March 13, 1998
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
WTA SPOKESPERSON: Martina has doubles at 5:00. So we're going to ask quick questions. Starting with English.
Q. Martina, a big difference between the first set and the second. Was it a case of you just starting well or her being very off at the start? What happened?
MARTINA HINGIS: She started playing a lot better. I mean, she didn't miss much anymore. She was just a lot more focused in the second set. Especially in the first game, she hit some big serves. Then I was kind of, you know, let myself get down. I was pretty satisfied winning the first set 6-Love. But then I just started playing, you know, just continuing to play well. I was up 4-2. I broke her at 3-2 or something like that. Then I had my chance at 4-3 serving. I just made some errors there, which I shouldn't do. But I'm still happy with the way it came out. I won the tiebreaker. It was a great match. I'm sure the crowd liked it at the end.
Q. Are you going to run out of goals, Martina?
MARTINA HINGIS: Sorry?
Q. Are you going to run out of goals, things to achieve?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, goals. Not yet, no. I still have some in front of me, especially the one which is coming, which is the French Open. I still didn't win that one. I'm looking forward to play there, but just take it step-by-step. Still there's the finals tomorrow against Lindsay. I lost against her last tournament, she just killed me there, I could say. I hope it's not going to be the same thing the next match.
Q. Do you feel a rival starting between you and Venus?
MARTINA HINGIS: With Williams or who?
Q. Yeah, with Williams.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I won this match, she won the last one. So far it's like 3-1, 4-1. It was more important like today, I beat her. I beat her at the U.S. Open. But I think if she's going to continue play like in the second set, there are not many players which could, you know, hold against that level she had there. I think she's going to be very dangerous if she's going to play like this.
Q. Martina, she just said she anticipates she and Serena will be the No. 1 and 2 players in tennis.
MARTINA HINGIS: She said it again? Nothing new anymore.
Q. What do you make of that?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, so far she's not. I mean, one day if I'm probably not playing anymore, she could get there (laughter).
Q. Martina, obviously every victory is satisfying with respect to who you play. But is it a bit more satisfying to score a victory over someone like Venus Williams when you hear comments such as that?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, of course. I mean, nobody would like to lose against players like this, especially when they're saying they're going to be No. 1. So far I'm at that place. There's Lindsay No. 2. We're in the finals again. They have to improve yet.
Q. Do you see tomorrow's match as a battle for No. 1? Do you think you have it firmly?
MARTINA HINGIS: We both had tough semifinals. She against Steffi, not an easy match. She got through there. Me against Venus. We both -- I think that was the best semifinals you could get at this tournament. We both kind of managed to get through to the finals. So tomorrow we'll see, yeah, who's going to be better.
Q. Martina, when was the last time that you went over to hug your mom when it was not a final?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it was a semifinal. She was never so close. I mean, sometimes at the Grand Slams, she's just high up. You can't even reach there. Maybe Venus or Lindsay, they can, but not me (laughter).
Q. Martina, when you're playing someone, I know it happens very seldom, but when you're playing someone you've lost to the last time, does that help you?
MARTINA HINGIS: That motivates me even more, yes, of course. I don't like to lose against the same player all the time, just match by match. But, yeah, I'm always more focused if I lose to somebody, yes.
Q. Did you watch yesterday's semifinal?
MARTINA HINGIS: I watched it, yes, till 1-Love in the third. Then I watched it on TV till the end.
Q. What were your feelings about the semifinal?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think they just played a great match, both. Lindsay just hit very hard groundstrokes, she tried to let her move. Steffi was just slicing back. Hit some great forehands. Actually, the forehand cross-courts they were hitting just so hard. It was like, "Okay. What am I going to do if I'm going to play one of these players? I'm just not going to let them play the forehand, hopefully." I think it was a very exciting match, seeing Steffi playing well again. Unfortunately, she had to pull out. We'll see what's going to happen later.
Q. Are you improving all the time? Do you feel you're a much better player than you were six months ago or a year ago?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, definitely. Just everything has improved. The whole women's tennis, as you can see. Steffi played the semifinals out there against a different player, against Lindsay, a different player than when she stopped. The tennis has just so much improved. Steffi is not the dominator on the court anymore. She would just try to keep the ball in the game. With the slice backhand, I think it's not as easy as it was before anymore. Both players, me and Lindsay, Venus, just have good groundstrokes, not a weakness anymore.
Q. It seems that you very clearly raise the level of your game in big matches, whether it's Anna or Venus or Lindsay. Do you particularly enjoy these rivalry matches? Aside from your concentration, what improves in these matches?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yeah. That's what you train for, what you do out there. The competition, if you play players which are not as good ranked as the other ones, you don't have to improve yourself. I did play well in the first couple matches also, but the scores were a lot easier. It's much more exciting to play a player like Venus or Lindsay where you go out there, you're nervous, you don't know what's going to happen. You just want to try to win.
Q. About being nervous, playing Davenport, players around now, Williams, Williams, Majoli, Kournikova, Davenport, et cetera, who do you find toughest to play and why?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think Lindsay so far. She's the only one which has beaten me in the past. Venus, but Lindsay is the No. 2. I think she right now belongs to be No. 2. She belongs to be there at that place.
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