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January 19, 2008

Lleyton Hewitt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Realistically, what time do you think you'll get to bed?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. Still have massage and a lot of stuff first. It's 5:30, so 7:00, 7:30, maybe.

Q. Did they consult you over whether you wanted to play? You went on at 11:49.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a strange night. We actually got told that the women's match was going off, was getting moved, that we were going to be on pretty much at 9:00. So we sort of rushed off, both Marcos and myself, and went and practiced and warmed up for about 10 minutes. Came back and got told, No, the women's is going to stay on.
So that -- that sort of was a bit of a hassle for both of us, really, because we didn't have the best preparation and warmup that we would have liked, and then obviously to sit around for a lot longer.
Yeah, you know, we were both probably in two minds obviously with the crowd and everyone that wanted to play, but, yeah, it's a tough situation for everyone.

Q. More beneficial to come back tomorrow and had a day's rest or get it over and done with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think Marcos and I really knew what was going to be better for whoever won, so that was a tough situation. But, yeah, it was funny, because we both said we could be here 4:00, 5:00 in the morning, and here we are.

Q. Do you think you can buck up?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I hope so. I'll give myself a chance at least, so that's the main thing.

Q. Do you think starting a match at that time of night is decent, is good? You know, when it goes through your head what to make a decision about, what goes through your head?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, you know I don't -- it's a hard one, because our opponents were through obviously, as well. So, yeah, that was the tougher situation, I think, if you're starting fairly the next day and you both had to buck up two days in a row, then that's fair enough.
But obviously, yeah, going on that late is not easy for anyone, any players, because it does throw your whole, you know, rhythm and clock out quite a bit.

Q. How are you feeling at the moment?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I feel pretty good actually. I fee; pretty good.

Q. Is that your best win in a Grand Slam since 2005 here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I can't think at the moment, but it's up there. 2006 US Open I had a couple of good wins where I beat, Djokovic and Gasquet before losing to Roddick. But tonight is definitely up there. Marcos has beaten two top players, two Grand Slam winners in his first rounds. He hasn't had an easy draw to get through at all. He's a tough guy to finish off.

Q. What's your routine going to be like now? You'll probably get to bed at 7:00, irregular sleeping hours?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, who knows? Mia will be up ready to play, probably. Yeah, I don't know. I just sleep for as long as I feel I need it tomorrow or today, and then, I mean, I just start preparing and get ready for -- when do I play? Monday? Tomorrow.

Q. You played a few memorable five setters in your career. Where does that one rank?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's up there. I've played a lot out on this court, though. It's hard to, you know, pinpoint one from a lot of others, I guess. Yeah, obviously the Federer one in Davis Cup was probably the biggest of all time for me.
That was up there tonight. He always plays well here in Melbourne. Took Monfils last year to play an exceptional match in the second round to beat him. And to beat Johansson comfortably and Safin in a great match, he's a tough player to beat. I'm happy to get over the line.

Q. You've obviously gotten close with Federer, Djokovic, Nadal over the last four months, but you haven't really had a major scalp. How important is it to get that one tonight confidence-wise going into tomorrow night's match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's important. It's important to beat those big players, and especially over five sets, because that's what I regard myself, when I play my best tennis over five sets in the majors.
It's good, especially here in Australia, as well. So, yeah, it's nice to get another round further than I did last year.

Q. Can you just talk about the emotional roller coaster that you would have been going through in that match, the ups, the downs, the crowd the atmosphere and all that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a lot of different feelings, I guess, the whole match, four-and-a-half hours or whatever it was.
Yeah, it was, you know, in a lot of ways not only physical balance but a mental battle for both of us, as well. Obviously having a match point and serving for it a couple of times in the fourth set, but being able to bounce back as strong as I did and put that all behind me in the fifth, yeah, mentally this will go down as one of my best wins.

Q. What was going through your mind in the fourth set when you squandered the 5-1 lead?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I didn't feel like I made that many bad choices. Yeah, he started playing a lot more flashy, especially on my service games. I didn't serve as well as I had been. I wasn't getting those cheap points.
But to his credit, he hung in there and he was very loose at that stage, as well. I just tried to put it behind me as much as possible. It's not easy, though, when you're out there and you think you should be in the locker room.
With that said, yeah, this would be mentally one of my best wins, I think.

Q. When you looked over on the other side and saw him lying on the ground in agony, grabbing his ankle, could you imagine three hours later he'd be up there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I wasn't sure if he broke it or what he did. He obviously -- yeah, I thought it was a lot worse, I'd say, at that point in time.
But, straight after that we came back out and he seemed fine, you know. So obviously it was a bit of a scare for him.

Q. Djokovic has established himself as the clear No. 3 in the world. How do you go about hurting him, and how does your game match up with his?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It matches up pretty well. Met him one to one and head to head. Last year in Wimbledon when I lost an extremely close match I thought I nearly had the better of him out there, as well. I lost three tiebreakers and the set that I won I won 6-4, I think, or 7-5.
Yeah, I'll get my opportunities. He's obviously a great player, though, and he plays extremely well on this kind of hard court surface. He's gone through the draw pretty comfortably so far. It's going to be another step up.

Q. Was it a nice moment at the end of that match, Lleyton? Can you share with us what you exchanged?
LLEYTON HEWITT: With who, Marcos?

Q. Yes.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think we were both just exhausted, and I was glad I was finished. He probably wasn't. Yeah, I think, you know, I have a lot of respect for him, not only as a tennis player but as a person, as well.
Yeah, we've practiced together before, and, you know, I think he's a really nice guy and pretty down-to-earth.
Yeah, even though we're out there trying to beat the hell out of each other for four and a half hours, I think we both, at the end, you know, realized how much we had both put into the match.

Q. When they told you that the women were going to play, did you have a choice? Did you and Marcos actually have a say? Did you have a choice in whether you were going to play or not?
LLEYTON HEWITT: We didn't really have a choice, no.

Q. What do you think of that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: We got -- we had an opinion, but we didn't get a choice.

Q. What do you think of the fact that you didn't have a choice in such a situation?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's hard to say. Obviously the tournament has -- you know, they've got to look after not only the players' interests but the spectators and everyone, I guess. There's a lot more demands than just the two of us. We were obviously put out a little bit thinking we were going to go on. I was basically ready to go on at 9:00 straight after the Federer match, so was Marcos, and then we were told we're not going on.
Yeah, it was more a mental battle for both of us, but it was out of our hands. We didn't -- as I said, we didn't have a choice for the matter. We had to put it behind us as quickly as possible.

Q. How long before the start were you told that you weren't going on? How long before 9:00 were you told that you weren't going on?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, we got told at 8:15 that we were going on at 9:00. And then I'm not sure, it would have been just after 9:00 because Federer, I think, was still going. Federer was still going to just after 9:00, I think, and that's pretty much -- we were both ready to go on, so...

Q. Pretty difficult to deal with?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It wasn't the easiest night, yeah.

Q. Marcos was talking to the French reporters. He said his understanding was if the women had gone three sets you wouldn't have played at all. Was that your understanding, as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I think in the end it was going to be that, but they made a decision at a set and a break. If Mirza had won the first set, then, yeah, obviously it was a high chance it was going to go three sets. But Venus being up a set and a break, I think both Marcos and myself realized we were going to play.

Q. Have you had any situation like this? I mean, not just the lateness.
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, tonight was strange. It was strange for both of us. Marcos and I were speaking to each other in the locker room beforehand not really knowing what was going on. Also what was in our best interests, as well, for whoever got through to the next round.

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