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November 20, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. I think it's fair to say that pretty much you played in the zone today. Only six unforced errors for the entire match. Do you feel that you are playing as well now as when you were dominating as World No. 1?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Like every press conference I get asked that, I keep saying there's days when I do and days when I don't. Today was definitely one that I played as well. You know, I was ready to go out there today. Obviously, it's an awkward situation, not quite knowing if we're going to be on on time or whatever. As soon as the bell rang, I was up for it and ready to play my best tennis. I felt like I was moving extremely well out there. I felt like I was able to dictate play. I was just seeing the ball well. It makes it a lot easier playing against a guy, if you're in a zone like that, playing such a big hitter as Andy.

Q. How much was working on his new tactic and attacking the volley part of your game plan? Andy this week has set about attacking the net more, coming in more, volleying more. You seemed to expose that every opportunity you got. How much was that part of your game plan?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that much. You know, I just played my game and, you know, I think it matched up pretty well today. But, you know, he pulled the trigger a couple of times, I think more under pressure, desperate times more than anything. (Inaudible) second serve that I got a look at on breakpoint. He serve-volleyed. I made him come up with a half-volley (inaudible). Next couple times, when he was down Love-30, he came into the net a little bit in the next set, and I just made him play. If he's good enough, then he'll come up with volleying winners. But I feel like my passing shots can stand up with the best of the guys out there.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I can't remember. I was just trying to play.

Q. Did you get the sense you kind of broke his spirit a little bit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit. I think he just hadn't had that many opportunities on my service games. Even through the first set it could have been 6-1. I had opportunities to break and to go up 3-1, and he came up with three or four aces in a row. You know, I just felt like I was really on his serve right from the start today. Every time we got into a baseline rally, I was dictating play. I felt like I was really working the ball around the court well. You know, just made it hard for him to dictate play, obviously, with his big forehand, once we got in a rally as well.

Q. You must be very pleased with the way your serve has held up all week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't probably make as many first serves today as I would have liked, but I think my second serve held up extremely well. I'm not sure how many double-faults, maybe one or something, double-faults. But apart from that, I think my second serve, for a guy that Andy wants to hit, run around, and crack big forehands, I can really only remember one that he was able to do and that was still a freak shot, what he did from there. I felt like that held up well. I didn't give him too many chances on my service games.

Q. So much has been said and written about possibly Roger and Andy being 1 and 2, and having another rivalry up there. Is this a kind of "remember me" week? "Don't forget I'm still a decent player as well"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I heard Cliff Drysdale talking, he sounded like there was only two players playing the game. I know there's been one stand-out, you know, for the last year and a half. But if you look at the points, I think there's a couple of us right up Andy's butt at the moment. There's definitely been one stand-out.

Q. What is it about this week that sort of motivates you so much? Clearly, your record in the Masters Cup has been terrific - two victories, now another final. Is it putting yourself up against the best, is that something that really gets you going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. Obviously, Sydney and Shanghai were different situations for me, knowing that No. 1 was on the line both years. This year I can probably come here and look at the big picture a little bit more and see how awesome it is for all eight guys to just get to the Masters Cup, and, you know, it's a very prestigious event. Whereas in the past, I probably focused more on the No. 1 than the actual Masters Cup. This year has been good in that sense. Obviously, I enjoy playing the best players in the world, though, too. You've got to be up for every match. It's very much like a Davis Cup tie. You don't get to play yourself into form too much out here. You've got to be ready to go right when the bell rings against every one of your opponents.

Q. If it's Roger in the final, on reflection after the group match you played here, is there one thing you take out of that match that would assist you in the final if you play him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure, but I won't tell you guys anyway (laughter). No, it's not going to be easy, you know. Obviously, Roger is playing extremely well. You know, as I said after my loss against him the other night, I had a couple of chances out there. Wasn't quite able to take them. Against especially Roger - the best players in the world, but especially Roger - you have to be able to take him right at the moment. I wasn't able to do that. I haven't been able to do that all year. So I'll just wait for my opportunities and sooner or later hopefully I'll take them.

Q. What if it's Marat getting through? What are your thoughts there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still not that much easier than if it was Roger, I think. Marat's obviously the form player over the last few months. I think he's looking extremely confident. In my mind he probably should have beaten Andy the other day. He looks ready at the moment, I think. And, yeah, it'll be a tough match playing Marat. Obviously, he played extremely well against me in Paris, in the quarters there a few weeks ago. But I felt like if I got that second set there where I had a couple of set points, the whole match could have changed. So, yeah, it's two totally different players. Roger is obviously a lot more crafty out there on the court, with an all-court game, whereas Marat is going to try and hit through you a lot more.

Q. You won the US Open, Pat Rafter won it twice. He used to say there was quite a big difference between these courts and the ones in Melbourne for the Australian Open.


Q. Yes, the court surface.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think there's a massive difference. I think the US Open is a lot quicker. Ball stays a lot lower, obviously. Yeah, I think it's a huge difference. Obviously, there was one year back in 2000 where the Australian Open court played a lot quicker than it has in the past. But the last few years it's played more closer to clay than the US Open court.

Q. So, obviously, you prefer this type of speed of court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I think the US Open court is even quicker than this. This is medium to slow, I'd say, on the slower side. Whereas the US Open, that's medium to fast.

Q. Talking about court surfaces, will you be saying anything to Paul McNamee and Peter Bellinger about what you might like to see when you get to Melbourne?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I don't know just yet. You know, I've got my thoughts (smiling).

Q. When you're finishing the last 20 points, I know you're not counting them and saying, "Oh, that's 14 straight," but is there a feeling that, "My God, I'm on a cloud"? That you're just playing not out of your mind because you're a good player, but you've never quite experienced anything like this against a good player.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. For me, it was more just about -- you know, I was just taking it, as the saying goes, one point at a time. I was really just focusing. Got Love-15 on his serve, I was just focusing on getting to Love-30 and obviously getting two points closer to getting especially a double-break there at 4-2. I was really just taking it one point at a time, just trying to make him play. Obviously, you don't expect to win that many points in a row, especially on a guy like Andy's serve as well. He's obviously going to get a lot of cheap points off his serve.

Q. Was there any down period after the US Open final, two bagels and so on, being beaten pretty badly - although you didn't play badly...

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't -- well, I didn't have a lot of time to have a down period. You know, I went back and, you know, it wasn't the easiest Davis Cup tie to play purely because on paper we're such big favorites. But against Morocco, I knew what I had to go out there and do and get us back in the World Group for next year and I was able to do that. Davis Cup is not easy at any stage. It takes a lot of mental effort out of you. You know, after that I was able to have a couple weeks off and just play in Tokyo and Paris. I haven't really been thinking about tennis too much.

Q. Lleyton, (inaudible). Are you afraid maybe you can make some dents in the surface?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not hitting the ground, mate (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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