court, little bit hit-and-miss. So, you know, I've got to try and take care of my service games as well as possible. You know there's going to be games out there, doesn't matter how good a returner you are, that they're going to have big service games and win them to Love and 15. You've just got to be patient and wait for your opportunities. Today was another example of that, and tomorrow is going to have to be exactly the same.

Q. Where do you see your game at the moment, second match in after a long break?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm pretty happy with my ball-striking, I think, at the moment. You know, it's just a matter of got another week, week and a half, week and a bit, I guess, week and a bit before you actually got to go out there and play some of your best tennis and, you know, find a way to win in all those matches, especially in the first week of Wimby. So, yeah, at the moment I'm pretty happy and relaxed the way my game is, but, you know, still feel there's a couple of areas of my game that I can work on, and I've got the time to do that. Hopefully, it can get better by next week, the end of next week.

Q. Guccione had a good match today. His confidence seems to be coming up with the matches he's had...

LLEYTON HEWITT: On grass or...

Q. On grass. Do you see him as being someone who can really do some damage on this surface in a couple years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. I only saw his first set before I had to go on, and he played a great first set. He's a copy book of Wayne Arthurs, really. He's pretty similar even, you know, the way he goes about it, his personality is very similar to Wayne. So he's -- I think this is always going to be his best surface and his most dangerous surface purely because it's so hard to break his serve on a grass court. Yeah, to play a guy like Henman, that's just great experience for him, even to win the first set and lose in three. But to be out there and have all the crowd against you and playing a big match, now hopefully he can get through quallies next week and have a good crack at Wimbledon as well. But I think what was probably more encouraging was his results on clay, you know. There's no doubt that, you know, at the moment he's the guy that he's standing up with a few results, which is good.

Q. Are you surprised both of your matches have gone to three sets, or were you happy to see it that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I would have preferred them in two, but, you know, probably would have preferred today's in two more than the other day's purely because it was getting so late. But the other day was more of a match where I could get a lot more rhythm out there playing Xavier. Hit a lot more balls and a lot longer rallies and obviously a longer match, whereas today was a little bit hit-and-miss with Max. Against a guy like Max, it's really important to play the big points well and try to get through it as quickly as possible.

Q. Any soreness the other day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, pretty good. I feel good. No, just, you know, obviously, you know, I was maybe a little stiff after a couple of tough practice sessions as soon as I got here off the plane, but after that I've been feeling pretty good.

Q. Just following up from the question earlier about where you are in this return, how much more do you think, percentage-wise, you need to improve or pick up on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure. You know, I'd like to get a little bit better I think by the time Wimbledon starts, but then I think the longer I stay in the tournament, the better I'll get throughout the tournament. I've got no doubt about that. So, as I keep saying, I think the first week's very important, just to find your way into the tournament, get a feel of it, and, you know, try and survive that first week and put yourself in a position to play some of your best tennis in the second week.

End of FastScripts….

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