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September 5, 1999

Martina Hingis

Flushing Meadows, New York City

Q. Is that the toughest she's played you?

MARTINA HINGIS: In a while, yeah. In the beginning when we first played each other, it was '96 already, and it was a three-setter, so basically I played her most of the Grand Slam tournaments. So, but, you know, today was tough. Tough conditions, and also a long, long day at the office today. A lot of waiting around, you know, at 6 o'clock they tell you you're the night match. You know, so it was kind of -- but, you know, you go up there, have dinner and then try to fold -- at least you get the time and go out there and play. It's the same for both.

Q. There was a little confusion. There was an announcement made after the womens' match that your match was being put off to another session, meaning not today.

MARTINA HINGIS: Another session? The night session, yeah. (Laughing) .

Q. Okay. What did they mean by that?

MARTINA HINGIS: I guess, but everybody was, like, "You're playing today or what are you doing?" You know, I'm playing the night match. We knew, the players knew what's going on.

Q. Part of being a pro, of course, is dealing with these delays, and, of course, especially at Wimbledon.

Q. But what's the one key thing in handling having a match, a big match, being put off for so long and just waiting and waiting?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean just you have to go with it, with that call. And it's like at the end we both were happy we got to play. They said it might rain at 6:30, it might rain at 7:00 we were able to play the match and finish it up. So, in a way, it's good for me. I mean, it's like I don't have to play tomorrow. Another day waiting around, because they expect some rain tomorrow, too. But what do you do? You just hang around, basically. There's not much you can do because you don't want to get too tired. But you're kind of always like -- because you don't know what Mary Joe is going to do, what's going to happen to her, is she going to finish? Are you right away the next match? It's like, "All right." You don't know what to expect.

Q. Do you eat in small portions, or do you just --

MARTINA HINGIS: I had lunch, like at 6 o'clock when they told us you're the night match, I went up there and had some pasta. But, of course you don't want to eat like a huge American portion because then you just -- (laughter) .

Q. A huge what portion?

MARTINA HINGIS: American-style, you know, you get a huge plate and a lot of pasta on that plate.

Q. Martina, did you learn anything from Mary Joe's fast start against Venus that you'll use against her in the next round?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, I haven't played that great, you know, at this tournament. Not that great. I played some good matches, solid matches, but it's, I mean, you just always play different against a player, you know what to do. And I'm sure Venus, you know, is going to play different against me. But both sisters were struggling a little bit, you know, but I have to take care of myself right now.

Q. Their father said that they shouldn't play doubles; they should each focus just on the singles. What's your philosophy about playing doubles, and why aren't you playing doubles here?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I figured that thing out already, not playing the doubles. I didn't play at the California tournaments, and I'm not playing now also. So... I'm a step ahead, I guess. For once.

Q. Can you describe why, though?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's just too much waiting around. I mean, you got better things to do than waiting for your doubles match, I guess. If some players, you know, they fit -- it fits their schedule, they want to play doubles. I used to be like that, too, I was like gives me some more attention to do something, and I'd rather play doubles in practice too much, but I think I change in that way a little bit. Practice is better. You get your times and then you just leave the stadium; it's not like sitting around and waiting for a doubles match.

Q. Does the actual match, playing doubles, help your game in singles?

MARTINA HINGIS: It did for a while. But I gained confidence, and everybody knew I was able to hit some volleys, too. But I would never really use them in my singles match, so I just try to evolve that. And I think also the competition, you know, became so much effort to play all the tournaments with the doubles; so it just makes no sense anymore. Not for me right now. If you want to keep, you know, playing well at these tournaments, the little ones, and then also the Grand Slam. Because you saw Venus finish her match and now she also played the doubles. I mean, it's just sometimes, it's just too tough. Sometimes if you wind up in a Grand Slam, you just lose energy and waste energy, too, with that.

Q. Martina, the past couple months obviously have been a time for real growth, real learning for you. If you could step back and say what the one thing you really learned during this period was, what would that be? Could you reflect on that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Which period?

Q. Since Paris.


Q. And London.

MARTINA HINGIS: Just basically knowing what I want more. Just focus on my tennis and that's all I want to do right now. And that became, you know, better player since then. I think more on the court, physically I got better, I can last longer in a match, in a three-setter, and I still feel good. And not just, I guess, things happen or go a different way, a wrong way, and then you can try to resolve everything. A lot of conversation, I'd say, also with my mom and Mario. That's what you learn from. It's like education. You know, you have to grow. One day. Mature.

Q. Informal education?

MARTINA HINGIS: Right. (Laughter). I still think it's true you have a better school in here. Maybe not later on, but what I've learned.

Q. Your mother obviously has been your coach throughout, and aside from her tremendous familiarity with all aspects of you, as a tennis coach, what do you think her greatest strength is?

MARTINA HINGIS: She's got so much willpower and a goal, and she's working on that. And she's a perfectionist, I'd say, too. If there is a little thing, you know, goes wrong, she always wants to get everything, you know, settled and perfect. And very disciplined, also. Because I'm more of a like, laid-back person and she's there for me and pushes me; otherwise, I would be like, "Yeah, whatever." But that's a great combination.

Q. Martina, you always practice by using basketball. It sounds unique. Why?

MARTINA HINGIS: I just like different things. It's just keeping me interested in doing something. If I just be hitting the balls, the yellow little things, I would go crazy. But it keeps me awake, keeps me busy.

Q. Martina, do you think that having your parent as your coach is the best formula for a tennis player?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think for a tennis player, it's very important that you have somebody on your side, along you that you can trust and is always there for you. It's on your side, you know, because some other players, you feel like they always want to you use you or want to get a piece of your cake, too, especially if you're good, at the top. So it's from your parents; they're always there for you and they try to do the best for you.

Q. Do you have a psychological advantage over Arantxa, do you think? You've won twelve matches in a row.

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I also won a bit today because I beat her so far all the time, or most of the times. Not only -- the first time I lost. But in big matches, like at the Grand Slams, I always came out as a winner. That's why today, too, basically. Because she was tough today. I mean, she wouldn't miss some shots she would miss two weeks ago. But I knew she's -- couldn't be much worse than there. So I would figure it's going to be tough. You cannot underestimate anybody, especially not right now. Not here.

Q. Were you surprised the way she came back on you in the first set?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, no. I knew it was going to be a difficult match. Sometimes with the wind, you don't know. It's against the wind; you feel like weight lifting, and with the wind, you basically have to be on the service line and try not to miss and make a winner.

Q. Is this the kind of match you needed to test you going into the later rounds?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think, you know, you have to go through certain matches, certain parts of, you know, during the whole tournament. It's two weeks, and you get to play so many matches if everything goes well. There's always a different type of player. If you want to come out as a champion, you have to beat everybody, the fast players, the slow players, just anybody.

End of FastScripts….

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