Martina Hingis 1996 Chase Championships Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1996 Chase Championships at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Saturday, November 23, 1996
Martina Hingis defeated Iva Majoli, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. Martina, how does it feel to get to the final and what do you have to do to be successful against Steffi in the final?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's a great feeling. I had great last weeks and I played just great tennis, and also this week I improved a lot in my -- especially I grow much more confident in my game and mentally I feel much stronger now. And just I try to play my best tennis against Steffi tomorrow. It's the finals and you always fight a lot more than the first rounds, I think.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARTINA HINGIS: Iva, she played -- like first set she made a lot of mistakes, and then she started to hit winners, where she made mistakes before. But I was just started to not being concentrated anymore and took it a little too easy anymore. And then the third set I played almost perfect tennis again.

Q. Martina, before the match you were sitting in the stands in the first row in the first match, and laughing, most players stay in the locker room, that doesn't bother you?

MARTINA HINGIS: I did it yesterday, too, I watched the game, Sanchez and Novotna, the first set, too. No, it doesn't bother me at all. After the first set I go to my locker room and I change and I lay down a little bit. And it was three sets, so I had enough time to prepare for my match. But I don't care, I don't have problems with that.

Q. Can you look forward to tomorrow and playing possibly five sets?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I never had big problems to be long on the court. During the U.S. Open I played three events and just some people asked me if I want to stay overnight on the court, I played so many sets and matches there. And I had also a great match against Steffi. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Martina, did you read in the rules back, maybe, 16 year old player is allowed to play a best of five set match?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's the first time I'm actually going to play best of three sets, it's going to be a different match, different thinking, different tactic, for sure. And Steffi is very good physically, but she didn't play so many matches and tournaments the last couple of weeks. And she had to retire in Philly, also, and she had a tough match today against Jana. So I hope I'm going to have some chances tomorrow. I think I'm going to have some.

Q. But when practicing, have you ever played best of five match, when practicing?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, if you practice, two or three hours a day, so it's not a big problem to -- I never practiced really sets. Probably I played some 2, 3, 4 sets in one day. But if you practice it's different than playing real matches. I feel in good shape right now, so we'll see.

Q. Is there any particular match you played this year, any particular moment that you think of as a turning point for you mentally that you started believing in yourself more?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think there are more matches which were very important for me this year, especially Wimbledon, like finals; the doubles, even if it was only doubles, it gave me much more confidence. And then I practiced a lot before the U.S. Open and I took it over to the singles and I made a semifinals there. And then finally I won my first event in Germany, in Filderstadt and it was a big help to me. I knew I can be a winner in a big tournament.

Q. Does it make you happy or does it make you nervous or a little bit of both? Most people talk about you taking over Steffi's position at the top, as the next great player?

MARTINA HINGIS: It doesn't make me nervous at all. I just try to play my best tennis against her tomorrow. And if I'm going to be there, I'll be there. But the results, very great for me the last couple of weeks. I won two tournaments, I make semis and finals. So I think right now where I am I should be there. But you never know, it's a hard way to get to be No. 1.

Q. Do you see yourself in that role, though, eventually?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, hopefully in a couple of years, yeah.

Q. Do you remember ever being nervous on a court?

MARTINA HINGIS: Probably I don't look to be nervous but I am.

Q. Do you remember a match where you were?

MARTINA HINGIS: Nervous? Yeah, as I say I'm almost always nervous in the beginning, especially, because you play such big players and it's the semis or finals tomorrow. And so I am a little nervous. Probably doesn't look like I am, but I feel very good in my game.

Q. Martina, could you tell us something about the quarter final you played in Rome against Steffi and why you won that match?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's probably that Steffi didn't play there so many matches. And on claycourt it was even easier for me to, she made a lot of mistakes. But I almost play everything back and on claycourt it's very tough to make a point. And I just played very good tactically, I just played my shots and not play her backhand all the time. It was at the same at the U.S. Open. But I had my chances there and I didn't take them. So I hope to do it tomorrow.

Q. Martina, what do you do on this faster surface tactically, because she has so much pace and hits with so much power, how do you a just to that or adapt to that?

MARTINA HINGIS: First, you play everything back, and to try to make your own game.

Q. Martina, after having played Steffi a few times now, do you feel yourself gaining in confidence when you go up against her now? Are you a little more confident?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, for sure I am. I had a great match against her at the U.S. Open, it was the semis. And I had four set points until the first set. 40-Love, especially. And I know I can -- somehow if I'm -- if I would make that point, so I would take the first set and I try to do it tomorrow better and just take every point I can get.

Q. What do you try to establish against her in the beginning of the match? Is there a strategy, a pattern that you try to do?

MARTINA HINGIS: Not really, I just try to play my game and how I did it against the other players, too. I can play her backhand or forehand all the time, because my forehand is not as big as hers is, and her serve is very well, too. And I just try to -- make my shots and not what's better for me or for her.

Q. What areas of your game do you think you have an advantage over Steffi, what are the areas of your tennis that you think you might have an edge on her? Is it your quickness, your speed?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think my speed, and that I can open on the court very well, and just let the opponents run a lot, play a lot of long lines.

Q. Do you see yourself coming into the net more tomorrow?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow, but, yeah, maybe I try to do that, too.

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