Sep 27th, 2004, 06:13 PM
Hey all :cool:
Yesterday I went to the Gaz de France Stars in Hasselt, where I watched some nice matches and attended the press conference with Martina Hingis, on behalf of Inside-Tennis :)
The transcript can be found here (http://www.inside-tennis.net/index.php?action=article&id=111) :
Please pay the site a visit :) It's made by true fans, for true fans! Lots of interesting information can be found there :)
(This is also posted in the GM section)
Sep 27th, 2004, 06:14 PM
Former No. 1 and Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis paid the new Belgian tournament of Hasselt, The Gaz de France Stars, a visit on Sunday the 26th of October. Kim Clijsters handed her the Stars Merit Award for her all time achievements. And after that, there was a press conference with Martina. And of course, Inside-Tennis was there to keep you informed:
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Coordinator: Thank you for being here. It is my pleasure to introduce Martina Hingis to the press conference and the opening ceremony of the first edition of the Gaz de France Stars. We actually found out there is some common link, because our Kim is going to be, or is very involved in this tournament in Hasselt and Martina is very involved in the tournament in ZŁrich, which is in two weeks. And both are Octagon events so that is a common thread that we can talk a little bit about.
Martina: Yes (Laughs)
Coordinator: Anyway, the floor is yours so feel free to ask any questions to Martina.
Martina: Thank you
Question: How are you?
Martina: Iím good, thank you (Laughs)
Question: Last year there was a celebration ceremony for Arantxa in Filderstadt, after she returned. Are you invited for this year?
Martina: Invited where? In Filderstadt? Well, I won that tournament like four times so I go to Porsche. Itís nice to still have a memory of that tournament. But they invite me to come, but nothing like a ceremony.
Question: No retirement ceremony?
Martina: No, no retirement celebrations. I donít like these things. Iím only 24 (Laughs)
Question: Did you spend some time together with Kim here at the tournament?
Martina: Well, I got here this morning, so.. But throughout the whole time since I got here we talked a lot and we spent some time together. Well itís interesting. You know he told me that one day sheíll take the tournament. She only lives fifteen minutes away from here, so thatís very nice. You know, like me being more involved also in the tournament in ZŁrich like he just said. And there I live like only forty minutes away, so that is very nice as well. Itís a new job for me to do and just get involved in a different way. Not as a player, but also behind the scenes. But I donít think Iíll be a tournament director ever, so..
Question: Special plans for ZŁrich?
Martina: For ZŁrich?
Question: Yeah, special events?
Martina: Yeah, thereís a playerís party of course and a lot of..
Question: Press invited?
Martina: Press invited? Hmm.. the official one? Yes. There is sponsors, press, everybody.. I think there, like year, there was Kim. And nobody knew that Kim was there as well. I think itís a nice connection to have. Itís the sponsors and players. They get a little bit closer. Itís not like you have to spend hours as a player talking to them, but itís good to know that they really take their job serious and they want to be involved. Itís kind of a shame that not everybody knew she was there. Things like that, I think they can be improved and get better, so I try to be the link in between this.
Question: You know, Steffi Graf she played an exhibition match against Sabatini. Is that something that you plan to do, maybe against Kournikova or Martina Navratilova?
Martina: (Laughs) Oh, Martina, she is like a different generation and sheís still played this year. Unbelievable. And I commentated on her match, so itís funny. Anyway, well maybe one day along the road it would be nice if my health problems and everything can go to a certain thing that maybe.. But itís still up in the clouds. You know. I definitely love the game and I still like to play every now, but on a limited time schedule. But, yeah I saw it too. And I read it in the paper this morning on the way up here that they played. It was a good match. It is something different, you know, to see Steffi against Gabriela.
Question: No concrete plans for an exhibition matchÖ
Martina: No, no concrete plans.
Question: ÖI think you could handle, no?
Martina: Not at this time. But definitely, maybe, hopefully one day. Itís just time. Time will tell. But nothing right now. It wouldnít be possible right now.
Inside-Tennis: Are there any improvements in your health? Your situation?
Martina: Well, I am not playing that much, so there is no problem at this point. Because I play a little bit with my kids, uh the kids of my mom. Not my kids. (Laughs). Well, they are like mine. I play quite a bit with them. And now itís holiday. They have three weeks, so they have camps and itís like 130 kids in the program. In the club, so itís indoors. Not depending on the weather.. My mother built an indoor facility with two courts and itís very nice, so.
Question: Is your mom missing the Tour?
Martina: She doesnít miss the travel that much. Sheís always been more of a home person. I mean she didnít mine the travel, but we also like spending the time home. She doesnít have to change clothes all the time and just pack your bags and leave. And uhm.. Like this, she doesnít miss it. But of course sheís always been involved in the tennis and she loves the sports in general. She always watches other matches, because if sheís wanting to still be teaching, then she needs to watch it (Ö). You always have to move to the future.
Question: So sheís not following you around in showjumping events?
Martina: No, Iíd be too nervous if sheíd still be watching and telling you what to do. I accepted it on the tennis court and even there we were sometimes fighting. But not in the showjumping. I have other people who help me out. Like yesterday I had a competition and I became first and second, so I was happy. At my level.
Question: So you are satisfied with last monthís results with showjumping?
Question: Last month.
Martina: Last month? What happened last month? I donít know
Question: You became third with a new team, I remember. Oh no, seventh..
Martina: I almost jump every week, but now itís different. But itís just a fun thing. It keeps me to do something. I always had a passion for horses, but it is something I do in my spare time.
Question: Is Justine Hťnin one of the players that you like to watch the most, cause she has a similar game like you had?
Martina: Well, sheís.. The size-wise and everything she takes the best out of her chances. I admire that. Sheís very professional. And sheís got her team, with her husband. And her coach, heís been there for her for all the time and I think thatís very important to have somebody like that. And now itís uncertain what she is going to do and I found it incredible that she won the Olympics, not having played that much. And you see on the menís side it was a very unusual champion as well. I wouldnít think that sheís going to come back and win right away. So thatís great for her and hopefully she stays healthy and does well again.
Question: What do you think of your compatriot Roger Federer?
Martina: Well, heís great, you know. I think I set the path and he has taken it over in the menís game. And itís very nice to see that the players have so much respect now. Winning three out of four Grand Slams is unbelievable. It doesnít happen every day.
Question: Heís got a lovely game, no?
Martina: Yeah, I mean heís.. Well, on the court, well there is no shot you would think he cannot hit. You know, itís like both sides, forehand and backhand, great serve and the placement. Itís not even the fastest serve, but itís great placement. You know, he has a very intelligent game. He always reacts right it seems like.
Question: Are you friends?
Martina: Yes, I mean I watched some of his matches in Australia and at the French. And I saw the last two sets against Agassi. I think that was like the most critical match. It was unbelievably windy and I think also his mind is more confident, than it was a couple of years ago. And that turned around his season.
Question: Is it more difficult now to dominate the womenís game now than in your period or before that?
Martina: Every time has its own future I would say, but I think that the game has improved every year, every six months probably. To stay healthy in an environment like you have today, that you play so many tournaments. Thatís the biggest problem. Most tournaments are on hard court, probably around 80%. So itís tough on your body. So the biggest concern has always been the health.
Inside-Tennis: What about your compatriot Myriam Casanova. You practiced a lot with her the last few years. And now she is suffering from illness as well, weight problems because of that disease..
Martina: (Laughs) I am not a doctor, donít ask me.
Inside-Tennis: ÖAre you in any way capable of helping her?
Martina: Well, I practiced with her a few times like during last year. I saw her the last time in Miami but I havenít seen her much since. Well, I mean I saw her when I was commentating, but I was also working so..
Inside-Tennis: She has done okay in doubles, but in singles itís not good.
Martina: At the French she played quite alright. She almost had the possibility to beat Kuznetsova and Kuznetsova wins the US Open, you know. But those are the little steps that can turn around a few matches and get your confidence back there. I think she definitely has a low now, but in professional sport you cannot be allowed to be like ten kilos overweight. Itís also not good for your health. Now sheís eighteen, nineteen and at this time it wonít be very healthy no. But itís sad, she could be such a great player you know.
Question: You donít think she can turn it around?
Martina: I donít know. I mean, that depends on her. Firstly she has to want it, whatever the problem is and be real with herself.
Coordinator: Three more questions.
Question: How difficult is it not to play anymore?
Martina: The first year it was almost easier than this year. You know, the first year you are away from the Tour. I wasnít as much involved. And this year, because I did the commentary and I traveled to the tournaments. Talking about the players, talking about the strategies. And most of them I still played against, so I felt very close. Like being almost emotionally involved with the whole game and being part of it. So sometimes itís like I just want to jump on court and play and show itís done, but thatís like far away.
Question: Is there anything in your career that you regret? Like not winning the French?
Martina: Well, itís like there is always this tournament. But that one match made history. Itís like the match of all times, Iíd say (Laughs). Itís probably the one thing Iíd say that would have been nice to win. But when I look at my career, I think I had a wonderful one and there is no regrets.
Question: Plus Pete Sampras never won it.
Martina: And thereís that part. Anyway, McEnroe and most Americans never won it and they probably never will.
Question: You once said you were hoping for a medical miracle.
Question: You ever went to Lourdes?
Martina: To who?
Question: To Lourdes
Martina: I donít know who that is, sorry.
Question: Itís a place where miracles can happen. Itís in FrenchÖ France.
Martina: Oh, alright..
Coordinator: Last question.
Question: Did you finish all your English exams for now?
Martina: Did I what?
Question: Did you finish all your English exams now?
Martina: My exams. Oh, I got kind of stuck there. But I did my advanced test and there is still the proficiency test, but Iím working on it. But because I was so busy with the commentary this year, itís hard. When youíre home and you do it once, twice a week and then you go away again. And my teacher was gone as well. She took time off and left me home alone for like two months and Iím like Ďokayí.
- End of the press conference Ė
This is a transcript from my voice recorder. The grammar mistakes were made by the speaker.
(This is also posted in GM)