Martina Hingis 2002 Australian Open Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

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Martina Hingis 2002 Australian Open
semifinal post-match press conference interview.

Hingis defeated Monica Seles 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, on January 24, 2002:
Q. Martina, congratulations. Is playing the final still a different match for you? Does it make you more nervous, does it put more stress on you?

Martina Hingis: No, not at all, because I guess in the beginning of this year, I mean, winning Sydney and now making the finals, I do a lot better than I expected. So I'm now going in the finals
- I mean, it's a great thing, you know, six consecutive years, and I feel better than in the last two years, definitely, and I think I'm back up where I used to be.

Q. Martina, in the past three years since you have struggled to win a Grand Slam title again, have you ever wondered whether you are capable any more, or do you always feel you have another few in you?

Martina Hingis: You always question it, if you are capable of winning another Grand Slam if you haven't done it for three years and you did it before, but when I was 16, 17 people always questioned. So it's time to put the past behind, and I was able to do it once so there's no reason not to do it again.

Q. Was after Wimbledon last year perhaps the low point for you? Is that a point where the doubts really settled in?

Martina Hingis: I would say more - well, then I got injured so there was not much I could do, and then slowly I got my way back into the game. You know, I still made the semi-finals of the US Open, it's not like I lost the first round. I went out in the third against Majoli, it was close, but I think overall I definitely - you know, maybe last year wasn't the perfect year. I still finished fourth, so it gives me a great position to be in to just go into a new year and refresh energy, and here I am in another finals. It feels great.

Q. The second match point she's got you dead with a forehand; what are you thinking there - but she missed it, of course?

Martina Hingis: Well, it's nice to see the ball float out wide on a match point and it's like "Thank God," you know, she had me. But it wasn't such an easy ball, she still had to run up for it and she knew I was still standing there and would be ready for anything to come. I mean, I would hassle for anything at that point and at match point, so it's still a little pressure, you know - I missed an overhead.

Q. Did you ever miss an overhead before?

Martina Hingis: Maybe when I was 3 years old.

Q. Of course it wasn't an important point, but how did you feel there? I noticed you went down?

Martina Hingis: I was up 30-0 at that point; I would have been 40-0 if I had made that, but still it was 5-4, 40-15, so it's not like a drama. I was still on serve, and I won the next point comfortably, so it felt good. But what else do you want to do - just lob. You see other people do it, but I never did it myself, but nerves sometimes play a big part in this one, so it's nice to have this one over.

Q. Martina, because in the last few years you have been playing well enough to make finals, you just haven't played well enough to win them, how much has that become a monkey on your back for you to carry round?

Martina Hingis: People made it more than myself, probably; I mean, it's written in the media and then it's maybe somewhere in the back of your head, but I knew I didn't have quite the game at that point to always raise it another notch in the finals. Because sometimes, like last year here, I was tired and at the French Open I was - you know, Jennifer just played well and I wasn't just there. She was just better, you know, at that point. And over the last two or three years it was different circumstances. You know, the other girls caught up with me and I just couldn't raise it at that point, but now I think I'm moving forward again and playing better than ever.

Q. As much as you can rationalise it and break it down and understand the reasons, does it still knock you about emotionally in terms of your confidence?

Martina Hingis: Today I think it was a very important match to have this one, the belief, beating players like Monica, and the girls last week because those are players ranked behind me. I mean, Monica played very well beating Venus the other day, so it's not everybody that gets to do that, and especially her, she has never beaten her in the past. So she is a very tough player at this point and I'm very happy to have beaten her today.

Q. Because of that history, now that you are in another final, your third in a row here, or more than that?

Martina Hingis: We'll see. Tomorrow is the next day, and Saturday will be another one; again, another chance to prove myself, and it's great, I love it.

Q. I guess what I'm trying to understand is whether or not for you the stakes are higher than they would be for any other player in a Grand Slam final?

Martina Hingis: You always have people who come back and want to prove themselves, and sometimes there has been a time - I mean, when you had Andre Agassi or - you know, made it in the past but then they had a few years off and then came back and won Grand Slams again. So hopefully I can do it as well.

Q. Is it an advantage to have played as much finals as you did? How much advantage does experience give you in a final?

Martina Hingis: I think it's always a new thing. I mean, every time you go out there it depends on who you have to face, and this is the beginning of a new year and, like I said, I feel better than before and now it depends who is going to win. I mean, Jennifer, it seems like she's winning, but soon it will be over and it will be great to play her in the finals, and now it's the other way, she has to defend the title and I'm the rookie.

Q. How much fresher do you feel coming into the final this year compared with last year?

Martina Hingis: It was a tough one today. I have still got another Doubles to play, so please can we stop soon? I've got to go out there.

Q. In the second set you were down 0-40, three break points; could the match have changed on that game?

Martina Hingis: That was quite important, but also you have in the first set when I was up 4-3 and I had a couple of break points I could have won the first set already being up 5-3, that would be great, and finish it off. But sometimes one ball is the key point, and it doesn't matter sometimes what occasion it is, it can be any time, and today maybe that was a little bit the turnover that I still was hanging in the game and just fought.

Q. Martina, how important is the continued support of your mother in your getting back to the challenging for the Grand Slams again?

Martina Hingis: It's - she's the key person, you know, her and Mario always supported me through good and bad times. So I wouldn't be able to do it without them, and I'm very happy that they are on my side. I can trust them 100 per cent and like I said, I wouldn't be there where I am at this point.

Q. Has the working relationship with your mother changed since that break you had before the French Open?

Martina Hingis: I think we definitely kind of grew closer. We were always close, very close. I mean, I kept in touch even during that time, but it was just sometimes you've got to try things on your own. It's like if you go off to a different school, you know, you have just got to spread your wings a little bit. But I realised that she was very important to me and only her could help my game. And today I kind of proved that, you know, I can do it again also with her, because I think she's the best coach for me I can have.

Q. Are you taking more control of your tennis, though, now that you've had that time apart? Since you've got back with your mother again, have you had more freedom than you used to have or more responsibility?

Martina Hingis: It's nice that I don't have to do all these things - that's what I realised. In the beginning, when you wake up she's doing my stringing, she's doing other things; Mario is doing, you know, all the other coordination things, so I don't have to worry about practise, about racquets, about anything which I had to do. And this is nice, I can only focus on my game, and this is where I don't have to waste energy as some other players sometimes have to do.

Q. When you had that enforced rest in October, did you think about your tennis, how much you missed it? Did you appreciate it more and decide that you wanted to set some goals or change things?

Martina Hingis: I always loved this game, it's just sometimes it was just too much. You know, it's not like I have this body of a robot. I mean, sometimes you just - it's probably good to have a forced break, it doesn't have to necessarily be an injury. But I think you learn from mistakes and you go behind things a little bit different, and you get smarter. You just know where your limits are, you know, realise when to cut back and when to do things and when it's the right time.

Q. You said you have exceeded your expectations so far this year; what did you anticipate coming into this? You didn't expect to get to the final?

Martina Hingis: Well, you always hope, but you don't know if it's going to happen, if it's going to be the truth. You know, you give it everything; I mean, I have been practising like maybe never before, when I was a child. But you don't know if it's going to work out right at the first tournament.

Martina Hingis Interviews--
2002 Australian Open: 2002 Toray Pan Pacific Open:
Martina Hingis pages at

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