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May 19, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. You looked very confident and of course played very good in the first set. But then I have the feeling that you started to make more mistakes. Also you played of course better, but you also played --

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. I lost my rhythm out there a little bit. Once you do that sometimes is it hard to get back. That is how you found it today. I get in the first set hitting the ball good; not hitting it great. I get out of the set, I served for the 5-2 got a bit lucky, got the opportunity to break him at 5-3 to win the set. And then when I had -- I had my opportunities in the second set and I didn't take them. I had chances. I lost my first service game in the second set; that is when I really had to consolidate and go on with it and hopefully get up that set and a break early. Then I broke back for 2-All. Then I lost my serve straight after that. Then I think it was at 5-All, lost my serve again at 6 -5 --so it goes to 6 -5.I felt like even though I didn't play great I still had a lot of chances out there. Then the third set I just felt like I lost my rhythm at all. I was going for shots and they weren't coming off.

Q. How well does he disguise those dropshots?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he hits them great. He hits them very well. He hits a lot of them. But he hits them well, one of the best I have seen.

Q. How much were you struggling again with the ball today, do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: With the court and the balls, it is bloody slow. There is no other way of putting it. God knows why we are using these balls. I have no idea. But this court is slow enough without using -- going into Grand Slams where they are using a totally different ball, the Roland Garros ball is not even close to this. Obviously I think the players can put up with the court being different, that is for sure, but using a different ball, a week and a bit before the Grand Slam, is a bit strange.

Q. Do You think this has been a bonus week for you, nonetheless, even though you haven't reached the final?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure, I got good matches under my belt. That is what -- I wasn't coming to Rome or Hamburg -- I had had four weeks off where I hadn't even picked up a racket, really - I wasn't coming expecting to win both weeks. That wasn't in my mind. It was to get clay court practice and get, you know, a lot of miles back in the legs, start that sliding and grinding feeling again. I felt like I got it, even though I played a bad match today, going into Roland Garros I think I am going to learn and I am going to be a better player probably because I have lost this match. If I come out and winning everything, I am going to have a lot of confidence, but then once things don't go right at Roland Garros, you lose a set or down a set and a break, you don't understand what to do. Maybe because I lost this, this could help me in a couple of weeks.

Q. When you broke back twice in the second set he broke you immediately after. Do you felt you lost those games or whether he took them?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit of both. I thought for a guy who has just been -- he lost the first set. He was up a break and then he has been broken again to come out and I thought he played solid the first couple of points of those games. He ran around, hit some huge forehands. Maybe I didn't use my serve well enough on those first couple. I went down Love-30 pretty quick in those games, you know, that is the only thing I probably would have changed trying to get a few more first serves in on those bigger points.

Q. First game, third set, bit of a killer because obviously helped him and still he was on a high anyway?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know really what happened that game. I felt like I was -- I wasn't hitting my forehand that bad out there today yet that first game was a shocker. I turned around I think I made at least three forehand errors where I felt like it was quite gusty out there as well. And I really couldn't tell which way the wind was going out there. I felt like it changed during the match. I went for a couple of forehands, sometimes you live or die buy them - some other matches you might win the close ones, today it might have cost me.

Q. You said yesterday that he wants to try and (Inaudible.) He seemed to be camping really in his Ad court just running around, and everything. How frustrating was that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I expected that. A lot of those Spanish players play like that. Obviously I thought he hit his forehand great. It was a big forehand. He didn't make too many errors off his backhand when I went there either. He made a few more in the first set, but it was hard to open up his backhand because he hit the shot, if I pulled him across wide on the forehand across, he is -- he had to stretch out. He actually hit that a lot better than I thought he would. It was tough to sort of work out where to go to. I think if I played him again though I'd do things a little bit different.

Q. How?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I will keep that in my head.

Q. When you said you put down the racket during those four weeks. How long did you stay without playing tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: At least three weeks of that. Then the last week was only, you know, maybe an hour, hour and a half a day.

Q. No tennis at all but kept working physically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. No, I did nothing for a good couple of weeks. As I said, with the stretch going, I needed a break. It felt like I hadn't had any weeks off since, I don't know, maybe after the Olympics, I had two weeks off last year; that is about the last time I could really remember putting the rackets down. I went through the whole European indoor season; then had to play the Masters; then played the Davis Cup Final; then decided to play in Adelaide in front of my home crowd. That sort of went through to the Davis Cup. It started again in America; went through to Brazil, so really didn't have much time off in that time. I felt that was a good period before Rome to put the racket down.

Q. How much better prepared are you going to be going into Paris this year mentally than you were, say, in previous years because you are that much older and wiser and much more experienced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have definitely got more confidence, that is for sure. Last year gave me a little bit of confidence. I lost in the semis of Rome, played pretty well there, lost in the second round here. Went into Paris with a little bit of confidence; not the same confidence that I got this year, that is for sure. To beat Squillari yesterday and beaten -- the guys this week have been those clay court -- you know, they are not the guys that win Slams, but guys who are going to make you work. They are not going to give you any easy points. To have those wins and obviously the win -- the two wins down in Brazil, that gives me extra confidence playing on clay. Especially going into the big matches.

Q. Preparation still the same going into Roland Garros?


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