Martina Hingis 1998 Lipton Championships Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )

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1998 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Thursday, March 26, 1998
Venus Williams defeated Martina Hingis, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Martina.

Q. What's your summation of the match? Why, what went on?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I guess it's pretty difficult to play the Williams family two matches in a row. But, you know, against Serena, I could pull it out for match point. But it's tough to do it like three times in a tournament, when you play three sets. I played her in the semifinals of Indian Wells. I was in pretty good shape. The second tournament, you always get a little bit tired. But she did well. I mean, she was right there from the first point on. Maybe she was a little bit surprised about my game at Indian Wells. But she was pretty ready this time.

Q. Regardless of what the rankings say, does this match prove that she's your equal in skill?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think for both of us, you know, it's different to play tournament after tournament, that she might not imagine -- this is only her second or third year, you know, actually her first when she's going to play more and more tournaments. I don't know how many she's going to play this year. You know, playing all year through. It's a whole different life. If you play only like nine or ten tournaments, or you play 20.

Q. So is she your equal or isn't she?

MARTINA HINGIS: She is. She beat me now. She beat me in Sydney. Of course, she's going to be a tough opponent.

Q. Is it disconcerting that she gets so many balls back, that you seem to have hit for winners?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you know, I got a little bit tired. When you're not a hundred percent, you might get a little bit nervous about not making the points, you know. At Indian Wells, I probably made them still. I wasn't so nervous when she got so many balls back; she was running for anything, like Serena did yesterday. Probably if I would be, you know, a hundred percent, I could do it. But I'm not, so that's why she beat me. She was just a better player today.

Q. What do you mean by not being a hundred percent?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I'm almost a month here in the US now. Playing like two tournaments in a row. I had a week in between, like nothing really big to do. But it's still traveling, you're away from home. Well, that's not an excuse. She was definitely, you know, a tough opponent out there. Last week I beat her. This time she beat me.

Q. Were you very tired in the third set?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I guess we both were. You could see it from both sides. She had her leg taped from the beginning on. So far, I don't have anything. We'll see in the future.

Q. Martina, the fans did some jeering when you came back from the break there, the third set. What was your reaction to that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, what can I do? I mean, she stayed there on the bench. Well, I came back. I just needed to change my shirt. I was wet. Why not? I'm allowed to do that.

Q. Were you surprised that they would react that way?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, not really because I did something yesterday, I took a break yesterday. The crowd was for sure on her side. I'm playing in the US. If she would do it in Switzerland, I'm sure they would do the same thing. It's a big crowd. They're waiting for the match, to end it up.

Q. What has she improved in her game that's made the difference for her to be able to beat you two out of three?

MARTINA HINGIS: She got much more confidence. She gets a lot of balls back. She controls the game a little bit better now than she did at the beginning when she started being on the Tour. She got smarter. She changes the pace, you know, she just doesn't hit every ball as hard as she can. She just tries to change it, mix it up. That makes her a better player out there.

Q. Would you think that she's the toughest opponent for you on the Tour?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think her and Anna. Well, she showed a great match, or yesterday in the afternoon, against Lindsay Davenport. I think those two are going to be definitely on the top in the future.

Q. More so than Serena?

MARTINA HINGIS: More Venus than Serena, yes.

Q. Did you find a few beads out there?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yeah, there were like ten of them on the court, on the service line. Well, they were like little ones. Doesn't matter, you just put them away and you play. But it was kind of funny. When I played against Serena, there was like one orange one. Then, seven or eight in the same spot, like the blue ones, she had in her hair. Whatever.

Q. You were not happy with your game, especially your first serve didn't come too good?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I guess today a lot of things didn't come out that well as usually. But you can't really say the serve or something else. Just today was not that much which was working, so... I was just trying, you know, to just keep in the game. Whatever came out, she beat me today. She was the better one. I'm going to try, you know, next time when I play her, try to beat her again; especially at the Grand Slams tournaments, I'm going to be ready.

Q. Did you find the wind was much of a factor today?

MARTINA HINGIS: The wind? Of course -- well, not the wind against me. I usually like the wind, you know, because you just use your head and think a little bit out there. She's a powerful player. She can use it much better than probably I can, with the serve. Just much harder than mine. But I think I still can improve myself. You learn from mistakes, like matches today. You just try to go on.

Q. Venus just said that it's got to be hard to be No. 1 at 17 when people are always gunning for you, trying to beat you. She hasn't been in that position. Could you respond to that, since you're the one in that position.

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, of course, it's a little bit of a different position. Everybody's trying to beat me. I always have to show up in the best shape. I'm like always the last player; if they beat me, they know they can win the whole thing. When I was like No. 4 or 10 in the world, it came kind of pretty fast to me. I wasn't like on one spot pretty long. But I always wanted to beat the No. 1, so I knew this is the last chance, if I don't beat her, I'm out of the tournament. You always want to beat the No. 1. Before I was the hunter, and now I'm the hunted one. Different position. Every time I lose, it's a bad loss. I just try to not making that many mistakes, just prepare better, just learn from it.

Q. What do you have to do to beat her, do you feel? What do you have to do well?

MARTINA HINGIS: I have to be physically better. I have to sleep well. I have to be a hundred percent. No, it's just I was always a little bit too slow today. The reaction wasn't as normally it is. I was also already a little bit tired from the last match. I had a day off, but if you continue playing like three sets, then there's another one coming up; you know you're going to play Venus, it's hard. But I should have won easier the other matches so I wouldn't be tired.

Q. Martina, you used to be able to beat her just with your placements alone. Do you have a feeling now that you need to be physically stronger and be able to hit the ball harder and not just place the ball against her?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, definitely I have to be in better shape, in best shape so far I've ever been, I think. I did practice a lot before Indian Wells. I think I have never been in better shape before that tournament than ever in my career. I think the older you get, the stronger you are. I mean, she's like 20 centimeters taller than me. What can I do about that? I know I can't hit the ball as hard as she can. I have different weapons. I hope I can be faster than her, have a faster game.

Q. When you say you're in good shape, you mean aerobically or in terms of physical strength, ability to hit the ball, not as hard as she does, but harder than you're hitting it now?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think I was hitting the ball hard enough in Indian Wells when I beat her there. I beat Lindsay. I don't really need to hit the ball harder. I just try to use the pace and the pressure what they do. Just be faster on the feet. That I wasn't today. I didn't have the reaction.

Q. Martina, in terms of women's tennis, do you think this adds to the excitement? Looks like a budding rivalry here. No. 1 can be beaten. No one dominating, per se. What are your thoughts on the rivalry.

MARTINA HINGIS: Last year I was dominating pretty much. This was the first time I played these two tournaments in a row. Last year I was also playing Hilton Head. It was just after this tournament. That's what I'm not going to do this time. I guess it's not going to be the best what I could do. I'm going to be ready for the next tournaments. But for sure, like the youngsters are coming. I'm the leader so far. I hope I can continue to be there for a while.

Q. Any time the No. 1 player loses, the other players kind of have a celebration. In this case, she was doing a little bit of a dance and pointing her fingers in the crowd. Does that affect you?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't think so, because I have a very good relationship with all the players. After the day before, after that match against Serena, everybody was in the locker room. "You did a good job, pulled it out." It wasn't the greatest match of mine, but still a lot of players came up to me and said, "Good job." I don't think so that everybody turns against me. I'm sure it's not that way.

Q. What is your next tournament?

MARTINA HINGIS: Hamburg. Well, I play Fed Cup in Czech Republic, then Hamburg and Berlin in Europe, and be ready for the French Open.

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you.



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