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July 3, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. May we have the first question for Lleyton Hewitt, please.

Q. It seemed at one point you were playing a player who was about as stubborn as you were today. Did you find it hard to break him down at times?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a tough competitor. Uhm, I knew that going out there, though, so, you know, when I got the first two sets under my belt, I was pretty happy but I wasn't -- by no means thought the match was over, that's for sure.
Obviously, the way he came back couple days ago, and I've seen a lot of his matches on clay, he runs a lot of balls down out there. He adjusted his game extremely well to grass, though, and, you know, made me play well to beat him.

Q. There was a suggestion on television that you told him to cut his hair. Was that right?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No. He was -- he had a go at about -- I think he thought that I persuaded the umpire for an overrule, but the umpire had already overruled straightaway. I just asked him if he didn't hear it.

Q. Your thoughts on Baghdatis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, it's -- he's had a bit of a strange tournament. He struggled in his first round against Alan MacKin, and today he beats Murray in straight sets. I think everyone's been put on notice of the kind of talent and flair that he possesses out there when he plays at his best, and that obviously was today.
So, uhm, yeah, he moves well from the back of the court, and all around the court. But, you know, he wants to try and dictate play on his terms as well. He's got good hands as well. So, you know, it won't be an easy one.

Q. How do you feel you match up against him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I've never hit with him. I never played him before. But, you know, he's not necessarily -- out of all the baseline guys, your Ferrers, Ferreros, Robredos, he doesn't hit the ball with as much topspin, he hits it lot flatter than those guys. But he's probably capable of hitting a lot more winners than those guys as well. He has days when he serves well, as well. He goes for flat first serves.
You know, it's a matter of me trying to get off to a good start again and try and work things out. That's what is good about five sets, you have a little bit more time to work things out.

Q. This is your eighth consecutive Wimbledon. The way you feel now, how does that compare to the previous ones?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, it's always nice to get in the last eight, that's any year. Sometimes you don't have to play your best tennis to get there, you just got to try and find a way to win against certain different opponents. That's been the case a couple of times, you know, over the last week and a half.
So, uhm, you know, obviously there's matches to go and I've got to get better if I'm going to keep going in the tournament. But, you know, so far I'm still here.

Q. Do you feel that sense of having more experience than some of your opponents, just being at this particular tournament?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. You know, but maybe it means more to me than some of the other guys, as well. So, you know, it's probably two ways of looking at it. Obviously the experience and the memories that I've had of playing here, but I think the tournament I probably hold higher than a lot of the other guys, especially some of the clay courters, I think. And that comes with, you know, have having success here and, you know, all the Australian winners before me and, you know, the tradition that Wimbledon has back in our country as well.

Q. Considering that grass has always been kind of the domain of the English-speaking countries, you're the only player in both the men's and women's draw left that came from an English-speaking country. Does that surprise you, and can you also address the fact that there are no Americans in the draw remaining, which is kind of unusual? Last year we had three of four finalists.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, uhm, well, it is a little bit unusual, I guess. English-speaking, there's not too many people that speak English on the tour at all anymore really. There's only a handful of us in the locker room.
But, you know, in terms of the Americans, yeah, that is surprising for sure. You know, you look at the success Roddick's had here the last three years, James Blake, you know, had a good -- has had a hell of a year, you know, came into the tournament playing well at Queen's as well. So they were probably the two bigger surprises, I think, on the American side.
For the women, obviously, Williamses and Davenport not being here, that obviously hurt the Americans a little bit more.

Q. Any thoughts on why that's transpired?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got no idea, you know. As I said, I would have expected Roddick and Blake, they were probably the two main guys for the Americans. I would have expected them to still be going.
Andy Murray played a great match, though, against Roddick. Blake, I didn't see his match when he lost. You know, obviously, he had a bit of a down day though.

Q. With a guy like Baghdatis, how difficult is it to prepare for a player like him, he plays by his own rules in terms of shot selection?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he mixes his game up extremely well. He's a little bit similar to an Andy Murray in a lot of ways. He'll, you know, play the percentages for a bit and then just pull the trigger on a big one. He's capable of producing those big shots when he wants to.
So that's obviously something that he did extremely well in Melbourne for two weeks. You know, he came through obviously in a lot of tough situations, too, in tough matches and came through that. So that's something I've got to be wary of.

Q. He's obviously rolling now in terms of his form in this match. Does that put an extra incentive or importance on the early games in that first set to get the thing on your terms rather than build up that sort of momentum?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's always going to be nice, you know, to get the perfect start out there and get the first set. But, you know, if it doesn't go my way, I'll be still trying to work out ways that I can put some pressure on him and turn it around.
But, yeah, you know, I'd love to get up a set. That's for sure.

Q. Talking about your expectation before, what about Nadal? Nadal still has to play Labadze today. Are you expecting him to make the semifinal, or is too difficult to say right now? How do you see him on grass?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm probably expecting him to make the semis, I think. I don't think he'll have too many troubles with Labadze. I can't see Labadze staying with him for too long.
Nadal on grass, as I've said right along, through Queen's and Wimbledon here, the guy's a class player. He's a great player on any surface. It was never going to take him long before he, you know, won some matches on grass and then started beating good players like Andre Agassi and these kind of guys on the surface. So, you know, doesn't surprise me that he's still in the tournament.

Q. With a guy like Ferrer, did you feel today that you could really get inside his head, particularly maybe in that sort of first and second set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, not really, I don't think. You know, he's the kind of guy that keeps coming at you. I haven't seen him lose too many matches, you know, because of he's lost it mentally out there. So it was something that, you know, I wasn't really trying to focus on that too much. It was more just trying to get those sets under my belt, and obviously him coming off a tough five-setter two days ago, to try and mentally work on him as much that he's got to come back from two sets to love down again.

Q. How much better do you think you'll need to play on Wednesday than today to get through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. Ferrer didn't let me play my best tennis, I didn't feel, out there today, but I had to find a way to win, and I was able to do that.
You know, I want to try and step it up, though, a couple notches against Baghdatis. You know, the first set today, you know, I played pretty good tennis out there. Uhm, second set was a little bit patchy. You know, hopefully I can, you know, take the positives out of what I did today and try and keep it, you know, for three or four sets out there on Wednesday.

Q. Did we hear you correctly? Did you tell Ferrer to get his hair cut at one point?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've already answered that.

Q. Inspired by Adelaide at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: They're doing it easier than me.

Q. Pretty scary, really. You've been in contact with many of them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Spoke to Tyson Edwards.

Q. What's he telling you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's routine (smiling).

Q. What will you do tomorrow to relax?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll just have a light hit, yeah, basically just put the feet up, get a massage, look after my body.

Q. Be up to any shows?

Q. Australia will face Argentina in September in the Davis Cup semifinal. What do you think of that match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Should be a good match.

Q. Now that you're recovering your best tennis, are you motivated to play against Argentina?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I'm not even thinking about it right at the moment, mate.

Q. The ground is getting harder and harder with the sun. Did it feel unusually hot for you? Are you used to playing in those conditions? The fact that the ground is hard, does it help you at all in your style of play?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, it was hot out there, that's for sure. But, you know, playing at the US Open, the Australian Open, gets pretty similar heat to what we played out there today.
You know, the courts are getting harder and harder each day goes by, especially with this kind of weather as well. The back of the courts are getting a little bit more slippery as well, though. I thought Court 2 a couple of days ago was quite slippery when I played Rochus. Today wasn't quite as bad.

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