Martina Hingis 1998 US Open Quarterfinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 1998 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Tuesday, September 8, 1998
Martina Hingis defeated Monica Seles, 6-4, 6-4

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. You reacted after this win tonight like it was a huge, huge victory.

MARTINA HINGIS: Like it was the finals already?

Q. Exactly. Why?

MARTINA HINGIS: I lost against her the last two times we've played. Definitely it was a bit disappointing to lose against her at the French Open. Reach the semifinals, everyone was expecting me to win that tournament. I wouldn't because she just kind of killed me in that match. I just kind of felt very happy out there today because I knew I didn't play my best tennis during this tournament so far, and I'm happy I still can play tennis out there.

Q. And at the level you're playing?

MARTINA HINGIS: Definitely. I was a little bit worried about my game, especially the last two matches weren't that great, the players were like Mauresmo 30. I don't even know what Dechy is ranked. I was probably -- with my thinking, I was already like playing against Monica. These are sometimes matches you know you're going to win, but it's going to be like you're already somewhere else thinking about other stuff. You know, I just played very focused today because I knew it's going to be a tough match. The wind probably might have helped me today, because she's a very tough player. You know, she's got these huge groundstrokes. I was playing rhythm and it gave me a little bit more time to get back into the game and do something.

Q. So what did you do different from the two prior times that she beat you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think I served very well. Even in like Montreal, I won the first set, and I still didn't kind of believe in myself that -- it was like a set and 3-All, I had chances to break her, but I wouldn't. Tonight I just always had -- you know, I thought I might break her if I need it. That's what I didn't feel like when we played two, three weeks ago. It was just the difference. I just felt very good out there tonight.

Q. When was the last time you felt this good after a match, about the way you played, the result? In Australia?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I had some good matches when I won like in Rome. I had a great match against Lucic. I beat Kournikova, and Williams in the finals. I don't think it was like the best match I've played, but it was just great having that victory. Against Iva also like the week after. I lost in the quarters, but still I had some good matches. I just made very few mistakes tonight and I served very well. You need to have that against Monica. Just kind of have to hang in there and see what's going to happen.

Q. You spoke earlier in the tournament about having lost some confidence. Did the confidence return before the match tonight or during the match?

MARTINA HINGIS: Before the match actually, I knew I'm in good shape, physically well, I moved very well today. I just kind of knew where she's going to play the balls. I just got to a lot of balls. Even she made the points at the end. Somehow when I really need it, when it's a critical point, I hang in there, just try not to make the mistakes and let her play as much as I can. It was just a turnaround in the whole match. You know, tough game. But, yeah, I felt like before the match, I like playing night matches, especially when it's a little windy, I know I have better chances because I know I don't have like the powerful groundstrokes as they do, but the wind helps me.

Q. Do you know that she really hates playing in the wind?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, she plays so exact. She has like, you know, when there is no wind out there, she just kind of hits the balls very fast. I mean, she lets you run around. I love the wind, so it's good.

Q. I'm wondering if that gave you some confidence, if you knew that she absolutely despises it.

MARTINA HINGIS: I didn't know she hates the wind. I didn't know. You've just got to go out there and play. It doesn't matter what the conditions are in this tournament anyway. It was so tough for everybody. I feel like whoever makes less errors is the winner instead of who makes the more points.

Q. What sort of a feeling did tonight's match give you for your next match and the rest of the tournament?

MARTINA HINGIS: You know, I have the feeling I'm getting better again, so that gives me a lot of confidence. I beat Monica Seles in the quarters. I knew I lost the last two of them, but now playing Jana, played her in the semis at Wimbledon, it's a different surface, you know. But I think I'm also a different player again.

Q. How so? How are you different than at Wimbledon?

MARTINA HINGIS: I guess I was just thinking again on the court. So that was a big difference. Some matches before, I just would somehow hit the ball, but I just didn't know what I'm doing out there. Tonight was a big difference again. That's what I was doing last year, and I lost that since. I would make semifinals or win some tournaments at the beginning of the year, but I just somehow was always like too confident. I went out there and was just going into the match not really thinking about what I'm doing out there. Tonight was just different because, you know, I needed it.

Q. When you broke her to go up 4-3 in the second set, you won it on a net cord, were you thinking, "Maybe this is my night when something like that happens"?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes. Everything was kind of on my side. Like I had two, three net rolls over in the match -- in the game. I was a little bit lucky also with that shot. But I was already up 40-15, so who knows if I would lose that point, what happen the next one. I knew I made that game. I was going to play with the wind, so I was very confident, yeah.

Q. Do you think over the last three months before this tournament and after the French Open that you got a little bit tired of tennis?

MARTINA HINGIS: I was just very happy those two Grand Slams were over, like in Europe, French and Wimbledon. Just kind of found new motivation again to go in there, just fight again, keep my head up. Sometimes even you lose, but you just want to go out there and be the best again.

Q. So you're saying after Wimbledon, you had lost your motivation until you got here a little bit?

MARTINA HINGIS: No. I was happy after those tournaments, but I would like take a week off, do almost nothing. You know, I knew I didn't win like the California tournaments or in Montreal, but my game has gotten better, like tournament by tournament. I just feel good again. I just feel like I control the game a little bit better again.

Q. Is this the best you've felt since Australia or even since last year?

MARTINA HINGIS: I felt very good in Indian Wells. I felt, you know, I beat Venus and Lindsay at that tournament. I felt great. Also earlier, when I came to Key Biscayne, the couple first round matches, they were just great. I almost didn't miss anything. I had great wins, too.

Q. So this year it's sort of come in and out? You've gotten your confidence, it's gone away, come back?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's not over yet. There's still like two matches to go.

Q. What was the key to beat Novotna?

MARTINA HINGIS: As I said, if I'm going to play against Monica, just have to be faster than her, just kind of let her make some mistakes. You know, she's so aggressive, if you serve like second serve, that's why I was trying just to put the first serve in. She has so much pace on the shots, just kind of kills you. You don't do that too often. Just let her run, let her move. With Jana, it's kind of the same thing. You just try not to let her come in too much, just play a very consistent game.

Q. So you're hoping for another windy day?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, Jana has nothing against the wind either. I mean, she had good matches. She beat Testud, earlier she beat Patty very surprisingly high. I think the wind doesn't bother her at all. It doesn't me.

Q. Are you somewhat disappointed you're not playing Patty?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, disappointed? You know, Jana is a very experienced player, especially at a Grand Slam. She never chokes (laughter). Well, she always gets there, but she has to go. She never really loses like first, second round, as some other players would. She did against Steffi, okay. She always gets where she needs to go, especially in the last two, since she won Wimbledon.

Q. We hear you.

MARTINA HINGIS: Whatever. They don't believe me anyway.

Q. She said after Wimbledon, she felt that some players regarded her differently, maybe even feared her now, Jana did. Do you sense that? Does winning a Grand Slam change the players' opinion of you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, she hasn't lost that many matches since before and after. She won like three straight tournaments. She made the finals in Montreal -- no, semis, and she lost against Arantxa. Yeah, I mean, she won Wimbledon, so she's a champ there. It definitely gives you more confidence, even if sometimes you don't play well. You know the other girls think -- they have respect. If you win a big one, they have respect, definitely.

Q. Do you still feel like the best player in the world?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, now I feel good, so don't take that away from me.

Q. After your match, did you watch the baseball?

MARTINA HINGIS: McGwire scored 62nd. I just heard it, yeah.

Q. Does that mean anything to you, that McGwire accomplishment?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think it's great. There are still like 25 more games to go, 24 now. Everybody was watching actually that game when him and Sosa was playing. He scored his 61st. Everybody was like, "Don't change the channel." Nobody wanted to watch tennis. I think if you see some other athletes doing well, it's just very motivating. That somebody else is also doing great, I mean, it's a great record. There's still so many games to go. So he can even put the record higher. Nobody can set it again, only him, next year.

Q. Will it be very disappointing for you not to win The Open?

MARTINA HINGIS: Now, yes, because I think my game, especially tonight, has improved a lot. If I really want, I can do well again. Against Jana, I feel pretty good. I want that revenge back.

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