Martina Hingis 2000 Indian Wells Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2000 Tennis Masters Series at Indian Wells, California, on Friday, March 17, 2000
Martina Hingis defeated Mary Pierce, 6-4, 6-2

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

Q. How did you turn it around? You started off kind of slow? She obviously started off on fire.

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't think I started slow. There was not much I could do about what she did out there. She had a great beginning. I mean, she bounced those backhands down the line, cross-court, wherever she wanted. I'm like, "Not much I can do here." Unless the last point is not played, you always have a chance. I played her two weeks ago in Scottsdale. It was kind of a strange match. I don't think we both played very well. But today she did good in the beginning. I'm like, okay, I'll wait for my chance, let's see what happens. I just tried to mix it up, just every ball back, and see what she'll do. She said, like she got a little bit tired. You can't play like that the whole match, so I still had hope.

Q. When was the last time you remember serving back-to-back aces?

MARTINA HINGIS: I did that a few times (laughter). I think against Barbara I hit two aces in a row. It's not that long ago (laughter). I mean, even when I played first match, I don't know, where sometimes it was close, I think against Amy that one game, when it was really important or when she had breakpoints, I would serve big, an ace or something, that they barely got it back. That feels always very good.

Q. Besides winning the last point, what are you going to have to do to stop the losing streak against Lindsay?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, it's going to be similar to yesterday -- the match against Monica and today. Those big girls are going to play like, you know, they did in the beginning all the time. I just have to stay in the game. Even if I lose the first set, I still have to think about, you know, they might lose their streak, their control, and just get everything back. That's always been my game. I was a little bit defensive always in the beginning, then try to be more aggressive when I get the chance. But when they come out and serve that big and hit that deep, those balls, it's not much I can do. I always think about, you know, when I have this kind of opportunity or when I'm playing that well, it's no way I can do this for like straight two sets. It's almost impossible. I mean, I saw that in Australia when I played Lindsay. She was up 6-1, 5-1, she got tired there a little bit. I had a chance to come back. I just tried to hold my serve. That's all I can do in the beginning, then just come in when I have the chance.

Q. Do you like playing the big hitters or do you find it gets to you, more than just a challenge?

MARTINA HINGIS: It depends. It depends on how I feel. I think right now, because in women's tennis you only see those girls like that, especially at the top. Everybody's hitting the ball so hard and so deep. I just don't think about it. Just go out there and play. There's no choice for me, so I have to like it.

Q. With your success in singles, how difficult is it to play doubles so well and play doubles every tournament?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I always said, I'm going to cut off the doubles once in a while. I was thinking about whether I play it next week or not. It really gets to you, on your body, too. I was so happy I didn't have to play finally yesterday. You have those days during a tournament where you don't feel that great. That was yesterday. It was a lucky day, I think.

Q. Why do you think so many of the top women play doubles and so many of the men don't?

MARTINA HINGIS: Because I think lots of guys, they start off playing those doubles matches. I saw myself, two times - you play like second and fifth match. It's just the time in between, that waiting area. It's not even to go out there. I prefer playing doubles than waiting, but you just have to get away from here sometimes. You never see Agassi or Sampras around. I know the reasons why, because it's just -- it's not that tennis is the problem. I love going out there. I love playing. But just the time, always being here, always waiting. That's just not very fun.

Q. Speaking of that, did you get out to the horse show?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, I didn't. I went to practice a little bit again. It's too many things you have to do. I would get too tired. I might lose the next day or something. You just don't want to go over the limits because you still have to play the singles and doubles, as I say. It just doesn't leave you the time to do other things.

Q. If I recall correctly, last year when you came here, you had been in Nepal and gone elephant riding. Has there been anything since then that's been particularly fun, a great adventure?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, I love my love. During December, I went -- I love sports, anything what has to do with that. I just like to watch it, follow it. Maybe I'm more on the computer in the room relaxing, on the Internet, I check up on scores, hockey, whatever is gone on. I went to the Bucks game. Really, if you want to stay on the top, it's not that I'm going to be there for 10, 20 years, I have to take this time when I'm there, just take advantage of what I'm doing right now because I can't do it forever. I might not look like I'm tired or anything, or my body's sore, I'm not wrapped up anywhere. But still, some days you feel like, "Oh, another day. Tomorrow is the last day at the office."

Q. How different do you feel physically now than when you were first coming on tour?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yeah, it's a big difference. But everybody is in much better shape. If I want to keep playing on this level, I have to be ready every time, I have to be hundred percent, or at least 95, to get those matches easy behind me. If I don't, I just can't keep up with these big girls. Sometimes you see like Lindsay, she just cruised through those matches. That's the way I have to do, too. If I want to beat her in the finals, I still have to have some kind of energy left.

Q. Can you talk about some of the sacrifices like you or Pete Sampras make to be No. 1?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't see it as a sacrifice. You have to find that time when it's appropriate to do things. Like I always have this dream to go on a cruise, go to Hawaii, Bahamas or somewhere - it's not that are from Miami. After Key Biscayne, there are three weeks, I can do whatever I want those few days in between. But then you have to start practicing again. I don't see it as a sacrifice. I saw one of his interviews, he said, "All these things I can't do. It's just a suffer." I don't think it's suffer. Of course, sometimes you feel like, "Oh, I don't want to go out there." Then you play in front of a crowd like today, everybody sees you, and I was playing well. It's a great feeling to have.

Q. So it's worth putting off the cruise for the crowd?

MARTINA HINGIS: There will be time I can go. Of course, when you're around my age, you want to do everything at the same time because your body is still excited, this is how I feel, this is the best time of my life. I don't think in five years when I -- I don't know how long I'm going to play, as long as the body lets me to do it. But there's still a lot more things to do and experience when I'll be older.

Q. When you play a succession of the bigger women, do you find in yourself perception that, "I am small, they are big"?

MARTINA HINGIS: I'm quicker; they're slower (laughter).

Q. Is that really how you handle it?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes. Because like today, okay, Mary started off great. But still once the game slows down a little bit, I think I have a better game strategy-wise at the end. I can pick up the pace. I can kind of see those balls. I have like the feeling on the court. I think I have a better one than most of the players, otherwise I couldn't be at the top. Got to have something.

Q. It's often been said that you have the most intuitive feel for the game, that you pick up the nuances so beautifully. Do you agree with that perception? Do you feel you have that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Once I have the chance to pick up on it, yes. I feel like I can get the control of the game. But, of course, if like Mary in the beginning, she wouldn't let me to do it. It's like, okay, I just wait until I can do it.

Q. My question is more overall in the big picture, in terms of the subtleties of the game, reflexes.

MARTINA HINGIS: Anticipation I think I would show the most in that match against Monica, that mostly I picked the right corner to pass her at the end. Against other players, she would always pick the right corner. With her, I always felt like, "Okay, she's going to go there or there." That's how I would do it. You go from yourself, and you see, "There is an open space," so you go for that one. I would do it probably the same. That's why I went there and always pass her.

Q. What is more satisfying for you, to run down what would have been a certain winner and hit a winner back yourself or --?

MARTINA HINGIS: If you can do both in the same match, it's great. Today, I didn't think I started off serving that well. I hit like those consistent serves, even a few aces that came in, serve-and-volley at the end. That feels pretty good once you have the control over the game. If the girl starts off like Mary today or Monica yesterday, I just have to wait until there's a time for me to do things.

Q. My question was, does either --?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think it's more satisfying when you pick the right corner and pass like down the line or something.

Q. I remember in Australia you said you didn't like playing Lindsay. Are you looking to this 1-2 match-up again?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, I am. Every time you go and play Lindsay, for me it's a special feeling. I don't have that many players when I walk out there I'm going to lose, or I don't know what's going to happen until I see what's going on on the court after a few games. You have that kind of feeling, you can take control of the match or you don't, or you have to wait for it. Against Lindsay, it's always that kind of special thing, or against the Williams sister. Even against Mary today, I was nervous. Against Monica. You have only those few top players. I think against the other ones, because they are not at the top, there's something missing. Those are the ones you have that little fear of not losing.

Q. When you played her in Australia, it took you a while to get going.

MARTINA HINGIS: A while? She had like three unforced errors until 7-5, 5-1. Not much you can do.

Q. Does that put you into a position where you think you might have to get off to a fast start or try to do something?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I tried to do things; it just didn't work out. She would always have a better answer. I just tried to focus on my serve in the beginning, get as many balls in as I could.

Q. She was also talking about your serve, she's been able to go after your serve.

MARTINA HINGIS: Everybody goes into the match like this. Not everybody can realize those things. Lindsay's one of those who can. That's why she's No. 2 in the world.

Q. When you go back out there to play doubles with Mary, will the subject come up at all about this match?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, no, not at all. It's a total different story. You go out there, you talk about the strategy before the match, what's going to happen, or after every kind of point you look at the partner, either, "Great job, well done," or - just doesn't matter. You talk about the doubles, sometimes different things, but that's private (laughter).

Q. How do you look at this final series that you play so often against Lindsay? Is that something you have to get used to over the years because you played already the third time? Do you think that will be the story of the year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Who knows? It would be great if it would be because there's people always looking for rivalries, big stories, one against one. With Lindsay, I always felt like that. She was the one player, most consistent, who had this ability to be at the top for a longer time, not just like sometimes the Williams sisters. They come, they're always dangerous, always like favorites for the tournaments, but you wouldn't see them, like Venus, for almost a half year now, and Serena not at the top of her game. I see right now Lindsay definitely the biggest rivalry, yes.

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