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June 26, 2007

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Lleyton Hewitt. First question, please.

Q. Was that tougher than you thought it would be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You never expect easy matches in Grand Slams. I didn't know a lot about the guy going into it. It takes you a few games to work out things. You know I heard a few things how he plays.
But, you know, this is his big opportunity every year to play at Wimbledon. Grass courts definitely suit his game. You know, it was difficult to get into the match. He volleyed extremely well. But happy to get away in straight sets.

Q. The way the match was played, rallying from the back court, but also a target at the net, does that give you a bit of everything in terms of getting all the kinks out of the system, finding your own grass court game?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. He's probably a lot different to play to 90% of the guys you play nowadays, even on a grass court. Most guys stay back. So it was pretty hard to get rhythm out there against him.
From the back of the court, I felt like nine times out of ten I was going to -- the longer the rally went from the back of the court, it was definitely in my favor.
But he was flashy as well. Came out with a couple of big forehands up the line when he broke me back in the first set. That's what you can do, I guess, when you don't have a lot of pressure on you.

Q. There was a lot of talk before the tournament that you had a pretty good draw here. Do you look ahead at that, or is that too dangerous to do that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, never really look ahead too far. At this stage, just trying to get through the first week. That's sort of the main thing at the moment.
Obviously, if you get to the second week, everyone's playing pretty well. If I can get through my first three matches, give myself a chance, you never know what opens up.

Q. How would you characterize where your grass game is right now?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I lost a tight match at Queen's and actually didn't play that badly. Served pretty well. The guy played a great couple of tiebreaks to beat me there.
It's sort of hard to rate. It was a good one just to get through today. I definitely feel like I'm going to get more and more comfortable the longer the tournament goes.

Q. From a British perspective, what would be your advice maybe to somebody like Richard who has a very low ranking? What did you see today that was good?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously he's got to work extremely hard. He's got a nice basic game. His game suits grass court, though cross court tennis. It's like Jonathan Marray, I played a couple years ago at Queen's. He's very similar. Not quite as strong from the back of the court, but he had great hands at the net and knew where to move as well on a grass court, which was important.
We only play on grass three or four weeks of the year. It's not that easy to get your ranking up, especially when you got to play on clay and slow hard courts.

Q. It's easy to see like some guys, like Federer, why grass courts suits his game. You've had good really results here. It's not as apparent why it suits you. What do you think it is about the grass court that tends to bring out good tennis in yourself?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I guess when I started playing well on grass, I started focusing more on my game and not necessarily the serve-volleying. I was trying to play to my strengths probably a little bit more. If I take care of my service games, I'm a good enough opportunities to get opportunities against guys.
If I can break down their strength on this surface that really opens the door for me. When I played well on grass the year I won here, when I won Queen's, I serve well, take care of my service games, but pounce on their second serves.
You got to still take your chances on this surface. In the past, I've been probably able to do that.

Q. There's so little grass court tennis. But there's so few guys that are grass court specialists. Is part of the key adjusting quickly? Is it a matter of who can make do in terms of adjusting their games?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, a little bit. The way everyone plays on grass has changed a lot as well since I first started playing here at Wimbledon. There are so many more serve and volleyers and guys coming in now pretty much since I won here, 2002.
Everyone's staying back now. Very few players are serve-volleying at all. Even Roger. He mixes it up a little bit, but he plays 90% from the back of the court. He has some of the best volleys in the game.
That sort of says where the game's at right at the moment, no matter what surface you're playing on.

Q. You have sort of a lower profile here than when you were No. 1, defending champion. Is there any sense you are able to sneak through a bit less noticed than before?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess. It doesn't really bother me too much one way or the other. Obviously when you're No. 1, defending champ, or playing at the Australian Open, there's going to be a lot more spotlight on you. You sort of take it with a grain of salt a little bit.
You just need to get out there and get the job done and focus on the guy at the other end of the net.

Q. What do you know about Bolleli, if he gets through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not a lot. From what I've heard, a very pretty talented player, pretty good hands, not a bad first serve. I'll try and find out a little bit more.

Q. Wayne Arthurs came back from two sets down against a bloke half his age. We'll see the end of Wayne at some stage over the next couple weeks. How should we remember Wayne Arthurs as a tennis player, his career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me the number one thing when I think of Wayne is he's always put his hand up for Davis Cup and playing for Australia at any call. Whenever we needed him, whether it was singles, doubles, yeah, the Davis Cup final everyone remembers when he had to go out last minute and play the fifth match, deciding rubber in a final.
That's why he has so much support out there with the Australians, the last couple games I saw. It's great for him to be able to come through quallies at his age, the way his body is, how sore it would have been, and then come back again today from two sets to love down. It's very fitting, I think.

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