Martina Hingis 2001 Indian Wells Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2001 Tennis Masters Series at Indian Wells, California, on Thursday, March 15, 2001
Kim Clijsters defeated Martina Hingis, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. Having played her twice recently, were you surprised at how well she played?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, I think I let her play well. That was one of the main reasons, that I wasn't up to my best today, that's for sure. But she didn't miss that much as she would maybe in the past, especially when she had the chances. I just didn't do basically enough to force her into the mistakes. But definitely, she's not scared of winning, that's for sure. I mean, I had a few chances, even in the third set, early in the third set, but I made just way too many mistakes, easy mistakes.

Q. In the past did you see her as somebody that was a little bit afraid playing against the top players like yourself?

MARTINA HINGIS: Once I started playing, when I played the top players, you always think they have something up to their sleeves at critical moments. It's like when it's 30-All, advantage, they can stay focused and stay in the game. But today, I let -- too many times just let it go and played not very smart, also like strategically.

Q. You didn't seem to be moving quite as fast around the court. Any reason for it?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. I think I played a lot now in the past. Mentally I was a little bit tired. I tried to do more like here at this tournament. But the tournament, it's almost too late. I was just a little bit too tired somehow. I have now a few days off, regroup hopefully, until Key Biscayne. That will help me, one week off. Just physically probably I have to definitely work on. My tennis, it will come. I think I played enough tennis over the years, so that's not the problem. Just always have some kind of routine and level, and physical abilities, for me is sometimes harder to do.

Q. What would you have done differently strategically?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, somehow I played a lot to her backhand. Her forehand is tough, but also she misses more. Just speed it up more. But today I was just too late, you know. The reaction wasn't quite there. She would hit the ball deep, so she didn't really give me too many chances, you know, to step it up. I didn't serve well today to somehow get into a good position. She didn't give me too many chances. But, yeah, she played well. She played a good match.

Q. Were you surprised at how well she played in the third set, considering how easily you beat her in the second set? Did you expect her to come back?

MARTINA HINGIS: I should have won the early games, especially that first game. Also, I lost my serve right away, then I broke her back. That third game was just kind of key game, and I lost that one. That was just not very good at that moment because then I had to go and play against the wind, and she was on serve. That was just a bad game there. After that, I just somehow -- you know, she just kept on playing, and played well. Especially toward the end, she didn't miss anything.

Q. You said that Kim wasn't afraid of winning. Are some players on the tour afraid of winning?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I don't want to mention anybody particular. Of course, I mean, if you play -- I used to play Steffi. You're like, "Wow," overwhelmed by the time once you walk on court. I think the new generation, they're much more cheeky, they just go in there. They're not afraid of anything anymore.

Q. What kind of a chance do you think she has against Serena or Venus?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. It's hard. I don't know how she has played them in the past. I'm not quite sure.

Q. Do you see this as a breakthrough for Kim, beating somebody like yourself. Do you remember what it was when you had that breakthrough, to have that confidence?

MARTINA HINGIS: For me it was like when I played the first time US Open and made it to the semifinals. I beat Arantxa and Jana Novotna on the way. But somehow that was like first time being in the semifinals of a Grand Slam, doesn't matter really who you beat, but how you beat them and where you get at the end. Maybe that was also for me a big win, winning against Steffi in Rome. Those tournaments like Grand Slams, somehow they count more. That's the place when the top players are ready. I don't know. Probably for me it was there. No, she's been there and she's had some great results already. As I said the other day at the conference, I mean, that's one of the Top-10 players I see in the future, for sure.

Q. How much fire did you have to win the third set? When you went, did you say, "I really have to win this," or did you say, "Another three-set match"?

MARTINA HINGIS: Once I won the second, it was kind of easy for me. In a way it was like a give and take. I gave her the first set, she gave me the second. The third, definitely after I lost the first few games, it was like, "Okay. " I was a little bit more into it. Maybe in the beginning of the match, I was like, "Oh, I've got to play a tough one." Somehow I just couldn't really figure out what to do on court. It was also maybe a main reason I didn't know how to really win the points. The rallies, you know, the longer they get, somehow the less I had a clue, which usually is not the case, how to win points. She basically didn't really have a weakness. I just had to make her play and somehow make the point.

Q. Was she playing much different than she played you before?

MARTINA HINGIS: Usually she was a slow starter, I could say. She would miss sometimes, like especially returns, she would miss more returns, easy shots, which she didn't do today.

Q. On another note, this match is really hot, in the sun. Working so hard as an athlete, women players are sometimes promoted as fashion people. I just want your comments on being an athlete or a fashion --?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. There are different players out there. You have to put the two things together. I mean, you want to be an athlete, and you have to play your game, your matches. But in the other way, you want to look good as a girl. I think that's very natural thing for me to go out there and play the game because I know I'm not the strongest and like the most physical one out there, but I have other strengths and I have to play to them and work on them. I don't know. It's both. I mean, I think the crowd, the guys that come and watch players sometimes also because they don't know all of them, the game, so they like to see the girls out there.

Q. Do you want to be known and appreciated as an athlete too? There are a lot of basketball players who aren't so good looking. Do you want to be thought of as a fashion icon or an athlete?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, I don't think I'll ever be a fashion icon out there. I think for me it's more about the game, yeah.

Q. Yesterday we asked Venus why Venus had not yet reached No. 1. She kind of indicated maybe she was lazy, didn't mean that much to her. What does No. 1 mean to you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, in a way I was always taught to be, you know, the best, play at the best level. For me, because I was an early age, I was always the best one, No. 1 in Juniors. I thought like I had a chance to become that same in the women's tennis. But I don't know how fast it's going to happen or how long it's going to hold on. But as long as you have the chance and the physical ability, the body holds up, so I think No. 1 is a great thing to be. I mean, there's not many people who are No. 1 in the world or have been. I don't know. It's a great feeling to be up there and participate at the top, being able to beat anyone. I don't know. It's like hard to talk about it today, you know, once you lose. Otherwise it's a great feeling, yeah.

Q. How long after a result does your mother speak to you, and in particular after a loss? When does she talk to you about what happened, her thoughts?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, she's always straightforward. I mean, we talk about it right away. It's usually right after the match that we sit down and have a conversation about the match and what we're going to do so it doesn't happen again, to improve on things. Maybe like, I don't know, probably fly tomorrow back home. In the plane, there's like five hours. We have enough time (laughter).

Q. What would she have said already? Does she get annoyed with you that you lost?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it depends how I lose a match and who I lose to. I think, you know, today definitely wasn't like the greatest match of mine. But you can't always perform at the best, which you should always try. Well, I don't think she was very happy about today. I'm not looking forward to talking to her actually (laughter).

Q. Do you want to say anything about this upcoming trial in a couple of weeks in Miami?

MARTINA HINGIS: Not really. No, thank you.

Q. This is your first loss before a final since the US Open last year. Were you aware of that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, I know. Before I went into the match, I was like, "Gee, this year I haven't lost earlier than the finals, and came out with three victories already." I hoped, you know, for another one. You know, sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself. In a way you think about a record or something, but that's gone now. So, no. I knew I had to face a tough opponent. You just have to play your game. If you're a little off at some days, and the semifinals, there's not much you can help end the game anymore. You just have to be ready every single time.

Q. Yesterday Dementieva said that tonight's match between Venus and Serena might well be fixed beforehand. Any thoughts about that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I don't know. It's a family matter, I guess. It's a family thing.

Q. Can you play too much tennis?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, in a way, you know, I'm definitely disappointed I lost today. But on the other side, it gives me a few days to rest before Key Biscayne. I don't know. It's definitely not the greatest loss today. I don't know what I'll do now in the next few days. Just somehow probably not do too much, more physically, not to play too much tennis. Then I'll see. I just have to somehow get that fire back, to be hungry, win matches, win tournaments. Yes, definitely.

Q. With a run like that of having not lost before a final, obviously you don't want to lose any match, you're talking about the pressure aspect of that, in one sense then is it a little bit of a relief that it's out of the way now, you can just get on with things?

MARTINA HINGIS: You know, I mean, I had tough losses in the past, so I think, you know, I always regained, you know, the top position after that. Usually it motivates me if I know I'm not in the best, and I have not won all the matches. So usually it pushes me even more. But sometimes, you know, you think like, "Okay, what do I do next? What's the next step?" Definitely today, not too much to say about that. I definitely can play better. Still I played a three-set match. No, I played great matches before, also at this tournament against Farina. But it was a different level, too. Earlier this season I played very good, so I think I have to just keep on going that way. Mentally definitely, that's the most important thing, just be hungry, to really want to go out there and win.

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