Qtr. Final

U.S.Open 4 September 2001
M. HINGIS/D. Bedanova 6-2, 6-0

Q. It was a very strange way to start a match. You won the first 11 points, then you lost 11 out of the next 12.

MARTINA HINGIS: 11 out of the 12 next?

Q. Yes.

MARTINA HINGIS: No (laughter).

Q. Yes.


Q. So what was it? A problem with concentration?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I started off well the first couple games. I was always surprised how easy it was. Then I made that double-fault at 40-Love. Somehow I lost the string. After that, I just regrouped myself, just started playing the same as I was in the beginning. You can't rush. You shouldn't hurry with her. I think the other players - I've never played her before, I just know her game pretty well, I went to watch her. Just don't go crazy, that's all.

Q. Didn't you play against her as young kids?

MARTINA HINGIS: No. I mean, she was too young.

Q. Practice?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, practice. She was in my home. She's like my little pupil, you know (laughter).

Q. Which match did you watch her play? Monica?

MARTINA HINGIS: That I saw a little bit on TV. But from the other tournaments, I went to see her when she beat Schett in LA. Just in general. I like to watch her.

Q. How confident are you right now in your game?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, it's another semifinals so I'm very happy about that. Makes it five or six straight at least semifinals. Feels good.

Q. You'll either face Lindsay or Serena. Can you talk about each of them?

MARTINA HINGIS: I haven't played either of them for a while, over maybe six months. Last time I played Lindsay was in Tokyo indoors, and Serena, Australian Open actually. So it's been a while.
Well, I'm looking forward to a good match tonight. I'm going to watch it. They just go and beat up themselves, each other (laughter).
No, I think whoever wins, either way it's going to be tough, you know, to go through. But you have to expect that in a semifinals.

Q. How much more dangerous are you when your confidence is high?

MARTINA HINGIS: Like the earlier stage (laughter)?

Q. Are you just a totally different player out there?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I just got better. Confidence obviously is a big thing, especially in women's tennis I'd say because the more you win, the better matches you have behind you, you just believe that you can go all the way. You can go for the shots. I mean, it's not only in practice you hit a great winner, great shot, but you can do it in the match, as well.

Q. When you're faced with a big hitter, do you feel like your confidence is where it is now compared to a couple years ago?

MARTINA HINGIS: You're just more used to it, yes. It happens all the time. I was actually surprised today. It's like the balls are actually coming at me at a slower pace. I mean, they're long and deep. But still I welcome this game with open arms. You don't see that too often from a youngster. She's much more a strategy player than a hard-hitter. That's very unusual these days.

Q. When she was at your home, could you see anything in her game that told you she was a prospect?

MARTINA HINGIS: Just hard work. Her and her dad. They put everything into it, just like me and my mom did. I think they have a great relationship. With system and regime, you can go a long way. She's got a lot of discipline for only being 18.

Q. Do you remember hitting with her?


Q. Were you stretching her out to see what she could do?

MARTINA HINGIS: Three years, it's a big difference. I was already playing Juniors. I think maybe I just had turned pro already.
No, that's a huge difference. I mean, I was able to hit the ball harder and everything, run, outlast her. That's how I went to today's game, too. Nothing else would work. I just had to last longer, that's all.

Q. There's all kinds of permutations as to who finishes where, the No. 1 ranking. There's the possibility of losing No. 1. How important is it to you to protect that?

MARTINA HINGIS: These days it's more of winning the tournament. It's not only the ranking. If I would win the tournament, I also save my position. That's both in one.

Q. Four days ago you talked about your need to pump up your serve a little more. In the last two matches, you've only been broken once in each match. Are you consciously getting more aggressive with your service, or do you think you had an opponent today that was very nervous?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think it's like sometimes, yeah, I'm tired of people telling me, "You should do this. You should do that." I know that. It's just sometimes you have to pump yourself up for doing it. It's not that I couldn't hit a big serve. Definitely not like Venus or Serena. But sometimes it's a confidence thing. If everything else in my game is all together, I can serve better, have a higher percentage.
You'd see in her game, you know, once her game, the strategy fell apart, she only had 42% of serve. It looked different when she played against Monica. Once you can build on something, everything comes together.

Q. Did you say anything to her after the match today?

MARTINA HINGIS: Just when we shook hands. "Great tournament." Just now in the locker room, you know, what's her next schedule.

Q. Do you speak in English or German or Czech?

MARTINA HINGIS: Czech. We could speak either way. It's funny, all three. No, Czech.

Q. You beat Serena last year in the semis. Do you look forward to that opportunity of facing her again? What type of challenges does she offer?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think it's going to be just -- tonight's match is going to decide. I think it's still a close call who's going to win. You know, I definitely prefer playing Serena first and then Venus. That's the way it was at the Australian Open. I don't even know. Does it play Thursday or Friday?

Q. Friday.

MARTINA HINGIS: Friday. I have a couple days off. That's nice knowing. I'm still, you know, fit. I feel in great shape. Just looking forward to it.

Q. In a few days we'll have a much clearer picture. In your heart, who do you think the best player in the world is right now?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, that's up to you to decide, not to me. I mean, I think I've proven myself over the last four years. I've been most consistent. Might not always have won, but I won the most, that's why I was No. 1.

Q. Does that mean you're the best player?

MARTINA HINGIS: I think I have no answer to that, no.

Q. All the things other people are telling you to do, are you going to be able to incorporate those into your game against someone like Serena or Lindsay when the pressure is much higher?

MARTINA HINGIS: I hope I will. You shouldn't always wait till the last, yeah, minute. Sometimes it's motivating actually, those things, to hear them over and over. In one way it's frustrating, the other it's motivating. We'll see. We'll see.

Q. Is it harder against the top players?

MARTINA HINGIS: Much more pressure. I mean, you know, if you don't do it, you're going to get slammed, outhit. Like when I watch Lindsay, she just hits winners even sometimes out of first serves. Sometimes it's a close call.

Q. You said you welcome this match with open arms. Is there a part of you that might wish you had a little bit of a greater test?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, I think I had a greater test earlier this week already against Iva. I think that was a close call there. I mean, a couple points being away from losing, being out of this tournament, I think gave me another chance to survive.

Q. One test is enough per tournament?

MARTINA HINGIS: Like that, yes.

Q. Are you completely sure that your game is at the highest level right now, or do you still have a little bit of doubt because you haven't played Serena or Lindsay or one of the real elite players?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, yeah, that's what you wait for, those matches, that they bring the best out in me. Hopefully also the other players, that I make them play the best.

Q. Inside, do you have the confidence that you've had when you've played your best tennis and have been able to, like, beat Serena in Australia?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, that was a great match. So far I haven't played one of these players. What I've played so far was good enough to come to here. Against Iva, I definitely should have raised the level there somehow. I think since that match, I kind of woke up. Even against Dokic, I think it was a good match, especially in the beginning. I was down and came back.

Q. You're the kind of player that needs to play a lot of matches to be at your best. You play a lot of tournaments every year. Venus walks in here with maybe 13 tournaments in the last 52 weeks. Does it amaze you that she can play so little, walk into a Grand Slam, play at the top of her game?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think she played a few tournaments until this one. I mean, I think everybody at the end needs to play matches before a Grand Slam. It's just sometimes for some players it's easier to get the game all together.
I'm more -- I need the feel and I have to believe that I could do it. The confidence is much more important. Venus, she hits three aces, game's over. With me, it's different.
Everyone has a different schedule, different strategy.



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