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March 9, 2007

Martina Hingis


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Martina, please.

Q. Martina, last year you made a statement that it was really fun because everybody is so happy to see you back, things like that. Does that feeling still exist, because the fans still feel the same way? They're delighted to have you back.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think if you watched the match today, then -- I mean I definitely had the feeling. I don't know about you, but I think it still felt like that. Like maybe the first set was really good tennis. The second as well. I came in a lot. There was some fun points, both sides, so I think that's good for women's tennis and I think people enjoy that.

Q. And they enjoy you.
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, it's not a boring tennis I play, so it's not just hitting and hitting and hitting over and over again. I think I've got variety in my game. And I think people understand my game better than what I used to because they realized, once I wasn't playing, that something was missing.

Q. Martina, you played a 16-year-old girl from Denmark today. How do you think she did?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think in the beginning she was a little bit nervous. We played each other once before in Seoul, also first round. Yeah, I think she's very talented. I mean, she can go a long way. She already improved from the last time I played her till now.
There's always, you know, little things you can adjust. I mean, I'll see her soon in Copenhagen again, so... Maybe also in Miami, but, you know, she's getting there. I mean there's -- yeah, there's definitely some potential.

Q. When was it the first time you played her, Martina? Was it last year?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, it was Seoul. I believe that's in October, October was that, yeah. It's a smaller event.

Q. With women's tennis very strong how do you feel about -- when your game gets better and better, you also create better competitors because they've got to improve their game. Do you see that happening, that the leaders, like yourself, are bringing others up and it's making it tougher to beat them?
MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, of course. I mean, especially in players, you know, the young generation. I mean, they play differently and you have to raise the levels so they don't beat you. I mean, it's always good playing someone like Caroline because she's definitely an upcoming player.
She's -- you always have to watch out for the juniors because they keep the intensity high in the level of women's tennis, but they bring into tennis usually something different and usually more speed. They go with the future, and if you don't watch out, you know, you can get beaten.
And I definitely made sure it didn't happen today, but it's, yeah, everybody who's playing well, you try to beat. And everyone's raising each other's level. Yeah, the competition is getting greater.

Q. Were you pretty satisfied with your game overall today?
MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, definitely. I mean I tried to, you know, do some things, come in more. As I did, I won a lot of points at the net, so, of course, that is satisfying. And hopefully, I can bring that in against the top players, as well.
I mean, sometimes you don't have the opportunities. It's definitely different. But if I can, you know, earn my spot up there and put some pressure on the lower or higher ranked players, then that's the only way how I can succeed.
And, you know, it's getting easier. It gets -- matches get easier this way. Definitely, when I needed it today, I came in and I made some, you know, faster points. You don't get as tired.

Q. Earlier this afternoon Roger was asked about some of the changes that are happening in tennis, and one of the points raised was the on-court coaching in women's tennis. His response, paraphrasing, was that he can't understand why people are trying to meddle with aspects of the game. He just hopes and hopes that something like on-court coaching will not be introduced on a permanent basis. What are your thoughts?
MARTINA HINGIS: This question has been raised so many times already, you know. I'm 26. You know, I've been on tour for a long time. There's not many things which people can tell me, you know, what to change and what to do. You know, if I don't see myself on court, then, you know, I'm -- if I can't change it within like two, three games, then I'm doing something wrong or right.
I don't think it helps me necessarily, but I think for the young generation, the upcoming players, it can sometimes change the momentum and it can help. Someone like Wozniacki or Radwanska, or like girls around 20 years of age, it might change sometimes.
I mean, you could see even when Maria played in Tokyo that, you know, she had lost the first set and then she came out and crushed the second and third sets, 6-1, 6-1. It definitely helped in that situation. So I don't know. Sometimes it's just like the positive thinking of the coach and change the momentum around, even if you're one set down or something, it can help. I mean there's -- it's more or less. I mean, whatever brings attention to the game. I mean there's coaching done, you know, no matter what. So that makes it a little bit more easy and legal. I don't know.

Q. So you're not opposed to it?
MARTINA HINGIS: I am. I mean, whatever. I'm not afraid of it. I mean, I'm -- you know, if it's interesting for the fans and viewers on TV, whatever helps the game, I'm for it.
But if people don't like it, they don't. If they do, they do. I mean, for me, it doesn't really make a big difference, I think.

Q. But as a coach, we always have to follow the principle that we are trying to teach young people to be independent thinkers, and now we're putting into effect a ruling that possibly makes players more dependent on the coach. Do you see any controversy?
MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. I mean, I don't think it's a big thing after a set to say two or three words to the player. You have it in Davis Cup, Fed Cup, you have the coaching every two games. So I don't think, you know, after one set, one time, you know, that it's a big change. If the player can convert it into something positive, why not?

Q. What is it that drives tennis players, girls from Eastern Europe, to excel in recent times? Even your opponent tonight, she's Polish (sic). You were originally Czechoslovakian. You've seen a lot. What's the drive?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think it's very simple to explain. I mean, you have the opportunity to travel, to make money, to, you know, not living somewhere like day in, day out. I think that's the biggest drive for Eastern European countries to earn a spot in society and make it big.
Definitely through sports, you have the opportunities and it's great. And I'm grateful for my mom that she taught me tennis, because if it was something else, I don't think I'd be doing as good as I am on court.

Q. What are your goals for the rest of the season?
MARTINA HINGIS: What are my?

Q. Your goals for the rest of the season?
MARTINA HINGIS: To stay where I am, you know. Like at least earning my spot in the top 10, would be nice to win some tournaments, and, you know, have good matches against top players. And if I occasionally win, I'll be even more happy.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else? Okay. Thanks.

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