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November 5, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Looking back on it, the fact that you played tough opponents all the way through the draw, do you think that was a factor of what happened today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I think match fitness was really the biggest difference. Coming into the last couple of weeks, I really didn't hit a ball, couldn't do a lot of fitness because I had a pretty bad virus and that. That was sort of a telling factor in the end.

Q. What was that? Sort of a flu or cold thing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Breathing, stomach pain, the works.

Q. Where did you pick that up?


Q. Airplane?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, staying in hotels. Not a lot you can do about it. Air-conditioning, stuff like that.

Q. An extraordinary match. Wonderfully gripping, as well. Can you feel that yourself when you're out there playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: A little bit at times. You're trying to concentrate as much as possible. It is very hard to think about sort of how the crowd is seeing it, I suppose, the public. You know, definitely with as many tiebreaks, three tiebreaks out of the five sets, five-set tennis, you know, the whole crowd really enjoys seeing a very tight match.

Q. Do you think after getting that third set in which you had to struggle when it was in your pocket, did you think you would take it on from there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I definitely wasted an opportunity at 5-1 I think, just because the momentum had swung my way big time at that stage. To Wayne's credit, though, he came -- I played a couple of slack points. He played some good points, put a lot of pressure on my serve when I was serving for the set. To my credit, I gave a hundred percent out there. That's all I can ask.

Q. How weary were you in the fifth set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's strange, because my whole life I've had to rely on a lot of fitness, I've put in a lot of hours into my fitness. With my game, I can go sort of all day. You know, it just wasn't there today. I think the main reason is just because I haven't been able to put in the work as usual because of this virus.

Q. When did you actually get back to work as you would like it to be before coming here? Was it a week before?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I hit a couple of days before Basel, that was it.

Q. Are you a bit surprised that you got this far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. I was a bit surprised I made the semifinals in Basel. I was going to pull out there in the first round. I kept struggling away each match. I'm very surprised, very happy, you know, that I got through to the semis there and particularly the final here.

Q. A week off next week?


Q. Lisbon looks fairly secure for you now.


Q. Tim can't catch you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's nice to hear (smiling). There's still two other guys, I suppose. Whatever happens, happens. That's just the way I've got to look at it. I have to go out in Paris and give everything I've got. I do that every time I step on the court. If everything matches up well, hopefully I'll be there in Portugal.

Q. You alluded to it the other day, but do you feel quite strongly about the fact that some guys have been scrapping out all year and Agassi is getting in there on the back of a tournament he won nine months ago?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't agree with it at all. I just think the whole ATP thing was to do with, you know, cutting out the Grand Slam Cup, sort of putting this one event, I suppose, for the best eight performers over a 52 calendar weeks. Obviously, I just think it's a little bit strange. I spoke to Pat about it. Pat said, "I didn't know that. If I won Wimbledon . . ." He's still ranked 16, 17 in the world -- he wins Wimbledon, he doesn't have to play all these tournaments, he gets automatic entry into the Masters Cup. That's what makes it a little bit silly, I think.

Q. Was that a one-year arrangement, or is that ongoing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I assume it's ongoing.

Q. I know it's this year's rules.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think it's ongoing. You could have come out at the start of the year, straight after Andre won the Australian Open, he was guaranteed to play in Lisbon.

Q. I don't know if you can remember this far back, at 6-All in the first set tiebreak, you changed your racquet. Can you remember that? Do you know why you did it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Because the string was going to break.

Q. Was going to break?


Q. You're still very young. Do you have one big goal you want to achieve in the future?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously I think the ultimate is to be No. 1 in the world someday. That's what you dream of when you're a youngster sort of growing up, watching all the big names play tennis. You wish you have that opportunity. I think everyone's dream is sort of to be the best player in the world. I've been given an opportunity I think. I'm getting up there now. There's still a lot of work before I can say that I'm the best player in the world, even if it's just one week.

Q. You have a pretty full diary for the rest of the year. How big a worry was that virus? Obviously the Davis Cup final is going to be big for you.

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a big worry. It's still a worry, I suppose.

Q. You're not all right?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a hundred percent at the moment. It's still a big worry. You know, I think that Davis Cup is the biggest worry because it is over five sets and it is on clay, as well. Obviously, probably can't last as long as today maybe, but it's going to last pretty long, I suppose.

Q. When have you been informed about Kim's match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I turned my phone on and had a message from her on my phone.

Q. After your match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. She's playing doubles, I think, at the moment.

Q. Did she win?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yes, she won singles.

End of FastScripts….

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