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May 15, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. Lleyton, was there some sense of relief to get through a match like that because it was a bit scrappy, a lot of breaks of serve?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I thought it was pretty good tennis though. That is the best he has every played against me. I played him a lot in juniors; played him once in the seniors and won last year in Rome. Forehand is big out there. Such tough conditions out there. The balls are so heavy and the clay is so slow out there and especially today with the moisture in the air, it's one of the slowest places I have ever played tennis in. So yeah, I am just happy to get through.

Q. Is it mainly because of the weather that the conditions are like that or were they like that when you were practicing in the sunshine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A lot has got to do with the weather. The German clay is a definite slower clay than the French Open clay. That has always been the case, I think, but here in Hamburg you get that moisture hanging over the court as well. It was pretty slow when I went out there to warm up this morning.

Q. When you had the break after the Davis Cup did you do much training and what did you do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not a lot. I put the rackets down and just rested up basically. Last year was such a long year with the Olympics and obviously making it through the Davis Cup final; then starting back in Adelaide I had felt like I hadn't had a break so just put the rackets down for a couple of weeks and went out to the movies, stuff like that. It's good to be back on the Tour right now.

Q. Do you feel that Davis Cup helped you a lot for the clay court season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No doubt it's helped me to be able to reflect on those matches and instill that confidence on clay that I beat Gustavo Kuerten. I didn't lose a set in three days of tough -- I don't think the pressure gets any tougher when playing Davis Cup tennis; let alone playing in Brazil against the best player in the world. Not dropping a set for those nine sets in a row is a pretty good achievement. I can definitely reflect on that and draw strength from that going into the French Open.

Q. Do you feel rejuvenated by the break that you have had? Do you feel fresher?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is always hard coming off a break the first week and normally I do pretty well, but coming onto clay it's always tough if you haven't put out a lot of hours I think. That is why this preparation - I played Rome, Hamburg, two big tournaments on the calendar; then I go to Dusseldorf which I am guaranteed a lot of matches and good matches against very good clay court players, going into the French so hopefully that is going to hold me in better form going in. Clay is one of those surfaces which it's quite hard to sort of get in a rhythm, sliding and stuff. So last week, even though I did lose, then I got to play a couple of good claycourters and that gives me a little bit more confidence.

Q. So you are reasonably happy at this stage of the clay court season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel like I am getting better and better. Today I felt like for the conditions, I hit the ball great. There is still a few areas of my game that I need to work on, but I have still got a couple of weeks before really start settling in in Paris.

Q. Will you be playing with Pat next week in Dusseldorf?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we are playing together.

End of FastScripts....

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