2000 Chase Championships at Madison Square Garden, New York, Saturday, November 18, 2000
Martina Hingis defeated Anna Kournikova, 7-6 (2), 6-2
An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS
Q. You're down 4-5 in the first set and then you won five -- (inaudible) what did you view that tiebreak as?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think I was -- most of the time I felt like I was up in the match. It was just how she broke me to go up 4-3 and also 5-4. But it was -- we kept breaking each other. In the tiebreaker, I think I played very well, very smart, as I didn't maybe do in the first set all the time. We had great, long rallies and I almost had to like catch my breath all the time because I have a hard time breathing, a little cold, but I didn't think that really affected the game. Just sometimes I needed a little bit more time. I don't think I played as well, maybe as some of the other matches, but still, that I kept winning, you know, the other matches, and I still had the little edge over her when I really picked up my game.
Q. Was that the difference, that you do have this little mental edge that she needed to win that first set?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, against her, it's always like the first set. In the last three matches it has always been about the first set, whoever wins that. The second I was cruising through, I was up 40-Love, and I didn't make it and it was 2-All. It could have been like 6-Love; instead it was 6-2. It was just like in the second set, I felt like when I really picked up my game and I had; like I stepped it up whenever I needed.
Q. Did she seem like she was playing better today than she has against you in the past in the first set?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, she has nothing to lose when she plays me. It's always pressure on me to play her. It's like in the last three tournaments we played each other, it's like, "Oh, not again, not again." But I think, also, because we practice together, so sometimes we had the draw, but we wouldn't meet because she would lose before she gets to me. But now since she plays better, she's going to be Top 10, she's No. 8, I think. And hopefully it's not going to be like all the time. So she's going to be on the other side every now and then. And playing in the finals is more fun, like in Moscow and playing the doubles together. But I think she improved since we got back together and that's why she's Top 10 again.
Q. Were you not as aggressive generally as you are on your serve today?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, I started like very defensive, like waiting for what's going to happen, patient, and I made a lot of mistakes, which I normally don't do. But, it's also, it's like you have to keep going, and even I think that I don't play like the best match against her today. I still won the set and won the match. That's a good thing to know in the future. I think, you know, my game, I started off without really thinking too much. I just hit the ball back, and then in the second set, I played it a little bit smarter, too.
Q. Was it because you didn't feel very well particularly?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's not really physically. It's also more mentally. You know, you're not 100% and you know you have to go out there over and over again, the same player, for three consecutive weeks, and you know she's playing well, and you have to win that match. It's not like she's going to give it to you, and that's probably, like, okay, go out there again, and, you know the pressure is on you. But I'm happy I'm there again.
Q. Can you see her confidence go down when she loses a big point -- (inaudible)?
MARTINA HINGIS: I wouldn't say that in the first set, no. But in the second, it's been like this, as I said in the last three matches. Always after the first set. But it's also physically very tough to keep the concentration, because it really was a good first set. And just keep the high level, that's why I think I'm No. 1 and deserve to be up there, because I can still maintain the level. When you lose a set like this, it's just hard to come back, because you know you have to play even better, I think for the opponent. So they have to take a higher risk and they have to go over limits.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I try to, you know, think what I'm winning the points with, and try to be more aggressive usually -- that, you know, when it's really important or when I'm a little bit down. So I know I still have like this -- if I really focus, go against the ball, take it early. And if I have the chance, just be more aggressive; hit the ball harder.
Q. Can you talk about your next opponent, whether it be Monica or Elena?
MARTINA HINGIS: I played against Dementieva just lately in Moscow and I was winning easy there, and then she just came back and it was a tough match at the end. And it's more like she lost it, not that I won it. Monica, I haven't seen for a while. The last time we played was US Open, and I think she was a little injured, but they both, they are great fighters. So they are not going to give up until the last point has been played, and it's the last match of this season, so, I think whoever is going to win, it's going to be a great match.
Q. Is there an extra special significance if you play Monica?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it's a little similar to like playing Anna, because most of the time we played each other I came out as a winner and I have a very good record against her. Hopefully, it's going to stay that way. But definitely, I have to take -- either of them I have to take serious and just go out there and do my thing.
Q. The two of you kind of came on to the circuit at the same time --
MARTINA HINGIS: Who?
Q. You and Anna.
MARTINA HINGIS: She's a year difference. So I always had like this one year I was in advance.
Q. But you've had great success obviously and she's still looking for that first title and she's played 81 tournaments. Does that surprise you at all?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think, also, I think that I am very lucky with having my mom. She has her mom, but it's different with me. It's like she's also my coach and she always shows me the way how to do things. It's not -- maybe she's stronger, but I'm have more condition and also the strategy. My mom has always been a great help, and that's why I'm where I am, and not everybody is as fortunate. Not everybody has a mom like me. Even she doesn't have a good one.
Q. Having said that, are you a little bit amazed that this is the same player who a few years ago was serving 60 doublefaults?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think, you know, it's all about growing up a little bit, too. Everybody has his own ways to get through tough times, and I think with me, it was more of, you know, very emotional, like the way I express myself, because I was going -- sometimes every now and then, the way you feel in private, the way you express yourself sometimes on the court. I think even like I was -- like going crazy every now and then. So she had her serve thing and being insecure or something, I don't know. But having this attention and all of this, it's not easy to go through that, because we both were very young, and we still are, and just you have to learn how to deal with everything. Nobody is going to tell you what to do. I mean, you have to experience it, because you don't know. You don't know what to expect.
Q. Is the level you're playing at right now, the way you won today is that good enough for tomorrow?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think that I have to pick it up, definitely. Whoever is going to be in the finals -- it's a different game. It's also a lot less mental than playing Anna. We've played, as I said, so much with each other, even like practice and the doubles, so we already know sometimes what shots to expect, what's going to happen. It's like a little chess game. I play on the line; she plays cross-court. I know what's coming and so does she, and that makes it maybe sometimes harder for me, because the more players they know my game, and it gets harder for me. But, you know, I'm still happy. You know, I won this match. I think that I can be happy with that going into the next year. Because in the finals, I try to give my best, but I know it's the last one, and after that, I am free. So, that's good. Good to know.
Q. You described both Seles and Dementieva as fighters, would use that yet for Anna? Is she learning that yet, to become a fighter?
MARTINA HINGIS: Once I think we are athletes and professionals, we all have to be fighters in one way, because it's not easy going out there every day. You don't want to lose. I mean, if I go out there, I don't want to lose, so I think that's the same. Everybody has the same feeling, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it. You know, some have more options to win and more ways and different games, and everybody has to try and go out there and win.
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