Martina Hingis 2000 Chase Championships 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2000 Chase Championships at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Tuesday, November 14, 2000
Martina Hingis defeated Julie Halard-Decugis, 6-2, 6-4

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

Q. You've had a lot of success in your career, what is it about your style that suits her game?

MARTINA HINGIS: First, it's like we had played each other quite a few times. I remember the finals in Berlin, it was her first big finals, and I played really well against her. I think it is just maybe because I always have the option to play her backhand, and I know I can work on her backhand and make that point. So, there is like this little weakness where I can always play and build a strategy on. And now that she's going to retire, I don't know, for me, it is still far away, hopefully, so I don't know how it feels to play your final match at The Garden, the last one of the season. I'm sure you asked her before how she feels about it. I don't know, I'm not this that position yet.

Q. You served maybe five percent in first serves. Were you doing anything different? It looked like you were hitting the corners?

MARTINA HINGIS: I knew that I had to serve well, if I want to do well, especially on this surface. It helps you quite a bit if you serve well. And I heard out of 24 serves in the first set, I hit 20 first serves and I'm like -- well, I knew I was serving well and I was winning the games easier. It just puts me in better position, also, if you start with the first serve, putting it in. I just kept going. I was just very focused, and I know if I win this tournament, this is going to be a big part of my game, serving well.

Q. You're the No. 1 player in the world; does it bother you that you have a six o'clock match?

MARTINA HINGIS: No. I like playing six o'clock. The earlier, the better, in a way. I like to be playing the first one, because 8:00, it's kind of already late and I know tomorrow we play the doubles the second night match, and it's going to be late anyway the next few days. No, I mean, to have the first match behind me, six o'clock, now I'm going to have and have something to eat, that's fine. The people came, so it wasn't like empty or anything.

Q. You haven't played your last match in the Garden, but this is the last tournament to be held here. Do you think there is a special aura about playing here at Madison Square Garden, and do you think that it will be a loss for the Tour to no longer have an event here?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's not that we're losing the tournament. It's just moving to Europe. In one way it has always been the final tournament here, the most famous arena, as it is written on the poster, but I have always loved playing here, since I was a little girl, first time I came to pick up an award and the next year I already played the finals against Steffi, which was an amazing experience, and I definitely am going to miss it. But hopefully there will be an exhibition or something held in the next year or in the future, so it's not like we are totally losing it. Also, in a way, one positive thing about it is that it shortens the season with moving to Munich. We'll see what comes out of that.

Q. How do you assess your year to this point? Are you happy with it?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, definitely. I'm happy the way I've played and the way I have constantly improved and raised my level, especially through the second part of the year. I maintained the No. 1 ranking; that's why I dropped out of the Olympics to do well in the tournaments, which I did, and I could really take advantage of that. It's great finishing as No. 1. I mean, what more do you want? Okay. Maybe I didn't win a Grand Slam this year, but there are many more years to come.

Q. Does the Tour ask for your input on the move to Munich?

MARTINA HINGIS: We constantly had meetings, and talking about it, you know, where, why, what the reasons are. Well, it's also a little bit of a money issue, too. So, for me, it's other people who made the decision, definitely. But I think I'm not that strong to say what's going to happen on the Tour, because there are more people involved which are supposed to do their job, and you rely on these people and you try to speak to them and they tell you their reasons and you have to accept that. But I think the players have been, you know, stronger, again, and the last two years, and have more input. And we try to change things every now and then. It's little things, little steps that has to be done, but I think it is getting better.

Q. You mentioned in the previous question that perhaps there might be an exhibition here. Are you telling us something or hinting to us about something that we don't know yet?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think there's still in the procedure of what's going to happen next year or in the future. I don't know exactly yet either which players are going to compete, maybe you have a few ideas, but as I say, it is still in procedure of really having something here. But I think if something is going to be here, held in the Garden, I hope to be part of it, and that would make me very proud.

Q. Venus and Serena Williams father has made comments that he thinks there should be revenue sharing, what do you think about that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think they are important for the Tour in one way, and the other way, it is not only them. But it's like a hundred players on the WTA Tour and there are a lot more who are competing outside and trying to get to the top. It's a lot of players involved, and you can't really tell which players should get more money of the prize money or TV rights or whatever. It's the WTA Tour and it's sponsored by Sanex, and you have to follow the rules. But definitely some people sometimes feel like they deserve more. I think, you know, sometimes you have people who sell more tickets, definitely. It's like when I played against Anna in Philadelphia Friday night, it was sold out and it was the biggest crowd in the whole tournament. But definitely, great for the game and they make tennis more popular. You see more fans coming into the stadiums and everybody has got his own idea about how it should be done in the future.

Q. With all of the injuries on the Tour right now, can you describe your own physical condition, and maybe how your style of play might allow you a little more stamina throughout the year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, for sure, because the style of my game, it's not like just hitting the ball as crazy, as hard as possible. So it definitely suits my game to have an 11-month season; or just you have to schedule the tournaments the way you feel is going to be the best for you. And, of course, you have every now and then little injuries, little problems. But with me, sometimes it is more the mental thing than really the body. (Laughs). I have to knock on wood, this year and in the past, I have been very fortunate to stay healthy and play some great tennis.

Q. Do you think the fact that the rankings rewards (inaudible) -- that kind of style, rather than deemphasizes who won the most majors?

MARTINA HINGIS: These are the rules and you have to try to follow them and make the best out of it. I've been for the last two, three years, I've been No. 1 with this system. I think if it would be less or more tournaments, you still have to adjust to it. I mean, this system suits me right now and I feel good about it. And it is also, you know, the way you have to play and prepare for tournaments, it is very important, also, I think. Physically, you have to be strong, and also mentally, and that's the most important thing to maintain your health. Yeah, it's a big thing.

Q. In the power of today's game, a lot of women are doing a lot of weight training. Has weight training helped your game? Has it hurt your game?

MARTINA HINGIS: You can take it from both sides. It has helped me to -- that my body is more compact. It is more like I'm more aware of what I'm doing, and to be able to play with the power girls. I mean, I'm not as tall, I don't have the biggest serve, but with me, it has always been consistent and with the fewer mistakes, I make the better. That is the only way that I can survive with those girls, stay healthy. Just whenever I have the chance to be aggressive, okay. You have to take every chance, especially playing venus or Serena or Lindsay. You know, I've been quite successful with that; so I have to build my game on playing more tennis than being in the weight lifting room. It has always been the case. I try to change it a little bit, but I figure out it is not the case. Like this, it is better again. For me, I'm a player, I'm not a weight lifter or anything. I'm a tennis player.

Q. As a competitor, do you miss Serena and Venus not being here?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, as a competitor, I like having the challenge of the two of them, and it will be great if they could be part of this tournament. I really enjoy it when I played in the US Open semis the last two or three years, and also here in the semis against Venus; we always had great matches. And I think it is also great for the fans, if they are at the tournament, because, you know you have to play them, you have to play great tennis and it is going to be a good match. But, you know, hopefully they will play next season again, and the more they play, the better.

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