March 23, 1997
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
MARTINA HINGIS: I have a nice present for you. There's a cute thing I found on the court. One of Venus' pearls.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: We'll take questions for Martina in English first.
Q. Were you nervous after three games?
MARTINA HINGIS: I came on the court. I wasn't nervous at all. I just couldn't hit the ball the way I wanted to hit it. She started pretty well. I started to serve. I was with the wind. I just didn't serve so well. She was very aggressive in the beginning, and I wasn't really ready at that time. But later I started to improve my game a little bit. What I said in the locker room to my mom, "I kind of made her play worse than I did." I felt pretty comfortable with my game today, better than two days ago.
Q. How long did it take you to get used to the pace of the balls that she hits?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you saw. I had a breakpoint when it was 2-Love on her serve. I played against the wind, and it's hard to beat. She is a very powerful player from the baseline, too. She has a lot of topspin on it, too. She makes the pace, she makes the court free for herself, so it's hard to get it back. I knew I had some chances. I made some points. Then I came to serve with the wind, it was a lot easier then.
Q. You said that you wanted to play her, that you were looking forward to playing her. How would you sum it up?
MARTINA HINGIS: Louder, please.
Q. Earlier you said you really wanted to play her. How would you sum up the experience?
MARTINA HINGIS: For me when I was on the court, it was just a player. As the other one, too, she's the same age as I am, two heads taller or maybe three. It's weird. I just didn't grow so much when I was little. It's different. It doesn't seem that she's the same age as I am at all. But it's a different feeling to be out there on the court, the same age player as an opponent. That never happened before. I just played Anna before, and she's a year younger.
Q. Obviously you try not to feel pressure, you shouldn't feel pressure, you're still so much on the way up. Before a match like this, do you feel pressure because of the situation and the way everybody's talking?
MARTINA HINGIS: I didn't feel the pressure. Well, there was a little bit because, you know, you're No. 1 and you kind of have responsibility to players who are lower ranked than you are. I just didn't want to lose to her, as nobody else wants to lose to her. You never want to lose to somebody who is the same age as you are, even younger, who is usually the worse player than you. At the moment, there are many lower ranked than I am. I just wanted to go out there and have fun, play a good match.
Q. Martina, were you here last night?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, I saw the game. It was a good match, yes.
Q. After seeing her, did you think, "I'm going to have trouble tomorrow, it's going to be interesting," or, "I can handle what she's going to throw"?
MARTINA HINGIS: From what I saw, Jenny first made a lot of pressure, she wanted to make the pace. She was playing very powerful. I think I can do that against her because I'm not as strong as Jenny for one reason. Jennifer also made a lot of mistakes. She was leading. She just lost the concentration a little bit or, I don't know, she was maybe nervous. I don't know how she felt. She just also never gives up, Venus. For sure she's going to be a good player, if she's going to play more matches, get used to all this what happens around the tournament.
Q. Seeing that last night, did you get worried a little bit or were you confident coming in today?
MARTINA HINGIS: I was confident because I knew I have a different game anyway. I can talk about that match or just make something -- or make a tactic from that match I saw because I have a completely different game.
Q. She said you have a weak serve. Do you agree? Do you believe you have a weak serve?
MARTINA HINGIS: Me?
MARTINA HINGIS: Today for sure. But she made a lot of mistakes with my second serves. She just tried to hit it and make points from it. She made like I don't know how many points. It wasn't so good as the other day against Jennifer. She served better, she made a lot of points, but also a lot of mistakes from my second serve.
Q. Did you see a long rivalry in years to come?
MARTINA HINGIS: It's hard to say. Today I won. We'll see what's going to happen next time. I mean, there are so many other players, too, which I'm worried about.
Q. Do you think she's going to be around, playing you many, many times?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, she's going to play more tournaments, improve. If she would play more tournaments, she would -- more matches, she would know what she should do in particular points or games.
Q. If she adds some finesse, do you know that word, what it means?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes.
Q. If she adds some finesse to her game, is she going to be almost unbeatable?
MARTINA HINGIS: You can't say. You can't tell. If she's going to have that, you don't know what other mistakes she would make. I have my good points, and I have also my bad things.
Q. Martina, you made some big volleys in key situations. Does your doubles play help you to trigger that?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, also. I think today most of the time, mainly I won with my head that much. I just was thinking a lot on the court because I knew I'm not hitting the ball as well as I also did the other tournaments, so I just tried to think a lot and make her play. Today I tried to change the rhythm, come to the net, be more aggressive, something.
Q. Martina, if you put her errors away for a minute, you've played all the women who hit hard, the Steffis and Monicas many times. Is there anything about the way she hits the ball or any part of her game that is different or more dangerous than those other women?
MARTINA HINGIS: For sure she likes if you hit it very powerful to her. She just makes the court look so small, you don't really -- against other girls, sometimes we make the points already. Against her, you don't because she's always kind of there. She makes one, two steps and she's there. That's a difference against her. The faster you play, the faster the ball comes back. Sometimes against the other players, they just try to hit it somehow. She just hits it even harder or better back.
Q. Martina, was it quite alarming playing someone quite so tall when she was running to the net and that sort of thing?
MARTINA HINGIS: That's one of these things. She looks very tall on the court, when she steps into the net. There is still a lot of space to pass her. From what I saw yesterday, her volleys are not so good as maybe some other players which are smaller. She doesn't really know where the ball is going to go.
Q. She's certainly hard to lob, though?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, that was hard today (laughter). That's harder.
Q. Martina, Venus was very certain in here last night that she's going to be No. 1 at some point.
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, really? Well, I'm going to beat her there, for sure.
Q. Her comment last night was when she's No. 1, her chief rival will be her sister Serena.
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, that's nice. That's a lot of self-confidence, which I don't -- slowly I'm getting there. I don't have so much self-confidence after winning one match.
Q. You don't have a sister.
MARTINA HINGIS: That's true.
Q. Martina, the younger players, everybody groups you, Anna Kournikova, Venus, you've played Venus, Kournikova, there might be some others. Who do you regard the one player who will give you the most problems over the years coming up, or is there anyone?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I haven't played Anna for a long time. Before she played against Miyagi, I played just ten minutes with her, just kind of hit it. We played just a couple points, maybe five minutes. She hit the ball very hard and very fast, and she won the match very easily later. I think she's going to improve. If she's going to be allowed to play more tournaments, she can be dangerous. It's hard to talk about these girls because I think I'm much more worried about other players than actually those two because they are not on the Tour all the time. I think Rubin is a tough player, Lindsay Davenport, she won last week that tournament, Irina Spirlea, Anke Huber didn't play so well for last two weeks. I always had hard matches against Anke.
Q. You worry about the ones, the players who are already here and established?
MARTINA HINGIS: Right. Jana Novotna, she beat me last two time.
Q. Does Venus hit it as hard as Mary Pierce, for instance, can you measure the speed?
MARTINA HINGIS: From the baseline?
Q. Yes. Does she have as much pace as some of the others?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think Monica hits it very hard, if she's in good shape. Well, Steffi for sure, from her forehand. Mary Pierce hits it very hard, too. But Monica, I think she's the toughest player.
Q. Do you ever wish you hit it hard like some of these girls do?
MARTINA HINGIS: Sometimes I try (laughter). I just try to hit it even faster than they do. I need the power from them. If I get to the ball, I can use the power from their points or their games. It's hard to make the power from myself. I'm just playing with a long body, and it helped me a lot already, but it's still hard.
Q. Does it make you more proud to hit a big winner with a hard shot or to make a great passing shot?
MARTINA HINGIS: It really does, yes.
Q. Martina, were you ever tempted to stop your studies, were you ever tempted, or was it never a question that you would stop your studies and go full-time?
MARTINA HINGIS: Never really it was a question. As long as when I play the junior tournaments, I was still -- I still could do it with the school together. In Switzerland it's too hard to mix it up.
Q. Do you regret at all not having a chance to learn more?
MARTINA HINGIS: I was never thinking about it to go really to school, as soon as I got the chance to play tennis as a job, be a professional, I spend so many weeks on the Tour, all the years, so I stopped.
MARTINA HINGIS: Physically, I'm not as tall as Venus or Steffi. I think it's a good sport to do if you're not that tall as the other girls are. If I couldn't walk, you mean, if I would be in a wheelchair or something?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have to give an answer to this question.
Q. Martina, how long have you been playing with the long body?
MARTINA HINGIS: Since Australia.
Q. That was the first tournament?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes. And I haven't lost a match since there yet.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: One last question in English.
Q. Martina, Monica told us the other day that she was hitting with you when she broke her finger, that it was on a serve in a practice match.
MARTINA HINGIS: That was in an exhibition match actually, or before. I don't really know.
Q. Do you remember when it happened?
MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, a ball boy throw her the ball. I don't know how she caught it, but she broke her finger. She played the match. I don't know how she tried to play it. It wasn't my mistake, no.
Q. The way she put it, correct me if I'm wrong anybody, the way I understand it, she said she was catching a serve, catching one of your serves.
MARTINA HINGIS: That's not true. A ball boy did it, I think.
Q. A ball boy was throwing the ball?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah. But I don't really know. She must know it better. I just don't want to tell you (laughter).
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