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tennisIlove09
Nov 20th, 2003, 05:24 AM
Hingis, Venus are compelling rivals

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Latest: Friday September 08, 2000 09:44 PM


By Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated


FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. -- After wiping a gangly, giggly teenager named Venus Williams off the courts of Key Biscayne in the spring of 1997, Martina Hingis nearly tripped on a bead in the interview room. "Maybe someone should give this back to Venus," she joked, tossing the spheroid to a WTA Tour employee. So far as anyone can tell, that may have marked the opening salvo in tennis' strongest, most contoured rivalry.

Friday their compendium of memorable mano-à-mano throwdowns got even thicker. In three breathtaking sets that left more than 20,000 fans equally drained and exhilarated, Williams outlasted her foil 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the U.S. Open semifinals. Like all great matches, this one had the ebb and flow of a sine curve.

Just when it looked as though Hingis was pulling away, Venus stole the second set. Just when it looked as though Williams was pulling away, Hingis scored an early break in the third. When Hingis was two points from winning the match, Williams won the point of the year and stormed back to take the next four games. As Williams spun like a top and eventually made her way to the net after match point, she mouthed the word, "Unbelievable." Our sentiments exactly.

What makes the Hingis-Venus rivalry so special? For one, there are the obvious physical differences, the tall, lithe African-American from Compton vs. the porcelain Caucasian with the Swiss/Czech provenance. That there's been no love lost between the two doesn't hurt the storyline, either. It's not exactly a blood feud, but their post-match "handshake" -- more a random clipping of palms -- spoke volumes about the state of their relationship. Further, that neither player harbors much interest in humility creates distinct rooting interests. What tennis fan was indifferent to the outcome?

But beyond surface characteristics, the most compelling disparities, finally, are the ones on the court. Referring to boxing, someone once remarked, "Styles make fights." So, too, tennis. Hingis and Venus are both spectacular players, but they're utterly different. One zigs where the other zags. It's not merely the time-honored, power vs. finesse dichotomy -- though Venus did have 51 winners to Hingis' 13. They like different angles, they like to employ different spots on the court, they prefer different speeds, heights and spins. As Hingis confessed to me last month, "Venus tests me in a way that Lindsay [Davenport] and Serena [Williams] don't."

Venus will now move on to the final, trying to extend her winning streak to 26 matches, encompassing two Slams. She hasn't lost a match since Roland Garros, though she nearly did Friday. "I know how it feels to be close to losing," Venus said afterward. But losing outright? "That's a foreign concept and not a very accepted one," she said. For Hingis, it isn't particularly well-accepted either. She can take some consolation, though, knowing that among all great rivalries, the winners and losers invariably swap roles.


Half volleys
In the other, less breathtaking semifinal, Davenport was leading Elena Dementieva 6-2, 5-2 and 40-0. Rarely perceived as a player who tightens when the pressure's on, Davenport had to go to a tiebreaker to win the second set. ... Nice week for Lleyton Hewitt. Not only will he play Pete Sampras for a spot in the men's final, but he and partner Max Mirnyi took the men's doubles trophy Friday. ... Serena Williams is back in Florida, getting treatment on her left big toe. ... The inimitable Goran Ivanisevic may have lost more than a week ago, but he was still around the courts, presumably practicing before the Olympics.

tennisjam
Nov 20th, 2003, 07:06 AM
I miss their matches...

Ryan
Nov 20th, 2003, 10:44 AM
I think one thing that made their rivalry great was that they both had respect for the other, but they rarely spoke about it, keeping that "hate" thing going.:p Thanks for the article. :wavey:

Daniel
Nov 20th, 2003, 10:52 AM
Nice article. Thanks :)
Martina :yeah:

Alan
Nov 20th, 2003, 11:04 AM
GREAT rivalry! i miss venus and martina!

calabar
Nov 20th, 2003, 12:50 PM
I too wished that they had a prolonged rivalry. It could have been one of the best. That US open SF match is by far my favorite Venus moment. The one the previous year was also a classic even though Venus lost to Hingis that year.

Paneru
Nov 20th, 2003, 12:57 PM
GREAT rivalry! i miss venus and martina!

ITA!
I've never been fond of Hingis but I do have
to say that I also miss their matches. :sad:

bandabou
Nov 20th, 2003, 01:03 PM
Venus vs Martina. This generation´s BEST and GREATEST rivalry.

Too bad it ended so quickly. Could´ve been a classic!

VS Fan
Nov 20th, 2003, 02:00 PM
Nice article, but I thought Martina's comment toward Serena at the time was wierd, since she lost a SLAM to Serena just a year before, and Serena's head to head vs Martina was better than Venus' at the time. I don't think she ever beat Serena after that statement. Venus only lost ONE more time at the AO 2001. Martina remained #1 over this period.

bandabou
Nov 20th, 2003, 02:05 PM
Yeah, I think it was weird....because Serena started to beat Hingis off the bat....you´re right. Martina only got one more win after that at the same ´01 Oz open. After that it was hasta la vista, baby.

tennisIlove09
Nov 20th, 2003, 06:59 PM
Yeah, I think it was weird....because Serena started to beat Hingis off the bat....you´re right. Martina only got one more win after that at the same ´01 Oz open. After that it was hasta la vista, baby.

Actually, Martina also beat her in Sydney in 01. 6-4 7-5

bandabou
Nov 20th, 2003, 07:06 PM
Indeed....I always forget Sydney. Seems like Serena liked to play Sydney, but since her ankle-thing she hasn´t gone there ever since.

jenny161185
Nov 20th, 2003, 10:12 PM
Brilliant Rivalry pityit couldn t go on :(

Ballbuster
Nov 20th, 2003, 10:22 PM
Luckily Hingis bailed out the game. Before the Game overtook her.

bandabou
Nov 20th, 2003, 10:31 PM
Martina without her feet....ain´t nowhere. Plus her serve wasn´t all too good either.

tennisIlove09
Nov 20th, 2003, 10:33 PM
Martina's serve went with her confidence. She was hitting bigger serves in late 90's. But as she stopped winning majors, her serve seemed to go. In 99, she hit aces against the Williamses!

Martian KC
Nov 21st, 2003, 01:07 AM
Luckily Hingis bailed out the game. Before the Game overtook her.

another ignorant post from an ignorant willifan. I've lost count of many there are on both accounts.

bandabou
Nov 21st, 2003, 01:33 AM
Martina's serve went with her confidence. She was hitting bigger serves in late 90's. But as she stopped winning majors, her serve seemed to go. In 99, she hit aces against the Williamses!

I don´t know about her hitting aces against the williamses, but her serve was bigger/better back in ´97-´00 even, after ´00 her game went DOWN faster than the Nasdaq-courses!!

pReUrBrIyN
Nov 21st, 2003, 01:56 AM
It hurts to think about.

I better just stick with the Willie vs. Willie rivalry.

:p

Venus Forever
Nov 21st, 2003, 01:58 AM
another ignorant post from an ignorant willifan. I've lost count of many there are on both accounts.

I know, right??

The game had already overtaken her, silly BallBuster. :o

Jericho
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:01 AM
another ignorant post from an ignorant willifan. I've lost count of many there are on both accounts.

4? oh im sorry, i thought you were talking about match points :tape:

Mister B
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:09 AM
As far as I remember, Hingis always served around 100 mph, including the beginning of 2002... It was only after her return in August 2002, when she was still injured, that she could barely reach 95 mph...
I saw her serve in 1998 and it was similar to AO 2002 (in AO 2002 she was playing perfect, she really should have won that final, but she choked at important moments.. but if she was a bit more confident, she surely could have won it)...

bandabou
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:12 AM
Yep...Martina already have signs she wasn´t mentally though when she NEARLY NEARLY blew the match against Monica in the semi´s! She was up like 5-1 or 5-2 and Monica made it 5-4 and had chances to make it 5-5 all!!

But blowing a set and 4-0 lead?! Hmm, Jen and Martina played so many times against each other, that they even became the same!

geoepee
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:19 AM
I think it's never too late, maybe in 3-4 years time we'll see another epic Hingis-Venus match. Keep the faith! :)

ok ok, maybe not, I miss Hingis vs. Venus... :sad:

bandabou
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:29 AM
I think it's never too late, maybe in 3-4 years time we'll see another epic Hingis-Venus match. Keep the faith! :)

ok ok, maybe not, I miss Hingis vs. Venus... :sad:

Keep the faith! You never know....besides: You never can say never.

LeonHart
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:42 AM
You guys are saying that tennis has passed Martina by, but I guarantee you that if Martina had her '99 year form, she'd still be a top 5 player contending for a Major. So STFU.

Diya
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:43 AM
Whats with old articles tonight ....all i am doing is reading old stuff n then feeling bad about it :sad:

bandabou
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:54 AM
You guys are saying that tennis has passed Martina by, but I guarantee you that if Martina had her '99 year form, she'd still be a top 5 player contending for a Major. So STFU.

I think that is a VERY true statement. She would be fighting with either Belgian who is third best after the Williamses.

Martian KC
Nov 21st, 2003, 03:16 AM
I know, right??

The game had already overtaken her, silly BallBuster. :o

Really? Too abd she still has one grand slam over venus. :o

Martian KC
Nov 21st, 2003, 03:17 AM
4? oh im sorry, i thought you were talking about match points :tape:

That didn't make any sense, nice try though! :lol:

bandabou
Nov 21st, 2003, 03:21 AM
Really? Too abd she still has one grand slam over venus. :o

DANG! You HAD to say that,huh?! I almost forget about that.

Mister B
Nov 21st, 2003, 03:40 AM
Not necessarily the Marti of 99, but a completely healthy and confident Martina would make it to top-5, I'm sure of that... Martina after AO 2002 said her game was even better than before, but that was only her confidence that was missing... in 1999 Martina was really confident, winning most of the times, but in 2001 she only won 3 tournaments so in 2002 she wasn't very confident going into the tour... I think that was the difference... because, like bandabou said, Martina was really flawless and leading against Monica (only 12 UFES in the whole match!) but her mental part let Monica into the match.. same thing in the finals!

Jericho
Nov 21st, 2003, 03:53 AM
That didn't make any sense, nice try though! :lol:

maybe you're too dense to understand, but coming from you, i understand... :p

tennisIlove09
Nov 21st, 2003, 06:57 AM
Typical. A thread about two great rivals turns into a Hingis fans vs. Williams fans, instead of honoring BOTH players that produced some of the best matches of our time. It's very sad.

Rothes
Nov 21st, 2003, 07:26 AM
I enjoyed their Games, There rivalries will be missed in My books. Now hoping for a Patty Schnyder Venus Williams Rivarly to start!!1

hhhhoooppp sssccchhhwwwiiizzz Patty!!!

Rub
Nov 21st, 2003, 08:00 AM
i saw that match! i just didn't pay much attention because i wasn't madly hooked on tennis at that time! damnn...

Mister B
Nov 21st, 2003, 10:54 AM
hey there is no war there, we were just discussing and agreeing with each other...
And I totally agree, they are the ones who produced the best matches in the last years according to me!

Martian KC
Nov 22nd, 2003, 02:35 AM
maybe you're too dense to understand, but coming from you, i understand... :p

Actually, the only people that probably got that was willifans.:haha:

bandabou
Nov 22nd, 2003, 02:41 AM
Their matches were great and the best during the late ´90´s and early´00´s. GREAT stuff!

TSequoia01
Nov 22nd, 2003, 04:07 AM
The Venus and Martina style contrast is the main reason their matches were so entertaining. These comments from Martina after a Wimbledon match says it all:

Q. Venus said after Wimbledon a few weeks ago that she thought during the third set of your match you were just waiting for her to choke, which is essentially the reason why she won, because she got aggressive and won the match, you were laying back and waiting for her to miss. Do you agree with that?

MARTINA HINGIS: It's been pretty much the whole match like that, that she was the one who is more aggressive because she has a game like that. She has got the serve to have the game to be aggressive. But in my position, I was always waiting to get a chance. In a way, it's true. She just played a very good match. She didn't let me into the game in the third set. I mean, I should have taken my chances earlier, not waiting for her to miss or to do something stupid.

This says it all for me. :cool: