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August 12, 2008

Lleyton Hewitt


R. NADAL/L. Hewitt
6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess you didn't need to play him to know he's a tough customer.
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, he's all class. He doesn't give you a lot of cheap points out there and makes you work extremely hard. You know, I felt a lot closer than the score line. I had a lot of game points on my serve and just couldn't make the first serves and hit the spots when I needed to.
Against a guy like Rafa, you know, that returns so well and gets so many balls back, you have to hit your spots, especially on the big points.

Q. How much did yesterday, particularly last night, take its toll?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It wasn't easy. I put a lot of effort into last night's match. Probably didn't get to bed until about 3:00. So, yeah, it wasn't the best preparation for today. Rafa, he's a tough enough player to play when you're feeling a hundred percent and fully fit and rested up.
So, yeah, he was still going to be too good, though, the way he played today. He hit the ball extremely well. Yeah, it was good for Gooch and I to win last night, though.

Q. You have him again in the doubles tomorrow.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah (smiling). It's gonna be a tough match. He plays a little bit of doubles, but not a lot. But he won a Masters Series tournament earlier in the year, but it was on clay with Tommy Robredo. Gooch and I got a lot of confidence out of last night's match, though. There are still areas of our game we can work on when we play together. But, you know, it's a work in progress, I guess.
You know, it was one of the most enjoyable matches I've been a part of last night, and I've played in some pretty big matches.

Q. If you had to choose one single thing about his game or mentality, why is he so tough, what would that be?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say one. He hits the ball extremely heavy from both sides, but especially his forehand - a lot heavier than anyone else on tour. It's hard to say one because, you know, he's so competitive on the court, as well, which is a huge positive for him. And also, you know, his movement's incredible. So they're probably the three key aspects.

Q. You've played him before on several occasions, but not for a while. How do you assess his game at the moment? How well is he playing?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's playing probably a lot better on hard court than he's played in the past, I'd say. His clay court game, you know, speaks for itself. And obviously he made a couple of Wimbledon finals and then won Wimbledon this year. He's done well on grass. But he hasn't been really able to make that transition to hard courts against the best guys week in and week out. And this year, especially the last couple of months, he's really been able to do that.
So, yeah, he's obviously extremely confident. He's still gonna have matches -- tonight I felt like he played, you know, pretty flawless tennis out there, whereas yesterday he probably didn't play his best tennis.

Q. About last night, did it feel more like a Masters or Grand Slam or more like a Davis Cup match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: For me it was, in terms of doubles match, it probably felt more like a Davis Cup match. I don't play that much doubles. And I can't say I get, you know, real fired up about playing small tournament doubles, you know, week in and week out.
So for me, last night I was really into the match. You know, I really wanted to win for Gooch, as well. He's a young Australian on the rise. And for him to win a match at the Olympics is a big deal. I'm not sure how we saved those match points, but we did.

Q. How did you find the crowd out there? It wasn't a full house. Were they suitably neutral?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it was a good crowd. Made a fair bit of noise. They were very knowledgeable about tennis, I think. You know, it was a very fair crowd. I think they just wanted to see good tennis out there. The longer the point went, you know, the happier they were.

Q. Have you already decided if you're going to play Davis Cup in September?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at this stage. I can't say I've been really worrying about it at the moment. You know, since Wimbledon, I've been hoping to be able to make the Olympics and the US Open. If I'm anything close to a hundred percent fit, then I'll be playing.

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