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November 17, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. I suppose it's no great surprise, the day you've had, that it took a little bit of time to get going, get into the match today. Did you feel that just at the outset, it was tough to get going?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, little bit. But I actually felt I had a lot of chances early. I had breakpoints. I was the one that had the first breakpoints and wasn't quite able to take. I was in a rally, ended up missing a backhand in a long rally. Yeah, then next game around, you know, I lost serve after having a game point there as well. So I felt like there were two huge games. And then the next game I had another two breakpoints and wasn't able to capitalize. Sort of been the story against Roger in the last few matches that I've played. I've had a lot of opportunities and haven't been able to take them at the right time. Even in the last game there tonight, you know, I had 15-30, had an opportunity; you know, 30-All, had another opportunity. You know, against the best players in the world, especially "the" best player in the world right at the moment, you got to take those.

Q. I mean, the last game, when you came off, you wanted to try to get the match done tonight as best you could. You played two superb games right at the end there. Probably the best tennis of the tournament so far. It's hard to raise yourself to the level to get the one shot you need against him, isn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough. Especially when you come out after a rain delay and you're down a set and a break against such a great player. He's tough enough, I guess, to break his serve at, you know -- when you're even sometimes, let alone when you're down a set and a break coming out after a rain delay and you don't have that many opportunities. So the first one, he won to love, I think. First service game after the rain delay. Then the next one I had opportunities. I wasn't quite able to take them. But, you know, against the best players, as I said, you got to take those chances.

Q. One of those breakpoints he faced in the first set, he hit the line with an amazing, ambitious forehand. Is that the sort of shot which sets him apart really?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but, you know, it set him apart all year, I guess. Only so many lines you can hit. And, you know, he's obviously, you know, probably found a lot more than a lot of other guys this year, but that's why he's No. 1 in the world. And, yeah, he's got a sort of belief there at the moment to pull the trigger on the big points. That probably stands out more than anything else, I think, from being the best player in the world to, you know, the next five or six guys, is he really believes that, you know, he can go for it on those big points. And at the moment, in a lot of big matches, it's paying off.

Q. How do you feel now about the way the group is set up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I know what I've got to do (smiling). So, yeah... Obviously, you know, I think it's -- probably the ball's in my court. Obviously, you'd think Carlos is going to have an extremely tough time against Roger, but, you know, you never know.

Q. When he's playing like this, serving as well as he is, does it cause you to alter your strategy or thinking, or do you just keep approaching it like you would any other opponent?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, at the start of the match, I guess you approach it like the same as you would. After having breakpoints and that, you start getting a feeling of where maybe he's going to go and that. But he's got such great variety on all his shots, not just his serve. His forehand can go all the way. He's got a great topspin backhand, a great slice backhand as well, and he can come to the net. He volleys well. So you've always got that in the back of your mind, I guess, because he's got so many options out there.

Q. With all the running around that you do in a match, do you find that with Roger, that he makes you move and run a lot more than any other opponent you've come up against in the last couple of years?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. I think Andre has been probably the best that I've seen, especially since I came on tour. You know, Roger may be taking over a little bit of that but, you know, Andre is still a master of dictating play and working the angles and making your opponents, you know, even if he ends up losing the point, he sometimes gets four or five cheap points after that. Roger might be getting to that stage but, you know, still, Andre is one of the greatest that I've seen at that.

Q. Do you feel you just have to hit the ball much deeper than you would against other players?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Yeah, Roger moves extremely well, you know. For a bigger guy and, you know -- he really moves, you know, smoothly around the court. Doesn't look like he's running that fast, but he gets to a lot of balls, and gives himself plenty of time on all shots. I think that's one thing that really stands out when you're playing against a guy like that. That sometimes makes you go for a little bit more than you would against other players. But, you know, he doesn't have that many weaknesses either. His forehand is obviously his stand-out shot from the back of the court. I got passed a couple of times tonight when I came in on his backhand as well. Sometimes you got to hit it a little bit deeper or work the angles a little bit more against a guy like Roger.

End of FastScripts….

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