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March 15, 2001

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Lleyton moves into his first quarterfinal here at the Tennis Masters Series - Indian Wells. He'll take on Frenchman Nicolas Escude.

Q. Have you been following the draw? A lot of upsets. Does it feel like things are working in your favor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I just take it one match at time. You know, look at the draw, every match is tough in these Masters Series events. Rios-Kafelnikov first round. There were so many great first-round matches. Definitely opened up a little bit with Ferrero losing. You can't take any of these guys lightly. To make it through to this stage of the tournament, they've got to be hitting the ball well.

Q. You feel you're hitting the ball well enough to feature on the weekend?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, I've still got to get a little bit better, I think. Today was a big improvement I think from the last two matches. I really stayed aggressive for the whole time, you know, didn't get into too much trouble on my serve. I served very well today. Served a lot of aces, you know, mixed up my serve very well. I put a lot of pressure on him, as well, on his service games. I felt today was my best match I played all week.

Q. It wasn't really a match of contrasts, was it? Both of you preferred to stay at the back. Did you like that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, it didn't disappoint me, I suppose, because I felt like the longer the rally went, the better chance I had of winning it. I felt like I moved the ball around great today. One of his weaknesses is probably his movement. I tried to exploit that as much as possible. In the end, I think just being able to hang in there, you know, work the point I think was the main area.

Q. It looks like had you some problems with the shoes on the court.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I found the court to be very average to move on, very hard to get back, after you put a shot out wide, to get back for the next ball. I don't know the reason. I don't know if it's grittier. It's a very rough-looking court.

Q. Too much grit?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got no idea. It's a very gritty-looking court. That could be one of the reasons.

Q. I think Rusedski said that the courts were sticky. Would you describe it that way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I wouldn't say necessarily sticky. I definitely feel it's a weird feeling, though. It's not a smooth court, I don't think. It's hard to move.

Q. What about the next match? How do you feel on that, Escude?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think we've only played twice. It's 1-All, I think, head to head. I won the last one in Adelaide in 2000, the semifinals there. I lost the first set, came back and won in three. He obviously steamrolled Clement today. He's in good form. I'm going to have to raise my game another level if I'm going to get past him.

Q. Did you get a chance to talk to Kim?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't.

Q. I asked her, "Did Lleyton speak to you before the match?" She said, "Yeah. He said go out and have some fun. I said the same thing to him."

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure she had a bit more fun than I did (smiling).

End of FastScripts....

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