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March 27, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.

Q. With an overnight delay as well.


Q. It didn't seem to affect your momentum at all.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. It's always tough, I think, for both players. You'd rather be a set and a break up than a set and a break down going overnight. But I came out, I felt like I got better and better as the match went on yesterday. You know, it was pretty crucial getting that early break in the second set as well last night.

Q. Sometimes just watching your matches, it seems like there's nothing you need to add to your game. It seems that way, anyway. Do you feel that there's anything technically that you still need to add?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about my technique, but I think just getting a little bit stronger maybe. You don't want to lose your quickness around the court either though, because that's such an edge for me, such an advantage. Obviously, the first serves, I've been serving pretty well actually the last three or four weeks in my matches. Jason and I spent a lot of time, you know, after the chicken pox in Australia, sort of working on that area of my game. But it's totally different taking it into a match situation rather than practice as well. But that's probably the main area - coming in, being a bit more aggressive. That's probably the two areas that I feel I can work on and become better.

Q. You don't ever see yourself hitting a 125 -, 130-mile-an-hour serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: 125 yesterday, mate. That was huge.

Q. Can you do it?


Q. Can you do it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I did 125 yesterday. 130, I don't know about that. Heavy conditions last night, I reckon I would have pushed 130 in Indian Wells maybe. It was a good serve.

Q. I know you know Safin. What do you know about Gonzalez?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I know a lot about Gonzalez. He was No. 1 junior in the world, you know, at the 14s. He was a guy you always - for me I was a year or two younger than him - a guy we all looked up to I think. In the Juniors he was so professional and he was a lot bigger than, you know. We were back then as well. He's, you know, got a massive forehand, moves well. He stands a fair way behind the baseline as well, though. But he's getting better on hardcourt. His results are showing that. But, you know, whether he can beat Marat's probably a little bit up to Marat I think. If Marat plays as he can play, you know, some of the matches in the Australian Open like he did then, you know, then he's probably going to win.

Q. He's had kind of an up and down tournament so far.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Marat? I thought he played pretty well against Mark and then also well the other day. But who knows with him? He can blow anyone away on any given day, so...

Q. Two totally different styles - one big guy, one not so big guy. One guy who likes to hit a 130-mile-an-hour serve. Do you prepare differently for them, or do you play your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'll pretty much play my game. You know, got that confidence in my game that, you know, going out there I don't really have to change too much. I'll have a few things in the back of my mind that I can fall back on if I need to out there. Apart from that, I'm just going to go out there and, you know, take it as it comes. I've got that confidence in my game at the moment.

Q. I know it's going back a match, but when you're in a situation you're in against Gambill, what gives you the edge, do you think? You were struggling a little bit, then you go into the third set 5-all? What do you think gives you the edge there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually, I felt like I played pretty well the whole match. From 1 -love when I broke --.

Q. He had a chance.

LLEYTON HEWITT: He played incredible. That's the best he's played against me. It was as simple as that. He would have given anyone a run for their money. If he's serving that big and he's slapping that many returns like that, then he's going to be tough to beat. But, you know, I found a way to get into the match. And once I got into the match, I felt like, you know, I was the better player for the second and third sets. So, I had the early break in both sets. And, you know, I just hung in there and, you know, waited for a chance. And, you know, come 6-5, I wasn't going to give him an easy point; that was for sure.

Q. I'm just wondering if you feel, in situations when it comes like that, you just got that little something over any player at any given time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to say. You know, I've lost some tight matches in the past as well. So when it gets in that situation, though, I try to play the percentages as much as possible. And, you know, in the end I think it worked out pretty well. He didn't make too many big first serves. As soon as I got in a rally, I had a better than 50 percent chance of winning it, I felt anyway.

Q. Can you speak a little bit about your past in Australian football.


Q. In Australian football, your past.

LLEYTON HEWITT: What about it?

Q. Well, how it went.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't played since about 14 or 15. So...(Inaudible).

Q. You were crazy about it? You liked it a lot?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, well, yeah. When your father, grandfather and uncle played it professionally, sort of, you know, it was in me I suppose. And, you know, I preferred Australian Rules football to tennis back then for sure.

Q. How did it help your tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't really, but...

Q. Mentally?


Q. Yeah.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know, maybe being competitive at another sport may have helped; I'm not sure. It's probably helped in the team aspect more because I look forward to playing Davis Cup matches so much not only because I'm playing for my country but also have the chance to come together as a team. Whereas in football, I loved doing that - being in the (inaudible) with the boys, hanging out and stuff. You don't get that opportunity in tennis as much. So when Davis Cup goes around, I look forward to playing those matches.

Q. Lleyton, when Blake learns how to stay on the point, maybe not go for too much in situations where he should be a little bit more conservative, how good do you reckon he could be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. He's got a pretty good -- he's an all-court player. I think he'll be able to play on all surfaces. He's got a big forehand. He is a little bit wild at times. You know, he probably didn't, you know, hit enough first serves in, I don't think, in the match last night and today. And that sort of once I got in the point, I felt like I had a pretty good chance of winning. The longer the point went, the better the chance I had of winning it.

Q. What do you think of Gambill's one-handed forehand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's gotten better and better at it. So whether -- I don't know how good it's going to get though. It's still always maybe a little weakness just because he plays the rest of the time with the two-hander. I think over the last year and a half it's definitely improved a lot.

Q. Is he putting a little bit of topspin on that forehand?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Little bit. It's still pretty flat, though. Sort of a little bit of a slap.

End of FastScripts….

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