Martina Hingis 2002 Indian Wells Final Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )

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2002 Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells, California on Saturday, March 16, 2002
26th-ranked Daniela Hantuchova defeated 3rd-ranked Martina Hingis, 6-2, 6-0

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

MODERATOR: Questions for Martina.

Q. Which was the biggest problem, the wind or the way she was hitting the ball?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, she just played very fearless, had nothing to lose. You know, I had a few opportunities which I didn't take, especially early in the set, and then it was just -- you know, she was hitting those lines. I'm like, "Okay, not much I can do about that." She hit, you know, very deeply, very few short shots that I could do something off of it, just can't attack. With the wind, I was kind of short against the wind. She was just, you know, played a very good match today. Wasn't afraid of going for the shots, you know, going down the lines. Maybe I was too tentative, you know, like tried to play more through the middle, just get the feel for the court. When I was 18, I was fearless, too, I guess (laughter).

Q. Were you beginning to think, "She can't keep hitting the lines?"

MARTINA HINGIS: That's what I thought. Just hang in the match. Even at the end, I thought maybe she gets a little tentative there. She got a little bit at the end. I mean, she didn't, you know, serve as well. She served out the last game, the last two points. But even in that game, she was like, "Okay, you know, just try to put it in, do the shots." And she did. I mean, she did it. I was a little surprised about that. But against players like -- you know, if she makes it to the finals, you know, obviously she played well at the tournament.

Q. How heavy is her ball compared to Lindsay or Jennifer? Effortless, it seems.

MARTINA HINGIS: I thought sometimes it seems like she can't hit those shots, the way she makes the swing, it's like she's going to be late. But somehow she managed always to hit it on the lines or just like inside the lines. There's not much you can do about that because I felt like many times hitting through the middle, you know, don't give her too much of an angle. She managed to play such great shots out of that. You know, next time hopefully I get more chances to play her in the future, try to figure out something else.

Q. I'm not suggesting you underestimated her at all.

MARTINA HINGIS: No. I mean, I won the first game. I was up in my second (laughter).

Q. Did she take you by surprise?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, she didn't take me by surprise. She made the finals, she beat some other girls at this event. Not at all. The first game, you know, I hit a few good shots, she missed a few, and I was probably expecting her to miss more than she did. It was always like such close shots, like every single time, you know, whether she was with or against the wind. There's not much you can do when the ball bounce like right in front of the line. I tried to take a little higher risk in the second or something, come in. But she didn't give me many chances. So, you know, it's a lot of pressure on my serve. In the wind, it's just very difficult to serve. If you have her height, you can always go for more shots. She has a good second. With me, it's like I have to go more for first safe. Well, you know, hopefully, like I said, I get more chances to play her.

Q. You just said when you were 18, you were fearless, too. To some extent you were maybe joking, maybe not.

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I was 16 at that time, not 18 (laughter).

Q. Well, when you were a very young player. Can you take a moment and talk about how that evolves?

MARTINA HINGIS: Once you make it to the top, there's another kind of pressure. You know, everyone expects you to do well and get into the semis or finals, at least play great matches against the top players over and over, week in, week out. Yeah, now she did great at this tournament. Now it's about making another step, you know, proving it next week or over the next few weeks. I mean, the season is long. So we'll see what happens from now on. She definitely has great, you know, future ahead of her if she continues to play like this.

Q. You've played a lot of players now who are younger than you. Most of them you've beaten, especially in big matches. What makes her so special?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, sometimes like young players, they have ups and downs. But she wouldn't really have any today. I mean, she would, you know, miss a shot here and there, but she kind of regrouped right away. She already had matches like where she had players almost already beaten, then she still lost those. Like I remember in, was it Toronto or Montreal, where she was up 6-1, 4-1 against Jennifer and still lost that match. So she's matured since then. Also Venus, Australian Open, she won the first set, still lost like 6-4 in the third or something. So, I mean, everyone knew she had a game to play all the top players. But it was like making another step to also win. You know, hopefully she won't only beat me but some other ones (laughter). I mean, she beat Henin. That was probably like the first, you know, top player she's beaten.

Q. The next step with the young players, it tends to be more mental than strokes ?

MARTINA HINGIS: More mental?

Q. Do you think, when they're making the next step?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah. Definitely now it's like pressure from, you know, sponsors and just like, you know, you pressure me, too. Everyone expects me to do always well. Now it's stay down and stay focused on what you do, what you have to do, be aware of also being able to practice. There's a lot of commitments you have to do. You know, with the age, you learn.

Q. Emmanuelle Gagliardi used a lot of dropshots against her. Why didn't you try to slow the game a little? Was it impossible?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, in this, kind of can be. When it's cold and windy, you don't want to go for dropshots too much. Plus, you know, out of what (laughter)? Out of a first serve? I'm like, "Okay." No, I mean, it's like I said, she had nothing to lose against, you know, players like she played at this tournament, against Emmanuelle where she had to prove it, she kind of struggled, but still she managed to win that match. We'll see what's going to be ahead of her. You know, drop-shotting her, I'm not quite sure about that (laughter).

Q. In the past number of seasons, there have been quite a few young players who have come on the scene, then sort of faded away. Is your sense with Daniela that she can really go to the elite level or be a multiple Slam winner? What is your sense?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you know, she's got great surroundings. Her mother travels with her. She has a new coach, Nigel. So far everything works for her. I mean, we'll see. It's the same with me, you know. She's gone a similar way. Her future really looks bright at this point, so.

Q. In the wake of a match like this, it wasn't that long ago that you were 16, 17, you could be fearless?

MARTINA HINGIS: Sometimes it feels like it's ages. No, I think I've gotten better also over the years. You know, the speed has improved in the women's tennis overall. You know, every time you go out there, you have to expect a great fight.

Q. How well do you know her off the court? You speak more or less the same language.

MARTINA HINGIS: She's been around for the last two years, so, yeah, I've noticed her.

Q. Are you close friends with her or getting to know her?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, like the other day we practiced. Already in Australia, because until she played Venus, she had also like those 40, 45-minute matches. We were always like, "Okay, you had a great one today, and I did." Then we played also the finals in the doubles each other. That's when I first time played her. I was quite impressed, yeah. She's got all the shots. Good hands also. Good volleys.

Q. Is it harder now to take a loss like this than it was a couple years ago for you? Do you just recover quicker or slower or what?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I know I've done pretty much everything I could, you know, to make it as far as I was able to. And today, you know, a few things I know I could have done better, I mean, take my opportunities. You know, maybe in the past, or in the match even against Monica, I was always up, pressuring her. Today was more or less up to her. She always was kind of one shot better than when I played Monica. She missed the third, fourth shot. Today Daniela, even I play great slice, great defense, she always made even a better shot out of that. Monica would sometimes miss. With her, you've just got to stay in the game. No matter what, you've got to take advantage of opportunities, which I didn't, so...

Q. Again, does she hit as hard as Serena or Jennifer?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's a little different.

Q. Or she plays close to the lines?

MARTINA HINGIS: She's very well-placed. It's not like she would hit as hard, but very deep, very long. It's very difficult to do something out of it. Very well-placed. I mean, she has a great sense of the court, very good view.

Q. A game almost like Lindsay's, groundstrokes?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, more like Lindsay's.

Q. As hard as Lindsay's?

MARTINA HINGIS: She's faster. I mean, she's younger, she's faster. She's closer to the lines. Lindsay you've got sometimes more time to do something of it. But, you know, like always when the young generation comes, she always come with something new. You know, just try to adjust and get better next time.



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