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August 31, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Obviously, great to be through to the third round. How is the knee?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, it was no different today than it was in the first round, which is a good sign. You know, 'cause I was, you know before I came into the tournament, I was a little bit worried more about the second round, if I got through the first round, how it was gonna pull up.
You can't emulate on the practice court what it is like on the match court. Today I was happy with how it felt. Couldn't complain, that's for sure.

Q. Is that the biggest positive to come out of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. I think my ball striking was a lot better today than it was in the first round, as well. And even though the score line suggests that it was pretty one sided, we still had a lot of deuce games out there, and he's always I've had tough matches with him in the past.
As I said yesterday, I think he's underrated. And he's a difficult opponent 'cause always when he's behind he plays a lot better, I feel. You know, he seems to play a lot better on my service games than he does sometimes on his own.
So it was more trying to, you know when I got out of that first set, then I sort of opened up a bit and played better as the match went on.

Q. What was the story with all the foot faults?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. No idea.

Q. The umpire said he agreed with you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't hear what he said.

Q. He said, "I agree with you, Lleyton."
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. I couldn't hear what he said. He said something, but I was struggling to understand what he said with his accent anyway. It was something I was just trying to block out. You know, I was obviously doing something right, you know, even though I didn't serve well today.
You know, that's still a positive, that against a guy that likes stepping in on second serves, my second serves still held up pretty well.
So, you know, it was obviously disappointing with a few more foot faults than I would have liked. After the first couple, you sort of stand back a little further anyway. I was more wondering what was going on when I was that far back.

Q. Is that all you can do about it, stand back? Can you do something in between matches?

Q. Just have to deal with it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, pretty much.

Q. Is this the place you most get foot faulted?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, last year in last year, yeah, in Sydney I got foot faulted a lot just in that one tournament. Ended up going to the referee at the tournament and, yeah, it's the way I pivot my foot sometimes, and it actually doesn't touch the line. But to the naked eye, you may actually 'cause the back of my foot, my heel sort of twists so much it doesn't touch the line but sometimes it's over the line. But the rules are if it is not actually touching the line then it's not a foot fault.
You can understand why sometimes they can, you know, see from the line that the actual shoe isn't touching the line.

Q. Going back to the match today, when you play a guy like that who plays in little spurts like he's a top 10 player then makes really elementary mistakes, is it hard to keep your focus?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was more so, like I said before, that he plays so much better when he's behind. And, you know, that was the case at 5 2 in the first set, you know. When I was up a double break, he sort of opens his arms up and swings for a few more.
At 5 3 he had a good service game, probably one of his better service games for the match. You know, the next game, even though I didn't play great that game, he still, you know, came up with some good shots and put me under the pump.
That's why, you know, I was always wary, because every time I've played him it's been the same situation. You've always got to be very mentally tough against a guy like that. Even when you get in front, the job's not done.

Q. He just said to us that out of the four times he's played you, he thought this was your best performance. He thought you were more aggressive and hit the ball crisper. Does that give you some confidence in terms of hearing someone else say that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, a little bit. You know, within myself, I know how I feel like I'm hitting the ball and what I feel like I have to do against the better players. Against him, yeah. It's hard to say, but the score line I had today, you know, looks great on paper. As I said, I think there were some a lot tougher games than the score line suggests.
When I played him in Las Vegas this year, earlier in the year, I thought I played pretty well for the two sets and it was a pretty straightforward win.
The French Open, I felt I actually played pretty well in the first round against him, even though I lost the second set against him. I didn't feel like that was my bad play, but I thought he stepped it up. It was probably one of the better times I've played against him.

Q. If you look at the two guys that you could face, obviously Djokovic is a real up and comer. A lot of people are saying good things about him. If you faced him, what are you dealing with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I'm not sure. I've never hit with him. Never played against him.
So, you know, I've seen him play a little bit, and he's obviously very solid from the back of the court, but he can step it up, as well.
He's got a deceptive first serve, and he's had good wins against good players in big tournaments. He's sort of on the rise, especially in Grand Slams I think, more and more these days. So, you know, match like my first round to today, I've got to step it up another notch. I'm gonna play a guy that's in another category to Hernych, and I've got to be prepared for that.

Q. Mardy Fish?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He's a slightly different matchup. He's probably a versatile all around player, but will probably give you a few more cheap points than Djokovic I would have thought.
Fish is obviously getting somewhere near when he made the final of the Olympics and played some of his best tennis in Cincinnati that year. Yeah, so he's a dangerous player. We haven't played a lot of times either, but he's got a great backhand and he's gonna try and penetrate through the court and come to net, so...

Q. How long did you hit for today compared to what you would normally hit for?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Before the match?

Q. Yeah, I understand you were cramped for time.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, we were a little bit rushed. I still hit 15, 20 minutes, I guess.

Q. What would you normally hit for?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Max, 30 minutes.

Q. Problem with time?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, we had to end up going a totally different way that I'd never been before. I got to see a bit more of New York than I probably would have liked to this morning.

Q. Any phone calls to the organizer saying you're on your way?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Roger maybe did, you know. He was directing traffic for a bit of it, as well.

Q. Actually got out of the car and directed traffic?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, we were at a standstill for 40 minutes, I think. Yeah, he had to tell the police at the front that there's such a backup of cars that someone had to do something, not all wait to go through the tunnel.

Q. Been there many times.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that's probably one of his better ones.

Q. When you started, obviously you didn't know whether you were going to play. Now here you are, you'll be at the weekend. When you look back on where you were a week ago, you've got to feel pretty good about just being here and in this position.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is. As I said, it's all a positive. And coming into the tournament, I felt I knew I was gonna have to battle some pain, you know, through my matches, and especially in my first round.
I was more concerned about the second round, you know. I felt like when the draw came out that I was gonna have some pain in that first match, and I had to get through it. It was more an amount of how I was gonna have to recover after that. It didn't get any worse. Obviously I'm happy with that. I get a day off tomorrow to do all the right things and give myself every possible chance of playing well on Saturday.

Q. I mean, it doesn't seem like your movement is that restricted. How much is it restricting you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a little bit. I'm not feeling a hundred percent out there at the moment.
Uhm, you know, it's more times when, you know, you get that pinch of pain out there knowing that you don't want to make it any worse, I think. It's a bit of a psychological battle, as well.
You know, I've had these sort of situations, though. Made the final of the Aussie Open, I had a hip problem. At the French Open, where I played well this year, I had obviously an ankle that wasn't a hundred percent going in.
So there's no doubt that in I've been pretty mentally tough with niggling injuries. You've got to try to put it behind you as much as possible when you're out on the court, though.

Q. As much mental as physical?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Sometimes, yeah. In some situations I think it is.

Q. On a separate note, Andre, obviously playing tonight. May be his last night. Is that something you might be watching? What are your emotions about that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, I may have a little look. You know, I think it's obviously gonna be a great match, if it lives up to all its expectations and if Andre's body is after a tough match against Pavel in the first round, if it holds up, a guy like Baghdatis, you don't know what to expect. He could come out and play an awesome match or be off beat and give Andre a real chance.
It's probably a good situation for Andre. You know, I'm sure he probably would look forward to going out and playing, you know, in his last tournament a guy that's on the rise and one of the up and coming and future of the game. You know, so you definitely wouldn't write Andre off, that's for sure.

Q. You're obviously a lot younger than he is and had your first big win against him. Now you see these young kids coming up, 17, 18. Can you put yourself in their shoes and imagine another 11 years out here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. I don't think anyone can do that. You know, put themselves in Andre's shoes and what he's been through. Yeah, it's pretty amazing, it really is. To be at the top of the game for that many years and see so many players come and go, I guess. You know, it is pretty amazing.

Q. How does Ljubicic not being in your quarter of the draw work out for you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: At the moment, I'm not worried about that. I know the players say that every time. Djokovic or Fish, I'm gonna have my hands full with either one of those. Then Gasquet is after that, been in good form making the final of Toronto and pushing Federer.
So, you know, there's never really any easy matches. You get to fourth round in a Grand Slam, and you're always going to expect someone that's playing well; they don't get there by luck, so...

Q. Is there any specific medical thing that you do, or just rest tomorrow, treatment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: During a tournament I can't do much now, so it's more, you know, icing and steam and ultrasound and all these kind of stuff that's pretty much the basic standard kind of stuff that you do for most injuries now.

Q. Do you literally have to stay off it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I can walk around. It's not going to make it any worse.

Q. Yesterday Nalbandian told us that he wants to play Davis Cup against the best Australian team, and you are the best player in Australia. What do you say?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I got no comment about Davis Cup, thanks.

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