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March 16, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Pretty good match for you; not too many errors?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I came out and I just felt good out there today. I had a couple of doubles matches on Center Court, which I think helped as well. That was my first match, playing from Stadium 3 all week. I felt pretty comfortable out there. I think it's a little bit quicker out there on center from the outside courts.

Q. You haven't really liked the outside courts. What was the surface like there for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's still not great, I don't think, for moving on. You know, I can't complain about the way that I played today, that's for sure. But it's still very gritty. There's something about it. It is totally different than I ever played on here. As I said, I think it's a little bit quicker out there than the outside courts. That probably helps a few players, Rafter, Sampras, guys like that, because the balls are so heavy out there, as well. Those guys need a little bit quicker court.

Q. What do you see out of your next two opponents, possible opponents?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's Agassi and Lapentti, I think. Obviously, they're both hitting the ball well to get through to the quarterfinals anyway. You know, Andre, he speaks for himself really, how good he is. Lapentti, he was on a bit of a downer towards the end of last year, wasn't playing great. Even through the Australian summer didn't hit the ball fantastic. We played him in Davis Cup on grass. He struggled there a little bit, as well. To his credit, he seems to have been playing a lot better. I've watched a couple sets of his matches this week. He's back to his old ways, I think.

Q. Is this about as good as you've felt all year?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I still think there's areas of my game I can work on. The good thing is I'm getting better and better with each match, particularly the last three weeks. You know, this tournament has been good how I've been able to build it up sort of a step every match since my first round against Costa.

Q. The first round, three-setter. Then you say things have been getting better for you. If you were to compare this match to the previous round, how much better would you say today was from the previous round?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, another 10%, I reckon, better. I made very few errors. Obviously, Nicolas can be a fantastic player as well when he's on. Today he sprayed a lot of balls. The way I came out there, I was mentally focused right from the start. I thought if I could get on top of him early, you know, really put the pressure on, that's what I had to do. I did that going up a double break in the first set. Then I went down an early break in the second set, was able to shrug it off, get my mind back on the job. I definitely played a better match than I did today by a fair bit, I'd say.

Q. Was the situation last night with your doubles match being moved a bit of a strange situation? What was your take on the whole thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, you know, it was probably lucky for the tournament that the Gambill and Kuerten match had just finished, and we had just walked out. We were sitting down, getting our racquets out of the bags on Stadium 2. The tournament referee started running over, screaming to us that we had to go play on stadium. Obviously, I'm sure the crowd and television and everyone was disappointed, even though you have Patrick Rafter. Maybe the women were a bit happier out there.

Q. Kafelnikov said that he still thinks that the veteran guys, veteran stars still have two, three years left of domination. Do you expect the new guys to really push them this year or do you think you still have a ways to go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I think they've got plenty of good years left in them, no doubt about that. Gee, you know, if you throw Agassi, Sampras, Rafter, Kafelnikov in that bracket, then there's plenty of Grand Slams between those four guys left. I know Pat has been talking about retirement sort of the end of the year or whenever. It's no set thing. I believe he's got a few more Grand Slams left in him, that's for sure, especially the way that he's played this week, the way he played at the Australian Open this year, as well.

Q. But do you expect the younger guys to show up and push the older guys, nonetheless?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's started to happen now and then. You look at Safin winning the US Open, Kuerten winning the French. Obviously guys like Philippoussis, Gambill did well here. There's Federer, Ferrero, a lot of players capable of making upsets. Whether they're able to do it, you know, in the big matches, the semis and quarters of Grand Slams, that's another story.

Q. Say it is Agassi, what are your thoughts?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. He had a bit of a downer last week losing the first round to Clavet. Looks like he's bounced back pretty well this week. He's had an extremely tough draw to get through. He got through it pretty comfortably, I'd say. But, you know, he's obviously hitting the ball well. I'm going to have to go up another level if I'm going to match it with him, you know, really give him a tough match.

Q. I know you get pumped up for everybody you play, but how much more do you get pumped up if you're coming up against Andre Agassi, Rafter or Sampras, Kafelnikov, et cetera?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I try not to look at it in that way. I'm worrying more about, you know, my game, going out there and playing my game. Hopefully it matches up well on the day. Obviously, you know, you've got to spend a little time working out the opponent's strengths and weaknesses. I don't think it's a matter of being pumped up. I'm up for a lot of matches. Obviously, playing out there on Center Court against a guy of Agassi's caliber, then it's going to be a fantastic atmosphere out there in the semifinals of a Masters Series. I'll be pretty pumped up just to be in the semifinals anyway.

Q. What do you think of Kim's chances against Serena? Do you think she's going to get too distracted by all the hoopla or do you think she can focus in?


Q. Davis Cup, Fitzy named yourself, Pat, quite a group to go down to Brazil. You and Pat have been playing doubles over here. Do you think that could make up a doubles combination down there? How would you feel playing doubles, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. Obviously, the doubles has been a little bit of an up-and-down thing for the last couple years for us. On paper we've had the better team I think in most cases. I think Pat and I just playing doubles together gives us another option. Pat and I play totally different games. Pat can help me out on my serves. I make a lot of returns, which we may need on clay. I think it just gives it another option if we do go into that second day. A lot depends on how we're feeling after day one, as well. Who knows, we could have played in Spain, as well, yet I had a four-and-a-half-hour match with Costa, and Pat was on the drip after his cramping against Ferrero. It's nice to have that in the back of our minds that we may be able to do that, but still a lot depends on what happens day one and how we pull up.

End of FastScripts....

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