Aus.Open 24 January 2002
MARTINA HINGIS defeated MONICA SELES 4-6 6-1 6-4
Q. Martina, congratulations. Is playing the final still a different match for
you? Does it make you more nervous, does it put more stress on you?
MARTINA HINGIS. No, not at all, because I guess
in the beginning of this year, I mean, winning Sydney and now making the finals,
I do a lot better than I expected. So I'm now going in the finals
- I mean, it's a great thing, you know, six consecutive years, and I feel better
than in the last two years, definitely, and I think I'm back up where I used
Q. Martina, in the past three years since you have struggled to win a Grand
Slam title again, have you ever wondered whether you are capable any more, or
do you always feel you have another few in you?
MARTINA HINGIS. You always question it, if you
are capable of winning another Grand Slam if you haven't done it for three years
and you did it before, but when I was 16, 17 people always questioned. So it's
time to put the past behind, and I was able to do it once so there's no reason
not to do it again.
Q. Was after Wimbledon last year perhaps the low point for you? Is that a point
where the doubts really settled in?
MARTINA HINGIS. I would say more - well, then
I got injured so there was not much I could do, and then slowly I got my way
back into the game. You know, I still made the semi-finals of the US Open, it's
not like I lost the first round. I went out in the third against Majoli, it
was close, but I think overall I definitely - you know, maybe last year wasn't
the perfect year. I still finished fourth, so it gives me a great position to
be in to just go into a new year and refresh energy, and here I am in another
finals. It feels great.
Q. The second match point she's got you dead with a forehand; what are you
thinking there - but she missed it, of course?
MARTINA HINGIS. Well, it's nice to see the ball
float out wide on a match point and it's like "Thank God," you know,
she had me. But it wasn't such an easy ball, she still had to run up for it
and she knew I was still standing there and would be ready for anything to come.
I mean, I would hassle for anything at that point and at match point, so it's
still a little pressure, you know - I missed an overhead.
Q. Did you ever miss an overhead before?
MARTINA HINGIS. Maybe when I was 3 years old.
Q. Of course it wasn't an important point, but how did you feel there? I noticed
you went down?
MARTINA HINGIS. I was up 30-0 at that point; I
would have been 40-0 if I had made that, but still it was 5-4, 40-15, so it's
not like a drama. I was still on serve, and I won the next point comfortably,
so it felt good. But what else do you want to do - just lob. You see other people
do it, but I never did it myself, but nerves sometimes play a big part in this
one, so it's nice to have this one over.
Q. Martina, because in the last few years you have been playing well enough
to make finals, you just haven't played well enough to win them, how much has
that become a monkey on your back for you to carry round?
MARTINA HINGIS. People made it more than myself,
probably; I mean, it's written in the media and then it's maybe somewhere in
the back of your head, but I knew I didn't have quite the game at that point
to always raise it another notch in the finals. Because sometimes, like last
year here, I was tired and at the French Open I was - you know, Jennifer just
played well and I wasn't just there. She was just better, you know, at that
point. And over the last two or three years it was different circumstances.
You know, the other girls caught up with me and I just couldn't raise it at
that point, but now I think I'm moving forward again and playing better than
Q. As much as you can rationalise it and break it down and understand the reasons,
does it still knock you about emotionally in terms of your confidence?
MARTINA HINGIS. Today I think it was a very important
match to have this one, the belief, beating players like Monica, and the girls
last week because those are players ranked behind me. I mean, Monica played
very well beating Venus the other day, so it's not everybody that gets to do
that, and especially her, she has never beaten her in the past. So she is a
very tough player at this point and I'm very happy to have beaten her today.
Q. Because of that history, now that you are in another final, your third in
a row here, or more than that?
MARTINA HINGIS. We'll see. Tomorrow is the next
day, and Saturday will be another one; again, another chance to prove myself,
and it's great, I love it.
Q. I guess what I'm trying to understand is whether or not for you the stakes
are higher than they would be for any other player in a Grand Slam final?
MARTINA HINGIS. You always have people who come
back and want to prove themselves, and sometimes there has been a time - I mean,
when you had Andre Agassi or - you know, made it in the past but then they had
a few years off and then came back and won Grand Slams again. So hopefully I
can do it as well.
Q. Is it an advantage to have played as much finals as you did? How much advantage
does experience give you in a final?
MARTINA HINGIS. I think it's always a new thing.
I mean, every time you go out there it depends on who you have to face, and
this is the beginning of a new year and, like I said, I feel better than before
and now it depends who is going to win. I mean, Jennifer, it seems like she's
winning, but soon it will be over and it will be great to play her in the finals,
and now it's the other way, she has to defend the title and I'm the rookie.
Q. How much fresher do you feel coming into the final this year compared with
MARTINA HINGIS. It was a tough one today. I have
still got another Doubles to play, so please can we stop soon? I've got to go
Q. In the second set you were down 0-40, three break points; could the match
have changed on that game?
MARTINA HINGIS. That was quite important, but
also you have in the first set when I was up 4-3 and I had a couple of break
points I could have won the first set already being up 5-3, that would be great,
and finish it off. But sometimes one ball is the key point, and it doesn't matter
sometimes what occasion it is, it can be any time, and today maybe that was
a little bit the turnover that I still was hanging in the game and just fought.
Q. Martina, how important is the continued support of your mother in your getting
back to the challenging for the Grand Slams again?
MARTINA HINGIS. It's - she's the key person, you
know, her and Mario always supported me through good and bad times. So I wouldn't
be able to do it without them, and I'm very happy that they are on my side.
I can trust them 100 per cent and like I said, I wouldn't be there where I am
at this point.
Q. Has the working relationship with your mother changed since that break you
had before the French Open?
MARTINA HINGIS. I think we definitely kind of
grew closer. We were always close, very close. I mean, I kept in touch even
during that time, but it was just sometimes you've got to try things on your
own. It's like if you go off to a different school, you know, you have just
got to spread your wings a little bit. But I realised that she was very important
to me and only her could help my game. And today I kind of proved that, you
know, I can do it again also with her, because I think she's the best coach
for me I can have.
Q. Are you taking more control of your tennis, though, now that you've had
that time apart? Since you've got back with your mother again, have you had
more freedom than you used to have or more responsibility?
MARTINA HINGIS. It's nice that I don't have to
do all these things - that's what I realised. In the beginning, when you wake
up she's doing my stringing, she's doing other things; Mario is doing, you know,
all the other coordination things, so I don't have to worry about practise,
about racquets, about anything which I had to do. And this is nice, I can only
focus on my game, and this is where I don't have to waste energy as some other
players sometimes have to do.
Q. When you had that enforced rest in October, did you think about your tennis,
how much you missed it? Did you appreciate it more and decide that you wanted
to set some goals or change things?
MARTINA HINGIS. I always loved this game, it's
just sometimes it was just too much. You know, it's not like I have this body
of a robot. I mean, sometimes you just - it's probably good to have a forced
break, it doesn't have to necessarily be an injury. But I think you learn from
mistakes and you go behind things a little bit different, and you get smarter.
You just know where your limits are, you know, realise when to cut back and
when to do things and when it's the right time.
Q. You said you have exceeded your expectations so far this year; what did
you anticipate coming into this? You didn't expect to get to the final?
A. Well, you always hope, but you don't know if it's going to happen, if it's going to be the truth. You know, you give it everything; I mean, I have been practising like maybe never before, when I was a child. But you don't know if it's going to work out right at the first tournament.
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