Martina Hingis 1999 US Open Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 1999 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Friday, September 10, 1999
Martina Hingis defeated Venus Williams, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

An Interview With MARTINA HINGIS

Q. Can you talk about the get?

MARTINA HINGIS: It was unbelievable. I was so lucky. I put my hand there, the racquet, just went in. I don't know, my wrist was working there. I was like running, like boom, boom, boom, one step after the other. I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't believe I'm going to get it in. I came up with more of these. It happened in the past that I hit a one-hander and it went in actually.

Q. Did you think you were going to make it to the ball?

MARTINA HINGIS: I knew I'm going to make it to the ball, but I don't know where I'm going to hit. It went into the corner. I'm like, "Yeah."

Q. Were you surprised by the amount of service breaks in the third set?

MARTINA HINGIS: I said before the match that it's going to be the key, whoever is going to serve better at the end. My game is not like the service. I'm more the groundies. Once I'm in the rally, I try to get myself a chance to, you know, make the point. I think her type of game is more dependent on how she serves. If she gets a good serve in, she's aggressive and she hits the balls better. At the end, just kept breaking each other. Like once I held serve, I'm like, "Yeah, I broke."

Q. You said you were so lucky. Is luck, frame shots, let cords, bad calls, does that play a role in tennis?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think luck is always on the side of the better player at that moment. I mean, she was lucky at that one net call. Having game point, I came to the net. I hit a good, solid volley. She was like barely there on the forehand. She hit and the ball went over. I was there, and I was like, "Yeah, right." I think at certain stages, you're just the more lucky one if you want it more.

Q. How tired were you in the fifth game?


Q. That was an incredible string of rallies.

MARTINA HINGIS: I was exhausted after 2-All and I didn't make that game. The wind wasn't such a factor, but I was playing with the wind. I felt like I need to get that game. I was like, you know, "I lost that one." But she like didn't serve that well in the next game. I was like, "Okay, keep her on the run and see." I know how it feels to play three sets. I know that I was exhausted, but I could find myself better in that game again. When I played Steffi, I know like always the older one, and she was always experienced, physically in great shape. It always can count that at the end. I was thinking about, "She must get cramps, too. She can't be so fresh, too." At the end, it paid off, believing that you still hanging in the match.

Q. What are your thoughts about playing her sister tomorrow?

MARTINA HINGIS: Another one (laughter). I was so far never able at the same tournament to beat both of them. But, you know, hopefully there is always a first time. I'm going with no, like, huge expectations into tomorrow's match. Of course, I want to win. We both had tough matches today. Just tomorrow, you know, whoever is more patient, more calm in that match is going to win, I guess.

Q. There has to be a point were you know that Serena won that match, Richard Williams is halfway to his prediction. Any time you were going out on the court saying, "No way"?

MARTINA HINGIS: You always have that back in your head. I came out there and I wasn't that nervous. I was just focused. I was kind of cruising in that first set. I saw later on, I had like two unforced errors in the first set. I'm like, "Pretty good." I kind of laid back a little bit. I was always like one shot not good enough in the second set, and she came bouncing back. In the third, it was just kind of a mental game, whoever is going to, you know, be more patient basically, and who can stay in the shots longer.

Q. What is the sort of Williams experience like, to have this whole two weeks dominated by them, to have to play one, play the other?

MARTINA HINGIS: I didn't play doubles, so I had enough time to coordinate everything, you know. I was, like, you know, Lindsay, when she went on court, I mean, you know, it's just watching both of them, that match, I think today was great women's tennis. I mean, the fans, they saw really a lot. It's a bit nerve-wracking when you watch them, and you know you have to be next on court against Venus. They're three against me. With talking, I can't beat them. I know that (laughter). So I have to, you know, try to beat them on court.

Q. In a way, Venus obliged you to play more her game than hers. You answered power with power.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, but I'm known for that type of game: the more power you put, the more I can use it, kind of do something with it. At the end, I was like pressuring her. That's why I got a little bit tired there at 3-2 when I was down. Then I just decided, you know, "Keep doing it." Then when it was kind of like even, I just tried to put the ball back, not go for too much. Then she had to do something, and she start missing. Kind of changed a bit strategy there in the end.

Q. Are you able to think about Serena and the match or are you so excited about what just happened?

MARTINA HINGIS: Right now I don't really care what's going to happen tomorrow. It's still today, I'm enjoying my victory now.

Q. Were you motivated at all going into today that a lot of people were rooting for a Williams-Williams final?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't think so. That crowd today, it was great. I mean, very even, very fair to me. I kind of enjoyed the New York crowd today. It was a great atmosphere. It was also great tennis. I kind of enjoyed that. I just didn't want that final to happen, Williams-Williams.

Q. Originally it was an afternoon match. Did you make any adjustments preparing for a night match?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, you don't really think about that. You have to keep waiting. I mean, the last three, four days, have been not that great anyway. I played two night matches before. It's the same for both. I didn't really care. Didn't bother me. Just have a little bit problems with the contacts. I didn't know whether to put the sunny ones or the other ones.

Q. Could you tell when she was starting to hurt or did it take until she started to shake out her legs that you knew she was cramping?

MARTINA HINGIS: I knew she was getting a bit tired, too. I let her run a lot. I was like expecting it to come -- not expecting, but I was hoping for it, let's say that. I knew it happened before to her, too, like when we played two years ago in Sydney, that she started cramping. I know it happened to me. I was just trying to keep her on the run basically, go right-left, go right-left, so it happened even earlier.

Q. Did you cramp tonight?


Q. But you lost that match that you cramped against her.

MARTINA HINGIS: I know. It was terrible. I get so influenced by it. I was so stupid.

Q. Is that when you looked up and said, "This has happened before"?


Q. "I'm not going to be influenced this time"?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I was already up 5-3. There it was 5-All when it happened. She was kind of always -- you know, even like today, I served a good solid first serve, and she kind of hit a really good return down the middle. I was too late. Then I was like, "Come on, you can't just think about that. She's going to give up." At that time she tries even harder. I have to give her credit for that.

Q. When you hear or read, not just from Richard, that they are so big and strong, it's inevitable they're going to dominate, what does that do?

MARTINA HINGIS: I just go out there on court and try to beat them. That's all I can do. I don't want to fight with words. As I said before, I can't beat them with words.

Q. "I'm still here, only 18 years old, how can they say that?"

MARTINA HINGIS: I'm not going to say that, because the results and the rankings shows it all.

Q. Serena is outside practicing now. What are your plans for the rest of the evening?

MARTINA HINGIS: She's outside practicing?

Q. Yes.

MARTINA HINGIS: Right. Go more and get cramps, too. Work really hard. I'm going to have a massage. That's what I'm going to do.

Q. Your very first answer this evening was something about being lucky.

MARTINA HINGIS: Second to the last point, I was lucky there, but not the other. I mean, I worked for it, to make myself the match point and win that match.

Q. Because of this interview now, you've spoken about a few things, somebody got cramping somewhere. If there's one factor in this US Open with Sampras withdrawing because of injury, Rafter was defeated two sets to love, something happens to his shoulder, don't you think about having to be skillful, we all know that. Do you think all these unavoidable, unexpected things that can happen to us on the court should make us humble?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't understand much. I just can say one thing, you know. I love that statement by Martina Navratilova. She said, "Anybody can get in good shape. Anybody can get well physically, good condition." I never really use that, but I worked on myself and that's where I am today. I wouldn't be without that in the finals of, you know, the US Open today.

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