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November 2, 2000

Lleyton Hewitt


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton, please.

Q. Was that final set as tense as it looked?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It was a strange kind of set out there. You know, obviously I think at the start, Tim probably had a couple of chances to go up, early break. I sort of fought those off. Then, you know, I'd say towards the whole end of the set, I had every chance. I was winning my service games pretty comfortably. On his service games, there's that one ridiculous game, that 3-All game. Obviously that was a little bit nerves, I think. Nine times out of ten I think in practice I'd make those second serve returns. On those occasions, I hit pretty ordinary ones. I came out with it hard in the following game. He was up 40-15, slackened off a bit at 4-All. I took my opportunities, made him play, you know, came away with the points.

Q. Do you think on balance, too, you should have got the first set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it's hard to say. I think it probably should have been a lot closer than it was in the end. I felt like Tim came out to a pretty nervous start, I felt, gave me the first game. He actually played a very good game to break me back, the first break. Then the second break, it was pretty much three of my unforced errors that he got the break and won the set there. He's a tough player to play, as well, when he's full of confidence. That's why, you know, if I went out there with a game plan, it would be not to give him so much confidence. I had to do it the hard way today. Thank God I came through.

Q. An important win for you in the Lisbon race, too.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very important. I think it's obviously a big knockdown for him, I think, because I was already in front of him, as well. I think he's probably the last guy, I think it's out of four guys, to make it. He was the last one going into this tournament. So obviously he's got to do better than the three other guys in it. Alex and Thomas went out early here. It sort of set up a big opportunity for Tim and myself. I think that played a little bit of a part of the nervousness out there in the match.

Q. Within six weeks you're going to have to play two Masters Series: Masters and the Davis Cup final. How can you handle that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough, you know. I'm one of those guys who likes looking forward to the big matches. There's certainly going to be a lot of big matches for me. Still my No. 1 goal is to win the Davis Cup. Absolutely, I want to be in tip-top form come December the 8th, going out there and playing singles on day one. That's what I'm really working towards. There's a bit inside me because it's Newcombe and Roche's last tie. It's going to be special to - trying to defend the cup again with Patrick Rafter back in the team. At the moment, I'm trying to forget about that. That's going to come in a few weeks' time. I've got a job to do at the moment here. I've got to try to make The Masters finals.

Q. By tradition, this isn't the most favorite time of the year for Aussie lads brought up under a nice blue sky and a burning sun.

LLEYTON HEWITT: You can say that again.

Q. Pat has never liked this European thing. Philippoussis, not too keen on it. How do you sort of come to terms with it? Is it something you have to grin and bear?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty much. I'm not a big fan of it either. You know, you got to be mentally tough, I think, come this time of the year. So many players, you start talking about playing Sydney and the Australian Open, all these tournaments next year, sort of coming into the next Grand Slam, having Christmas and New Year's, all these great things. You still have four or five tournaments to finish off the year. I think it's tough mentally just coming here. You're sitting in your hotel room or you're indoors at the courts all the time. It's hard to get outside and get some fresh air as well because quite often it's raining. You know, obviously I think it's been a lot easier for me because I'm a lot younger, plus I've got a goal, as well, to try to make this Masters cup. I've got to go out there and treat it like a Grand Slam. You know, I think that's just in me, though, as well. Every time I step out on the court, I want to win. It's probably a lot easier for me than it is for other guys.

Q. How do you feel about tomorrow's match against Greg?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He's obviously raised the bar of his game lately. I played him last week. You know, he's definitely got his serve back. He's playing a lot better from the baseline, as well. Very tight first set last week. I felt like I found some rhythm on the return, got on top of him there. I'm going to have my work cut out for sure against Greg. He's the kind of player who, you know, he can chop up guys, I think, on a surface like this, as well, as we saw with Marat Safin today.

End of FastScripts….

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