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March 15, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Most of us haven't seen you since Melbourne. How have you been? What have you been working on in that period of time? I know you played Davis Cup.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, didn't do a whole heap.

Q. No?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just tried to get my body right more than anything. I just took probably nearly three weeks off I reckon afterwards and slowly built it up in the gym, fitness work first before getting on the court. You know, obviously starting on grass, as well, for the Davis Cup tie in Sydney. That was always going to take, you know, a week and a half to get used to that, I guess. It was more just trying to get the motivation back as well, I guess. You know, two nights ago when I played here, it was totally different with, you know, not quite the same atmosphere and crowd that I was playing in front of throughout the Australian Open and in the Davis Cup tie, as well.

Q. You sort of kept yourself amused by doing other things, like getting engaged. But how bad was the kickback after the Aussie Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean? Disappointment?

Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, any time you lose a tournament, it's disappointing, especially to lose, you know -- or to come so close, to be in that final match. But, you know, I can look in the mirror and know I gave absolutely everything I had. So from that point of view, I got no regrets whatsoever. I know throughout December I trained as hard as I could ever train for it. You know, my body kept pulling out something special every match. You know, it took Marat to play a hell of a match and a hell of a few games there late in the third set to really turn the match on its head. From that standpoint, I wasn't that disappointed. It's only the fact that you realize that you got through six tough matches and you only had one to go more than anything.

Q. How beat up was the body after all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I couldn't walk for a few days.

Q. Seriously?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was struggling.

Q. There were a number of stories comparing you to Jimmy Connors in Australia. What do you make of that, comparing you as the next Jimmy Connors, as a player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think ever since I came on tour, people have always, you know, said I'm similar to Connors in the way that I use the crowd to my advantage and get fired up on the court and play with a lot of emotion, you know, that never-say-die attitude that I guess Jimmy had. I don't know Jimmy that well anyway. But, you know, in that standpoint, if you're to be put in the same category as a guy like Jimmy Connors, you know, tennis-wise, you know, something to be pretty proud of, I think.

Q. How well do you know him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know him that well, yeah. Only from an outsider.

Q. I'm from Argentina. What do you think of the next match between Argentina and Australia for the Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It will be a tough match. Argentina's one of the strongest nations going around. But we look forward to the challenge. You know, Australia has a rich tradition in Davis Cup. Yeah, we played in Australia, as well. We'll be waiting for it in July.

Q. How do you think the players are doing right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: They're not doing too much wrong.

Q. Do you have a favorite player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: None of them are easy to play. You know, they're all top players. I think Coria on clay is as good as anyone going around. Gaudio, I get on probably best with Gaudio I think off the court. Nalbandian, he's just got a great game on any surface.

Q. Where is it going to be played?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In Australia, but I'm not sure where yet.

Q. That's right in the middle of your winter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. We'll probably put a clay court down, real slow (smiling).

Q. Would it be a gamble to play on grass that time of the year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I'm pretty sure it will be happening.

Q. Has what happened to you in Melbourne intensified your desire to do better, to win things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know right at the moment. You know, I think you come from playing, you know, big matches day in, day out throughout those two weeks. The expectation and the pressure building up, you know, a month and a half or something leading into it. And then you come here and it just feels awfully relaxed. I don't know, it doesn't quite feel the same as playing in the Australian Open for me right at the moment.

Q. You're having to motivate yourself?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably a little bit more at the moment than I definitely have to in Australia. Yeah, obviously the adrenaline and motivation's there the whole time in Australia. I think, yeah, after having such a big run during January, you know, it's probably going to take a little bit to build it up again, I think.

Q. In the first set today you got up 40-15, then you won the set, then the second set in the tiebreaker you got up 6-3, closed it out. Are you pleased with the way you're playing on big points?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, the first set I wasn't -- you know, I was in total control so there wasn't a whole heap of pressure, you know, serving out the first set. The second set, obviously I played a good tiebreak. I got off to a good start and didn't really look back from there. You know, he's a flashy kind of player. He's awkward to play because you really don't know what's coming. It's more just trying to, yeah, get some rhythm out there, make him play a lot of balls. Yeah, he definitely picked up his game, though, in the second set.

Q. Conditions were far better today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, nice out there. Nearly perfect day to play tennis out there today.

Q. You only had 12 errors. That's a pretty commendable effort against him, isn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, he's the one trying to pull the trigger all the time, though. As I said, you know, he's a very flashy player. He comes up with some great winners and then he's going to make, you know, a lot of unforced errors as well. You just got to try to weather the storm out there against a guy like Llodra.

End of FastScripts….

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