US OPEN 2002 ::: First Round Interview

Martina Hingis defeats Marissa Irvin 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
:) yeah yeah yeah !!!

M. HINGIS/M. Irvin

MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was that a little more than you anticipated for your first match?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, obviously, you know, in a way I can be happy, too, to still be in the tournament. In a way I had to close out this match two times. You know, I never played this girl before. I mean, she's been around. I watched her play. She has beaten some great players. She had a good season so far.
But, you know, when you're like rolling, physically I feel like I've had a few matches since I've been back which I wasn't able to close out. But, you know, I did it today, so I'm playing Thursday next match (smiling).

Q. Why do you think there have been those matches that you haven't been able to close out, or today maybe you had to do it twice to really win? How come?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you know, it's like physically you have those ups and downs. Mentally, you know, when you're physically not up to it, you just tend to tighten up. I was real nervous when I walked on the court and the first few, you know, points and games, then I started feeling better. When she was up 3-2 after that, I kind of rolled and cruised through the first set until 2-0, 4-1. Them I'm like, "Okay, been here, done that before."
I'm just like at this point -- all I can say, I'm happy to win the last point.

Q. How do you think you're different mentally right now than maybe in the Australian Open or earlier?

MARTINA HINGIS: You know what, I was nervous there, as well. You know, it's just there was the beginning of the season for everybody. This time it's like everybody's been playing without me for the last three, four months. It's just more difficult. Hard courts, as well. Rebound is a bit slower.
You know, it's not like I feel I'm not there; it's just like really to make the next step. I'm happy I did it today, you know.

Q. You spoke the other day about playing to the last point, and that's the thing you had to learn. Did you have thoughts of Myskina as you were playing?

MARTINA HINGIS: In a way, you know what, at 4-1 I changed racquets for my serve. New balls. I thought maybe next game, I'll go ahead. You can't do that, not at this kind of level. The first two serves were like in the bottom of the net with the new racquet. I'm like, "Oh, my God." I knew it was going to happen almost before I hit the ball. You can't afford those mistakes. Two games later they switched the balls. It was already 4-3. It was getting closer.

Q. When you were serving for the match the first time, were you startled by the way she pounded that ball deep to your backhand?

MARTINA HINGIS: Players like her, at that point you have nothing to lose anymore. You know, she was getting back. I gave her the confidence a little bit to come back in the match.
You know, I wasn't feeling the greatest at that point. You know, it's just like until that point, I was like giving her the opportunities to miss, then do something by myself. I was too defensive. But I was happy to be able to step it up again in the third set and just kind of change the game plan.

Q. How difficult has it been coming back from two surgeries?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, it's like two surgeries in the last 10 months. It's not easy for nobody. You know, Lindsay, it took her nine months. She's playing great right now. She's slimmed down, moving well. But her, she's still got the serve. I still have to use my feet and anticipation.
You know, it's like slowly but surely. Hopefully I'll get it back, you know.

Q. How long ago does it feel like when you could walk out onto the court without nerves, without the fear of losing a match? How long ago does that feel like?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, as a woman I think it's just natural instinct, I guess. Every time you go out there, you're afraid to lose. I don't know. Only if you really feel confident, like you've beaten that player many times, so you know that you're 100%, that you're going to win. That happens very few times, I guess, these days.

Q. Earlier in your career, wouldn't you go out and feel that way?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, but you have a little different mentality when you're 15, 16 years old than when you're almost 22, won a few Grand Slams, been No. 1. It's a little different walk-on.

Q. Do you think you could do some damage over the next two weeks, or do you think you're still in a process of figuring out where your game is?

MARTINA HINGIS: I pretty much know where I'm at, I think. It's just a matter of not giving up, just playing matches. This is like pure will, you know, getting through today's match, being still in the tournament.
I feel like, you know, until a certain stage, I'm really competitive with the girls. I mean, that's not the problem. It's not the power or anything. It's just like physically at this point.

Q. And physically, what do you feel like? What does your injury feel like?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, strength, strength-wise.

Q. But no pain?

MARTINA HINGIS: (Shaking head negatively.)

Q. You talked a little bit about the game when you were away, that it even changed in that short time. Could you expand on that a little bit? How did it change?

MARTINA HINGIS: The girls, physically, they worked on themselves. Montreal you had a gym, and everybody was working out before, after the match. It gives you motivation. It's a challenge. You have to do it yourself. It's gotten so much more professional.

Q. Just in the little time you were away?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yes (laughter).

Q. Monica has spoken of this. If you've been No. 1 in the world, been a Grand Slam champion, is it okay to be No. 3 or 4?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you obviously know the feel of how to win matches, Grand Slams. I think at that stage, when you've been there, it's the most important to me being able to beat anybody who you face on the other side. It's like if I go out there, play the Williamses, if I'm at the best, I want to have the feeling that I have the chance to win.

Q. Why did you change your racquet?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, you know, I might as well change everything. My feet are changed for the better, new outfit, new racquet. It all changed.
It gives me a little bit more power. I feel like the ball flies deeper. Of course, I have to work on myself to take advantage of the racquet, too.

Q. You talked about Lindsay coming back from surgery. Chanda also has had two surgeries in the past few months. What do you notice about her summer? Do you take encouragement from what she's done?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's great, you know. She came back, made the finals right away, won Eastbourne, only lost to the sisters pretty much at both Grand Slams I think. You know, the first time she struggled a little bit more when she had the surgery. She kind of fell back. But this time, I think the older you are, the smarter you get, you know, more balance with your life.

Q. When she beat Serena, was that a shock?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. I don't think so. Serena hasn't played in a long time. Chanda can play great tennis. Everyone knows that.

Yuki Holland