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November 28, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Is that a second set to tell the grandkids about?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. You know, I felt like I hit the ball really well today. Took me a while to get onto Pete's serve just because it is his weapon. I struggled in the past returning his serve. Once I sort of got in the zone, obviously Pete coming off such a long break as well, wasn't at his best today. I knew it was a big opportunity for me to get a good match under my belt and get a good start in the Masters Cup.

Q. How did you feel physically? Don't look like you're struggling for breath.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's what everyone says to me. You know, Darren and my parents, "You look fine out there." I feel like I must look so bad to everyone, but obviously I don't. I'm definitely not a hundred percent out there at the moment. You know, I'm pleased that even though I'm not feeling great, I'm still able to, you know, compete with the top players in the world and still able to play such good tennis, which I've pretty much kept at a pretty high standard for the whole year.

Q. What difference does it mean to you to beat a guy of that stature 6-Love rather than say 6-4 or 7-5?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, but when it goes in the papers back home, everyone is going to think he forfeited or something (laughter). You know, obviously it's fantastic. I just felt like I got better and better with the whole match. I'm sure Pete lost a little bit of interest towards the end of the second set, as well. He definitely wasn't the six-time Wimbledon Champ out there today.

Q. How much of a role has Darren played in your success this year and your success currently?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, Darren has played a huge role. Even in the years leading up. My mum called him up a few years ago when I must have been 12 or 13 years of age and asked if he'd hit with me sort of once a week because I wasn't getting great hitting in Adelaide at the squads and that. He said that would be fine. I went out there, going around his place at West Lakes every day, hitting for two hours. It was a pretty easy choice when I had -- when I wanted someone to travel with me, to invite Darren to come along. He's obviously made a big impact. At the start I struggled with the whole ATP Tour. I came out and got success at such a young age, my first real tournament. I didn't really know what the whole tour was about. Darren has been there and done that. I thought that was important to add to my talent, as well, sort of his experience coming together with me.

Q. With the experience that you had at such a young age, what has he done this year to help you specifically?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We just worked on areas of my game. Obviously, the serve I think is probably the main area of the game, trying to get a little more cheaper points off my first serve, which has been very useful. I think it definitely helped me throughout the US Open, making the semifinals there. In Stuttgart, you know, even there today I got some cheap points when I needed them. You know, I think just trying to become a more all-court player. If you look at Darren's game, that he used to play, it was more of a serve-volleyer, chip-charger, as well. He's very good at that aspect. I'm mainly a baseliner. Maybe he can help me out with the things he was good at.

Q. When you experience your breathing problems, are there degrees of it? Is it worse for some matches and not so bad at times? Some matches is it a lot worse than others or is it the same kind of feeling each time?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's pretty much the whole time. Obviously I notice it a lot more when I'm out on the court just because I am exercising, sort of you get out of breath a lot quicker than if you're just walking around your hotel room or going to dinner or something like that. I can notice it at rest as well as exercising. Obviously, I probably feel it more the longer the points go. I'm sure next week on the clay courts I'll be feeling it. You know, it's something I believe, and I've spoken to Newc and Rochey about it, I believe I'll be able to overcome it next week and hopefully do the job for the boys.

Q. What is news from the Davis Cup camp? We hear Pat is on fire.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Definitely putting a lot of long hours on the clay. I think everyone realizes that he needs to -- he's one of those guys who needs to hit a lot of balls on the clay court because it's totally different. He has to be a lot more patient and pick the right balls to come in on. On a hard court, he sees the first ball and he's in. He has to structure his points more on the clay court. He's hitting great. I think Sandon and Woody are arriving today, yesterday, tomorrow, I'm not sure. I'm sure they're right sort of to get straight into it, start working really hard. I'm ready, if I get there Monday, Saturday, Sunday, whenever, I'll get hopefully four or five good days of practice in before next Friday comes, the big one.

Q. You mentioned on the courtside interview about not so long ago you were playing in the Satellites. Does it sometimes amaze you where you are now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. It's hard to reflect on all the success you have at such a young age, I suppose. I always look forward to the upcoming and big events I'm going to be playing, like this week, the Davis Cup, all the Grand Slams and that. Sometimes you forget just a few years ago I was playing the Perth Challenger, two weeks later after Christmas, I'm holding up the trophy in Adelaide. Sometimes it's sort of pretty hard to believe. I look at all the guys I grew up with playing in the juniors and then getting into the satellites, I was getting my butt killed in some of those matches. Now they're still playing out there in the satellites, I'm sitting up here No. 6 in the world. I think just sort of mental toughness and making the sacrifices really helped me.

Q. Pete obviously has an incredible record through his career. You've beaten him on grass, you've beaten him indoors. Do you have a sense when you're playing him of his mystique? Do you have any intimidation at all when you go up against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, you've got so much respect for Pete. You can feel the class when you walk out there. Obviously tonight wasn't one of his best matches. We all know the reasons why. I feel he sort of raises my game a little bit as well because, you know, you know that you have to compete at your best. If I lost my service game early in the first set, there's the first set gone. There's just little things where he does put that kind of pressure on you where you've sort of got to come up with the big points. I feel like I've done that. I definitely did it in Queen's. That match has got to go down as possibly my best match ever. Out there tonight, I didn't make too many unforced errors on the big points.

Q. Seemed like Pete was having trouble reading your second serve. Did you have any sense why that was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think last week practicing on the clay a little bit. I had Pat Rafter trying to chip-charge on the clay on me a fair bit last week. My second serve improved a little bit there. It was obviously a factor out there tonight. Pete on the big points likes to try to put pressure on you, come up with a pass. He wasn't able to do that probably as much as he would have liked.

End of FastScripts….

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