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March 11, 2002

Martina Hingis


Q. Talk about that match, how you thought you played.

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I played much better compared to yesterday. You know, first set was kind of flawless. I felt pretty good. Even like the conditions were a little hotter. It seems like it's getting hotter every day. No, I felt very good.

Q. Is it hard to hold focus when you win seven games in a row? Do you take it seriously after that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, I mean, everything kind of felt like -- even like the crowd was falling not asleep, but it felt like everything calmed down because I was just kind of cruising through it. It just kind of seemed so easy. With her, she's in great shape physically, so she was just waiting for her chance to come. I gave her a little opening there in the second set where she went up 2-1. 30-Love on her serve. It was good to break her right back and just kind of continue. I mean, I lost a little focus at that one point. I'm happy to have won, and the way I finished it off.

Q. You don't want to have Marcelo Rios hear how easy you think this was?

MARTINA HINGIS: No comment on that, I guess.

Q. Hantuchova was in earlier. She apparently had practiced with Henin. Justine said it made her nervous. Do you have any feeling like that?

MARTINA HINGIS: I practiced with her, too. You know, she is playing very well. I mean, she was playing well in the practice, like I said. It seems like a little playing the mirror because she has the same shots, very similar, you know, technique, as well. Because she's taller, she has more reach. It seems like I was able to hit the ball faster, you know, more speed. But she always gets there somehow. You know, in the match it would be probably a different story. We never played each other. But it would be fun definitely. She had a great tournament so far. You know, good for her.

Q. How long ago did you practice with her?

MARTINA HINGIS: Four, five days.

Q. Here?


Q. Did you play a set?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, just played, like an hour practice, points at the end.

Q. When you're practicing with somebody brand-new, you've never played before, is it partially for practice and partially to find out what they're like?

MARTINA HINGIS: When I started on the tour, I was 14, and everybody was testing me. I practiced with Steffi. I practiced with Gabriela. I just kind of tried to play my heart out there, because I'm like, "I'm playing with the No. 1 or No. 3 player in the world." It was quite an experience, very exciting, that I was given a chance to play those girls. Of course, they were testing me, as well. I played in the doubles against her, finals, at the Australian Open. That's when I first time played her in a match. Yeah, I'm looking forward to the first meeting in the singles.

Q. Could be in the finals here.

MARTINA HINGIS: Still a way to go. I mean, I'm playing well. I mean, I can't underestimate anybody. Monica seems like she's on a roll, too. I don't know. They were still playing in the third set, Coetzer and Stevenson. Any match could be a dangerous one.

Q. You talked about her having some of the same technique as you, Hantuchova. What are some of the main principles that your mom taught you about technique?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think it's also a bit mentality. I mean, I was born in Slovakia but grew up in Czech Republic. It's very similar anyway. It's not Slovenia, just the whole countries.

Q. Slavic.

MARTINA HINGIS: Slavic, right, mentality. It's just like very laid back and easygoing, very relaxed. I think that comes out also in the match, in the personality on the court.

Q. Is that how your mom taught you how to hit the ball, laid back and relaxed?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, come on. Still have to practice to be aggressive. I mean, more or less to have an all-around game. You see it with the men's, too. Novak made the semifinals. He can hit any shot. Especially the backhand, the guys make fun. "Do you just practice backhand cross-court?" All the men's players, they have very good backhands.

Q. Kucera, Mecir.

MARTINA HINGIS: Right. Even Hrbaty.

Q. How come such a small country produced so many great tennis players?

MARTINA HINGIS: Everyone was practicing. They've been playing five, six hours a day in the centers. It was hockey, soccer and tennis at the top of the sports. Just lots of quantity and quality.

Q. What's the youngest you can remember playing a tournament match? Did you play a tournament match in that country or had you already moved?

MARTINA HINGIS: No. I started playing tournaments when I was like four. But I remember when I was six playing till nine. I was eight when we moved to Switzerland.

Q. You can remember as far back as six years old playing a tournament match?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah. I mean, yeah. Those girls are still around, like Kleinova. I used to play with her. She used to be my partner in doubles in Juniors. Nagyova, as well. Even like Sernova, she's kind of a newcomer, but I used to play her, as well. There are all these girls. You probably don't really know them, but they're on the tour, they're playing, surviving.

Q. Were you always a step ahead?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes, I was kind of like three years -- in that age group, three years ahead. The same in the Juniors later on. Well, I was 12 and 13 and 14 when I was beating the 18-year-old girls. I was probably already four years ahead.

Q. Was there a big incentive to be successful? Tennis is one way to be successful in that environment, back when it was under Communism?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, definitely. There was one key to travel, open a lot of doors to a lot of things.

Q. Are you surprised how things have opened up on the other half of the draw? Henin is gone, Clijsters is gone. If Raymond wins, she'll be the highest seed left at 12.

MARTINA HINGIS: The girls, like I said, the depth is so much better these days. All these girls, even they're not maybe seeded always like top of the game, but they have the game to beat all these other ones which are seeded. Like I said, if you're not ready, you get knocked out. I mean, those girls, they play great tennis, like Hantuchova, Gagliardi. My teammate, Swiss girl. You know, sometimes if you don't watch out, you're out.

Q. Can you tell us about what you know about Smashnova and Gagliardi?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, Gagliardi I know because I practiced with her a few times, you know, back in '99 and 2000 because we played Fed Cup. Gagliardi, she's very fast. My mom also practiced, told her a few things when she was in my home practicing. She was also at Saddle Brook. There's also a lot of similarities to my game.

Q. And Smashnova, what do you know about her?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, she's physically strong. I mean, she keeps the ball in play. Sometimes that's good enough.

Q. Do you have any preferences to face either Amanda or Stevenson?

MARTINA HINGIS: They have very different games. I watched Alexandra when she played against Dementieva, that match. That was a pretty good match. She serves well. It's a matter of getting the first ball back, then see what happens. Against Amanda, I just played recently in the Australian Open. I had a great match, great win there, so...

Q. How do you feel about your own serve? Is it coming along where you want it to be? How did you serve today?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, it was okay, but I didn't really need that much more. I knew she wasn't like really attacking it or anything, even if I served a second serve. Once we got into the rally, I felt like I was always in control. I definitely have to step it up against, you know, players, if I have to play Alexandra or Amanda, or in the semis, if that would be Monica.

Q. What do you think the most important aspects of the way your mom teaches tennis?

MARTINA HINGIS: I'm not going to tell you. You watch (smiling).

Q. See it on the court?

MARTINA HINGIS: Exactly. There's no secrets here.

Q. Last year for a while you tried a couple tournaments without your mom. Now she seems to be back full-time. Have you worked out whatever minor problems or hitches you had in your relationship in terms of that?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's like if you spend 24 hours a day with one person, sometimes you have. It's not even tennis things. You sometimes have your own ideas, differences. Like sometimes you want to get burned yourself or something, you want to make your own decisions, try to do things on your own. Sometimes it's like parents know better, right?

Q. I've heard other women on the tour say, "I love my mother, but the last thing I would want is my mother involved in my professional career."

MARTINA HINGIS: No, our relationship is so good at this point, we are able to discuss anything out there. It's great to have her support and be always there for me.

Q. Pete Sampras said he actually parted with his coach because he wanted somebody who is a little further away from him. Would you say it's easier for yourself? It's hard to know somebody that well.

MARTINA HINGIS: There are also so many benefits come out of that. Like I said, I wouldn't be probably myself, I wouldn't be as disciplined as my mom is. It's a great combination that you have somebody always kind of pushing you, stepping up things. Then I would maybe sometimes be late for things. Miss a practice here, miss that. I just wouldn't be possible to coordinate all these things by myself. I have lots of friends on the tour. If I want to go, I can party. But I'm not the kind of type that has to go out every night.

Q. You see your mom more as a coach than as a friend?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, both. Like I said, like now I go out with players, we have dinner, we chat about whatever. With Monica, I can talk about anything, or Anna. I don't have to tell my mom everything.

End of FastScripts….

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