JOHN DOLAN: Before we start, a few little notes on today's win for Martina.
This is her first title on clay since 2000 Hamburg, so a little over six years ago. She's projected to rise to No. 14 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings when they come out tomorrow.
Another interesting little coincidence, this is your second title in Rome. You first reached the final here 10 years ago, so 10 years between reaching the final and actually winning the title. Monica Seles did that in 2000. So you join Monica in that regard.
MARTINA HINGIS: In that club.
Q. Who did you lose to?
JOHN DOLAN: She lost to Martina.
MARTINA HINGIS: Martina, yeah.
JOHN DOLAN: She beat Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals.
MARTINA HINGIS: I beat Steffi in the quarters and lost to Martina. She was happy playing me in the finals. That was my second finals, one in Rome and one in Hamburg.
JOHN DOLAN: So, questions for Martina.
Q. At the end, were you tired? Were you nervous? You looked like if you lose the breakpoint, you might be in big trouble.
MARTINA HINGIS: It was 40-Love, but it thankfully didn't happen. She had even a chance, you know, second serve, and she missed that forehand.
But, I mean, still, in the tiebreaker, who knows what would have happened, you know, if I had lost that service game. But I didn't, and that's how things turn around and how they go.
But I felt like never really the game came out of my hands. I felt like I was always the one who was dictating and playing and putting her under pressure. So she loosened up there, you know. I mean, 5-3, 40-15, two aces almost, it's like, "Okay, not much you can do." That's where she just started playing and hitting, and just freely. That was the difference.
But, you know, I played a very solid, very good match.
Q. What's your feeling now? Do you feel like you just won the first tournament of your career, or is it another title?
MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. We just discussed that with John. I don't think it has settled down yet. It hasn't sunken in, because it's been a lot of worry the last three weeks. I've been just playing and playing and playing matches. You know, six matches in seven days this week.
So I just -- I'm happy not to have this pressure to wake up and have to eat my muesli in the morning (laughing). I don't know. Maybe have a glass of wine tonight because I feel like I'm living a life like so prejected, so predetermined. You know, I haven't been used to do this for three years. Now you really have to have this kind of solid life. I'm happy not having to do that. That's probably my biggest joy for the moment, for the next couple days (laughing).
But definitely we'll just celebrate tonight. You know, there's not much time to really celebrate because then Friday we're going to Paris already. So, yeah.
Q. Would you say this is your second career, a follow-up?
MARTINA HINGIS: I don't know. You name it. It's really -- it feels like, yeah, I almost feel like I won my first title. But, you know, somehow, you know, all these little dreams you have in the past and now, it's really one of them came true. I'm just pleased. But it's probably because I played someone in the finals who I believed I had a chance to win, so it's a little different than when I had to play probably Venus. Because yesterday, I was mentally -- for me at least, it felt like it was a tougher match because I've beaten Dinara in Indian Wells this year already, and I felt like, "Okay, this is it. This is my chance and I can take it."
So probably yesterday my joy was a little bigger than today.
But, still, you have to play it and finish it. She's a great opponent to have.
Q. Did it make it harder missing so many first serves in the last stage of the match?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I was just hoping for a miracle to happen that I'm gonna hit an ace, you know, and it just wouldn't happen. No, because, I mean, that's what she did when she was down 40-15.
Sometimes, yeah, maybe it had something to do that I was getting a little tired, I didn't get up anymore. Then was just like put it in the net or just gave a look at the second serve all the time.
I think I did that better in the last game. I just started kicking it and put the first serve in so she didn't pressure me. So that was the difference from the 5-4 game to the 6-5. I mean, even though I was down 40-Love, at least I made her play, and that's why she missed a couple of those returns.
Yeah, I mean, that's one thing I can work on. That's why I say, okay, it's great victory here now, but it doesn't end. I mean, I don't want to make the same mistake again as when I played well against, you know, Kuznetsova in Miami, and then you have five weeks where you don't do anything. This is just the beginning of, you know, tough tournaments coming up which are the French Open and Wimbledon. So this is all good, you know, finishing right here.
Q. Could you tell us the two most satisfying moments of this year, and if Rome is one of the two, if it comes first or second.
MARTINA HINGIS: It's hard to say. I mean, there's probably three: Making quarterfinals in Australia, then beating Sharapova in Tokyo, and this one, yeah, I mean.
But on the court, really, I mean, there has been many great moments, like I said. You asked me the other day which three I would pick, also the match against Mauresmo told me like where I am, you know. The match against Kuznetsova, and then she won the tournament. You know, I've had probably five, six great memories already this year. I mean, this is what you play for, what I came back for, yeah.
Q. You came back like that to your level. When you close your eyes, do you say, "Maybe I lost three years of more wins," or no?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I mean, if I could turn back time, of course I would have continued to play. But at this point -- at that point it wasn't possible. I mean, the pain, and after the operations. Just you can't heal the spur just like by, you know, keep playing and keep pushing yourself to the limits.
I mean, right now at this point I don't have this problem and I'm very happy that my health is as good as it is at this point. But who knows, you can always come back.
So you can't really think about what -- I mean, I lived a different life and experienced a lot of things, and that probably helps me today in those moments that, you know, I don't get as nervous because of having some difficulties not being able to handle my life. I think that's the key, you know.
I know how life is after tennis, and that probably gives me a lot of joy at the moment that I want to save them as much as I can.
Q. What was going through your mind when you were trying to close out the match and you were struggling a bit? Did you maybe think back to some of your victories years ago?
MARTINA HINGIS: No, probably -- that's not even at one point. I just wanted to win the match, as she did, too.
But really, the mental strength, I probably could say that - you know, back to that previous question - that I've never been as balanced in my life as I am right now. That probably made the key and the difference in the matches or in my comeback totally, and that I always progressed and got better.
Today was the outcome, you know. Although even if I had lost the second set, I mean, I wasn't still really nervous about the third or whatever would have happened, win or lose.
But of course you want to win. I'm much more happy that I won.
Q. What does this mean for you exactly, Paris, all the things that happened there and the only Slam you didn't win?
MARTINA HINGIS: Paris. Well, Paris is, I mean... Paris is Paris (laughing). Not Hilton, though.
(too easy this one,Martina
It's just a lot of great memories. I don't know. In a way, it's a lot of things are similar for me like here 'cause a lot of times -- I played here five times, never did worse than semifinals, finals, and victory here. That's how I feel about Paris.
It's very similar surface. The weather and circumstances to play there, I always like it because it plays more like a hard court. And I love the city. Just the stadiums are very nice ; they always play well.
Now it's just I hope I can play the same tennis as I did this week.
Q. May I ask you, I thought you said on TV that you don't consider yourself a favorite in Roland Garros. I don't know if that is true or not. Second, is there any player you can say, "This one, I cannot beat her even if I play well"?
MARTINA HINGIS: No, I don't believe so. You can't go into a match and think like, "I'm gonna lose" before you go out there. I mean, I think I played great matches against the top players. And the pressure is on them, it's not on me. I mean, still, a Grand Slam is a different time around to play, and I think there is definitely players who have been around for the last three years when I was gone and they've won the majors and they've been out there and playing well. But I think I'm very close.
And now with winning this event, I know that I can do it again, you know, win a tournament, which I made semis, I made finals, everyone like asking; probably I was asking myself as well: Can I really win another tournament? Can I get it that far and actually do it?
Now I did it, so the confidence or -- the puck is on my side, you know. I feel like I, yeah, definitely have it in me.
Q. You can win.
MARTINA HINGIS: I didn't say that, but I have hopes, yes (smiling).
Q. When you came back in the beginning of the year, did you feel like it was a realistic goal to win a tournament in the first five months?
MARTINA HINGIS: Well, when you asked me in Gold Coast, I didn't think it was a realistic goal probably. Physically and mentally, and just I didn't feel like I had it at that point.
But then with playing events and tournaments and gaining more respect from the players and winning matches, I think it showed that I still had some game. I usually had it only for a set and a half or two sets, but sometimes I lost matches and also I didn't believe at that point that I can still probably beat someone like Kim Clijsters in the quarters, I think. The level was very equal at that stage, but sometimes, you know, one point here or there makes a difference.
And even in yesterday's match, I was able to dig it out, and I think those are the key moments or key matches where things can happen and times change and you can turn it around for your favorite -- into your favorite.
Q. You will be No. 14 in the rankings. How high do you think you can go?
MARTINA HINGIS: We'll see at the end of the year (smiling).