2000 Tennis Masters Series at Indian Wells, California, on Wednesday, March 15, 2000
Martina Hingis defeated Monica Seles, 6-3, 6-1
An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS
Q. Pretty good day out there.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, yeah. The beginning was a little tough, I think. She started off very quickly. I mean, that's what she always does. But today I was like, "Hey, wait a minute, take it a little easy." But, no, I had to just stay in the game in the beginning. That's what I tried to do, keep her in the rallies. Then when I had the chance to take over the game, that worked out very well.
Q. Weather didn't bother you too much?
MARTINA HINGIS: I guess it's going to be a bigger problem for her than for me. I mean, I just tried to make her run. I feel very good right now, in good shape. It didn't really bother me. Of course, it's hot out there. It's better not to think about it. Just go out there, it's the same for both, play. You've got to get it under your belt.
Q. Seemed like she was taking advantage of her service game. You got your serve together in the first set. Were there adjustments to make?
MARTINA HINGIS: You have to make adjustments when you play someone like her. I mean, she attacked right from the beginning, then you're like, "Okay." You're always on the defense. As I said, first you have to kind of play the ball back because you can't hit a harder ball, especially not me. Maybe Lindsay or Serena or Mary, they can hit the ball harder than her, but not me. I just have to, you know, add a little topspin, just placement was very important today.
Q. At the end of the match you did hit back a few points as hard as you can. Is that what you wanted to try to see how the court is responding?
MARTINA HINGIS: Once you're winning, you try some things that you go over limits, take a little bit more risk. Usually it's not my game, not against players who I know who hit harder than me. It makes no sense if I try to do that. That one rally was just amazing before the match point. That felt very good, though, yes.
Q. Can you talk about how much Rikard has been helping you?
MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, he's in Saddle Brook, got there in December before the Australian Open. Now he's at the tournament. I mean, I need somebody to hit with me. Sometimes it's nicer if you have the same person, knows already your schedule and the things you need to work on, warm up with. But definitely my mom is still the most important. There are no things I haven't heard before. Whichever person comes along and works with me for a little while, maybe more consistent, but there are no things I haven't heard before or I didn't know. I think I know a lot about the game, but sometimes you're a little bit lazy, you don't go always a hundred percent because you know already it's going to make you tired. Unless someone tells you the things, then you remember them again, yeah.
Q. Are there also things that you just can't do physically that you know you would like to do?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, just sometimes I'd love to hit a forehand cross-court, bang, just winner, something like Serena showed in the previous matches or Mary or Lindsay. They just bang it there, you know. It sits down so nice. I'm not as tall as them, so there's no way. My angle is a little different than one of these girls.
Q. But you can hit the backhand that way.
MARTINA HINGIS: I can hit the backhand that way, sometimes the forehand, but it's like 50/50, you know. I can't play 50/50. I always have to add a little topspin on it. I think I improved it a lot in the last two, three months on the forehand that I can hit it cross-court, can hit it deep, but maybe not as hard. It's never going to be one of my weapons, no.
Q. Do you think a lot of that has to do with physical strength?
MARTINA HINGIS: That's one of the things, plus it was never a -- I mean, I try it once in a while. It feels so good when it's in, but it's never going to be one of the shots I'll hit consistent. I mean, today I would hit it a few times. I had to just kind of get it over. Definitely my forehand down the line is a safer shot.
Q. Serena said that Mary played impeccably well. Did you see any of that game?
MARTINA HINGIS: I practiced from 10 to 11. I only saw the last three games. I saw Mary before the match. I saw that she was very focused, very concentrated, she knew what she was going to do out there. The last three games I saw, strategy-wise, she played very smart, was patient, served very well. I talked to her after that, after my match. "Hey, you must have played very well. I only saw the last three games, but that was already impressive." She said, "Yeah, I served well, returned well. Once I got into the rallies, I was fine." Some days it happens; you just play almost a perfect match.
Q. When you're playing one of those almost perfect matches, do you get a certain feel?
MARTINA HINGIS: You almost get scared that it's almost impossible to play that way. It's like the other day when I played Barbara Schett, I think that was like one of my best matches. But I think in the past I had more of these during a tournament that your standard, your level of being very consistent, or mine, has improved a lot in the last half year. You get more of these matches during a tournament. That's very important to have, to not suffer out there.
Q. When you say you almost get scared, is it scared that it's going to go away?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, it's like you are up 6-1, then you're leading 4-0 or 3-0, either you're like, "Why can't I play like this every day," or you're a little bit scared it's going to go away. There's no reason, but you have those thoughts. Just sometimes you get almost scared. That's why some girls get a shaky hand that they still might lose the match. You're like, "Okay, come on, let's go, keep it up."
Q. When you're playing centered and your concentration is with you like it was today, you get one of those long rallies, what does that feel like inside?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, if you win, it feels great, of course, especially if you overhit someone like Monica. You show, you know, you got some muscle going there, too (laughter). That feels very good. This is like my game. I'm of course more of a defense, but then when I get the chance I can attack. Those moments, you're not allowed to miss against the top players. I mean, you would see Monica sometimes, she tried to go for too much, or sometimes I just anticipate unbelievable. She would try to come in, I'd just pass her like so close, very well. I not always knew where she was going to go, but I got her a few times. That was the key in the match.
Q. Monica told us she believes you improved a lot recently thanks to your mom. Can you comment on that compliment to your mom?
MARTINA HINGIS: She's always been the most important person. I'd say that I'm willing to communicate more than I would in the last two years. Maybe sometimes I'd have my own thoughts, my own ideas about the way I should practice. I realize that's not the way you can do it because I was like maybe a little overweight, a little this. I mean, as a teenager, you go through that stage. Some people may get back on top, some don't. It's very important to have someone you can trust, too, and you know if you get your mind together it's going to work again. My mom's always been there for me. That's very important. I'm very lucky.
Q. Can you evaluate how Mary is playing?
MARTINA HINGIS: She's been playing awesome. I mean, some great tennis, singles and doubles. I'm looking forward to have another match with her in the doubles today. We always have so much fun, especially the last match, 1 and zero. I'm like, "You're killing the ball."
Q. What does that mean you have to do?
MARTINA HINGIS: It's going to be a similar game to today. We played each other semis last week in Scottsdale. It wasn't a great match, but it was one of these semifinals you have to play. It's always nice if you have a doubles partner you're not going to meet first or second round, it's always semis, almost the end of the tournament. The relationship is much better when you made it that far.
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