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

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USTA 1998 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Friday, September 11, 1998
Martina Hingis defeated Jana Novotna, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS:

Q. What turned this match around at 4-1 in the third set?

MARTINA HINGIS: I was just, you know, still hoping to get back. I was playing with the wind. I kind of always was a little bit close, but I just couldn't make it last two points in the game. I was like, okay, she got to miss one day, one thing. I was going to play with the wind. I at least hope I'm going to make the next two games, then we'll see what's going to happen. But, you know, I'm very happy it came out this way. I didn't really believe it, but I also didn't give up. So that was kind of the best thing about today's match.

Q. What did you think of the officiating?

MARTINA HINGIS: What?

Q. What did you think of the officiating in this match?

MARTINA HINGIS: What's officiating?

Q. Officials, lines calls.

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, I guess we both weren't too happy about that lady on the baseline with the sunglasses, little one (indicating). You know, this is tennis. You have to count on that, even if it's like very close. Well, it was like 30-All; I didn't feel that great about being down 4-1, 30-All. That was a very critical point. I mean, she had me actually there. I just kind of passed her. But she could have finished it up, especially that one volley. I was like, "Okay, she gives me one more chance. You got to take it now or never."

Q. After Wimbledon, you made the comment that you had only reached the semis of two Slams. You used the word "only" they being French and Wimbledon. Were you thinking of that at 4-1 down, thinking, "I don't want this to be another semi-?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, I was thinking that. Actually I was down 3-1, I was 4-1 sitting in my chair, "No way I'm going to lose again in semifinals," even though I had a good win against Monica. I was like, you know, "At least you've got to make the finals or just change something." Because I -- you know, everybody expected me to do better. But I lost two times in the semis, you know. If nothing worse happens than that, I'm in the finals again.

Q. Do you think you'll have trouble tomorrow if you play like this?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, if you play Jana, I mean, she's one of the few players, especially at the top, who comes in and can also stay in the back and has this terrible slice backhand where you have to bend on your knees. Kind of my butt hurted after the first set already (laughter). No, but, I mean, she doesn't give you any shots. I mean, you just kind of always have to wait and be very patient. It was much easier to play against Monica. I mean, she hits the ball hard, so kind of just hit it hard back, see what happens. But against Jana, you always have to play out the point and be very patient. And that was very difficult for me to do in the first set. Especially, I was just too much in a hurry, made too many just easy mistakes.

Q. What about tomorrow?

MARTINA HINGIS: Tomorrow, yeah. You know, I play Lindsay or Venus. It's the same like Monica. So, I mean, I'll have -- I'm definitely not as strong as them. But, I mean, I can keep the ball in the game, use their power hopefully.

Q. Once you did get those two games, back to 4-3 in the third, seems like your body language changed. Do you feel totally different?

MARTINA HINGIS: It got colder and windier, too. So that helped me. After the first set, I don't know why, but I felt like tired. She wasn't like in best shape either. But I was like, I didn't know how to finish off the points. So that's why I try to come in. I was pretty successful on the net today. So that gave me a lot of confidence, and tried to do it more. But I didn't do it as much in the third, because you get tender and you just kind of try or hope she's going to miss something. But what was the question (laughter)?

Q. After you got back to 4-3.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, it was like getting cooler. I'm from Switzerland. Once it gets cooler, I feel better.

Q. Did today's increase in heat have an effect on your game?

MARTINA HINGIS: Increase in my heat?

Q. The hotter temperatures, did that have an effect?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, because it's been so cold. In the last three, four days, very windy. I like to play in the wind, especially like a player like Monica which hit the ball hard. You know you're going to be at least stronger from one side, and you can move them around. But against Jana, it's not very easy. You just -- especially when she comes in, you have to be very, you know, patient, and just look for it where you're going to go. It's very hard to play close to the lines. But still it helped me. I like these conditions.

Q. The other day, you said that Jana is much tougher at the end of matches than she used to be, she doesn't choke anymore or anything like that. Did anything change mentally with her that you could tell in the way she played from when she was up 4-1 in the third?

MARTINA HINGIS: I was just, you know, trying to keep -- to do the same thing as I did from the beginning of the second and third set. I was just -- I was lucky that one shot, the first point of that game. I think at 4-2, she gave me a dropshot, I hit the net, she missed that volley. I was like, "Thank God." But today, I think she didn't choke too much. I mean, I had to win that match. I had to make it myself. I mean, she would wait sometimes for me to do the errors, and I was trying, you know, to be more patient than her. Because this is my game usually. I was just trying to, you know, stay in the match and win it if possible.

Q. Jana was asked why she thought she lost. She said, "I think Martina was just a little luckier today." Then went on to explain especially on big points.

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think she was pretty lucky, the slicing down the line sometimes. I thought I had her, I had her. Then she just chip charged like down the middle of the court. I just missed that stupid forehand all the time. I was like, "No way." She was like all the way out there. She still kind of put the ball in. It was like, "This is not possible what she did out there." Maybe at the end, I had some close calls. But I don't think I was luckier today. I don't think that at all.

Q. Is a match like this going to help you regain the momentum, regain your fire, regain the things you thought maybe you need to get --

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yeah. It gives me a lot of confidence, especially to win after I was down 4-1 in the third. I mean, I know I'm in good shape now again, that mentally I got stronger again. Because sometimes I would let down, especially in matches like this, when I was down 3-1, 4-1 in the third. Which I just keep on losing, especially against like Lindsay or Monica, in the last three, four tournaments. I would always lose 6-1 in the third. I was like, "No, no, this can't happen again." It's nice to have a win like this.

Q. Your No. 1 ranking was on the line today. Were you aware of that?

MARTINA HINGIS: I knew it. I knew it (laughter). That's why I was kind of fighting. Well, I was always taught to, you know, or raised that way, that I always have pressure on myself. The harder the better. That helps me.

Q. After that bad line call, at 30-30, you went on some long tear, like 15 out of 17 points or something. Clearly you were peeved at that call. Were you aware of getting stoked up a little more than you had been before after that call?

MARTINA HINGIS: I was up 30-Love in that game. Then I would make just -- I lost the next point. Then I could have been up 40-15. Instead it was 30-All, 4-1 down. She was serving, so I was like, "Okay, great." That's where she gave me another chance to come back into the match, because the next point was very important. She could have finished it up, and she didn't. I would pass her with my forehand. It's like everybody knows, my forehand is not the strongest shot when somebody comes to the net. I would put it in, so I was happy.

Q. Was it difficult on you emotionally playing against your doubles partner and friend?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I played her so many times. I was having a winning record against her before I went on the court. I was up 6-3. I know I lost the last one. But I usually never lose two times against the same player, so I try to keep that record, too. Only Monica beat me like twice in a row. I hope that wasn't going to happen today.

Q. Can you describe the styles of play of Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport, what the specific challenges are with each player?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean about Lindsay, everybody knows, she's No. 2 in the world. She won the last three tournaments in California. That says about everything about Lindsay. She's a very solid player on hard court, in the US. She has a big chance to win the whole thing. It depends on what she's doing right now out there against Venus. But it will be nice playing Venus again in the finals, you know. I'm sure she wants to have a revenge for last year.

Q. You've played a pretty aggressive last five games of this match. Do you think a couple months ago, when you weren't winning three-set matches, it might have been your lack of aggressiveness that was causing you to lose?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah. Also because sometimes I didn't really believe in it anymore. So that's why the match against Monica helped me, that I was like, "Hey, girl, you can play tennis again." I was so happy. Yeah, especially like today, I was -- that was just mentally, I didn't give up until the last point was played. In tennis, everybody knows, until the match point is done for you, you never have won. That gave me the only, you know, shot, just go for it still.

Q. What has being No. 1 taught you about yourself? What has that taught you about yourself, what it takes?

MARTINA HINGIS: Just everybody wants to get there. That was the same for me. When I was the hunter, I just want to beat who was in front of me. At that time, it was Steffi. But she was out for a long time. So you just want to get up. I kind of -- I went very quickly for me, I improved, improved. I never got stuck at a spot in the Top 10. I kind of just went through. That was nice. Since then, I'm up there. That's a very nice feeling, you know, come to the tournament where you won before, you're the defending champion, you see your picture's out there. It's nice.



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