Martina Hingis 1998 Chase Championships Final Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1998 Chase Championships at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Sunday, November 22, 1998
Martina Hingis defeated Lindsay Davenport, 7-5, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. Seeing you won the first two sets, how do you feel about the format, the three-out-of-five format?

MARTINA HINGIS: When you go into the match you feel like this is the last tournament, last match of the year. So I mean, you should be prepared for it, so you go into this tournament like that, that you know once you get to the Finals you have got to play these sets. You just try -- it is different tactical. I played her two times. You just try to win the first set, otherwise it is hard -- I think of men playing, they say the second set is very important, but in women's I think it is very important to win the first set because then you get like, if it is 1-All you start over the match. It is like 0-0. Just I have played, I have had good experience to do that, but Lindsay too. But I think it is fun. Once in a while, this is the last match, so whoever is in better shape at the end of the year can make it to the end.

Q. Having gone quite some time without a title, a lovely way to finish the year and to then look forward?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yes, I am very happy about this title. To win the first and last one of the big ones, it is -- you just -- it feels good to go into the next year and now having a break and finish up with not losing to anybody, it is a good feeling to have going into next year.

Q. You now have an edge in your head-to-heads this year, you are almost identical in records in the season and in the Majors. Regardless of what the record says, did you feel like you were playing for No. 1 today in your own mind and do you feel like you have the edge now?

MARTINA HINGIS: I was playing for my pride that I want to win this tournament and I just felt very good about finishing up the matchpoint. Lindsay just had since those California tournaments she won like three in a row and she just had a very steady season this year, as I did too pretty much. Just at the end of the year, she won the US Open, beat me there, it was just more -- how many points are we like -- what is the difference.

Q. 200.


Q. 266.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, so, it is not -- we have been pretty even this year. So, you know, just -- whatever is going to happen next year it is going to be very important. I think we are going to have more great matches against each other. Like the score is between each other it is 7-6 so it has always been very tight, 3 tough sets so, I think right now we are one of the -- me and Lindsay -- the most solid players on the Tour.

Q. You would concede that she is slightly ahead of you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well that is what the ranking says. But, yeah, at the end of the of the year she was better. As I was last year won like 12 tournaments, she probably won like 6 or 7. But she has been more steady at the end of the year, yes.

Q. You closed the gap to No. 1- (Inaudible.)- when you win the next year, is your goal to play well and win as much as you can or you want to be No. 1?

MARTINA HINGIS: It is both. I am very happy that I played good tennis again as it was -- I didn't feel like I was doing it in the middle of the year. So I am just proud to be part of the game and of the match today and just be able to play with other great players again because I didn't feel like I could close it up, some of the matches and especially the tournaments that I wasn't able to win the whole thing and that is what I am very happy about that I could do it again this time.

Q. Is No. 1 a goal for you next year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, once you are No. 2 it is always very close and it is only 266 points as you said, definitely. I have been up there so I want to get it back.

Q. Lindsay said after the second and third set she thought you were a little tired. Did you feel tired after you dropped that third set?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I came back again after being down 5-1 and she just served out at 5-4 and, you know, just -- I didn't really fight for the third set after I lost like my second service game, so just tried to hang in there, make her move and just make her play again and just be ready for a fourth. Well, I saw my chances again at 5-4, but she would just serve very well and I knew, if I didn't win the third, I was like two sets ahead, so just tried to keep focus in the fourth and that is what I did and there were some very important points and I was just able to pull it out more. But Lindsay says about me, I wasn't in the best shape. What about her, she had like the last tournaments, she had played great, tough match against Steffi and also had to play doubles which she won yesterday, so, I knew if I -- the more you weren't going to have to stay on the court the better for me.

Q. Would you say that in the last three, four months you have trained harder than you have at any other time in your career?

MARTINA HINGIS: When I was little you just didn't really need to train harder because it just -- everything came very natural to me and I didn't feel like I have to do too much and it is -- just as a kid you run faster or just -- when your body changes you don't -- I kind of missed it somehow that I just had to do more and that is what everybody has to go through at this stage and now I recognize it - finally, I hope. And I have more fun doing it today.

Q. Besides your training, what else do you contribute to your competitive composure? You are so composed out there whether you are behind or ahead. What do you attribute that to because of your young age?

MARTINA HINGIS: I have played for so long so by now I should know what is going on out there. I used to be one of the best ones as a junior and always when I step on the court I felt very positive about winning the matches, so, just have to keep your nerves when it is important and that makes somebody a champion.

Q. Could you compare this match with the match you played against Lindsay at the US Open? She thought you were hitting harder today.

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yes. I played a different match. Definitely for me it was much better than at the US Open. I was -- there I could say I was tired and didn't really believe to winning against her. I just was happy to make some games and just be able to get even with her at some of the stages. Actually I was up there at 5-4 and serving and unfortunately I couldn't make that set. But she was just very strong the whole tournament through and she really deserved that title. Today I just felt much better and I was running better also and hit harder; made some great shots which I was very happy about. But you have to do that against Lindsay. If you don't, you are out of there.

Q. Did you feel like those first two sets were pretty high quality and the difference were breakpoints?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think it was very fast tennis. Like when I play against Mary it was already great tennis there and against Lindsay because I had the feeling she went for almost all her shots because she was a little bit tired from -- just from all year. You are at the end of the season and you get a little bit tired. After beating Steffi and being in the finals again you just give everything into the last match. Just -- I knew that I have to make her run, but it makes it just very hard from this heavy hit of balls from the other side.

Q. How would you sum up your season; the fact that maybe it wasn't as good?

MARTINA HINGIS: It wasn't as bad, but I think lots of players would want to change with me. I still had my semifinals, Finals, one Grand Slam victory, now I finish up the season pretty good. So I am just, you know, pretty happy about that, my game has raised again at the end of the year and just moving forward again.

Q. Do you think there is a special reason for not playing as good as last year?

MARTINA HINGIS: I was just very confident. Once you keep winning the tournaments, keep beating the same players over and over, you just have the feeling you always are unbeatable when you really need it and then you just train probably less as you would when you want to get to the top. That was just, once you get there, you know, the part of being No. 1, having to deal with other things, but tennis.

Q. After going so many months without a title and losing your No. 1, do you think it was critical for you to win this tournament to end the year --

MARTINA HINGIS: I was about time, yeah, for me. That is how it you felt.

Q. Psychologically critical for you to win this tournament?

MARTINA HINGIS: Just to show people that I am able to win a big tournament, definitely. It is not about -- and to myself that if you kind of keep losing to some of the players, then you just walk around and, you know, okay, they always feel like they have a chance, but now again that I was able to beat like Pierce, I think that was one of her best matches ever, that she won two straight titles and she felt very confident and also being able to beat Lindsay today, it is a great effort.

Q. After the match you stopped by Lindsay's chair and said something to her. Would you share that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yeah, I said you are No. 1 now and basically pretty much the same what I said later in the speech, but because she, you know, had tough matches I told her already earlier in the locker room that she just had a great year and especially the end and she won the US Open, so -- and she is like one of the -- she is 8th player to be No. 1 and she deserves that right now. But I am going to keep up.

Q. Do you have any tennis role models and why?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, some people tell me that I am a role model. I think I am too old to have my own one.

Q. Before playing Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden you spent two weeks in Bollettieri Tennis Academy. It was a change for you. Did you think you had to do something different?

MARTINA HINGIS: There was a very good atmosphere to practice. You always had like two, three guys on the other side like everyday somebody else or some of the same ones which are very much into it. They were just there for me which I wasn't very, you know, in Switzerland you always can't get that, you know, there are two guys standing and playing just for you, I wasn't used to that. It was -- the atmosphere out there, the motivation and also Nick was there at some of the practices. It is just -- for me it was a new experience, yeah, because I didn't know that before. I was there like three years ago, but it was different. I was like 60 in the world, it was different but this time it really helped me that I saw the players wanted to get to the top.

Q. Are you planning to do it again?

MARTINA HINGIS: Maybe so. But now I am before Australia we just go there a little bit earlier to Australia, not making the same mistake like she is arriving on Saturday before the tournament starts. But yeah, maybe like definitely like the same time next year and maybe before the California tournaments, I don't know, I haven't decided yet. But I liked it there.

Q. Any comment about your relationship with your coach right now?

MARTINA HINGIS: With my mom?

Q. Yes.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, you know, we have been together for so long and I think we are moving up again, so it is pretty good.

Q. A lot of players are travelling with a physical trainer. Are you intending to do that?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, because I don't really like having too many people around me. I have my team which is my mom and Mario and, you know, the agent is there at some of the tournaments but you should be prepared for the tournament. You can't really help that much during the tournament. You have to do it yourself more and just be ready.

Q. What do you plan to do on your break before Australia?

MARTINA HINGIS: I am going to take a couple days off but now I have just finally found my rhythm again now I can't really show it anymore. I am disappointed about that. I won this tournament and now it is over. I am going to take a couple days off and just try to continue in the way I did this tournament.

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