1997 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Saturday, March 29, 1997
Martina Hingis defeated Monica Seles, 6-2, 6-1
An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Martina in English, please.
Q. Can you compare the two matches with Monica, please.
MARTINA HINGIS: Almost the same. I can't compare. The one was indoors, and this one was outside. I just can't say I like her game. She's very aggressive on the court. At first you just have to block it out, then try to open up the court. I mean, I just played very good in this match. I almost didn't make one mistake, or I didn't make any. It was just a perfect match.
Q. Were you surprised it was so fast and so easy?
MARTINA HINGIS: No -- yeah. It was only 44 minutes. In this heat, you don't want to stay too long on the court. I just like the game. I didn't play so well at the whole tournament, especially not in the beginning. I tried to learn from match to match, and I play better and better. I almost lost against Novotna the other day. I just had to think about what I'm doing. Yesterday we had also very good doubles match. We lost it, but it was a great match. I mean, you just have to improve if you want to beat Monica. You just try to do your best. Today that's what I did.
Q. Martina, you really tried to make her move today, didn't you? Was that something especially to the forehand side?
MARTINA HINGIS: Usually my forehand is not the best shot. I mean, if she pressures you so much, she's so aggressive, you just can use the pressure what she doesn't use, you have to block it away, don't have to use so much power by yourself, just try to hit it back faster than she does already. I know my movement is a little better than hers. Just try to open up the court.
Q. Martina, you knew coming in that you were going to be ranked No. 1 this week. How important was it to you to win this tournament going into that?
MARTINA HINGIS: It was very important for me because I felt kind of responsibility, you know, that I didn't want to lose first round because I knew either I lose first round, I'm going to become No. 1 on Monday. You just didn't want to have that. I just tried to play my best tennis. That's what I didn't do the first couple games, but I played better and better every day. Still, you don't want to lose because the other players are lower ranked than you are. You just try to keep going. Everybody was expecting me to lose the first match. "She can't stand the pressure," whatever. Now with my willpower or whatever, you just want to handle all this stuff, you know. You just want to make pride yourself that you really can do it.
Q. What do you think it will feel like on Monday when you're officially No. 1 and the world is yours, so to speak?
MARTINA HINGIS: Monday -- we're going to fly to Hilton Head tomorrow, and Monday there will be a press conference. I try to make kind of a party for all the players because this is my third year to be on Tour. I really had a great welcome from all these players. I just want to give something back, you know. I never enjoyed to play tennis so much as I do right now, and I'm having one of my best times in my life. That's great.
Q. Do you feel pressure now that you're going to be No. 1, that everybody's gunning for you?
MARTINA HINGIS: Not after this tournament, because, you know, once when you made it, you know you can handle the pressure, you try to make it again and again. You know, you reach something already, you hope that you can do it again. I won this tournament, and that makes me just really happy. Hilton Head is another tournament, and it's going to be the beginning of clay tournaments. I just try to make the same thing again. If you lose or win, it's not that important for me anymore as it was at this tournament.
Q. Looking back at the last two who have been No. 1, Steffi and Monica, they've gone through some of life's little problems. Are you worried with the future, what it might bring, what No. 1 might bring?
MARTINA HINGIS: Why should I be worried about the future? Right now, almost everything is perfect. I don't care about the future right now.
Q. Before a big match like this, does your mother give you some advice to take on to the court? If she does, what did she say before this match?
MARTINA HINGIS: We know Monica pretty well. What you want to talk about before a finals. I'm a player, she's a great coach, great team together. You don't want to really listen to somebody else because you have to be on the court by yourself anyway. You have to handle all this by yourself. She just tried to kind of relax me or give me some advice, what I have to do against her. Against Monica, she's very aggressive. In the first moments, you just have to block everything away until you can start to do something by yourself on the court.
Q. Do you usually listen to your mother's advice?
MARTINA HINGIS: Let's say more and more (laughter). I mean, she only wants to have the best for me. She's not trying to do anything bad, so I think that just can only help me.
Q. Do you think she's getting smarter as you get older?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, we both learning every day or every match, every tournament.
Q. Over the next few weeks particularly, you're going to be expected to win every match and win every title. Do you find that scary or an exciting challenge?
MARTINA HINGIS: Scary is not at all. It's like a challenge, you know.
Q. You look forward to it?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah. I mean, I still have nothing to lose. I mean, I made a lot of points at this tournament. Even if I lose next tournament, second, third round, let's say, the world is not going under. I just try to be prepared for the next tournament. Especially right now, the Grand Slam tournaments are becoming much more important for me.
Q. The party that you give to the players, is it you giving it or the WTA?
MARTINA HINGIS: They're going to help me out. I can't do it by myself.
Q. Is Martina Hingis giving the party to the players or is the WTA?
MARTINA HINGIS: We're working together on it. It's me, but they're going to arrange it.
Q. Martina, the year is only -- we're only in the third month of the year. You've already won over $1 million this year.
MARTINA HINGIS: This year?
MARTINA HINGIS: Wow (laughter). The money is rolling, rolling (laughter).
Q. What does a 16 year old girl do with $1 million?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, life doesn't change because you just won $100,000 more or less.
Q. With $1 million, you can do pretty much what you want.
MARTINA HINGIS: I still can't drive the car, I still can't go out, I still can't do that because I'm underage everywhere (laughter). It just gives you a big freedom, you know. You know you can go to so many other places. It makes you free, yes.
Q. The rankings say you're No. 1, but in your mind are you No. 1? Do you have any doubts about your game?
MARTINA HINGIS: No. Why should I have some? I'm still young, becoming the youngest No. 1 in the world. I just enjoy life right now. What else can I say?
Q. Martina, a lot of players have moved to Florida. Have you been thinking about maybe getting a place in Florida?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think it's too hot for me here. That's why I try to keep the games so short as possible. The Grand Bay residences, a beautiful place, but also give me the motivation to stay there for two weeks. If I would get an apartment there, that would be great. You're just traveling all around the world. I found a great place in Switzerland. That's where I want to stay for a couple years now, then we'll see further. I've got a chance to just have a place wherever I want to. It's very nice to have. If you can see all the different countries, you can just choose where you want to stay. That's great. But right now, Switzerland is for me just the big residence.
Q. Martina, going back to your mom for a second. There are a lot of players on the Tour with their parents. I'm just curious, what do you think makes a relationship like that work or what wouldn't make it work, when you spend so much time with a parent who is also a coach?
MARTINA HINGIS: We talk a lot about different things. She always wants to talk about tennis. Especially she's always thinking about what could I improve in my tennis. I'm not thinking about that so much because I just know I'm a good player, won a lot on self-confidence. I don't really want to think about that stuff which you're doing all the time. Practice is not my best thing. I don't really like to practice. She pushes me to that. That's a big help for me. But we talk a lot about games like today, just the whole tournament. But you still could improve.
Q. In a relationship like that, what would be the wrong thing for the parent to do when you spend so much time together?
MARTINA HINGIS: It's hard to say. Right now just everything works out so good. Together with my mom, we have a great relationship. I think right now the most important thing, because we travel so often together on all these tournaments, sometimes you just -- you always have days where you have little cries, you don't really want to talk about some stuff, you want to be by yourself, just want to go out of the way of other things, if something doesn't work. You just always have to find the right reason you want to talk about, just handle all the stuff.
Q. Martina, were you saying that Key Biscayne and the Grand Bay is going to be your headquarters? Is that where you're going to stay most of the time?
MARTINA HINGIS: Me?
Q. Is that what you said or meant?
MARTINA HINGIS: No. It's where we're staying.
MARTINA HINGIS: Right now.
Q. Only now?
MARTINA HINGIS: Only in this tournament.
Q. Martina, having played and won five tournaments this year, do you feel tired at all mentally at this stage?
MARTINA HINGIS: (Shaking head).
Q. Are you going to play next week?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes. After Hilton Head, I'm going to have a three-week long break. It's going to be enough. You push yourself to that tournament, want to do the best again. If it's not going to happen, it's no problem. If I'm doing well there, I'm going to have a break, so it's no problem.
Q. Martina, of course tennis is a full-time job, but you're now a young woman at an age when young women tend to think about dating. Are you dating?
MARTINA HINGIS: Me?
MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, well, I go to players' parties, as everybody else, just try to go out with somebody. If you're traveling so much as I do, it's hard to find somebody at the tournament. You would have to go every week with someone else, that's the problem (laughter). That just doesn't work all the time. I think I still have time for that things. Just right now tennis is the most important thing for me. You always meet new people at the tournaments.
Q. Have you had any players you particularly like, male players?
MARTINA HINGIS: Do you like any women's players on this Tour that you want to date?
Q. Do you have any plans for your three-week break?
MARTINA HINGIS: We're staying in Switzerland for maybe one week. We maybe go to the Czech Republic. I have in both places one horse. We'll see. For me right now at the moment, it's easier to practice in the Czech Republic. It's going to be three weeks. Still don't know what we're going to do. Haven't decided yet.
Q. Do you remember Monica when she was the champion in 1992? Do you remember seeing her?
MARTINA HINGIS: I was only 10 or 11. I just saw a couple pictures out here.
Q. You don't remember seeing her play in Paris or anything, seeing her on television?
MARTINA HINGIS: I do remember, yes. When I was 9 or 10, when I became the Swiss champion, the newspaper arranged I could get a picture with her and a signed autograph. It was a big deal for me. I couldn't talk to her. I couldn't speak English. It was difficult for me. She was at a tournament in Zurich. I just saw her there playing in the semis. She was just great at that time. She was an idol for me. As soon as you start to be professional by yourself, you just keep going and do everything what you need at that point, just try to think about yourself. You just have your own nature. You can't copy anybody else.
Q. Do you have any feeling about the difference between her then, the woman you saw, and the woman on the court today as far as her ability, as far as anything?
MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. You have to ask herself. I think she could answer it better than I do because she has her feelings. I don't know what she wants to improve or what she thinks was better at that time or what was less. I don't know. She just looked different. She had this hair, blonde, then she cut it up. I liked her personality a lot when I was younger, yes.
Q. You were serving particularly well today. How much of that has anything to do with the slightly longer racquet you told us you started with in Australia?
MARTINA HINGIS: Nothing. It's just everything up here, I think (indicating).
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: One last question in English.
Q. Was that the fastest final you've ever played?
MARTINA HINGIS: Might be. You should know it better than I do. I don't know how many finals I played already. I think it was one of the fastest, yes. Last time I played was 52 minutes, now 44. She made one game more this time.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you.
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