Martina Hingis 1998 US Open 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 1998 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Monday, August 31, 1998
Martina Hingis defeated Aleksandra Olsza, 6-2, 6-0

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. Was that easier than you expected?

MARTINA HINGIS: Somehow, yes, because everybody knows that I kind of lost the last three tournaments in the semifinals and once in the finals, but still I only lost against great Top-10 players, but I even had sometimes like tough matches against lower players like -- but, no, it is a good win first round, Grand Slam, lasted an hour again, so I am kind of happy.

Q. Those last couple of tournaments, have they shaken your confidence or what is your confidence like coming in here?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I am definitely not as confident as I was last year or the other tournaments in the beginning of the year. But I still -- I got better and better each tournament I played. I think I played quite well against Monica in Montreal, but she was little bit better at the end. Lindsay just won all three in a row there in California so she was a tough opponent. Against Mary, it was kind of shaky match. I almost had won, then I had matchpoints, and lost it. So once you keep losing, one day you get sick of it, so I am kind of moving up again.

Q. Tracey Austin won here at age 16 and didn't win at age 17. And she said it was because she got a boyfriend. She started going out more, all that. She said watching you play this year she is wondering if you are going through some of the same thing; that maybe you are not as intense as you were a year ago, what is your response to that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, she was one year younger than me she won -- I am going to be 18 in a month, so --

Q. Have you lost your edge?

MARTINA HINGIS: You have sometimes other things in your mind once you get older, and you just probably want to just hang out or just go out with friends or something, but you are very confident at that time and sometimes you even think you can't lose to anybody. Then all of a sudden it happened like in the Grand Slams, I wouldn't lose against a nobody, but still I lost to Monica or Jana, which are great players. They have won the Grand Slams earlier like Monica or Jana win the whole thing, everybody knows both players were great at that time, so it is not a shame, but you don't want to -- once you don't lose against lower players which are like, I don't know, nobody would even know who they are, so that has got to be pretty tough. So far I haven't lost against anybody who wasn't Top-10 so it is okay. You just want to hang in there and try to be better again.

Q. Being the No. 1 ranked player, does that get to be wearisome after a while?

MARTINA HINGIS: It depends on your personality. I mean, Monica said it was -- for her, it was very easy to come back the next year after she won everything in 1991 and to do the same thing in 1992 because of all the confidence. For me it is a little bit different because I was kind of not the favorite one for all the tournaments. Nobody expected me really to do that well. I was just kind of the black horse in the back, whoever, and I just won almost everything I played. But it was a great year and there are next to come. I am still pretty young, so, I have hopefully a few more years to go.

Q. How would you consider your year? Rate your own year this year.

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, of course last year was better, but this year wasn't as bad as sometimes I hear on TV: Martina Hingis was so beatable this year. Well, not by everybody, you know. But, you know, of course it wasn't as great as last year, but I am still pretty happy. If you look at the Grand Slam, I won the first one, the other two to the semis and this one is still open. This is the last one. So, I guess for everybody this one is very important. Everybody is very pumped. It is very open, the draw. It is the last one of the year, so you are going to put all your energy into this tournament.

Q. You were or you are very good with Lucic family, practicing together in Switzerland. Could you comment on Mirjana saying that the father abused her physically?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, when they were in my house it was -- we can't say anything against him. He was great -- he would even cook for everybody, so, I mean, I had a great week to practice with her. But I know her very well in that case, so I guess for her we have been -- when I talk to her what she would tell me or I think it is a very good solution. Usually we were for that, that the parents that they travel with the kids and that their support, you can't involve parents, but in this case, I don't think so. They made very good move. Because under that pressure nobody really can understand as what she said what happened there, but I think this is different mentality. The girls, they just grow up like that, but I am not in her position, so, I was -- Czechoslovakia is a little bit different in that case or Switzerland, everywhere, if you slap someone you are going to have a trial or something -- well, America, actually is even worse. But this is a different world and no, I am happy for her that she is good now and that she with her whole family and we will see what is going to happen in the next few tournaments or months or whatever.

Q. You say you were not as confident, you know, maybe as the start of this year or last year. How does that translate into your play? Where does that lack of confidence show up on your matches so far?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, you could see it if you watch the matches, it was like sometimes I would be up and then still lose even I was kind of, you know, I had the opponent in my pocket already and I was still, you know, I lost three tournaments in the third set usually and I would -- just my level would drop very much in the third set, especially, because I would get somehow I got too upset about myself, that I didn't make it 'til the finish. It kind of started at Wimbledon already or that I had so many chances there earlier in the matches and I would just have tough rounds which I shouldn't have or. But I am very positive now. I was happy those two Grand Slams were over and I am in a good mood now.

Q. Do you feel you have sometimes lost focus at any time during the year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Focus? Well, it doesn't happen from one to the other day. It is just -- you know, I don't think I am the only one which had this problem, so, you could see so many others. But I don't think my tennis has dropped that much as some of the other players. I won today, 2 and 0, so, but the next round is going to be tough, either Majoli or Huber, got to look forward though that one.

Q. Have you had distractions during the year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Of course, I had some bad losses as against Pierce or, you know, you never like to lose in a Grand Slam.

Q. I am talking off-court distractions.

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, no. No. Nothing. I am safe. I am still in one piece.

Q. What do you think about the moving the women's final to Sunday with the men's final back to Saturday?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, they had it only once. That was last year and it gives you a little bit more time. You have from Friday 'til Sunday, you have one more day off and in the two-week period and I liked it actually last year. I did well, so -- but, you know, the other Grand Slam, you have the same thing. You have to play one day after the other, like in the second week, so, it is just normal. Just got to go with what happens.

Q. Have you forgotten how to win in the third set against very good players. Given you have lost a good amount of three-setters this summer, what happens to you in the third set?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I don't know. I usually win the first game and after that it is over, so -- but, no, you can't really tell. Once you win the first set and you are up in the second, you know, you should have done this or that, then you don't make it so you kind of get blocked a little bit and nothing happens anymore.

Q. Is there one tournament that you look back and said that really -- was it Chase COREL Madison Square Garden, was that one that may have shaken things up?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, no, I was tired. It was a long year, though. It is always important to know why you lose; what the reason was, and I was only 17 by that time. Once you get tired, tennis season is very long, and just try to have more breaks, or just scheduling better. This was my fourth year, so September is my fifth year in Zurich is the new beginning of the year for me, so just learn by every tournament.

Q. As a competitor are you glad that Graf and Seles are back and strong again, or is it just worse because the field is tougher?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, both, actually. Well, it is good to have the older players back. Seles is not as old as -- she is like the medium age of everybody. You have got older players than her. Steffi won the last tournament, so she is, I think, playing very well again. She didn't do as well over in California, but now she has improved, I guess, and she is got confidence winning the last tournament before the Open, so, gives her a good chance.

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