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July 5, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. How are you feeling after that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, obviously at the moment a bit disappointed. Uhm, you know, it just didn't sort of happen out there for me today.
Obviously, I struggled to get into the match. And then, you know, didn't even play great when I got back in the match, but was still finding a way to hang in there. You know, I just didn't take my chances when I got them halfway through the third set.

Q. How do you account for the start? Is that just what you're saying about you just didn't get going today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Little bit. He played extremely well at the start, though. He didn't give any cheap points. From the back of the court, you know, he was hitting the ball extremely clean.
Yeah, even his serve, you know, every time -- you know, even in the first set. Lost it 6-1 but I had game points in another three games that I could have won. Could have been on serve there.
You know, he served well, you know, every time I got Love-30 in the opening game, then I had breakpoints later on and wasn't able to take them. I had Love-40. You know, a little bit of missed opportunities.
Then, you know, somehow got back in the match in the second set and through the third set I had two breakpoints and just didn't quite take it to him, you know, when I needed to.

Q. Part of that first set, having never played him before, trying to get to grips with the playing style or not?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. You know, you're not really sure what to expect. I haven't seen a lot of him play either. But, uhm, you know, to his credit, though, he didn't give me too many cheap points out there. As I said, every game that I was sort of in, he came up. There was one service game where I did have game point at 3-love, he came up with three unbelievable shots in a row to end up going up a double break. The following game I have Love-40, he comes up with a few big serves.
As I said just before, it's sort of missed opportunities out there when I needed to step it up, you know. I didn't feel like I served well for most of the match either which sort of put me behind the eight ball.

Q. How do you assess your tournament overall? You seem to have some periods you were playing good tennis. Did you feel you were ever sort of motoring at any stage of the tournament or were you still that little bit shy of where you wanted to be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, patches. Against Rochus I thought I played pretty good tennis for three sets there. You know, against Ferrer, it was a different sort of match really. Yeah, I came through it and did what I needed to. But, you know, ball-striking-wise probably wasn't as good as I would have liked. You know, today was a bit patchy all over really.

Q. I mean, is it simplistic to think of it as a bit of a progression in terms of your game building or doesn't happen like that, depending who you're playing, the day, the conditions?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Ideally you'd like that to happen so by the time you get halfway through the second week you're playing your best tennis and that's when you need to be playing your best tennis.
But, you know, it doesn't always happen like that, depending on who you're playing against as well. Uhm, you know, for me it was a little bit of up and down, sort of the first match I played well, second match was a bit average, and third match I played well again. I wasn't able to keep it going.

Q. How does a loss like this affect you? Do you mull over it for a day or two or at all, or do you move straight on to the next thing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You're always disappointed. That's part of being a professional athlete. No one likes to lose, you know, especially in a tournament like this, you know, which means so much to everyone.

Q. There was one point there where you bounced your racquet, you were so frustrated. It looked like it was gonna catch you in the eye. Have you ever injured yourself with your racquet?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't. No. Hope it doesn't happen.

Q. Make you hungrier for the U.S. circuit the rest of the year?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I haven't really thought about it just yet. Obviously, when it comes around I'll -- I always look forward to the U.S. summer and, you know, hopefully a good swing there again.
But, you know, right at the moment, I have a few days just to reflect on this and try and get it out of my mind and then try and get the positive thoughts going for the U.S. summer.

Q. Out of the last nine Grand Slams, the guy who beat you went on and won the tournament. Is he capable of doing that, do you think? Is he a good enough player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think win it, no. I think Roger Federer's gonna win it. Make the final, yeah. I think if he, you know, plays the way that he started off today, you know, he does have patches, though, when, as I said, halfway through that third set he gave me a couple of cheap points there. You know, that's when you've got to take it. Against a guy like Roger, he's gonna step it up and not give him those opportunities.
You know, if he plays Nadal, then he's got a chance. Nadal's such a great competitor, as well, that it's not gonna be easy for him.

Q. The other quarterfinal, Nadal quarterfinal, will be played tomorrow. At this stage, is that a factor, that he will have had the day's rest that tomorrow's winner won't have in the semifinal?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's probably a little bit of a factor. I think you'd like to have a day off, I think, ideally. So, yeah, it's probably in Baghdatis' favor, I'd say.

Q. If Bjorkman comes up to you tomorrow and says, "Lleyton, what do I do to beat Federer," what do you tell him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I'm not sure just yet. I think Jonas is gonna struggle to find answers.

Q. Next tournament for you?

Q. You said last year that you thought you're almost the best player apart from Roger. If it would have got that far, do you think you would have taken a set off him this time around?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Who knows? He's been in pretty good form today. I saw, uhm, part of his match, you know, before mine today. He looked in pretty good nick. He definitely looks the stand-out player, so...

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