March 14, 1998
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
Q. Have you been practicing that left-handed shot?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yes. As I said later on in the interview, when I was little, like around six, seven years old, I won a tournament till nines year old. It was kind of funny. Actually, once when I had a day off, we would also at the end practice a little bit left-handed. I like it.
Q. After a tournament like this, which is your feeling about the gap, the difference, between you and the other big players?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, sometimes they beat me, sometimes I do them. At a tournament like this, I was really ready to come here. I was in very good shape. Even I play like five hours yesterday, or four hours, in the morning when I heard I have to play the finals at 11 a.m., I was like, "No way I'm going to wake up so early." I was kind of happy it rained. I was just ready. As I said yesterday, I never like to lose twice against the same player. I was pretty thrilled to come here and win the whole thing.
Q. Why were you happy it rained? Because it gave you a little more rest?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, yes. Everybody likes it if rains, and you get a little bigger break. Tennis players usually are pretty spoiled, and they don't really like to wake up early in the morning. So far, it was good. Some of the of the players, like Rios, he could never win a match at 10 a.m., but he did.
Q. You said before you're not a morning person, you like to sleep in. Is that it?
MARTINA HINGIS: That's right.
Q. Chrissy Evert said that when you're No. 1, you really don't get beat; you beat yourself. Do you feel that's a valid observation?
MARTINA HINGIS: What?
Q. When you're a No. 1 player, if you go out and get beat, it's because you beat yourself.
MARTINA HINGIS: I guess when you're younger, it's always a little bit different. You also might be tired after some tournaments. You're not a hundred percent anymore. Especially with me, when I lose against somebody, when I did lose against Venus, the first tournament, there is always a little reason why something happened. But you have to improve yourself, that it doesn't happen again to you. After the Australian Open, I was a little bit tired in Tokyo. You always have to be ready. If the other players beat you when you're not, it's your mistake.
Q. Martina, I want to make sure I understand what you said earlier. Did you say that you won a tournament for nine year olds playing entirely left-handed?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, because I had a broken finger on my right hand, so I couldn't play with my right hand.
Q. Why did you play at all with a broken finger?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I still could hit, otherwise I wouldn't be able to play at all. I just tried it with left hand. I mean, when you're little, you don't really care (laughter). I still could hit a two-handed backhand. I would put the finger away, and I could hold it with the other four. I couldn't serve. I still can't serve very well with the left hand, but I would serve from down under there, first and second serve, but I did it. Actually, I didn't win the whole thing. I came into the finals. That girl was just very scared of playing me because she would be too afraid if I would beat her left-handed, so after two weeks, after I was ready to play with right hand. But I beat her after that with the right.
Q. Where was that tournament?
MARTINA HINGIS: That was in Czech Republic, just a regional tournament.
Q. Who was the other girl, Jana Novotna (laughter)?
MARTINA HINGIS: It was also Jana, but a different one. She was two years older than me. Jana is like a decade older.
Q. How old were you when you first had a tennis racquet in your hand?
MARTINA HINGIS: I always get asked this question. I don't remember that time. Everybody told me I was three years old.
Q. Martina, at a tournament, not a Grand Slam, a regular tournament on the Corel WTA Tour, do you still get nervous when you go out for a final, or is it now just so run-of-the-mill that it doesn't matter?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I was pretty nervous when I always walk out there, especially when I played against Venus in that match. I felt I'm in good shape, but I didn't know how good she's going to be, now how Lindsay is playing. I saw her in the semis, so she really looked good out there. I was like, "I have to be ready." I was very self-confident after a couple balls. It calms me when I do like play good in the beginning, so I feel okay and I'm not nervous anymore.
Q. Are you surprised about players like Davenport and Williams which have so many expectations about the future? They start this match, lost first set 6-Love, 5-Love, they're down in the beginning.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I usually was a slow starter, but now I'm better with that. I kind of don't let them get into the match. I just played well in the beginning. Especially this tournament, I did play well from the beginning on, so I don't know.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about this year now as No. 1, going out to Key Biscayne, where you captured this position? How has your life changed? What do you enjoy about it? What do you hate about it?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, so far I can't say anything about the Tour, about being a tennis player, just professional tennis player. I just had a great last year. I'm happy going to Key Biscayne with a victory in the pocket. I couldn't ask for anything else.
Q. At the on-court ceremony, you said that Lindsay had told you how wonderful the tournament is here.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, everybody told me.
Q. Do you remember when Lindsay said the tournament was so wonderful, and what she said?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, she just kept saying that. I don't know. You just know that she loves this tournament. It's almost her hometown. It's just easy to know that.
Q. Charlie Pasarell said this morning that he thinks you're a genius on the tennis court.
MARTINA HINGIS: Who said that?
Q. Charlie Pasarell. Do you think he's got that right?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you have to say whether it's right. It can't be myself.
Q. How much of a better player are you compared to a year ago?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think some of the tournaments, like Wimbledon, I was a little bit fat there. But I still had the power, and I still won the tournament. I was in the best shape. Right now I just feel very fine. I know I'm going to have a couple days off before I go into the next tournament. I think my movement has improved. I don't have that many up and downs in the matches anymore, that I would just lose a set. I didn't lose a set here. That has changed. Especially at this tournament, the preparation for this one was very good.
Q. Is that what it is, just work more on your physical, your shape?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think just my whole body has kind of changed a little bit. When you're 16, 17, it's still a burst time for the girl. Maybe it's 18 for somebody else. For me, it was I guess last year, and now I'm getting in better shape. I feel better.
Q. Lindsay said you're faster than being credited with. Did you have any basic strategy against her today?
MARTINA HINGIS: You just have to make her move. You can't do that much against Lindsay. If you let her just being standing in one spot, she just keeps you running. So I kind of was trying to get everything back I could, with the same power, I just kind of used her power to get the balls back. Then when I had the chance, I was aggressive. Once in the first set, after I was up 5-1, I lost one service game. I kind of served very well. That was very important. I know when I played her in Tokyo that she just killed me there. I wouldn't put one first serve in. I had no chance. This time, it was different.
Q. You said yesterday you weren't -- you were talking about Tokyo, that she killed you with the forehand. You said, "Maybe I won't let her hit the forehand." Once in the match, it didn't seem -- you didn't seem to be playing particularly to her backhand.
MARTINA HINGIS: That's what I said. You have to make her move. She's not as strong hitter anymore. If you just play always to her forehand, she just keeps you running, or against Steffi, she just keeps hitting to the forehand. She was stronger, Steffi. I don't have the best forehand on the Tour, so I don't want to let her play the forehand all the time. But I would keep her running, yes.
Q. What do you do for relaxation? What do you like to do when you don't have to play tennis?
MARTINA HINGIS: I just love listen to music, go out and see movie. Like before the match, I was just be in my bed and listen to music, or watch TV. A couple times, I was just out in the pool, had lunch there, just relax, do nothing. It doesn't happen too often to me that I get the chance to lay down at the pool. I enjoy minute I'm out there.
Q. Are you surprised when a player like Lindsay comes out and starts the way she did? What goes through your mind? That you're playing very well?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I wasn't missing at all. I kind of felt like she had to risk a lot. In the beginning, when you're not warm enough, the balls, they don't go in that well as maybe at the end they did. I think they were kind of also Venus, she was a bit surprised and also nervous at the beginning. They both wanted to kill me from the first point on. Didn't work out that well for them.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Last question in English.
Q. In the back of your mind, you came so close last year to winning the Grand Slam, are you kind of hoping that maybe this year you can do it?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, if I'm going to play like this, I hope it might be possible, yes.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you.
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