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September 6, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt

THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. When he's playing well, obviously a hard guy to beat?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he came out serving so well at the start. So you're sort of up against it right from the word "go." Didn't give me too many opportunities the first few service games to get into points, give me too many looks at second serves. You know, I just played, you know, a slightly loose game to lose my serve halfway through the first set. You know, against a guy like Andy, when he's serving like that, it's important, you got to clean up your service games.
I didn't feel like I served well for the whole night at all, but I still had opportunities in the second and third sets there, even as well as he was serving. So you try and put yourself in a position to have a go, and those three breakpoints, one in the second set on set point and then the two at 4 3, I actually, you know, got into the points and had opportunities. You know, he played good points, but still you got to try and take them. Against the better players, you have to.

Q. Do you mainly look at this tournament, glad you had a crack?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. You know, I was always gonna do everything, you know, just like I do for every tournament, but especially Grand Slams. You know, I did everything possible to get on the court, and, you know, left nothing in the locker room.
So, you know, I felt like considering the doubt that I was under coming into the tournament and the amount of practice that I wasn't able to have, I guess, you know, I felt like I did pretty well to get to the quarters.
When you get there, you know, you still want to go those couple of further steps.

Q. You know Andy since many years. Were you surprised about his level of play, how he picked up his game again after last year where he didn't play so good? Now last couple weeks, he's up again.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know, when he's serving well, he's obviously tough to beat. That's his main strength. Anyone that's got that big a serve, if you keep holding your serves, you're gonna get into tiebreaks at least. He's fortunate enough that in a couple of service games, he gets to 30 All, 15 All, he can have a lash at a couple. And doesn't sometimes matters if you've got a serve that's gonna back you up a couple of times.
No doubt he's a little bit more confident after winning in Cincinnati; so he should be, as well.

Q. Do you think one of the things that maybe when you were No. 1 and you won your Slams, you were obviously playing a lot of tournaments. Is that something that you want to try and get back to, or are injuries making that hard?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I played more tournaments than I have at the moment, but not as much as most guys I wouldn't say, even when I was No. 1.
You know, probably only played between 16 and 18 tournaments. It was just that I did exceptionally well in the tournaments I played in, whether they were Masters Series or Grand Slams. If you do that, then the results are gonna happen.
You know, one of the years I had chicken pox, I didn't play basically the Australian Open. I still got No. 1 in the world at the end of the year.
If you perform well in the bigger tournaments, you know, your ranking will take care of itself most of the time.

Q. Late night, obviously you've just come off court after a tough match. Could you take a moment and talk about the passing of Steve Irwin.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, that was obviously shocking news. You know, you don't you sort of can't comprehend it really, you know. I woke up a couple of days ago and sort of puts life in perspective, I guess, a little bit.
You know, I was fortunate enough to meet him a couple of times, as well. So, yeah, it's shocking news. You sort of can't get around your head that he's actually gone, you know, especially when you're overseas and that, as well. You see him on TV so many times. He was such a happy go lucky guy, I think, as well.
Yeah, it's yeah, I feel shocking for obviously his family and everyone close to him.

Q. My hunch would be that you might get along pretty well with him. Can you talk about your meetings with him.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the first time we met was actually when the president George W. Bush came to Australia. John Howard invited myself and Steve to go to Parliament and listen to the president speak, and also attend a barbecued lunch at the lodge in Canberra straight afterwards. I had a couple great chats with Steve. He was obviously a great person.
As I said, he's a typical Aussie bloke. I think that's how it came over. He wasn't show. He wore his Khaki clothes to I don't know if he was at Parliament, but to lunch when he met the president. That's him.

Q. Did he know anything about Lleyton Hewitt?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm sure he would of, you know. But I think we were talking more about him and his sort of life than we were mine at the time.

Q. In the big picture, are you happy with the way you played during this tournament here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for most of it. You know, it's never nice to lose. Yeah, when you look back on it in a few weeks, I think, you know, all in all, I you know, with the preparation I had and everything that happened beforehand, I did everything in my power to play good tennis.
Yeah, even though, you know, you lose in straight sets tonight to a guy that's obviously playing well and gonna be a contender, but, you know, it's still only a few points here and there. You take those chances, and things can turn around.

Q. You've been compared so often to Connors. Could you see any of his impact on Andy's game tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, it's hard to say. You know, I didn't see any huge difference compared with, you know, the way that Andy was playing when he made the finals of Wimbledon twice and won the US Open back in 2003.
He's obviously more confident at the moment, and whether Jimmy's got something to do with that, only he knows.
When Andy is playing well, he's hustling, he's running down everything, he's, you know, doing fist pumps, he's doing everything, showing a lot of emotion. That's him anyway. I think that's more come back with him winning a few matches maybe more than Jimmy.

Q. Did you sense he almost went in the zone in parts of the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He had great serving rhythm the whole match. Really, very few points that I got opportunities. And in the end, I was still, you know, making him play, play balls, getting back 138, 136 mile per hour serves.
You know, if you are gonna keep doing that, it's hard to break guys the whole time. But if I got a few more looks at second serves here and there, even his second serve is holding up extremely well.

Q. Do you think if he played this well against Roger, do you think he'd have a decent shot?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably not. It's hard to say because I've played Andy before. He played pretty well in Cincinnati in the semis against me last year when I lost to him 3 and 6. Played Roger the next day, and Roger destroyed him. There's obviously something there that he doesn't match up great against Roger.
I don't know. Maybe that puts a little bit, you know throws his rhythm on his serve a little bit. Roger gets a few more looks at second serves. Stuff like that. But on paper, it's very hard to see, you know, even Roger I don't know. You know, obviously, Roger would serve a lot better than I did tonight, and that would maybe put a little bit more pressure on Andy's serve, and he might draw a few more errors from him.

Q. Will you play the Davis Cup?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know, mate.

Q. When you will decide?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know.

Q. What do you think about Argentina's team? Captain Mancini called Nalbandian, Coria, Chela, and Acasuso.
LLEYTON HEWITT: That's good. It's a nice team.

Q. Are you going back to Australia now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure, mate. Haven't worked it out yet. Haven't even thought about it.

Q. Andre was very candid about the top of the rankings being occupied with Roger, most specifically, and also with Nadal being at No. 2. Which are the realistic expectations for a guy like you who's been there before and a guy like Roddick?
LLEYTON HEWITT: First, obviously, you know, Andy and I have got to try to get back into the top 5 and start putting pressure on those guys week in and week out. The big thing about those two guys, they've been so consistent on every surface throughout the year. You know, it's tough to do. If you want to compete against the best guys, you've got to be able to do that. Week after week, you've got to be putting yourself in positions to have a crack at those guys and be making semis and finals.
As I said before, the rankings will take care of themselves. Those two are obviously the form players. I think Roger is sort of above everyone, but Nadal, he's absolutely second at the moment.

Q. Talking about Nadal, were you surprised how he lost today against Youzhny?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I was a little bit surprised, but I actually gave Youzhny a very good chance, believe it or not.

Q. And now against Roddick?

Q. People are talking already about the final, Roddick and Federer. First he has to beat Youzhny.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, Youzhny, I've got a lot of time for. He's a lot better player than his ranking suggests. If he's on, he's tough to beat, as well, because he's very free flowing off both shots, and he takes a lot of balls on the rise. That's obviously where he gave Nadal a lot of trouble today. He kept dictating play, and it paid off for him.
Against Andy, obviously it's a totally different kettle of fish with, you know, Andy's serving compared to Nadal's serving and the way they both structure points. But I don't know if Youzhny has ever beaten him, but I've seen him play some tough matches against Andy in the past. Yeah, he deserves to be in the semifinal.

Q. How was your knee tonight, and do you need to get another specialist to look at it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. You know, it was sore. It's got sorer as it's gone on. You know, against five sets against Gasquet, it was a lot more running than I'd done in any other match. So, you know, I'll see how it pulls up in the next couple days, whether I, uhm, you know, see the specialist here or not. You know, wait and see how it pulls up.

Q. You're gonna stay here and wait?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, yeah, I haven't even thought about it, mate. Don't know.

Q. You said before that ranking and getting back to No. 1 is not a high priority, that Slams and Davis Cup are the two things that really motivate you, but do you want to get the ranking back up? Obviously, playing more tournaments would be the way to do that.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, in some ways. It's the same question you asked before. If you do well in Slams and Masters Series, then ranking is gonna take care of itself, you know. I don't even know how many tournaments I played last year, but I don't think it would have been ten with the injuries I've had, and I still finished 4 in the world. It's not too bad.

Q. Despite a relatively low ranking now, do you still believe that you're in the Top 5, say between 3 and 5?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, yeah, I believe it, yeah, absolutely. I think against the best guys in the world, I think out of the guys that can win Slams and push the best players, I think, yeah, I'm up there.
You know, but you can't take it away from guys like Davydenko and Robredo and Ancic and these guys who have obviously had big results in the field of bigger tournaments this year, and they deserve to be in the top 10.

Q. What do you think about the chances of Australia in Davis Cup with or without you on the team?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it will be an uphill battle for anyone, I think. I think Argentina in their home country, I think it's one of the that and Spain and France or Russia, as well, they're probably some of the hardest ones I think away from home.

Q. Do you still, in your mind when you come off the court, see that there were a couple of points that could change the whole match, do you think to yourself, I've got another Slam in me?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Absolutely. You know, just got to look at, you know, what I did at the Aussie Open. You know, even last year at the US Open here. I was only a few points away from being up two sets to one against Federer last year in the semis. We all know how good he is, especially on this surface and in New York here.
Obviously, I have got a great record here, play well here. The Australian Open is obviously another priority. I want to do a bit better than I did earlier this year.

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