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March 16, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Surprisingly easy for you today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was. You know, I played him once before on clay at the French Open. We had a tough four-set match. You know, I know he had a long match yesterday. But, you know, I just tried to get off to a good start out there today and tried to dictate play. Yeah, we had a few tight games especially early on in the match that could have gone either way. You know, I just seemed to play the big points better than him early.

Q. Do you pay attention to scores? Do you know if someone had a tough match the night before, does that change your strategy?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. Especially a best-of-three set match. It shouldn't really worry you. All these guys, he's an extremely fit player anyway. He's been brought up on clay. He won the Davis Cup tie for them last week in France. You know, he's a gutsy competitor. He just made a lot of errors out there today. I felt like I was dictating play well from the back of the court.

Q. Any thoughts about the next match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It gets tougher every match. That one's going to be tough no matter who it's against, Agassi or Coria. Both great players from the baseline, but different kind of baseline players. You know, whoever comes through that match is obviously hitting the ball well to beat the other guy. It's not going to be an easy match-up.

Q. Will you go from here and watch any of that match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: My coach will watch most of it. I won't. I've played against both of them enough times and seen them play enough that, you know, you know what to expect most of the time. But I don't really have to worry about it.

Q. Are matches against Andre still kind of special for you or is it just another match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I probably look at it as another match more than anything. You know you're playing one of the greats down the other end. But, you know, the end of day, it's still just another match and you got to go out there and focus on your game more than anything. You know going out there to play Andre, it's going to be a battle every time you step out on the court. I know that.

Q. A few years since you and Darren parted company, but when you play Andre, do you sense Killer's input when you're lining up against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Me personally, I don't notice a huge difference in Andre's game, you know, from when he was with Gilbert. I played him here back in 2000, 2001 maybe, in the semis, I think. I lost to him in three sets there. Andre's just been such a great ball striker. He knows what he's doing pretty much out there on the court. You know, there could be little stuff, but it's not like Darren can change Andre to become a serve-volleyer like he played. You know, there may be times during a match that we don't realize that he might have helped Andre in certain areas, and I'm sure he has. But, you know, overall Andre's just a great player with his own game. I don't think he worries too much -- he really doesn't have to change a whole heap.

Q. When you get to the very top of the game like yourself or Andre or Roger, how much of an input does the coach have in the game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, when you get out on the court, there's not a whole heap the coach can do. You're out there. You're doing it. But, you know, obviously off the court, little areas, probably more so in practice weeks and stuff like that, that is probably the most important for me I think. But, you know, a coach on the tour I think has to be a good mate, as well, not just a tennis coach purely because you're so one-on-one. It's not like a football team where they're looking after 40-odd guys. It's one-on-one. You've got to travel and be able to put up with that person's company the whole time.

Q. What is your take on Roger and Rochey?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't actually know what the plan is. I don't know.

Q. It's different, isn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is different. If Rochey is not going to see that much of Roger and then just come in for the Slams, you know, that's different. Whether he feels more comfortable having a guy like Tony Roche, who he respects so much, in the stands, you know, helping him out on his side, if that's going to make him play better, then so be it. You know, it's definitely different.

Q. If you could go back in tennis history and watch one player play a match in terms of it being lively and entertaining, which player would you pick to see?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I've got no idea. I'd like to see some of the older matches with Laver and Rosewall and those kind of guys purely because I haven't seen that much of their tennis. But lively-wise, entertaining-wise, it's probably more so the guys like Agassi and Connors and McEnroe and these guys. But the generation's change, obviously.

Q. Have you taken note on what Kiefer has done in this tournament? He's taken apart two good players in Nalbandian and Gaudio?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, but, no, he's a good player. He fell off the planet there for a year or two. No one really knew why. But he's a good player. I've always had a lot of respect for his game. He's always a dangerous player I think for any top guy to play against.

Q. Are you surprised the ease he's had?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Nalbandian, I wouldn't -- I didn't know he played Gaudio. I wasn't paying a lot of attention to him.

End of FastScripts….

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