1997 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Wednesday, March 26, 1997
Martina Hingis defeated Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-4, 6-1
An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Martina in English first, please.
Q. Mary Joe said she's learning to play doubles from you, even though she has two Olympic gold medals.
MARTINA HINGIS: She wants to start to play doubles with me?
Q. She says she's learning a lot from you in doubles.
MARTINA HINGIS: Really?
MARTINA HINGIS: I didn't know that. If we play on the court, she always asks me where she should serve. For me, I don't know that she's going to ask me so many questions because she's like older, much more experienced. I think we're a great team. We're doing well till now. It was kind of more difficult because we played each other in the singles before we ever played one doubles together. We were already in the quarters in singles. That was hard the first two games, but I think we both are great doubles players, so after a couple games we should be ready for the other partner, you should know what to do. We're doing well, yeah.
Q. Did you watch Novotna play today?
MARTINA HINGIS: I watched it on TV, yes.
Q. And what were your observations?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think it was very hard for both. They both looked like they were going to almost die on the court. But it happens to me sometimes, too -- well, pretty often, if it's going to be a three-setter in this heat. I think it was for both very hard because they played each other so many times already in the last couple years, last two years, I think. It was a good match till the end. It was very exciting.
Q. She seems to be the kind of player that either has confidence or doesn't have confidence, and she's beaten you twice in a row now. The previous time that you won was a very difficult watch to win. Do you think she goes into this match tomorrow feeling very confident that she can beat you?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, she got much looser in last couple -- let's say last half year. Before she was always pretty much many problems with her nerves and everybody was kind of saying, "She never can win a hard match if it's going to be close." But now she's showing everybody she can do it. Also against younger players, she always had problems. But now she's beating everybody. She beat me twice and she beat Anna, without any big problems. I think against Iva it was a hard match, too, today and she won it. She won a lot on self-confidence, I think.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about tonight, Mary Joe and you seemed to be with each other until about 4-4, then you broke away?
MARTINA HINGIS: Right. I was very concentrated, especially the first couple games. I was leading 2-Love, and then I just kind of lost my concentration, tried to do -- just tried to hit the balls and make it easier, but that just didn't work against her because she's very good on her legs from the baseline. She doesn't give you any chance to make just easy points. You always have to try, always have to fight against her. Later on I just played a great match, yeah. It was the first time I really felt very confident in this tournament.
Q. Are you more concerned about players like Novotna who are going to come forward as often as possible as opposed to players like Mary Joe who wants to stay on the baseline for the most part and play?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it depends on the player. If it's a player like Novotna, everybody knows she has a great volley, she's a good doubles player. It's maybe harder. But today when Mary Joe came in, she never came in on a -- at a bad time, she always was very aggressive. I just passed her very well with my forehand. It was quite surprising for me that I hit such big forehands down cross-court. I just played very well today. I also came in sometimes, especially at the important points. That was a big help for me.
Q. When Novotna comes forward to attack you at the net, does she usually play to your backhand side or your forehand side when she comes forward?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think she does both. Probably most of the time she goes down the line, I think, to my forehand. I think most of the time she's going to try to just go one step forward. Against Iva she did also a lot of times play to the center and move forward.
Q. Martina, talk about the whole year, just how you've been on a roll, seems like you're getting better and better every match. Do you feel more confident as each match goes on with the streak going on here?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, I feel every day better and better. Especially you could see in today's match, especially in the second set, I feel very confident with my game. I started to hit a lot of winners, came in. I started to serve a lot better also.
Q. Do you feel unbeatable right now almost?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I am (laughter). This year I am right now. But it's kind of funny that everybody's expecting my first loss. I'm just trying to keep going and not to lose.
Q. I know you don't want to lose, but does it matter to you to keep going? Do you want to make it a long streak?
MARTINA HINGIS: That's right, more and more. It's big motivation for me also just not to lose, right.
Q. Do you especially want to play Steffi now that you've reached the top just to show people that, "Yes, I am No. 1 and I just didn't back into being No. 1, that I can beat Steffi Graf at this point"?
MARTINA HINGIS: She's going to be there. First we'll meet in the finals, me or her will be seeded No. 1. We have to play first couple matches to get there. That's a long way to go. She's got to be there and we will have to play each other, so why not. I mean, she's not able to play. That's not my problem. I think everybody deserve, if he's No. 1, he is the No. 1. The ranking just show that. She's not able to play, it's all right. If she's going to be back and play a lot of tournaments again, so for sure she's still one of the best players. But we'll see.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Last question in English for Martina. Thank you.
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