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October 20, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt

MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Took a pretty special performance to bring the run to an end, didn't it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he played extremely well. I knew going into the match that he's capable of doing that. You know, he's a guy who definitely should be in the Top 10, that's for sure, in my opinion. Every time I've played him, he's played extremely well. We've always had very tough matches. I didn't take it lightly going into the match. I felt like I played pretty well. You know, I felt a little bit tired towards the end of the second, start of the third. Started getting going a little bit. I really struggled with my first serve today. That was probably the telling thing. He was holding serve a lot easier than I was.

Q. The crowd, what role did it play concerning the result of the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. You know, it was that tight. In that situation, it's one or two points. It really doesn't have much to do with the crowd. Who knows, at 5-All, I had Love-15. If I had a second serve, if I put a bit of pressure on him then, he may have followed. I had some chances. Even in the second set when I fought back to get on serve, then 15-30 there, I didn't take advantage of it. You know, it was that close that the crowd, you know, it was loud and for him, but I've played in that environment, a lot worse than that before.

Q. Did you like the atmosphere?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good. It's always good to have a lot of people there supporting. Even if it's going against you, I think it's a better atmosphere than at the start of the week, no one in the crowd. Very hard to get up for those matches.

Q. Can you trace anything from today back to the fact that you finished that match at 1:00 in the morning, play later that day? Does that toll even on someone as fit as you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It definitely hasn't helped. You know, you look at the guys I've played - play pretty similar to myself, as well. That's been even tougher, I think. I haven't had guys serve-volleying where I get cheap, shorter points, a bit more rest, not as long of matches. The guys I've played, I really had to grind. It's been a tough week. I haven't really had a proper break either since - I don't know - after Wimbledon. You know, it's just been pretty mentally tough as well. To keep coming up week after week for the last month or so, it takes its toll.

Q. At the moment, you're still planning Stockholm next week, then Paris?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, yeah.

Q. Carrying on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, yeah.

Q. Does that suggest you might not play next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I've got to talk to my coach, see what happens. Everything so far has been I'm going to play.

Q. Looking back, it's been a tremendous run, the best this year by any player, that must give you some degree of satisfaction.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's been great.

Q. Nothing beats winning, does it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I wouldn't change anything. This is a Masters Series. I won a Slam a couple weeks ago. I know which one I'd rather have. As I said coming into the tournament, I wasn't expecting a hell of a lot. I wasn't going to be overly disappointed if I did lose. This week is going to hold me in good stead for the Masters and the Davis Cup. It's my first indoor tournament this year, apart from San Jose at the start of the year. I wasn't hitting the ball that well at the start of the week, but I definitely got better and better. That's what I need to be doing. In about three or four weeks' time, I need to be hitting it as well as I can.

Q. You had a chance of becoming No. 1 by winning this tournament. Big disappointment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Doesn't worry me at all. Coming into the tournament I had one goal in mind, and that was to work my game as well as I can to give myself a chance of winning the Davis Cup at the end of the year. Nothing's changed. If I finish No. 1, so be it. But coming into the tournament, Guga was so far ahead, it didn't enter my mind. I haven't really thought about it the whole week as it's gone. For me, winning a Grand Slam, winning the Davis Cup in one year is a pretty good effort.

Q. You also just qualified for Sydney in your home country. Is this with the Davis Cup a special event?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Sydney, yeah, that will be special for sure. Obviously the crowd and that is probably going to get more into the Davis Cup than Sydney, just because you're playing for your country instead of individual. Looks like Pat is going to get in, I think. If Pat and I are both in there, it's going to be a great time for Australian tennis, that's for sure.

Q. But the Masters Cup in Sydney?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's what I just spoke about.

Q. Working your game, what is it that you think you have to work on right now most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, after the Davis Cup I had a week off. After Tokyo, I had a week off. It's hard to be playing your best tennis week in and week out. In Tokyo, I didn't hit the ball great but I got through. Then coming here, I wasn't expecting to hit the ball well. I hadn't hit a lot of balls the week leading into this tournament. Two days before I started hitting balls. I wasn't expecting a lot. You set out your priorities. After the US Open, I set out for the rest of the year that Davis Cup is the big one for me. That's why I had to try and keep it going. I couldn't lose focus after I won the US because I had a tie the next week. Nothing has really changed. If I lose first round the next three weeks, it doesn't really worry me.

Q. Pete has said he's not going to play any more this year, pulled out of Basel and Paris.


Q. Yes. Unless everyone else loses every match they play between now and then. You have a ten-year age gap. Can you appreciate how a guy can get really tired in this particular environment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. For sure. I've only had a little bit at the top, as well, whereas -- I haven't even made it to the top. I've been in the Top 5 or so for the last couple years. For him to have that pressure and expectation, everyone wants a piece of him for the last 12 years or whatever, it's got to be draining on you sooner or later. He's had an unbelievable effort up to this year to win a Grand Slam every year. It's incredible. I don't even know if I'll be playing when I'm his age.

Q. How do you rate Haas' chances in the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He has a good chance. If he plays like that, he's going to be very hard to beat.

Q. Any difference in his game compared to the previous ones?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Tommy is a patchy player. He plays some unbelievable tennis, then he plays a few loose points to lose serve out of nowhere. That's him. He's very flashy. He's a shot-maker. He's one of the best shot-makers around. The thing with Tommy, if he can put it together for the whole match, he's going to be hard to beat every time. That's what's holding him back, I'd say. Over the last couple years, he hasn't been able to put it together in that many matches over a tournament. This week he's played pretty well. He scraped through a couple of matches.

End of FastScripts....

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