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May 6, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. How did you feel about that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, not bad. You know, hard to get a straight-sets win when you're playing at nine o'clock at night anyway. Yeah, it's tough coming out there and waiting all day. I felt, you know, like I was ready to go anyway. You know, I had all day to prepare for the match and got off to a good start. And Jonas is a different kind of player, though, than a lot of the difficult clay court players. And it makes it a little bit tricky because you're playing different kinds of shots on clay that you don't normally get playing against the clay court specialists.

Q. Who is the favorite of the tournament?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Favorite... Ferrero is definitely, you know, up there. He's as good as anyone, I think, in the way that he played, obviously, in Monte-Carlo, the way that he's played the last couple of years on clay. He's definitely up there. I haven't seen Guga play, but I'd never count him out once he made three finals in a row here. He's going to be extremely tough as well. My next opponent, Carlos Moya's, up there. Probably Gaudio. Won two tournaments. I know I'm forgetting guys. There's Safin, guys like this. There's a lot of young guys, I think, capable of doing well.

Q. You played Moya, obviously, in Monte-Carlo. The history of your game is that you find weaknesses that you had in the past and correct them. Presumably, Moya is just another example of that. Do you take that on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Carlos is going to be -- we played I think four times now, and we've had tough matches every time. He's a tough player to play. This is his best surface. This is where he feels most at home. And, you know, playing him first up in Monte-Carlo, you know, your first match on clay for, what, ten months or so, was a tough ask. I felt like I played all right. The conditions didn't really suit me. The court didn't suit me there. And I can only get better from there. I think that showed going into Barcelona, and hopefully it's still going to be the case here. Mind you, Paris is three weeks away as well. So hopefully I'm still not going to peak tomorrow - or Wednesday. I'm going to peak, you know, in three weeks' time.

Q. How well-rounded do you find your game now for each surface?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I've beaten probably the best players in the world on all kinds of surfaces at different points in my career so far. But I feel like still more at home on hardcourt just because I grew up on that. You know, obviously the US Open and Australian Open are probably to me the two Slams that probably suit me the most at the moment still. I would never say that Roland Garros and Wimbledon are out of the question - the way I played against Guga in Brazil and making semis here and Hamburg and stuff like that. Obviously winning Queen's twice and Rosmalen once, I rate myself a chance at Wimbledon as well.

Q. Is there anything in particular -- like we all said, "Oh, it's going to be difficult for Agassi to win Wimbledon," "It's going to be difficult for someone else to win Wimbledon." People will say the same about you - until you win it presumably - because your game doesn't naturally fit into the stereotype of serve and volley?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but I just go and look at a guy like Andre. He's won on all four surfaces. He's the same size as me. Our strengths are both the same. We move extremely well and we counterpunch well. I don't think, you know -- my results on grass so far have been higher than I could have expected for, you know, four years on the tour or whatever I've been , a lot higher. To have won Queen's, and you just got to look at the field that I beat there last year, you know - Sampras, Henman, Rusedski, beat Goran there the year before. I've beaten a lot of tough players on grass who have been Wimbledon champions already or, you know, semifinalists and finalists there.

Q. You feel comfortable on grass and on clay?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I feel, you know, a lot more comfortable than a lot of other guys out there, that's for sure, at the moment. Just because I -- you know, grass, we only play on three weeks a year, four weeks a year. Clay, I only play, you know, a couple months on. The rest is hardcourt. Indoors is pretty similar to hardcourt, with a truer bounce. For me, obviously growing up not playing on grass or clay, it's a little bit of a disadvantage I think. But the more matches I play and the more years that go past, I'm going to get better and better.

Q. Of the two, would you rate your chances at Wimbledon as big as or better than the French?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think there's probably more guys capable of winning the French than Wimbledon. Whether that, you know, puts me in with a better chance of Wimbledon, I don't know. But I think, you know, the French, there's so many, you know, good clay court players around. Whereas the grass court players - "typical" grass court players - are hard to find. There's not too many guys that I think -- some of the clay courters don't really eenjoy playing on grass anyway. So I think Wimbledon probably a little bit more. Can get some draws through, I think.

End of FastScripts….

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