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August 9, 2007

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton.

Q. Quite a battle out there.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a tough one. Right from the start. He played extremely well. He looked like a guy that, yeah, hasn't had a great year, but he went out this with nothing to lose. Obviously to beat Kohlschreiber and Robredo both fairly comfortably in his first two matches.
He was, obviously, swinging out there. He returned as well as I've seen anyone for a long time.

Q. How did you feel about your game today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not too bad. It was patchy a little bit. But he's a tough player to play against because he wants to dictate play the whole time.
Yeah, I was doing a lot of scrambling out there. But, yeah, even my first serve, and second serve in particular, he was really having a swing at it, trying to get on top of the point. He wants to try to put pressure on me right from the start. A lot of the match was played on his terms in a lot of ways, and I had to try to dig deep and get another ball back.

Q. Take us to the two match points you saved in the second set tiebreak.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Got lucky on the first one with a net cord. Fairly long point. Second one I hit a second-serve ace.
So, it's a good way to do it (smiling).

Q. What about playing Roger, your old friend?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I'll start thinking about it now. I hadn't really thought about it. Happy to get out of jail today.
Yeah, it's going to be another interesting match. Yeah, I haven't played him for quite a while now. It's a good challenge for me and, you know, obviously don't have a lot to lose out there. So, yeah, I look forward to it.

Q. You made a reference the other day to your ranking not being that important. Roger said the same thing today, that even though you're not ranked high, everybody respects you. You're more dangerous than your ranking.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'd hope so (smiling).

Q. Does the rank -- do you care about the ranking any more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, absolutely, I care about it. But not when I'm 21, I don't. You know, the top 10's fantastic, obviously. But, for me, it's about preparing as well as possible for the majors of the moment.
If I do what I want in the majors, then the ranking is going to take care of itself. I don't have to really worry about it. I've always said I'm not the kind of guy that's going to chase small tournaments, play every week to get my ranking a few spots higher.
But the years, obviously, when I was up in the top two or three in the world, that's when I had great Grand Slam results and a lot of consistency through the big tournaments. It takes care of itself then.

Q. When you reached No. 1 at a young age, do you have the feeling then that you are going to be there for a while? Do you have any sense of how hard it is to stay up there? Roddick at 21, you were younger when you reached No. 1.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you don't really think about it at the time, I don't think. Yeah, you don't really dwell on it that much actually when you're probably No. 1. You look back on it now and think, Yeah, it was amazing, fantastic to be No. 1. In some ways you take it for granted a little bit when you're there.
But, yeah, I think that's the same with everyone.

Q. There's probably a sense of you don't have the perspective you might have if you got to that ranking at 25.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe in some ways.

Q. The trajectory is up, up, up, you're there, you think, I'm going to stay here.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, maybe. It's not an easy thing to do. That's what I spoke about the other day. For Roger to be able to stay No. 1 for the last four, five years, I think a lot of people outside tennis sort of take it for granted. It's not easy, whatsoever.
Yeah, being that top guy that everyone wants to knock off week in and week out, that just shows how guess, to be able to handle that.

Q. With regards to Rafa, he has accumulated more points at No. 2 than a lot of guys had at No. 1. Do you think that's something the public sort of doesn't get, how really good he's been as a No. 2?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think they probably get it. I think from where I see it anyway, I think a lot of people realize how close he is to Roger. A lot of people, even outside the tennis world, I think realize that he's had Roger's measure in a lot of big matches.
You know, he's basically only been two Wimbledon finals where Roger has had the better of him in a lot of ways.
When you have a guy like Roger that's had stand-out years the last three or four years, probably better than Pete and Andre and all those guys had at their best. So, yeah, obviously you're going to have to have a great year to pass him and get the No. 1 ranking. But, you know, it's only around the corner for him.

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