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March 28, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt


Q. You looked like a lot more consistent player out there than he was. What was the key to the match from your perspective?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I went out there with the attitude I had to be solid right from the start. Obviously, he has had great wins to get to the quarterfinals here from a wildcard. He is coming through a very tough section of the draw as well. For him to keep doing that, though, match in, match out, it is going to be tough. I felt that I had to be solid and it was very gusty conditions out there on the court as well. So I didn't go out there and play silly tennis. I think I played within myself.

Q. You were playing his backhand a little; then you were moving him around a little bit. Was that sort of the tactics?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I haven't really seen a lot of his play, but obviously he has got a huge forehand and huge first serve. So I felt once I got into the match and I felt like I knew his game pretty well. Then I started moving the ball around and trying to work the angles a little bit and get him running.

Q. Did you feel that was a good matchup for you going in, someone who basically hits harder and harder?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is hard to say, if they are on, they are going to be very tough to beat. He has obviously been on for pretty much most of the week, so, I didn't look at it as it was going to be a great draw at all. I was going to be there for the tough match and I came out and as I said, I think I played one of the smartest matches I could play.

Q. The first game he was serving a hard serve into your body. It looked like throughout the match you were able to deal with his serve. He said earlier that he had to basically hit the hard serve. How did you feel about the way he served and the way you returned?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously one of my strengths is my return of serve. And in the past I have been able to return pretty much most guys' serves on Tour. So, his serve didn't worry me. But there is no doubt that he has got a great serve. It's big. He can serve anywhere. He has got a good kick serve. But I felt like once I got a hold of it then I was after, you know, the second or third of his service games, I felt I was really on to it.

Q. Another trip to the semis. This is pretty familiar territory for you. Would you say that just playing the bigger points a little better, is that just the only thing that is keeping you from taking the next step at this point?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so, yeah. Really since I made the breakthrough at the US Open last year and made the semifinals there that was a huge stepping stone for me in the bigger tournaments whether it is the Grand Slams or the Masters Series events. Since then I made the Finals of Stuttgart, lost in five sets there, pulled out of Paris then next Master Series events made the semis last week. Had breakpoint on Agassi in the 2-All in the third felt like I was starting to play better and better as the match went on. In the end he was too good. It is nice to back it up with another in the final 4 here, two weeks in a row.

Q. Is the level you are playing right now good enough to win this tournament or do you have to elevate it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely room for improvement, I think. Whether I can win it the way that I am hitting the ball at the moment who knows. It has been a little bit of an up-and-down week, I think, for me. First round was a little bit scratchy then against Lapentti, I played pretty flawless tennis out there. Against Santoro I was a bit scratchy again. And then today I played a really smart match. I think I have played the big points well this week, so hopefully once we get into Friday, Saturday, Sunday then I will be able to do it.

Q. Lleyton, like you, Andy is still very young, but you had to go out on a limb and say five years from now you see him in the Top-10, Top-20, Top-40, where with would you put him if you had to project?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's definitely got a game that can be Top-10. He has got everything. He has got pretty much an all-court game. He moves quite well for a bigger guy as well. Got a big forehand; big first serve. I haven't seen him play on grass or clay though. That is half the year as well. So there is probably a little bit of the question mark there, but now I think he will probably get in most of the tournaments with his ranking so we will probably soon find out.

Q. One thing Newc said about you a while ago something along the lines that you were really blooded for this game, you just took to it very easy very naturally. Do you see that in Andy too, do you think he's a natural?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think for sure. He likes playing the big matches I think as well. He likes being the center stage. He likes showing emotion out on the court. I think it is good. There is no doubt that he doesn't feel the pressures of playing the big matches either as we have seen this week, so yeah, I think he has got good things going in his way, but he can't, you know, just think now that he's done well this one week and he has had a couple of good wins that is going to set him for the rest of the year.

Q. Last follow-up: Can you see in five years from now, you and him playing in the fifth match of a Davis Cup rubber to decide it all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Maybe the fourth if we are both number ones, but, you know, obviously I think yeah, Davis Cup is a high priority I think for him as it is for me. So there is no doubt that, you know, maybe even next time when we play America in Australia it will be nice to play him.

Q. I am sure your main goal would be to win your first Slam. Is this a plan for US Open or do you think you have chances at Roland Garros or Wimbledon?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think I have played good matches on all surfaces. Obviously hard courts is more my preferred surface at the moment just because I grew up playing on that. Clay I've played a couple of great matches - I think in the Davis Cup final against Spain against some of the claycourters in the world and showed that I could match it against the best guys in the world in tough circumstances there. So I feel on clay I am doing well. Grass, you know, with all the Davis Cup matches I have played on grass in Australia that I am getting better and better. I have beaten Sampras at Queens. I have beaten Pioline a couple of times on grass. I feel like, you know, I am doing better and better on all surfaces so I don't think, you know, I am definitely not going to be a favorite going into it, I don't think, but I definitely will be around the place, I think.

Q. Talking about Davis Cup, the fact that you are still in it over here, how important is that going into Davis Cup even though it is an entirely different surface next week?

LLEYTON HEWITT: There is, you know, some positives; some negatives, I suppose. Obviously it is great that Pat and I are still going both in singles and doubles because the more matches we get better we are going to be playing. And now that we are into the quarters and the semis and finals here we are going to have big matches as well. But we are going to be match hard when we get down there, but the tough question is playing on the clay, you know, Guga and all the other Brazilians I think are down there practicing at the moment. We are not going to get as much time on the clay. I feel with my game - I adjusted pretty well in Spain after I had a breathing problem; then played in Lisbon on indoor hard court; then had to go on to Spain pretty much on the Saturday/Sunday before the tie started, so it is not going to be too different to that one for me. For Pat it may be a little bit different but I think for Pat the more matches he gets under his belt the better off he is going to be.

Q. Is the breathing problem pretty much behind you? Still dealing with issues?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It is definitely not behind me, but I am dealing with it at the moment as best as possible.

End of FastScripts....

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