Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hingis interview after round 1 at A.O.

Hingis' interview after round 1 at the ongoing Australian Open:

Q. Are you satisfied with the way you qualified today?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, for sure. Especially the first set, I played very well. I think sometimes really the first game was almost key. I was very nervous. So was she. But I started to loosen up and play some really good tennis, very focused, very intense.

I knew it's not going to be easy against Nathalie first round. It's a little bit similar than when I played Vera last year. You had to be ready first match.

Q. How would you compare the level of tennis today with the level of your tennis last year at the same time?

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. Tennis‑wise, you always have to improve, there's no question. I think also today mentally I'm a different level because last year I was ranked somewhere, nowhere, and today I'm going into the tournament being seeded six. It's definitely a different situation I'm in.

Q. Potentially a very difficult first match for you. Are you surprised it was so routine?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I made it routine, but it definitely wasn't. If I had somebody else on the other side, sometimes you have a wildcard or a qualifier or something, then you take it on the ease. I didn't today because I played her in Zurich last time. It was a good match. I played well there. I was confident I could come out and play well again. But, I mean, she was a semifinalist here a couple years ago. I knew she can play on this surface.

I don't mind that the roof was closed though, either (smiling).

Q. Do you think that helped you?

MARTINA HINGIS: Not only ‑‑ in past year, it was always a day where it either rained or was the heat rule, as well. You know, I was happy. I knew that my match is going to be on. Like you see the other girls in the locker room, and they're like there waiting, waiting, waiting. I knew I would get on today.

Q. How do you mentally prepare for the heat?

MARTINA HINGIS: I mean, you just have to be fit. I mean, there's no mental preparation. If you're not fit, you can't go out there and feel like you're going to make it easy because the heat is going to affect you no matter what at the end of the day.

Sometimes the fitter survive, and you can see that in the matches the past couple days.

Q. Last year one negative in the year was you found it difficult to maintain long matches. How have you worked to combat that?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I try to keep 'em short (smiling).

Q. Have you done extra training or changed any kind of training?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, definitely. I mean, in the Swiss Alps, in the forest, you got enough altitude to train, go out there and have a run for a couple hours, things like that.

Q. Do your fond memories of Rod Laver Arena help you in any way when you step out on the court?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, definitely, having all those great memories definitely helps. Going out there, being in the finals three times, have won it three times, I can adjust. It just feels really like going back home, yes.

Q. What are your memories of playing Jennifer on that incredibly hot day?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, gee. Some ladies in the locker room, they were like, because of the heat rule and everything, I think since then it's been placed in the rules, or they have it pretty much because of that match. I wasn't the only one who suffered cramps. Well, I didn't have cramps. I was just exhausted. But, yeah, the next year they invented that.

You know, when I saw today like that match with Maria playing such a long time, they were like almost joking with me, Does that remind you of something? I'm like, Yeah, right (laughter).

But, no. I think it's a good thing to have it. But I think right now it's like 7:00 and they still push it out. I think that's a little bit too much. I just went out and had a hit. It's windy now. I think the people could be playing. Either they cancel it or just let them go out there because the sun has gone down pretty much. I don't know the reason now why they still don't let them go out there.

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