Martina Hingis 1997 US Open Final Interview and Stats ( Sports - Women's Tennis )

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USTA 1997 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Saturday, September 7, 1997
Martina Hingis defeated Venus Williams, 6-0, 6-4

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. Was it easier than you expected?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I didn't think it was very easy. I just played, you know, very good tennis out there, especially in the first set. You know, she had a great performance in the matches before, especially that one against Irina, coming back from being two match points down. That was a great effort from her. I thought, "Well, maybe she might be a little bit tired." But she was still running very well at the baseline. Just played outstanding tennis out there.

Q. Martina, going in, what was your plan against her?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you just kind of have to try to mix it up a lot. You can't allow her to make her game. She has very powerful groundstrokes. If she's going to let you run left-right all the time, especially her backhand is very dangerous.

Q. Nobody handles her serve as well as you did in this tournament. What do you know about her serve that helps you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I'm pretty much known about having a great return. I'm pretty much known that I'm having a good return. So my serve is not a big weapon I have in my game. I have to have something else. That's my return. I also think mostly she's trying to serve to my forehand. I just know the ball, if it's going to be important, she's going to try to serve there. You know, she maybe didn't serve as hard as against the other players. Just was trying to keep the ball in the game. You know, I always had the chance to play it back.

Q. Did you have any concern when she broke you in the second set?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it was the only break -- the only time she broke me. I was like, "Okay, that's the same thing as when I played Lindsay Davenport, having the set 6-2, 4-2, then loosening up a little bit." I was also maybe a little bit tired from, you know, just everything what was around, being in the Finals against Venus Williams. I thought, "Well, I've got it now." She started actually playing much better in the end.

Q. Martina, two weeks ago everybody would frankly have expected you to be in the final but probably not Venus Williams. Was that tougher on you also because you probably didn't expect her to be here either?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, I didn't expect to have this opponent in the Finals. I think many people, just spectators, were following this match. I think it's great for women's tennis. You always see new faces. There were always people talking about her, but she never brought up the results. Now this time, making first time a performance at the US Open, reaching the Finals, is not a bad effort at all. It's pretty good.

Q. Martina, after such a wonderful year you've had this year, how do you look at next year? Can you possibly top it? You've only had two losses the whole year.

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you know, I'm very happy about my whole tennis game at all. I just had a great year. You know, what can I improve? Sometimes I ask myself. It's a little scary. I haven't won the French Open, so that's kind of my goal. That's the tournament I want to win the most, and I haven't won that. I think I'm going to have many more years in front of me to, you know, maybe win it one time.

Q. Were you careful at the changeovers not to bump into her?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I was watching (laughter). I was like, you know, either I was faster than her. I was watching (laughter). But she, too, she was like not making the same mistake. But it was funny.

Q. Martina, after Wimbledon, Chris Evert said in a way the one sad thing about you becoming No. 1 was that you inherited slightly by default because Steffi Graf was absent. Were you disappointed that Steffi wasn't here for this tournament, and do you think it would have been any different had she been here?

MARTINA HINGIS: You always kind of talking about Steffi Graf. It's not my mistake she's not playing here. You know, whenever she's going to come back, maybe for the Championships, she's for sure going to be always a dangerous player. You know her name, she's got so many Grand Slam titles. She had such a big career. Whenever she's going to come back, she's going to be a tough player to beat. But having Williams on the other side is not, you know, the easiest thing in the world to do either. So I think you don't always have to talk about the past, but about the future, new generation like Venus Williams, Kournikova, and Lucic. Also Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles are nothing to forget about, too.

Q. Martina, for the record, what's the name of the horse that perhaps kept you from getting a Grand Slam Championship?

MARTINA HINGIS: It was just Tina. Tina was her name. It wasn't my horse. I'm not riding her anymore.

Q. Whose horse was it?

MARTINA HINGIS: Just a friend's horse.

Q. It was like many people were talking about the only thing that can keep you away from winning are horses.

MARTINA HINGIS: But actually before this tournament, I was testing a new one. I was never jumping as high as before this tournament. I was coming into this tournament with having a great fun out there.

Q. You and Venus seem to get along okay. The other women have complained about her attitude. Do you consider that she has a problem with attitude or is it just you that's a nice person?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think it's always hard when you're the newcomer on The Tour. It wasn't very easy for me, too. The other players just look at you. They don't know what to expect from you because everything is -- or everyone is talking about you, the media pay so much attention. If you don't bring the results, everyone is kind of not very happy because you haven't shown anything to the other players. I think her first statements, they weren't very nice against the other players. Because, you know, she said, "I'm the best player in the world." But she has changed very much from the other tournaments. When I saw the last two, three entries she made, she change a lot. She became a much nicer person on The Tour.

Q. Was that first set almost too easy?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I liked it the way it was (laughter). It's like, you know, the US Open Finals. If you win the first set 6-Love, okay, I take it. But I still had to make my game.

Q. But I mean at one point at 5-Love, you swatted at a ball that was clearly long. You were obviously having fun out there. Was it not enough of a challenge at the beginning?

MARTINA HINGIS: She made a lot of mistakes. I think she was pretty nervous, you know, being in the Finals. So was I. I just was kind of trying to hit the ball back, let her make something out there. I just played very good tennis.

Q. Chris Evert has often talked about your incredible balance on the court, the way you're always on balance, almost always when you hit the ball, the way you walk around the court, the way you receive serve. Did your mother teach you how to balance on a court or is it something that's just natural for Martina Hingis?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think your charisma comes out on the court, the way you live your life out of the court. Tennis is not the most important thing I want to do in my life. It's still right now, you know, I couldn't be without it. But especially when I fell off the horse, I kind of remember, "Well, I can't be without tennis anymore, I love this game so much." Just the charisma, I think, it just comes out natural.

Q. I didn't mean so much things, different things in your life, but the way you always seem to be ready to hit the ball.

MARTINA HINGIS: That's everything that comes up with your life. That's the way you show everything on the court, how you're in person, you show your balance, just your game, your charisma on the court. I think the way Williams is out of the court, the way she also is on the court, she's always trying to do something, always having a lot of fun. Everyone is the same on the court and off the court.

Q. What is the most important thing you want to do in your life? You just said tennis is not the most important thing you want to do in your life. What is the most important thing?

MARTINA HINGIS: I said right now it is the biggest thing I always want to do. Especially if you keep winning, there is no way, you have motivation, you always enjoy that. Especially in this final, I had so much players, especially when you hit great shots you want to hit. It's the greatest thing you can do.

Q. You've had a fabulous year, Martina. Is there one moment or one match which you think years from now will be your favorite memory, favorite recollection of this year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, maybe that one when I beat Monica at the semifinals of the French Open. I've never been as happy as after that match, reaching the Finals, that was kind of like more than having a victory there.

Q. How big of an advantage did you have that you played in more tournaments than Venus? How much did that help you today?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think that helped me.

Q. A lot, a little?

MARTINA HINGIS: A lot, of course. But I can't manage her life. If she doesn't want to play anymore, she reached the Finals. She just has a different way to get to the top. I don't care what the other ones are doing.

Q. Martina, during the Grand Slam tennis championships, in the ladies events, prize money is so high, do you feel it should be best of five sets?

MARTINA HINGIS: Blah (laughter). I played only once in my life a five-setter against Steffi Graf. I'm not really that much into it, having the same thing again, getting cramps. I know maybe I should be in better shape. I'd rather win it in three straight sets.

Q. Are there other interests that you have outside of tennis, other than really loving the horses?

MARTINA HINGIS: I do a lot of sports. I do skiing, aerobics, boxing, so many other sports, rollerblading, biking.

Q. Martina, was it almost good for you that Venus took away a lot of attention during the two weeks from you, you were able to go on with your business?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think there was a lot of attention on me, how I'm going to do at the US Open after having two Grand Slam titles, especially in the beginning when everything on the front page was only me. Then it was nice that she also kind of made something out of that, that she reached the Finals, for sure.

Q. If there was any crisis for you in this match, it was in the ninth game of the second set. She had rallied back to 4-4 and was serving at 30-Love.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah.

Q. At that point, were you getting a little concerned about how the match was going? If you were, how did you turn things around back in your favor?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I knew I was up 4-2. I just gave up one game. I thought, "Well, she was serving very well there." I shouldn't give up that one maybe. Then it would look different. I was playing against the wind. She wasn't missing at all, especially the last two games. I was like I had to make the points myself. Hitting it as hard as you can always against the wind, I also get tired sometimes. I was kind of just waiting for a mistake, just hitting big shots. But I knew if I'm going to lose that game, I'm going to serve with the wind and that's going to be easier. Even if it would be 5-4 for her, I thought I would make it to 5-All and then it would be a good game.

Q. How did you feel about the racial issue? Were you excited that she made it to the Finals?

MARTINA HINGIS: About the what?

Q. The racial issues, that so few black women have made it to the Finals. Did that affect you at all?

MARTINA HINGIS: (No response.)

Q. Are you excited about it?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, it's always good to have new faces out there. Especially in women's tennis, there are so many coming up now. The thing is, very nice to watch a Finals like Hingis/Williams than having someone else there. I don't care that much about who is on the other side actually. I think it's very good if you have all the people, all the races, all the world playing tennis.

Q. You say you ski. John McEnroe told other juniors to avoid skiing. Your legs. Don't you think skiing is rather risky?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I always do the risky things especially (laughter).

Q. Are you looking forward to next year and possibly starting a rivalry with Steffi or proving to her that you are No. 1?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, as I said before, with Steffi, you have to wait what she's going to do in the next couple tournaments, when she's going to come back. I don't know what's going to happen with her.

Q. Would your father have been watching this match?

MARTINA HINGIS: My father? I'm sure he was watching, yes.


Match Statistics: (from Sportsline.com)

Final: 1 hr, 2 min Martina Hingis (Switzerland) Venus Williams (United States)
1st serve pct 65 pct 69 pct
Aces 0 1
Double Faults 0 4
Pts won/1st serve 23/31 -- 74 pct 21/43 -- 48 pct
Pts won/2nd serve 10/16 -- 62 pct 8/19 -- 42 pct
Winners 16 16
Unforced errors 15 38
Break points 5/15 -- 33 pct 1/3 -- 33 pct
Volleys won 15/20 -- 75 pct 10/21 -- 47 pct
Points won 66 43
Fastest serve 98 MPH 111 MPH

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