March 9, 1998
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
Q. She gave you a struggle the first couple of games, but after that, you took care of her pretty quickly?
MARTINA HINGIS: She hit some great shots in the beginning. I was always kind of off, I felt like I won the first game easily, then I was up 40-Love. It was like, "Hey, wait a minute, you play pretty good." Twice in a row I had breakpoints and didn't do it. The third time I felt, "Okay, this time I can do it." Since then, I didn't lose one more game.
Q. What do you get out of a match like that?
MARTINA HINGIS: Just felt great out there today. You know, I was concentrating from the beginning on. I just had so much fun. I just enjoyed the game today. If you play like this, there's nothing else to think about.
Q. Martina, you're usually, at least the nine months when you go to a tournament, everyone goes to see your matches, everyone talks about you, all the fans want to get a glimpse of you.
MARTINA HINGIS: I haven't got the picture on the ticket yet (laughter). Like four different players, but not me, I saw. I don't think everybody talks about me (laughter).
Q. What I was going to say was, there's been a lot of attention put on Graf since she returned.
MARTINA HINGIS: She doesn't got the picture on the ticket yet (laughter).
Q. Is that okay with you, for her to be getting that much attention?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, I'm fine with that. I mean, she practiced twice next to me. I also looked over a couple times because I also want to know what's going on with her, you know, whether she comes back, what she's going to do in the matches. Yeah, it's exciting.
Q. I know that a couple days ago you said you don't look at her right now as someone you have to beat, but I think she's the only player on tour with a significant winning record against you. A couple years down --
MARTINA HINGIS: Like 13 or 14 years old by that time. When I came up, I didn't have the chance to play against her anymore, so that's a little different story than I had against some other players.
Q. So then this year, at the top of your game, would it be good for you to go out and play her and show her how good you've gotten?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I would love to play against her one day, one time, yes. But right now, I just think I have to go step-by-step. There are other players which I have to beat first. So far she's going to be on the other side of the draw, the semis anyway. We both first have to get there and then we'll see.
Q. Martina, 1997 was such a clear run for you. Results were just brilliant, not to say that they haven't been this year. Starting 1998, did you think it was going to be tougher for you?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it was tough enough for me to start 1998. I didn't do that well in the first tournament. I lost in Sydney against Williams. But then, I guess, kind of that match helped me to focus on the Grand Slam. I think that was my toughest Grand Slam to win so far. I hope the year's going to continue like that.
Q. But did you expect it to be tough?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, of course. I always said, "This is going to be one of my most important years," yes. I kind of have to defend everything I've played. It's not an easy job to do right now.
Q. And so far on what you've defended and had to play, compared to last year, do you think it was easier getting to that level?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, yes. Well, you always have to take it step-by-step. At that time when you do it, it's never easy. But afterwards, you think, "Well, that was a great year; now I have to do the same thing, or I want to do the same thing as last year." But I think everybody has gotten better in the women's tennis. And the fields are much stronger than probably at the beginning of the last year. Everybody's ready.
Q. Martina, you know Brad Gilbert, Andre Agassi's coach, he mentioned about having coaches on court after a set. How would you feel about being able to have a coach come down at the end of a set to get tips?
MARTINA HINGIS: I just heard about it today from friends, also a reporter. Well, it depends on the player, I guess. For some players, it would be an advantage to have. For some, you know, which are thinking a lot in the match by themselves, so I don't really care. There has been coaching anyway. Well, not in a big way (laughter). You know, you always have a person with you. You kind of look at him, or me, I look at my mom. She wouldn't tell you strategies, because you're out there by yourself. You have to do it by yourself. She can't really help you. Well, I don't think it's a bad idea to have like after the first set. It's like Federation Cup or Davis Cup. For me, it doesn't really matter. It's not a big difference. I think it would be very good for young players, so they would get experience. Sometimes from the starting out, they don't know what to do, so the coach could help. But a routine player like Sampras or Courier or Goran, I don't think they need it anymore.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Any last questions?
Q. Martina, this is a question about your volley, a technical question. What do you think is the most important thing you think about when you're volleying? You're kind of the all-court player, new breed. What is the most important thing?
MARTINA HINGIS: Just somehow get it in (laughter). Now I have much more self-confidence since I play also very well doubles. I just feel very good at the net now especially. You have to prepare your point that way, that you can close it out somehow. Just play to the other side, not where the opponent is.
Q. Just in case you play Anna in the next round, what are your thoughts on that? The match at the Australian Open is probably the best one you'll have ever played against each other.
MARTINA HINGIS: From her side, yes; not from mine. It was the toughest match, I would say, at the Australian Open. She had two struggles so far. That would be, for sure, a great match if I would play her. She has one more round to go. Who does she play?
Q. Conchita. Are some of your most emotional victories against Anna, Wimbledon, Australian, seems like some of your emotional victories have been against her, French Open, too?
MARTINA HINGIS: I always say it's not easy to play against a younger player. Everybody's always trying to make me or get me another rivalry out there. I always try to be prepared for that match, if I play either Anna or Venus, or if I'm going to play Mirjana for sure. It's a different match.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Last question.
Q. Did you do any riding yesterday, Martina, or just watch it?
MARTINA HINGIS: I just watched it (laughter).
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you.
MARTINA HINGIS: Thank you.
End of FastScripts....