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September 8, 2000

Max Mirnyi


MODERATOR: Questions for Lleyton and Max.

Q. How does that feel for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's fantastic to have won my first Grand Slam title. I lost in the final of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. I wanted to do better in the final this time. We've had a very tough draw I think the whole way through this tournament, for our first tournament together, playing as a pair. It's tough in doubles to sort of just come out the first go. To do it at the US Open, to go through the teams that we've done, including the Woodies, then the Australian Open champions here in the final, you know, it's fantastic.

Q. Is this the start of a long-time team? What do you think?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We haven't even spoken about it. Sort of a last-minute thing after the Indianapolis tournament. So far so good. It would be fantastic to sort of join partnership.

Q. How did you get together, you two?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Max just went and asked Darren. I think it was halfway through Indianapolis. We both played in the final of Indianapolis, doubles there. Darren just said it would be fantastic because I wasn't playing mixed doubles here. Obviously, you know, if it was going to come into contention with the singles, I might have to withdraw. Everything went well.

Q. This must be a nice push going into tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think it's been very good for me just to have played the last two days, just to sort of keep that competitive spirit going a little bit, because I am very competitive out there on the court. I think just to be a bit more match-toughened, as well. Who knows, if I won pretty early on Wednesday, about lunchtime, I've got two and a half days of nothing. I think it's good for my game.

Q. You're feeling pretty confident about tomorrow?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, as confident as you can be, I suppose. It's a little bit of an unknown factor for me, going into a semifinal of a Grand Slam. You know, I'm going to go out there and I'm going to give a hundred percent. Hopefully my game matches up well tomorrow.

Q. The serve was a little bit lower than you would have liked, 54, 36 in the second set, two doubles.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Three, actually. Yeah, you know, I just started struggling when we changed ends really. First set I served up the other end, served pretty well. From there on, I really struggled. I thought I got it together towards the end of the third set pretty well, especially in the tiebreaker.

Q. How would you evaluate this US Open in your tennis career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: So far, so good. To be here Friday afternoon, have won the doubles, be in the semifinals of singles, you couldn't ask for much more. You know, it's been a dream, I suppose, to have won the matches that I've won.

Q. It's right up there in your tennis career, the greatest week so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Obviously, the Davis Cup final last year was possibly the greatest thing just because you're playing for your nation. But this is up there, for sure.

Q. Are you surprised actually how well you've done? Had a pretty slow start to the summer.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really, because I had a couple of niggling injuries throughout the summer. You know, I wasn't even close to a hundred percent fit in Toronto or Cincinnati. You know, since then I made the semis of Indianapolis, won the doubles. Feeling pretty good.

Q. Pete Sampras, who knows a bit about tennis, said the other day that you were the future of tennis. What are your thoughts on that comment?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, obviously, you know, it's a fantastic compliment to come from such a great champion. You know, you've still got to go out there and produce, you know, get the results on the board. So far so good. There's still a lot of guys coming up, though. We can obviously see Marat Safin. He's probably going to be, I'd say, the favorite going into the other semifinal. He's only a year older, I think, than me. There's some great young talent I think coming up, as well.

Q. And the Aussies are known for their camaraderie. What's the best piece of advice you've gotten from any of the Australian team, coaches, going into the semifinal?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to say. I think a lot of the people, Newc and Roche, Rafter, Darren, all those guys are trying to tell me, "It's another match out there, try not to get overawed by the occasion." I've got the results on the board so far, been getting better with each match that I've played. I've got to remember it is a semifinal in a little way, but I've got to go out there and I've got to attack. I can't be satisfied with making a semifinal.

Q. To win a doubles championship, have it come off of your racquet on an ace, how much can you translate that into confidence going into a singles match against Pete Sampras? Is it apples and oranges?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It just helps my game all around, just to keep sort of the eye in a little bit. Obviously it's very hard returning serve against Pete. I think it's really tough returning serve in doubles, as well, because you've got that guy at the net. You have to hit it at a particular spot on the court in doubles. I think that really helps my returning in singles just because I know that I've got to hit it in a certain spot in doubles. Playing a guy like Sampras, you hit it up a little high, it's "bye-bye now." I really think it does help my all-court game.

Q. Playing the doubles today, are you thinking about the match tomorrow, "I want to get through this thing, to keep my level up for tomorrow"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Really didn't go through my mind out there. I'm very competitive with what I'm doing. I wanted to win like nothing else out there today in the doubles. Sampras is tomorrow. From now on I'll probably be thinking about it.

Q. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, you've been in some pretty good form with Indianapolis and here. You must go into the Olympics with a fair bit of confidence, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

LLEYTON HEWITT: For sure. It has been a great tournament. You can't take that away from me, I don't think. Going into the Olympics, I've won I think -- I made the final of the doubles there, won the singles earlier this year in Sydney. I know the surroundings, I know the court. The crowd were fantastic earlier in the year. I think it's going to be even better playing in the Olympic games.

Q. Are you excited about your home country?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's a dream to be out there. Even if I don't win a medal, I'll be giving a hundred percent. Just to say you walked out behind the Australian flag, into Stadium Australia, it's something I don't think words can express.

Q. The final, the mixed, champions in the men's doubles, to beat the third and fourth seeds with a fellow you haven't played for before, how was that?

MAX MIRNYI: Like Lleyton said, I guess it's just the way our styles of playing matched up, it worked out pretty well. As you could see, we came through three matches, third set tiebreaker, which is a -- part of it is we were very fortunate to come through those matches. What can you say? It's a great, great feeling to be able to play for the first time and win such a big tournament.

Q. Sort of a break-out couple weeks for you personally?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, sure, it's one of the highlights because I've played a number of matches. It's great to be on Friday afternoon to be still part of the tournament.

Q. (Question regarding having Lleyton on the court as your doubles partner).

MAX MIRNYI: It's a great feeling. I was very confident about Lleyton being out there because I've seen him play many matches. I've played against him sometimes. I knew what he's capable of doing. I was focusing on my part of the game; I knew he would take care of his half of the court, for sure.

Q. Max, you're from Belarus. How do you feel about the other players from Russia? Do you feel you're part of one country?

MAX MIRNYI: We stay close, even though politically the country split up into many different pieces. We grew up together. Now we're still, you know, traveling together. All year round, we're hanging out, going to dinner. We still feel we're part of a big family. It's good to be that way because that's how you become better, with the competitive spirit, you see one does better than the other, you try to keep up with the rest of the pack. I enjoy that kind of a feeling.

Q. Caught any stick from your girlfriend? Couldn't do it with her at Wimbledon.

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not yet. She's been in my corner the whole time. Nothing but support.

End of FastScripts….

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