Martina Hingis 1999 Lipton Championships Quarterfinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )

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1999 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Wednesday, March 24, 1999
Martina Hingis defeated Barbara Schett, 6-1, 6-1

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

Q. It's been a good tournament so far, 11 games dropped, you're doing well?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, very well. I was playing very focused today. I learned a lot from last experience. I played her in Sydney, 7-6 in the third. There were some quite shaky points, especially at the end in the break where she was up 5-3. I wasn't playing at my highest level, I think, at that stage. And also, you know, she's physically very strong, and today I just tried to keep it shorter. It's kind of tough conditions here with the wind and you feel from one side like a weightlifter and the other so easy and loose. You have to think -- the less errors you make, the better it is for you. And just -- it's not more about making the points, but just less errors I think is more important in this tournament.

Q. You must feel good to go past the quarterfinals.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, the first one past the quarterfinals and waiting for the rest of the group, yes.

Q. Can you compare the level of play that you have right at this moment as compared to a year ago going into the semifinals?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think everybody has improved since last year. You can't compare it to last year.

Q. Are you better?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's raising -- yes, I think so.

Q. Martina, were you surprised about the difference in Barbara today compared to when you faced her in Sydney?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I was a much better player today. I took her much more serious than I did in Sydney. It was also like we were playing 10:00 in the morning. I was like, okay, dying out there. No, but, any normal person has to work at 8:00 in the morning, I know. But just somehow the TV wasn't even on. I got to know that, I was depressed that it wasn't even shown on TV because we played that early. But it was my first tournament -- it was the first tournament, yes, more or less -- no, she played one before, but somehow, I don't know, I just was a little bit surprised the way she played later on. You have to play smart. You can't just keep playing baseline. With her, you have to come in, you have to mix it up.

Q. You could be playing the hottest player in the tour in the next round who is hitting the ball tremendously hard, how do you view that prospect?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think Barbara was already good preparation for me today. Everyday has been getting harder, I think, for me. Well, I was playing better also. New raise in level during the tournament if you are a good player. In the beginning it is still like you don't know what's going to come out of it. But once you make it to the quarters or semifinals, you're more confident about what you have achieved at the tournament already. I'd Love to play against Serena again because last year was quite close and last timed I played her was in L.A., that's quite a while ago. She's definitely a more experienced player now with winning the last two tournaments.

Q. At some stages today you were serving and volleying very well.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, like three, four times. It wasn't like that much.

Q. Some difficult volleys you were making --?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I wasn't playing doubles yesterday, so I had to keep up with the volleys today. No, but I was leading easily and was confident, at 40-Love or sometimes 30-15. At the end I was coming in and trying to get good points. It was actually 40-30 at one stage and then, yes, I made the game and I was like up 4-1. It was not a crucial point.

Q. You remember the points, that's great that you remember that.

MARTINA HINGIS: Because we know each other very well also, so sometimes you already expect where the balls might go. You just stand there and try to hit it.

Q. Martina, you say you are a better player than a year ago, how so?

MARTINA HINGIS: How so?

Q. Yes.

MARTINA HINGIS: Everybody has improved. I had to work on myself, too, physically and technically. I think I have a much better forehand than last year.

Q. Martina, you say that everyday it is getting harder, but this match today was 43 minutes, the shortest -- each match seems to be getting shorter for you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, but the players are better, but my level has improved over the others during the tournament so far against the players I've played against.

Q. So are you getting enough work out there, are you out there long enough?

MARTINA HINGIS: I love it the way it is. You can do something else after that if you know you played a great match, go for a run or -- I'm going to have a massage at 4:00.

Q. Does it bother you that they're hitting harder and harder or you're just counting that by the position you're playing?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, you can use their power. I'm not such a hard hitter, but I think I can make it quicker, too, the balls and decide more than I would also like do half a year ago or one year ago and more power, anyway. But for me sometimes it's easier. Right now if I'm at the best level, my highest level, it doesn't really matter if I play slow or I play faster. You just have to be there when they play the tough points and just react quick.

Q. Martina, you considered this ideal -- is this ideal preparation for Serena, do you think?

MARTINA HINGIS: I would say so. The longer the tournament is, the better it is that you keep your match short so you still have enough energy to keep going. You could see Barbara today that she had three tough matches and she was today already, you know -- in the beginning I was keeping up with her hitting some great shots. She was a little bit frustrated because she knows she can't go that long anymore because I was just always one point better and quicker.



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