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Adidas International

January 16, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I felt like I hit the ball well, considering, you know, for most of the morning didn't really know what was going on with the weather and who was going on first or, you know, how things were gonna pan out. So in that regard, you know, I was happy to get off to a good start. Never played against Martin before. Felt like I handled his serve pretty well.

Q. Did you have any clue whatsoever what was going on with him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I couldn't tell anything. When I was out there, it was a little bit weird because, obviously, he was down Love-40 in that first game of the second set. Sort of was lining up, ready to serve, and I was ready to return. Then he sort of walked off to the chair. I wasn't quite sure what was going on. I heard afterwards that he wasn't feeling great out there. Yeah, I felt like with my game, though, I was concentrating pretty well on just my game.

Q. Was there any concern that the weather might mean you couldn't play at all today, then there might be a bit of backing up in the weekend before the Open?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was definitely a concern, no doubt about it. I think probably all the players - singles, doubles, women, men - yeah, organizers, everyone, I think. So, yeah, obviously the crowd's got to be disappointed with Lindsay pulling out tonight as well, and matches changing around left, right and center. It's an awkward situation, I guess, the week before a Slam, or a few days before a Slam now. Yeah, for me, it's awesome to have a chance to go and play for another title. But then again you've got to remember what's on the line the next two weeks as well.

Q. Would you say that was a blessing in disguise?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Could be. I'll tell you in hopefully a fortnight's time.

Q. Have you found the right balance between...?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not like I need that many matches now, I don't think. I played seven matches now from Perth and through Sydney now. So, you know, I feel like I've got enough matches against worthy opponents. Tomorrow's obviously going to be another step up in class, playing against Carlos.

Q. During the rain delays did you have time to look at the draw?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've seen the draw, yeah.

Q. What do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You can only look at your first round, you know. There's so many good players around these days that, you know, I got a qualifier first round. I don't even know yet who that's going to be, obviously. I won't be looking too far forward. But there's obviously some pretty tough first rounds which you really expect, I think, in the men's tennis these days - Blake-Moya, Gonzalez-Roddick, Johansson-Philippoussis, so...

Q. Do you think you've improved as the week has gone on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was playing pretty well in Perth, I felt. Probably just maintained that level, I guess, the whole way through this tournament. I've had a couple of lapses, obviously - the start against Kucera, couple of loose games against Clement. Apart from that, I've played pretty faultless tennis, I think, this week. For me, yeah, I guess I couldn't be happier with my game right at the moment. Through to another final here in Sydney, so...

Q. Seen much of Moya this week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't seen him hit a ball. I know how he normally plays. He's obviously playing extremely well. He's one of the best players in the world at any time, but he's come off a win in Chennai last week. He's gone through his matches pretty convincingly this week. It's going to be a tough match for me. I just got to go out there and worry about my game, and hopefully get off to a good start and see what happens.

Q. Your ankle, is that okay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I'm fine at the moment, yeah.

Q. Good week's work.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at the moment. Try and finish it off.

Q. Being in a final now, does it mean anything to you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you always love playing, you know, in finals at tournaments, you know, playing for titles. Obviously, you know, the bigger titles, the Grand Slams and stuff like that is obviously the priorities. But any titles go on your record. Not everyone is capable of winning too many tournaments. It's not the easiest thing to go through there and win five matches in a row. So, you know, it's tough against worthy opponents like we have these days not to have one bad match within a week.

Q. What is it about this tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Don't know. I've always played well, even when it was at White City. Coming off a win in Adelaide and, obviously, Sydney was always stronger than Adelaide, the tournaments. I'd come here, beat Bjorkman when he was No. 4 in the world first round; following year beat Rafter and Kiefer. Then after that won it twice. I've always really enjoyed, I guess, the tournaments in Australia at the start of the year. For some reason, I've always performed well here at Homebush as well.

Q. Looking through the draw gives me the impression ...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Next week or here?

Q. Next week. It is the strongest looking draw I can remember here for a long time. Seems to be so much more depth in the whole thing. When you look at the number of great first-round matches and possible third, fourth matches as well. Do you get that same impression?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, there's a lot of dangerous floaters, I guess, in the draw as well these days. You look at a guy like Safin, he's not 77 in the world or whatever he is. He's a Top 10 player. I don't think anyone would want him in their section as a seeded player. You know, James Blake, he's another guy. Fernando Gonzalez. The guys I've met. Thomas Johansson, the last time he played in Melbourne he won the tournament. There's a hell of a lot of good players out there. You've got to be wary and give respect to every opponent you play. I think that's the thing about men's tennis at the moment; it's very, very open, and to win seven best-of-five set matches is a tough thing to do.

End of FastScripts….

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