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  Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 02:15 GMT 03:15 UK
Hewitt caught in race row
Lleyton Hewitt
Lleyton Hewitt has been forced to defend his remark
Lleyton Hewitt has denied making a racist comment during his five-set victory over American James Blake on Friday.

The Australian complained to umpire Andres Egli and asked for a black linesman to be moved after being called for two foot-faults in the third set.

"Look at him," Hewitt said, gesturing at the linesman. "And look at him," pointing at Blake. "You tell me what the similarity is.

"You put him off the court, get him off the court."

James Blake
James Blake did not condemn Hewitt
Hewitt was asked about the incident after the match and vehemently denied that the remark was racist.

"I don't think I said anything racial out there," said Hewitt. "It was a conversation between me and the umpire.

"I come from a multicultural country. I'm not racial in any way at all. People can have their own opinions. That was between me and the umpire. There was nothing racial said out there at all."

Blake did not see it that way but refused to condemn his opponent.

"He said there was a similarity between the line judge and myself," said Blake. "My reaction was to try to win the match.

"It did bother me a little bit but I figured that it was in the heat of the moment when he's fighting out there and not thinking about being politically correct.

Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt argues with umpire Andres Egli
"I hope he didn't mean anything derogatory by it but I can't speak for him. I hope he didn't mean it in a racist way.

"If he has racial problems, he has to be the one to deal with that.

"I'll try to give him the benefit of the doubt. He has this me against the world attitude that makes him play better.

"That's how he gets pumped up. I tried not to let it mar the match.

"I don't like to slam other players. I want to put it in the past and move on."

US Open tournament referee Brian Early said the USTA and the International Tennis Federation "will review the videotape, speak with all parties involved and issue a statement at the appropriate time."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC tennis correspondent Iain Carter
"Hewitt reacted furiously to being foot faulted for the second time"
Lleyton Hewitt
"I wasn't making a racial comment "
James Blake
"I try to give hime the benefit of the doubt"
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