Martina Hingis 2000 Chase Championships Quarterfinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2000 Chase Championships at Madison Square Garden, New York, Thursday, November 16, 2000
Martina Hingis defeated Nathalie Tauziat, 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-2

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

Q. What is your opinion on the second set?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think I started off very well. I started playing aggressive, and then she just picked up her game. She started reading my game better. She played -- she served very well. And at the net, she didn't miss as much as she did in the first set and I felt like, you know, I was more careful because whenever I had the chance I didn't want to miss the ball. So I started pushing the ball, instead of taking, you know, my chances. That just didn't payoff, especially in the tiebreaker. In the third set I was like, okay, I have to go for my shots again more, yes.

Q. When you played her on Saturday, you were on the net at almost every point. Why not today?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's so quick here. You know, somehow, today, you know she served very well. So she didn't really give me that much time to do anything. She ran very well, and also, from the baseline, she hit the ball very deep; so, I couldn't really attack on anything. In Philly, she played a little slower. She was maybe not as into it as she was today.

Q. Does it take you a little while to get used to the surface here?

MARTINA HINGIS: Not really. I just felt like I was playing -- the more we played, the less rhythm I had, and that was her strategy, to keep the point short no matter what happens. She can't run around for too long even though I was thinking "okay" -- I lost the second set -- I'm thinking, "okay, I'm younger, I should be more fresh," and I really wanted to win. That's the main thing. I was maybe a little down, but the second set I feel like I have reserve and somehow get better and get back into the match.

Q. You've talked about using your net game more often when you play against a serve-and-volleyer like that; what do you see from somebody like that that maybe you can incorporate into your game?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's pretty much that I started playing it more, also, because the first volley, it is very important, you know, to guess right, to know where it is going. But the more you practice it, the more you learn, and maybe I haven't done that enough in the past. But I had to change my game a little bit to play well with the power players, and that just quickens up the game a lot. And you don't give the other players too much rhythm from the baseline who just hit the ball so hard. You just have to make them think a little bit more, so they don't know what to expect from me. Like every shot, try to be somehow different. That's what she was doing better than me today, in a way, but then I started pushing her a little bit more.

Q. Is that why she's been able to last so long?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, definitely.

Q. And do you think you will be able to last --

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, hopefully. That's the only way players like us can get through, over the years, and be constantly -- be at the top, or be the top player or in the Top 10 like she was. And even in the last two years, she had the high of her career, yes.

Q. If there were more players that played a bit like they are, do you think the game would be that much more interesting or more challenging for somebody like you at the very top?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think sometimes players have to get back to a style like this, because if you would have played the whole year, you don't want to destroy your body by hitting the ball so hard. So you only play nine or ten tournaments per year, so you're never going to be the No. 1 player like that. You might win a few tournaments, but it's not the case winning one or two and then having to take time off for the next two or three months. It's just, you want to be competitive and be a competitor throughout the whole year, because that's the way the game is played. And if you only last one or two tournaments, you're not going to be the top.

Q. But do you think when you're playing someone like her, you have to sort of think more quickly and be ready for more variety?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, it takes a lot of concentration, energy. It's maybe not even that physical, but you have to be in good shape to have the reaction. So you have to continuously practice it and be able to see the game, to see where the balls might go, because she was always there already. I mean, she's not the fastest player on the Tour, but she guessed . The anticipation, you have to learn that. It's not that it is born with you. You have to practice hours and hours.

Q. So when Nathalie has finished playing, in the following years, are you going to take her as a coach?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think me and my mom are doing very well staying up there as a team. But, actually, in the last two year, I have talked to Nathalie a little bit more, we have practiced and we've played in tournaments to go. I mean, definitely you can learn a lot from her, but even she is like ten years older, we have the very same mentality, and just the view of the game, how professional she is, and how she looks at everything. I mean, it's very similar.

Q. What did you say to her when you punched her in the arm as you left?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's funny because we have such similar games, she's still from the older school. But she still -- we always call -- my mom calls her "the Professor" of tennis, because she teaches like sometimes the young players, they don't know what to do with her because she has got such a different game from other players who just hit the ball. And it is not easy playing her. I mean, it is just sometimes it is eye contact says a lot.

Q. As a professional athlete, you are highly visible to the public eye and to the fans. In your opinion, when does someone cross over from being an avid fan to someone who is a nuisance, and even worse, someone who is a potential threat to your well-being, like what happened to you earlier this year at the Ericsson Open?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I guess you saw it in different sports, and sometimes, you know, there are borders and limits which are drawn for people and you shouldn't cross over. I mean that's the only thing. I'm doing my job; so I expect other people to do theirs, and sometimes -- but I don't really think about like being who I am or something is dangerous. I love what I am doing. And the other thing, we have got great security at the tournaments. I mean, one time something happened, I mean, like Monica, but I think it is one in a thousand. And if somebody wants to kill you, he can do it out on the street no matter who you are. I think in today's world, as a girl or a young woman, it is dangerous to anybody. So it is not because who I am, it's just it's dangerous out there.

Q. You knew about Davenport losing the tiebreaker, was that on your mind, how concerned you might be that it could happen --

MARTINA HINGIS: I watched that match when Lindsay played Dementieva, because we played doubles after them. But I wasn't concerned, no. I think, like, Dementieva was a little different player. She's a power player, and it's harder to keep going with her for three sets, I think, than it is with Nathalie. It's just a totally different game, what the two of them have, and it's hard to compare.

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