new Hingis interview
This was a German interview, translated and posted on hingis.org by Marcus Doering.
"I haven't lived my Dreams yet"
Martina Hingis tells us how she experienced the Good-bye from the Pro Tennis and how she thinks about her Future.
With Martina spoke: Rene Stauffer and Simon Graf, in Schindellegi.
Q: It looks like you don't return to the Tour. Are you now retired or not?
Martina: In the moment i'm retired. Because of the Health Problems, which i've had in the last 4,5 Months and before.
I came to the Decision in November and December when i didn't play. It became certain when it didn't get better.
I tought of Retiring long before.
Q: Did the Discomfort in the last Months grow?
Martina: In the last two Years ,there were Problems all along. I couldn't push the Feet fully. That has a long History.
The Shoes that i was wearing in the Past, were not fitted well for Professional Sport. I can't train (like in the past) 4-5 hours a Day like before.
Q: How did you experienced the last Months?
Martina: It was maybe the toughest Time for me, when i was in Los Angeles (at the Masters) and afterwards watched the Australian Open on TV.
But then i've started to focus on my Live after the Tennis. We decided that i go to English School and work further with the Sponsors, as much as possible.
It's an interessting Way i go now, i'm excited for this new Part of my Life.
Q: Your Doctor Heinz Buehlmann said, in the past you've had been able to pass the Pain limit, now not anymore.
Can't you overcome the Pain anymore?
Martina: It's frustrating, if you get always thrown backwards, never been 100 percent fit.
Today 70 or 80 Percent won't be enough. If you are used to be Number One for Years and you can give all, and suddenly the Body doesn't go along, it's hard.
If you know you could do more ,but it doesn't work out.
Q: How long you can play without Pain?
Martina: Around 60 to 90 Minutes. But if i play day after day and have to train, it will get worse during the Week.
Also the Games went harder, the Body doesn't react that fast ,as when i was 15 or 16.
Q: When you returned in Summer 2002 to the Tour, you've said you had realized how much the Tennis and the Live as a Pro means to you.
What changed that you lost your Motiviation?
Martina: Live just starts for me! I have build myself something up in 10 Years of Pro Sport. It's certainly sad that it has to end this way, with 22 years old.
But sometimes you just has to realize the facts.
Q: What needs to happen, for you to say: "Now i want to try again!" ?
Martina: The most Important is the Medical. Perhabs they make progress. In one, two Years maybe all looks different then now.
But actually i don't play with the idea of a Comeback. You shouldn't make yourself Illusions: If you aren't on the Tour for only a half Year,
it will be already difficult to return. It needs a big Will to start from Zero.
Tennis will certainly be a part of my Life. But not like it was before.
Q: Was it difficult to get used with the Idea that it doesn't work anymore?
Martina: Yes. We have taken alot of time for it. We talked alot about it. My Mom. Mario (Widmer) and me.
We also had to think about if it makes sense, to play with Pain relief medicine or Tablets.
But you are always on the Limit on Matches against the Williams Sisters, Seles or Davenport. Those Matches have cost alot of Substance.
They were great Games, i love to remember them. But I also look forward.
Q: There are Rumours that you still play very well in the Training. For example against Myriam Casanova or Patty Schnyder.
Martina: I play more then well, for a certain Time and at one Day. I look at Tennis now at another Angle. I take it more Relaxed.
I can go to the Training rested. At Tournaments you are often tired, not all is well.
You can often feel with other Players that it is a "Must" for them.
For me now it's relaxing, a Hobby, it's fun.
Q: It's not a Waste, if you play that good, but you not go to Tournaments?
Martina: Tournaments would been different. In the moment i have no Stress, i don't need Nerves.
In Training it doesn't matter if i win or not. But if you stay on Court and you know that after a certain time
you will lose breath but have to continue.
Physically i have in the moment no Chance. I could play one Set, Two sets would already be critical.
If it would go to one Hour, it would be hard.
And to lose against Players i would normally beat is against my Honor.
Q: But there are Days ,where you think ,you would like to play Tournaments again?
Martina: There are. If you see how far some Players go. But i could also meet a young "wild" player in the first round and lose.
I never build my Career on Hope. I wanted to go on the Court with the Knowledge that i can beat them all.
Q: what do you think about Martina Navratilova, who won with 47 years another Grand Slam Title in the Doubles?
Martina: Here i think, that the whole Tennis looks a bit absurd. That something goes wrong.
It's a very good Achievement in her Age, but that shouldn't happen.
Q: Could you imagine also to play only Double or Mixed Tournaments?
Martina: Either i play fully or not. Live continues even you don't run behind the Tournaments.
It looks like some people have nothing else to do.
Of course the Price Money is not bad. But you have to get your Money in another way.
Q: Are there Things from the Tennis Life ,that you miss?
Martina: I kinda still feel in it. I have made alot for Adidas, Salomon, Omega.
I'm not that much in the Spotlight anymore ,but i still feel as part of the Tennis Life.
Q: How does your Cooperation with the Sponsors looks like?
Martina: That's all in negotiation. In Tennis i have the biggest passive Knowledge, that i want to use.
Adidas is a Company that i always liked. Maybe i go one Month to Germany, but that's still undecided.
I could imagine to work on the Tennis Court, for example at the Orange Bowl (big Youth Tournament) to find new Talents.
But first i make my Language School.
Q: Can you imagine to coach a Player?
Martina: No, I was a difficult Player to Coach myself. If, i would prefer to work with Groups.
For example with the Adidas or Yonex female Players.
If someone ask me for an Advice i'm happy to help. Which i did for example for Myriam (Casanova).
Q: You've said in an Interview, that the School shows you a new View on Life. How did you meant that?
Martina: The World gets more open, you see things more real, as if you live in the world of Pro Tennis.
I have seen and experienced alot in those 10 years, but it was always connected with the sport.
My View is now wider, there are new Horizons.
Q: you've had as Tennis Pro an extreme Life, filt with ambition, discipline,...
Martina (breaks in): The ambition is still there, despite what i do. Wheter at School or with the Riding or on the Tennis Court.
Against Myriam i still want to win.
Q: Those does Values, which made you strong in Tennis, in your new Life?
Martina: Sure. If you are used to be the Best, you want to be perfect all the time. Even it doesn't work.
Q: Didn't you want to use this Opportunity to do nothing, to breath freely? You seem to go to new Goals right on?
Martina: That helps me ,to not get depressive. The Difficult was to find a new Way. This has been sucessful.
Q: You have spend your life in Public. Do you wish now a normal, anonym Life?
Martina: Actually you want that all the time, but that doesn't work. You can't say you go to the Street and nobody watches you.
The People still are interested about me.
Q: A necessary bad or the Price of the Sucess?
Martina: I don't see it as a Bad. Of course you will be always watched. But you get used to it.
I tought i would fall into oblivion a bit, but it's not like that.
I get alot of Letters, Questions, Offers. Even Help was offered me.
But i don't think that i will be a case for a Psychiatrist.
Q: Can you do what you want ,despite your feet?
Martina: In Principle, except Pro Sport. I just can't push the Limits.
I can't for example like before run uphill for 3-4 hours. But that i don't have to do anymore.
Q: Where there many Reactions of your Fans?
Martina: Yes, and it was nice. Whereever i am, people came to me and told me that it is a pitty that i don't play anymore.
They always followed me, and now something is missing. But unfortunately i can't change that.
Q: You will propably be not anymore on the Headlines in the future. Could you start missing the attention of the public?
Martina: National (she means switzerland) it's not the case in the Moment. Also from international Media there are alot of Requests.
Of course it will be never that extreme as it was before, when i was on the Court with the Thropy.
Q: can you use the Creativity, which made you special in Tennis ,use in another way?
Martina: Wit hthe Things i do now, also imagination is needed.
I thin kthat i can bring in my Ideas. I always was a positive thinking and risk friendly person.
On the Court i could that match with my Talent, therefore the Risk was smaller.
If you learn something ,you can use it. If you know you can write this Article and you have the right Questions, it will be good.
Q: But now you go to new frontiers?
Martina: You can learn all. My Tennis didn't feel from the sky as well. So i will be able to learn new things.
Q: Do you think it's unfair, that you need to stop play with 22, whereas Seles, Capriati and Davenport are much older ,but still play?
Martina: Seles was on the Top during 3-4 Years, but since her Father died, her Intensitiy has weakened.
The others never were that much on the Limit like i was and had also had a different body stature.
Capriati had some drop outs, and afterwars about 2 good years. I was 5-6 years always on the top.
With a bit of Distance, i know realize that with the other Players there isn't all that worked out like it was with me.
Many are not at their Limit, could be better. Therefore i was a long time on the Top. And therefore you can't compare me with others.
The nice thing: I don't need to accuse myself.
Q: Do you accuse others for your wearout?
Martina: If i look back, i'm regret to have used the wrong Shoes.
We have tried to make them better, but it didn't helped. There were alot of Tests and Tries with other Shoes.
But they (the people from Sergio Tacchini) did not enough, therefore it has come to it.
Q: so you have bad feelings?
Martina: Yes, of course. I can't be happy, if i have to retreat with such problems.
But at that time we had no other choice. If we would have the Knowledge of today, we wouldn't have made that Error.
Q: You've said that the Rules of the WTA makes it impossible ,that someone can stay on the Top for a long time. Which Accusations do you have?
Martina: The Saison is too long. That's for all Players. But those in the Top 5 or Top 10 have to bear most of it.
Wishes of the Tournaments, Media, Sponsors to fullfill. Therefore they have less Time to train.
Also they are psychological more challanged then the others.
If you do this for Weeks you are tired sometime.
Q: You have stated that Switzerland is your Home, and that you want to stay here. Where you will live in the Future?
Martina: there will be some Decisions soon. But it's still open. We need to see it from the financial standpoint as well.
Until now we lived in Luxury, that has to go down to a normal level. There are too many Places where i could live.
Q: do you care alot about such things?
Martina: Sure. It's a major goal. To see where you can cut down the costs. Even you have a financial Basis.
Q: The Economy Magazine "Forbes" estimates your assets to 60 Million Swiss Francs.
Do you think it's crazy how much you earned? Or: do you think it should have been left more?
Martina: I don't complain. I have enough to live (laughs). But a Life how we lived, costs alot of Money.
There is alot for Airplanes, Hotels, Taxes etc.
Many Players save at the wrong point. That we never did. We used more to make it all 100 percent perfect.
Then you maybe win a few Matches more ,and it has already been worth it.
Also my tennis courts in Regensdorf and Truebbach were expensive. The first money i've earned was invested right on.
Q: did your relationship towards your Mother changed, since you are not anymore the player and she is the coach?
Martina: We always had a very good Relationship. But now we have less fights. We have more fun on the Court, go skiing, walking with the dog.
The Relationship became more intensive. The family relationship was always more important than the tennis.
Q: In an Interview with "Le Equipe" you've said that you want to enjoy the Freedom after you lived for 10 years in discipline.
That you want not to have a family before 29. It's true?
Martina: (laughs) A little bit yes. Today you don't need to hurry to found a family. It needs time until you have control over your life.
Until you found the perfect partner. If you lived your life, you can also support your family better.
Many have the feeling that they missed something. If i have a family ,they have to be my first priority.
But now i don't have the feeling that i want to build something up. I'm not ready yet, not for a long while.
Q: do you dream of having a Family?
Martina: (thinks) Marry you don't need today. With 22 you don't know yet where you stay.
Q: Do you think sometimes: I'm only 22 and have already experienced alot. Probably more then many people with 80 years?
Martina: If i think, that some never leave their own village.... My cousin flew for the first time in her life.
It was a big experience for her (laugh). My Dreams are not yet lived out.
Q: Are there many things you can do now, which you couldn't do before?
Martina: The first two ,three Months you think you have to catch up.
Than you do it one,two times and it's over. I try to set Priorities, to reach Goales.
I always wanted to have a good horse, after my career, that was a dream. Or to go skiing for longer. Little things.
Q: you fullfilled your dream and bought a horse named Lytizia. How important is riding for you?
Martina: Riding stays as a hobby. The School is Number one in the moment.
Now, where i have more time, i ride more. Nearly every Day. I also get coached.
Lytizia is in Wollerau (close to mothers house), i have bought her from Franke Sloothaak in Germany, a former gold medal winner of the olympics.
The possibility to ride and buy such a horse, that's the luxury i have created myself.
Q: Is Lytizia an international Top Horse?
Martina: No, she is a eight year old mare. a jumping horse of the 2nd highest rate.
She will never be a competition horse, but for me it's a good training horse.
But i want to ride a tournament sometimes.
Q: do you think the happyness you've had by winning great matches to gain on other areas?
Martina: Yes. For example if i fullfill a assaignment or pass a test.
I hope that i pass this year the "Proficiency" (english diploma).
That would definitely make me happy as well.
But it will be different than in the pass, where it happen in fron of 15'000 or 20'000 spectators.
Much more personal.
Q: If someone told you as a junior player: You will win 40 tournaments, 5 grand slam titles, 18.3 Million Dollar Price Money and will be Number one for 4 years, would you have signed the contract?
Martina: Of course. The way that i've gone with my mother was special.
Q: Are there things from your past that you are still anger about it?
Martina: Sport is only part of the Life. Those Moments, those Emotions, that i've experienced on court are stored in my head.
If the others have accepted or not, i could not make it well for everybody anyway.
For me the Tennis was a school of Life. The best of my Life. But i hope they will be other good times in my life.
I have to make it work myself.
Q: Is there an Event, that is on top of all?
Martina: There were many great Moments. Maybe the first Tournament victory, as i won the Porsche.
Then the Grand Slam Titles. There were also many nice wins, like for example against Serena Williams at the Australian Open,
as i won after 2:4 in the third set (it was actually 1:4).
Or at the Semi Final at the US Open against Venus.
Matches against the Williams were always special. They were always 50/50.
Q: What's the nicest compliment you can make at a tennis player?
Martina: With 22 you don't think at the total retirement. Many have returned....(pause)
Compliment? If the People say that my personality and my charisma were unique, my play and oversight as well.
And that they miss me.