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March 11, 2002

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Lleyton wins his last 13 matches here in the US, going back to last year's US Open. He moves into the second round. Questions.

Q. Couple of moments there having to come back, breaks down in both sets.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's tough. I felt like the balls are flying a little bit more today rather than in practice because I felt it was a little bit hotter out there today. Just trying to get my control early on. Once I got on it, I felt like I played a pretty good second half of the first set. Then Carlos sort of found his range a bit better with his forehand and his first serve. I didn't really have too much of a chance after getting the second break in the first set. And then I fought hard to get that break back in the second. Then I felt, you know, pretty much in control from there.

Q. Can you remember playing as a former world No. 1 in the first round of a tournament before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I played him here two years ago first round.

Q. You as No. 1.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Me, no. I haven't had that many matches yet (laughter). Yeah, as I've said in the past, these Masters Series tournaments are extremely tough, especially, you know, I find this one of the toughest because it's such a small draw, but everyone comes and plays this one as well. Sometimes on the clay, not everyone comes over, not all the top players go over and play those Masters Series. I find Indian Wells and Miami, everyone in the top 64 or whatever it is, top 60 in the world, so it's extremely tough matchups. You just sort of take it one match at a time, try and get through six matches.

Q. Are you beginning to really enjoy being No. 1 now, sort of getting any benefit from it in terms of any added confidence? You always played with tremendous confidence, as well.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's nice to know that you're able -- towards the end of last year, I played so many big matches. In most of them, apart from probably the first day of the Davis Cup final, I was able to, you know, win most of my big matches. I've got a lot of confidence going into it, no matter who I'm playing, really doesn't matter what surface now, I feel, you know, extremely confident. I feel like I can play my game and I can match it with, you know, anyone in the world. It's a good thing to have when you go out there to play.

Q. Do you feel you've reached a stage in your game where you almost play on autopilot, you don't have to think about what you're going to do, it comes to you naturally?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. But you always have your days when the timing is not quite there. Obviously, the start of the San Jose week, my first week back after a while, I didn't really feel like I was timing the ball that well at the start of that week. If I kept plucking away, trying to get through those tough matches early, sooner or later it would click. It did halfway through the week there. You know, I sort of know my base now at least, the base that I've got. But, as I said, you know, sometimes it slips off and you have to work on little areas of your game.

Q. Have you done anything different with Jason or is it a question of carrying on basically what was a winning policy anyway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit different, but it's been a totally different situation. Normally, I come into these tournaments with a lot of matches under my belt. Normally I play heaps of matches in the Australian summer, a Davis Cup, I come in match-hardened. This year it's a totally different situation for me to be in. We worked pretty hard in the gym just before. After I felt like I was nearly a hundred percent when I got home with my fitness, when I was able to get out and do stuff. Since then I've been working extremely hard on the court, little areas of my game. I think it started to show last week. When I was playing the bigger matches, I started going out there and winning the match off my racquet. You know, I served extremely well at the end of last week.

Q. After the disappointment of having an early loss in Melbourne because you were sick, presuming that probably left you a bit stronger for this part of the season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It's hard to say because I'm the kind of person that I love to play a lot of matches as well and have that match fitness, that match toughness in. So I had to find other ways to try and get myself up to that fitness level where, you know, I just basically lost everything I'd sort of gained throughout the end of the year and the Masters Cup and the Davis Cup and the US Open last year. I really had to go back to basics and just start doing strength work. I lost a little bit of weight. I had to start putting it on again. You know, it was tough times at the start. But I felt like I've gradually built it up, built it up a little bit more every week. Out there I feel like I can go five sets, the distance.

Q. How far did you get down in your weight? Are you back up there again?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't weighed myself for the last week or so. I think going into San Jose, I was pretty much back to it. I probably lost two or three kilos, that was about it. When I got back into it, I felt like I picked it up again pretty quickly.

Q. What do you regard as your perfect weight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably around 70, 70 kilos. You know, over the next couple years, I don't know whether to pick it up even a little. A few more I think would be ideal. Yeah, I still feel like, you know, I've got to No. 1, I've had an incredible run the last six months or so, but I still feel like there's areas of my game I can work on. You know, being 21, having so many years left in the game, hopefully, it's a great thing to have in your corner, to have little areas that you feel like you can even, you know, hopefully go up another peg.

Q. What do you do to put on weight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I do a little bit in the gym. I don't lift that much. You know, not a hell of a lot. Just a little bit of gym work basically. Yeah, nothing, you know, no bodybuilding stuff.

Q. Your success in America, is that just coincidence or is there something about playing here in the States that really suits you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. I really like the American hard courts. There's no doubt about that. It suits my game, suits my style of play. You know, I've always done pretty well, like in Scottsdale, I've done well in Indian Wells here last year, Miami I've made a couple of semis back to pack now. Obviously, the US Open a semi and a win. You know, I think obviously the American crowds, as well, to me, I spoke about it last week in San Jose, they get very fired up, a lot of emotion. That's the kind of tennis that I play, as well. I like to get out there and get pumped up and play with a lot of emotion. You know, when you go out there, I was telling you, San Jose, playing against Agassi in the final, we had a packed house. Even though everyone is not going for me, there's that electric atmosphere in there, whereas in the first couple early rounds, playing during the day, there wasn't the biggest crowds.

Q. Why did you take Scottsdale off?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I just felt like -- last year I felt it was a little bit tougher coming from San Jose, indoor tournament, then going straight into Scottsdale. I made it through to the semis of Scottsdale last year. Didn't really have to play in too much wind. Then I played Clavet in the semis. It was a blustery day. I just couldn't control the ball. I preferred to -- it was a little bit of hit-and-miss really. You know, the way that it turned out with not playing a lot of matches over the Australian summer, I felt like, you know, if I did lose early in San Jose, then it was going to be tough, you know, maybe I would have taken that wildcard into Scottsdale to get the match practice. But I was planning on sort of having a pretty good Australian summer, a lot of matches, then have one week on. I had Davis Cup, as well. Hopefully I was going to play in Argentina, have a week off, San Jose, a week off, then the two Masters Series I thought was a pretty good schedule.

Q. Are you changed your schedule European schedule going into the French from last year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not sure yet. Really don't know.

Q. What is that based on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: How I go here probably the next couple of weeks. Yeah, I think Monte-Carlo is probably an option this year. I've never been there in the past. I feel like, you know, I really will consider it.

Q. Would you drop one to make up for that or not?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Really don't know. Rome, I've done well there in the past. Hamburg, I've done well, last year in the semis. Hamburg is a tough week though physically on your body with those Masters Series balls that they're pursuing.

Q. Queen's again, I hope?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Queen's, yeah, I'll be there. Don't mind that place (smiling).

Q. I heard you were invited to the Lakers game. Did you accept that invitation?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. When was it? Yeah, against New Jersey. Was it Tuesday night? Yeah, Tuesday night.

Q. What was that experience like?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was great. I went to a Lakers game about three years ago here. I drove down there one night when I lost in the first round back at the old place. You know, it's incredible to see those big guys jumping around. They're twice my size, probably four times my weight. Yeah, I was a bit disappointed not to see Kobe Bryant playing.

Q. Did you get a chance to meet any celebrities while you were out there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I didn't meet anyone. Goran was about the only guy.

MODERATOR: He got to see the Warriors also. Probably got to see the worst and the best.

LLEYTON HEWITT: The crowd was a little bit different at both games.

End of FastScripts….

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