Martina Hingis 2002 Indian Wells 3rd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2002 Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells, California on Sunday, March 10, 2002
3rd-ranked Martina Hingis defeated 42nd-ranked Elena Likhovtseva, 6-3, 6-3

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

MODERATOR: Questions for Martina.

Q. A little tougher today than yesterday?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, sure. She's also a better player in a way. But definitely today -- yesterday I was relieved that everything went well and my wrist wasn't bothering me, kind of all the pressure, all the excitement after yesterday's match, was a little tired today. I mean, I will have to play now three consecutive days. Today I was like a little step slow. That already makes a difference. But helped me to have won this match the way I did. You know, tomorrow is another day, will be better.

Q. How do you feel about the compressed schedule of playing in a tournament like this where you're playing day after day?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, formerly I probably would have already started Friday. But because of the injury, I wanted an extra day. The opponents are not like you don't have to play Serena, Venus and Jennifer at once. Against these players, I know when I play my standard, my level, that I always have the extra edge over them, especially now. That showed today also. When I really needed it, I was always leading, always made an extra shot.

Q. You look really in good shape. Did your mom put more emphasis on the physical?

MARTINA HINGIS: No. I've been spending more time on the court actually, like three, four hours a day, but lots of running drills. Just really focused on the tennis game, always do the little endurance after that. And cardio, mostly, the drills on the court. After that, I don't need that much running anymore. I wasn't just hitting balls through the middle like normally people do. I've been doing lots of running things.

Q. How much does this injury worry you given that last year you had your first major injury, a couple months later you seemed to be playing well, now something else happened?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, this is no big deal. Sometimes, you know, you just have inflammation, tendonitis. Could be from flying, the air-conditioning. It's not something that's dangerous, like I had the ankle or the knee in the past. This just comes and goes. I've had it before. I'm just not the kind of player who talks about it all the time, that I have a little bit here, a little bit there. It just comes with the sport.

Q. Having the doctor come over, it must have concerned you.

MARTINA HINGIS: I had done that before. Like the one time, three, four days before a Grand Slam. It has happened in the past.

Q. Are you going to play doubles with Anna in Key Biscayne?

MARTINA HINGIS: I will try to, yes, depending on how I finish here. Yes, I want to. Here I would have played, as well, if my wrist wasn't bothering me. I felt like if I give it a little bit extra, just focus on the singles, it will be better for my wrist. It shows like it is.

Q. Are you and her going to play the French, Wimbledon?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, that's what we're planning to, definitely.

Q. What is your clay court schedule after Key Biscayne? Are you playing in the Family Circle Cup?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, I'm not playing any of these tournaments. I'll go back home to Europe and practice there. My next one would be Hamburg, Berlin, and Rome.

Q. You're playing all three of those before Paris?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, on the red clay.

Q. Do you find a difference between the red clay and the green clay?

MARTINA HINGIS: Green clay is a little faster. I mean, I did that last year. The previous years I always spent the time in Europe. Last year I was in the States. Also the one time I played Hilton Head. It was different timing. Now it's just too stressy (sic) if I stay here too long. I just try something different, just a little change in my schedule.

Q. So you think maybe last year and the year before that you were playing too much before Roland Garros?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, now I'll have three consecutive weeks, but it would be too long of a stretch. Played Scottsdale last week, here. These two tournaments are almost like a Grand Slam. So these are very important. I mean, both together you could think of this is a whole Grand Slam. After Miami, I definitely think I'll need a little rest. It will be nice to have like three weeks off.

Q. You think it's important during the week to take three weeks between the major tournaments, two weeks or three weeks?

MARTINA HINGIS: For me, definitely, that's important. If I play too many consecutive weeks, I go crazy.

Q. Is the off-court scheduling becoming very important in women's tennis when you look at the fact that the Williams sisters don't play as many tournaments as you. Lindsay doesn't either.

MARTINA HINGIS: She does. She played 20, 21, 22, if she was healthy.

Q. How many do you normally play?

MARTINA HINGIS: 20, 21, the same. I think like the Williams sisters would play also more tournaments if they would be healthy, staying healthy. I mean, it's just sometimes they don't finish the tournaments or something happens, they have to take time off. I have to knock on wood, so far I've been very fortunate of injuries.

Q. What do you think of Hantuchova's game?

MARTINA HINGIS: I practiced with her actually the other day. There are lots of girls right now upcoming, bike Bedanova, Hantuchova, Dokic, Kim, Henin, which is kind of slowing but surely changing the whole -- you don't know their names yet. Did she win today?

Q. She did.

MARTINA HINGIS: I know she lost the first set, then I had to go on court.

Q. Then she won easily.

MARTINA HINGIS: Great. I practiced with her. She's a very solid player. Feels like we have similar strokes. She's from Slovakia. All these girls can hit the ball. She's got the figure. She's very talented player.

Q. Does she have a very good feel for the game? It appears she has good instincts?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, she can read the game. She's smart all around the court, yes.

Q. How important is it for you to get back to No. 1? Is that something you're constantly thinking about?

MARTINA HINGIS: No. Once you've been there, you know how it feels. It's definitely great to be the top player of the game for how I was, four years. But at this point I'm just very happy to be playing the way I'm playing, trying to get back to No. 1. Still a way to go.

Q. When you have the big power hitters lined up in a row, what do you have to do to beat a number of them in a row?

MARTINA HINGIS: They also have to play each other. They're not going to be fresh every time they play me, as well. I just have to stay in the game, especially in the beginning. Usually I'm not a very fast starter. If I hang in there in the first set, I think they get tired a little bit more easy than I do normally. They have to carry a little bit more weight, as well (laughter). That's why I like the warm conditions. I think I am in pretty good shape at this point, so I don't have to be afraid of playing three sets. Even if I lose the first, there's still two more to go. I played against Monica, for example, at the Australian Open. I lost the first. "Oh, well, there's more to go." It's not like it's over. Just make them run as much as I can. Just get everything back.

Q. Is there any one particular you find to be the toughest?

MARTINA HINGIS: At this point, I mean, definitely Venus is No. 1, Jennifer. I was very close, but now I lost the last four matches. Also against Venus, I lost -- where was it? I don't know. I don't remember the last one actually.

Q. I think it was Key Biscayne.

MARTINA HINGIS: Key Biscayne was it the last time? It's been so long. Either I didn't get to play or she didn't get to play me at the Aussie Open.

Q. I think you only played twice last year, Australia and Key Biscayne.

MARTINA HINGIS: Okay. I played Serena just now. In Sydney I would have played her if she didn't have the injury, or Australian Open, too. Yeah, sometimes things go one or the other way. No, those are definitely the two. You don't look and you do look forward to play.

Q. Do you think your conditioning is as good as Jennifer's? If it is, was the third set of Australia, the loss, the result of you mentally checking out after losing the match points?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, I mean, I had her throughout the match. At the end, she definitely had more to give. She was still there with her stamina. And the mental, after I kind of lost the second set, I almost broke down. My legs were so heavy, I was almost like shaking on the court. Normally I think we are pretty equal. She just hits the ball harder. We have little differences in our games. We just try to take advantage of what we have.

Q. Did you come away feeling that you have the game to beat Jennifer?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, if I want to beat her, I have to beat her straight sets, I think, in the future (smiling).

Q. Do you play golf?

MARTINA HINGIS: A little bit. I play like three years ago a little bit. I kind of gave it up because I got the clubs from TaylorMade, and Yonex. I can play whatever. Now I picked up a little bit. I don't know. I don't want to get my wrist worst or something. The woods are quite heavy.

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