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March 9, 1999

Lleyton Hewitt


GREG SHARKO: With Lleyton's first round win today, he improves to 12-4 on the season. He's now 8-2 lifetime against Australian players, including 3-0 against Mark Woodforde. First question for Lleyton.

Q. How much more of a mental approach or how much firmer of a mental approach do you have to put in when you come up against other Australians to have that sort of a record?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always tough playing the Australians. I don't think any of us really like it. But basically I don't really know why I've got such a good record against them. I suppose I've sort of got everything to gain and nothing to lose. A little bit they're a bit nervous playing a young up-and-coming kid from the same country as them. So I just basically make out I'm just playing another opponent up the other end.

Q. What were you thinking when you saw Mark's name on your side of the draw? You're both wildcard entrants, you just beat him about a week ago in Scottsdale. Were you thinking, "Him again"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, basically. I was a little, I suppose, disappointed. When you make the semifinals and play an Australian, it's a little bit different. You both sort of had pretty good wins to make it there, you can really go for it. Playing first round, I suppose it's always a bit disappointing for one of the guys.

Q. Can you talk about the differences between this match today, obviously much tighter than the other day?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Well, I really struggled, I suppose. I hadn't actually hit on these courts down this end. I only hit at the hotel courts yesterday. The pace is a little bit different I suppose to Scottsdale which I played on all week, and in the altitude as well last week. I really struggled with that early until about 2-All and 2-1 in the second set, then I started to sort of acclimatize, I suppose, to the court a little bit better. And also Mark's game plan, I think he came out and played very smart early in the match. He wasn't giving me any pace. He was chipping it all short. But once he got the short ball, he was jumping on it every time. That's where I really struggled with the court because it was really taking off, and last week it would sort of sit and sort of bounce and sit up for me. That was probably the main difference.

Q. A couple times you screamed out. I think you got one code violation. Were you frustrated early on?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I was frustrated. I didn't think I got a few of the best calls I've ever seen. Also I suppose with the court and everything, because it was getting a little bit sort of on top of me. It's always tough I suppose after making a final last week and playing so well, coming out and just trying to get through that first match in the next tournament is always tough. I think I'm just glad to sort of get away with a win today.

Q. Is getting a code violation a little unusual for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I get the occasional one, I suppose. I think everyone does.

Q. How exciting was it for you to be named to the Davis Cup squad?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's a fantastic honor, I suppose. If you look at the guys on the squad for this next tie, you got the two Woodies, Patrick Rafter is No. 5 in the world, Mark Philippoussis is No. 16 in the world. So it's just fantastic I suppose to be traveling with them and sort of representing Australia.

Q. Are you planning on playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think so (laughter).

Q. What kind of experience are you expecting it to be?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I've been in the Davis Cup squad for a year last year already, I was actually the orange boy for like the two years before that. So I've sort of been around the guys a lot, sort of hitting up with them and helping them out a lot. I've never actually been to an overseas tie. We're going to Zimbabwe this time. We're going to have our work cut out with the Black brothers who we lost to last year. I think we're going to be pretty serious about this.

Q. When you were the orange boy, did they put you through any rites of passage?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. They just basically put the name on me (laughter).

Q. Next round is against Kucera. Thoughts on that one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't really seen a lot of his matches, but he's obviously a tough player. I'm not actually sure, I think he's seeded about 12 or 13 in this tournament. I'm going to have my work cut out with him. I'm going to have to step up to another level or two after today's win, but I think I'm capable of doing that. Hopefully, I just play a good match.

Q. At the start of the year you were saying that you wanted to crack Top 50 by the end of the year. At 65, you're not far off. Are you having to rethink targets and goals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I think this is the second day I've been 65. I haven't thought about it at all. Hasn't come through my mind what I want to be at the end of the year now. I've got very few points coming off until around Singapore in October. It's a great opportunity for me now to just to go out there and sort of take it one match at a time, not put any more added pressure on myself. I'm really enjoying playing at the moment. I think it showed last week qualifying and making the final in Scottsdale.

Q. Woody always jokes about being one of the oldest guys on the Tour. What is it like being one of the youngest guys? When you were growing up, did you watch them playing doubles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I watched sort of the Woodies coming up. Woodforde particularly, because he is a bit older than Todd as well. I've always looked up to Woody in that. He is actually from the same hometown as me. So he's actually helped me out a lot the last few years. Every time I'm back home and he wants to hit, I was always coming out to hit with him, even when I was playing the junior tournaments. He's really helped me out a lot, particularly Woodforde. It hasn't been that tough coming on I suppose, being a junior on the Tour. The Australian guys have been so helpful. I've had Newc and Roche behind me a hundred percent. I'm working with Darren Cahill who is traveling with me, and also like talking to Patrick Rafter about stuff, other pressures on and off the court, all the other Australian guys have been so good as well.

Q. Could you tell us, those of us who are uninformed, what an orange boy is?

LLEYTON HEWITT: This happens every week.

Q. Which of the Australian legends were orange boys?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, an orange boy is sort of someone who I suppose has to do not sort of the chores, got to run around for the guys, grab their towels, drinks, get their food, their sandwiches, all that sort of stuff. At the end of the day, I didn't really have to do that. It was just sort of being around that. That's just sort of the tag they had. But I think actually speaking to Roche, Tony Roche, a few years ago, he said that he had to -- he was sort of the orange boy. They actually did make him peel the oranges for Harry Hopman and those guys. It's sort of an Australian tradition. I think that's sort of helped us. It's really sort of helped me seeing how good it is to be in the Australian Davis Cup team, sort of seeing Rafter's win against France a couple years ago. It sort of inspires you to really want to represent Australia.

Q. Are you planning on doing anything like going to safari or anything since you're going so far?


Q. Yes.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I'm going straight home.

End of FastScripts....

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