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July 1, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Afternoon, everyone. Questions for Lleyton Hewitt, please.

Q. Serving the most impressive thing for you today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was good. I mixed it up well. You know, probably went off in patches, you know, throughout the third set. But, you know, when I needed to I served well apart from that one game I lost. I just didn't make any first serves.
But, yeah, overall my whole game, I felt like I was putting a lot of pressure on him right from the start today.

Q. You looked pretty relaxed out there. Would that be fair to say?

Q. Yeah.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't know. As relaxed as I guess you can be in third round of Wimbledon. I don't think anyone's that relaxed out there. But I got off to a good start as well, so that obviously gave me a lot of momentum. I just tried to keep it going from then on.

Q. Is there some sense of relief to have a bit easier time of it today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, it was nice to get through it, especially the conditions out there today, it was pretty hot. To go five sets in today's heat would probably take a bit out of you. It's nice I've had a tough one that I got through. It's nice to bounce back this way. But, you know, there's still a big job ahead of me.

Q. Your opponents are in the fifth now. Ferrer or González, what can you tell us about either of those in terms of your experiences?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, I've seen González play a little bit on grass. I've never seen Ferrer play on grass. González is a talented ball-striker. He hits the ball as big as anyone out there. He's another shot-maker. He's going to go for it out there and pull the trigger on every shot and look for a lot of forehands. You know, he mixes up, slices well and moves pretty well.
Ferrer, from what I've seen on hard court and clay, you know, he's gonna be looking for his forehand as much as possible. You know, his backhand is just a rally shot. So, yeah, he's very competitive, though, Ferrer, and very fit. So, you know, five sets out there today, probably -- I think he'd bounce back pretty well from it, though.

Q. The González forehand, is that almost unique in tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that's -- it's probably the biggest forehand out there, you know. Nadal's forehand is big but it's got a lot more spin on it, whereas González, his is heavy and nearly every time, no matter where he is on the court, he'll go for it. You got to expect that he's gonna hit a lot of winners against you but it's a matter of trying to weather the storm as much as possible as well.

Q. Where do you think your game is compared to 12 months ago? How do you fancy your chances going into the second week?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, some matches have been better than others. My first round and today was a lot better standard for me than my second round. You know, it's hard to compare last year, you know. There was a couple matches that I played extremely well, a couple that I could have played a little bit better but got through them.
You know, going into the second week, though, you can't win a tournament in the first week. So it's good to be through now, you know, to the round of 16 on Monday. But you don't want to take anything for granted either.

Q. How do you spend the rest day? Put your feet up?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just have a massage and get some food into me. Yeah, it's already nearly 5:30, so it's a bit of a different situation, I guess, here at Wimbledon. They keep playing to sort of 9, 9:30 so it's pretty late days before the end of it.

Q. With the injuries you've had, do you feel you're completely over them now and getting back to your best form?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, touch wood, the injuries that I've had, you know, they're frustrating and that, but they've been very small things as well that haven't really -- it's not like Safin that's had a knee problem, had to have surgery and stuff like that, which, yeah, it's been good but also it's kept you off the court at different times and made it awkward to play your best tennis all the way through.
You know, obviously spraining my ankle in Austria was, you know, a bit of an issue for me, but that's a hundred percent now, which has been good.

Q. Local support today. How big a part do you think they played?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's good. Court 2, haven't played out there for a few years. Played my first round out there. There was a lot of Australians out there, which is nice. A lot of good support. You know, I know Philippoussis played a lot of big matches out there over the years. And, you know, the Australians always seem to come out in force, especially in that top area up there, which is nice.

Q. Is that the most you've ever known to come out and support you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There's obviously been big times, Centre and Court 1 are a lot tougher to get into than Court 2. The boys can have a few drinks up there and enjoy themself. Especially in the heat today, they would have to drink a bit.

Q. Is it quicker on 2 than 1?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Hard to say. I think Court 1 is probably going to be quicker again today than it was the last couple of days. But today Court 2 is definitely a bit quicker. But it was a bit slippery as well at the back of the court. Rochus slipped over a couple of times. I sort of nearly was going to slip a couple times and was able to just keep my footing. I think the courts are really drying out at the back there. It was sort of like grass clippings behind the baseline, which was sort of hard to keep your footing sometimes.

Q. Have played a shot-maker like Lee in the second round, do you take anything out of that you can put into practice against González on Monday?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. I've got to try to take it to González, you know, as much as possible. I played him on clay a couple times, World Team Cup and stuff like that. He loves it when he has the opportunity to dictate play. You know, I've played him in Rotterdam on a quicker court indoors. I stepped it up against him and didn't give him as much time. That's what I've got to try and do as much as possible.

Q. Is it something you have to will yourself to do; not your natural instinct?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not necessarily. When I'm playing confident, when I'm playing and believing in my shots, it happens pretty automatic out there for me. Hopefully, that's the case on Monday.

Q. Ferrer has just got through.
LLEYTON HEWITT: He won, did he? There you go. Forget everything I said (smiling).

Q. Any more thoughts on him, Ferrer, now that he's through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've never played him. Yeah, to his credit, though, he's had a lot of good results on hard court. You know, clay is obviously his best surface. But, you know, Miami he's done well the last two years. US Open last year he had a pretty good run. He's a tough player on all surfaces, I think, and he's very competitive. I've never seen him sort of go away in matches. You know, two sets to love down there today and come back and beaten González, so, you know, it's gonna be a dogfight out there. Hopefully on grass I can put him under a little bit more pressure.

Q. Nadal just had an impressive win over Agassi. Do you see any reason why a guy like Rafael can't adapt his game and some day produce his best tennis at Wimbledon?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know if he'll ever produce his "best" tennis at Wimbledon purely because he's so good on clay and his game suits clay so much. But there's no doubt that, you know, why he shouldn't be in semis and finals of Wimbledon. He moves extremely well. You know, obviously his serve, you know, on grass, you can maybe take a little bit more advantage of than on clay or hard court.
But, yeah, he's a class player, you know. I've played Moya and Ferrero and these guys on grass. They're all good enough players to adapt to it, and there's no reason why Nadal can't either.
It's probably a little bit more of experience, but, you know, to go out there and beat a guy like Agassi in straight sets in Centre Court and with everything that's going on behind the match as well, then it's a pretty impressive win.

Q. You said Ferrer is going to be a bit of a dogfight against him. What is it you love so much about that sort of match where it's not so much a battle of skill but more of wills where you're just into each other? What appeals to you so much about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I'd prefer to win in straight sets if I can, go out there and cruise through. But, yeah, I guess, you know, just being competitive out there, you know, that never-say-die attitude.

Q. You seem to be able to step up to it better than most blokes.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know why. Maybe it's just, yeah, something I was born with. But I got no idea why.

Q. How difficult is it to prepare mentally to play five days in a row?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, it's not easy. You know, every sort of, you know -- every night before you go to bed and, you know, you eat what you need to for the next day, you sort of are focusing on what you have to do the next day and preparing to play a match. So, yeah, it hasn't been easy. It's nice to get a day off tomorrow and just relax a little bit, think about what I got to do on Monday.

Q. Did you need to change your tactics at all to play the shortest man on the tour?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, not really. You know, he's a great competitor and he's had good results on all surfaces but he's had some big upsets here over the years. He beat Magnus Norman when Norman was No. 2 in the world. He's beaten Safin here when he was top four or five in the world. I was very wary of going out there today of the class of player that he is and, you know, I was fortunate enough to get away with a straight-sets win.

End of FastScripts...

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