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Marcell
Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:37 PM
A tale of two rivals: Venus, Hingis mirroring each other
Venus is riding high on Wimbledon success, Martina is inspired to keep up

By Matthew Cronin, ********************

FROM THE ACURA CLASSIC IN SAN DIEGO – Not every tournament is a flashback to 1997, but when Martina Hingis and Venus Williams are in the same locale – like they are at this week's Acura Classic – their names slip easily off each other's lips.

Hingis is taking motivation from her great rival, the same woman whom she schooled in the '97 US Open final. After besting Virginie Razzano 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday, Williams thought back to an 11-week period when she gained the No. 1 ranking in 2002.

"It was hard to hold on to because Martina was playing more than I was," she said. "It was elusive."

Actually, it was Jennifer Capriati and her sister Serena Williams whom she was vying with then, not Hingis, who was beginning to decline. Like her likeable but spacey mother, Oracene, Venus' recollection skills have never been that great, so she was probably thinking back to 2001 and 2002 when she went back-to-back at Wimbledon and the US Open and when Hingis was more of a factor.

But Hingis has keen recollection skills and still puts herself on par with Venus, who along with Serena, represents a large part of her personal bar.

"When I saw what she did at Wimbledon, it did inspire [me] to think I might be able to do the same again," Hingis told ********************. "You see in two out of three Slams that the Williams sisters won and were able to bounce back not having played that much over the past few years and you are a little surprised."

Unlike in 1997, when Hingis ruled the roost by grabbing three out of the four Slams and spoiled Venus' coming out party in the US Open final, Hingis is now looking up at Venus. Sure, at No. 13 she's ranked slightly higher than the No. 16 Williams, but Venus just won her sixth Slam title at Wimbledon, giving her one more major than the Swiss. Don't think that doesn't matter to the proud rivals. Venus is playing so well now that she has to be considered the early favorite to win her third US Open crown, while Hingis is merely hoping that she can stay healthy enough to reach the second week.

Hingis needs a huge week in San Diego to get her confidence back, while Venus is so full of confidence that it seems like she could skate to the final on good days and bad. She says she's in the proverbial zone.

"I'm playing better than at Wimbledon," she said. "My first serve percentage was crazy at Wimbledon and I hit as hard as could and it just went it. Every time I would go for it and I was blessed to get it in. There's a determination part of it. My level is going up every day. It was huge boost to win a Slam and this tournament will help me, too."

Venus is in her healthiest stretch since 2005 and now has gone more than six months without pulling out of a tournament. She thrilled that she's finally healthy again.

"I'm the anti-Venus," she said. "I finally have two legs to stand on. I'm playing a lot of matches. I don't want to be injured any more and have to work so hard to be where I want to be. I'm at a really wonderful place in my game where I can stay there and keep getting better."

She has no idea why she's healthy again, but she is. And, as the world saw at the AELTC, she's crushing her serve and forehand, the two most up-and-down parts of her game.

When she's nearly unbreakable and when a foe cannot hammer balls into her forehand side, she's as good as better as anyone on the planet.

"My forehand has improved the most this year," she said. "It's awesome."

Why? She won't really say, but there's no doubt that she's completely following through on the shot and it's also safe to say that during her time off due to a left wrist injury last year, that it was the only stoke she could hit and she benefited by all the hours she spent honing it. Much the same happened with Kim Clijsters and her forehand when she injured her left wrist.

The Williams sisters are frequently criticized for not caring enough and pulling out of too many events. While that criticism has some merit when it comes to Serena (who has pulled out of four events in a row and appears doubtful for LA next week with a thumb injury), it has no justification when it comes to Venus.

Look at her schedule since Roland Garros: Wimbledon, Fed Cup, World TeamTennis and now San Diego. She nutted up and played Fed Cup just a week after winning Wimbledon, a big risk that she was willing to take for her nation and her friend, Zina Garrison.

"It was the anti-vacation," she said. "It was tough mentally and physically. It was the ultimate challenge to play something so competitive after Wimbledon. It takes a lot out of you."

When asked to recall the super skinny girl with red white and blue beads who wowed New York in 1997, Venus said, "She was really silly and knew nothing about tennis but she had a little bit of heart and that counted in the end."

Venus has made a few life changes as of late. She has a steady boyfriend, golfer Hank Kuehne, and her first dog (the many others were Serena's), a Havanese puppy named Harry that she caries around in a bag.

She called herself a single mom when it comes to the dog, but isn't looking to overly impress Hank when it comes to her knowledge of the. She doesn't play golf, although she has driven a few balls at her dad's house, and has tagged along at a few of Hank's tournaments. At first, she had no idea what was going on. She describes golf as a "long walk after practice."

"He said go out there on the first hole by that bunker and I asked, 'What's a bunker?" she said.

Williams says that like her, Kuehne "seems really good and powerful" and she says she doesn't get too nervous watching him.

"Golf is not as fast as tennis but if there's a close putt you can go, 'Ooohhh.' Tennis you are in the moment and it's like a series. He hasn't had as many close ones like me and I don't want him to live on edge."

She also isn't planning on yelling out, "You da man!" "I don't think he appreciate that and I don't want to distract, so I'll just let Serena do it."

Like Venus, Hingis is 27-years-old, but she hasn't been healthy in five months. After beating Michaella Krajicek in her opener, she said it was the first time that she felt normal since Miami.

After bombing out of Wimbledon early in a tournament she should not have played, she went to Germany to visit doctors and work out, and then went home to Switzerland to visit and practice with her mother, Melanie.

"I feel like I'm where I want to be," she said. "The endurance and cardio will come with more matches."

Hingis remains enigmatic. She told TR that "the fire is back on," because she's feeling healthy, but cautions that another injury could extinguish it.

"If your body doesn't let do things you should be [doing], it gets hard on the mind and motivation because you know what you should be doing and you are not and it doesn't give you a huge chance at success. It can vary. Sometimes I have very fast thoughts. When I feel better I say I can continue for another five years, but then when I am not, I say, 'Do I really have to do this to myself?' If everything is great and I'm playing well and winning, I feel go on forever. And, if I'm not, I say why all the hassle and the travel? It's very close. Sometimes in a few weeks I can be a totally different person. You talk to me at Wimbledon and I'm one way, and then now I'm another person who is saying the fire is back."

Both Melanie and Martina's fiancée, Radek Stepanek, are telling her the same things: Get a high percentage of her first serves in, make no errors off the ground and attack the net more. Sounds easy, right?

"I have so many people trying to tell me what to do," she said.

Hingis says she needs matches, but also says that she'd consider playing a Serena-type light schedule next year. She's a type of player who seems to perform better at tournaments where she has prospered in the past.

She won the Acura title in 1997 and 1999 and is hoping, as Venus might say, to be blessed by a cool breeze off the Pacific. The SoCal mojo seems to seeping into her circle; Stepanek won LA two weeks ago.

"This has a good place for me in the past where I've rebounded after some bad Wimbledons and I made a statement that I can compete well again."

Chance
Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:52 PM
I ususally don't read articles, but this one had a lot of nice quotes. Thanks for posting it, Marcell.

Libertango
Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:53 PM
Great article, many thanks! :)

frontier
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:14 PM
I think she realises that she doesnt have to play a rigorous schedule at this point in her career,and needs to just cherry pick events.She has finally got wise and knows now that its quality not quantity.

Radix2
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:25 PM
I seemed to remember that at Wimbledon, Venus mentioned Harry in her victory speech. I was wondering who is Harry? It turns out its her dog.

I am so thrilled she is in a happy place right now.

jonnyroyale_13
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:28 PM
enjoyed the article..Venus' comments about golf cracked me up

their singles grand slam stats mirror each other:
Venus is 155-32 (.82888) (at Wimbledon 51-7) (played in 38 won 6)
Martina is 151-31 (.82967)(Aust.Open 52-7) (played in 36 won 5)

Marcell
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:36 PM
I seemed to remember that at Wimbledon, Venus mentioned Harry in her victory speech. I was wondering who is Harry? It turns out its her dog.

I am so thrilled she is in a happy place right now.



It was not Harry,it was Henry that she mentioned in her speech. Henry is Hank's name.

RenaSlam.
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:42 PM
She also isn't planning on yelling out, "You da man!" "I don't think he appreciate that and I don't want to distract, so I'll just let Serena do it."

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Radix2
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:43 PM
It was not Harry,it was Henry that she mentioned in her speech. Henry is Hank's name.

Thanks, don't know why I thought it was Harry.

tonythetiger
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:45 PM
And some of you said Martina wasn't inspired by Venus. I guess you were wrong.

LANGAM
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:05 PM
thasnx for posting. good article

mykarma
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:25 PM
It was not Harry,it was Henry that she mentioned in her speech. Henry is Hank's name.
I don't think Vee would appreciate someone call Hank a dog. :lol:

SV_Fan
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:28 PM
11 weeks :shock:

sfselesfan
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:55 PM
So Cronin thinks Venus is the USO favorite. hmmm...

SF

CORIA01
Aug 2nd, 2007, 03:00 PM
Thanks For Sharing
Hope Martina Will Step Up Her Game

RAA
Aug 2nd, 2007, 03:39 PM
odd that he called Oracene spacey.. I don't see her that way.. nor Venus for that matter.

Infiniti2001
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:05 PM
Good article :yeah: I love that thing about golf being "a long walk after practice." http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/7109/funnygo1.gif Golf is so dull :tape:

tennisIlove09
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:08 PM
Nice article. It would be nice to have a 99 rematch in the final this year.

sfselesfan
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:10 PM
Nice article. It would be nice to have a 99 rematch in the final this year.

Or a Y2K SF rematch. :drool:

SF

jonnyroyale_13
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:12 PM
Now those were gr8 matches

Vlover
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:44 PM
A tale of two rivals: Venus, Hingis mirroring each other
Venus is riding high on Wimbledon success, Martina is inspired to keep up

By Matthew Cronin, ********************


[QUOTE]Hingis is taking motivation from her great rival,
"When I saw what she did at Wimbledon, it did inspire [me] to think I might be able to do the same again," Hingis told ********************. "You see in two out of three Slams that the Williams sisters won and were able to bounce back not having played that much over the past few years and you are a little surprised."

There is the answer to the other thread straight from the horse's mouth.;)

When asked to recall the super skinny girl with red white and blue beads who wowed New York in 1997, Venus said, "She was really silly and knew nothing about tennis but she had a little bit of heart and that counted in the end."

I first fell in love with that girl and love and admire the woman she has become on and off the court.:hearts:

Hingis remains enigmatic. She told TR that "the fire is back on," because she's feeling healthy, but cautions that another injury could extinguish it.

The Hingis fans who are Venus "haters" should pay attention to this instead of hating on Vee when she's struggling with her injury woes. I was a Martina "hater" but she has matured and have shown respect for my faves so I've warmed up to her now.:angel:

[B]Hingis says she needs matches, but also says that she'd consider playing a Serena-type light schedule next year.

Though Serena gets crticised for her schedule I noticed some players are emulating it without saying. Justine for example.;)

serenafan08
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:17 PM
Great article. It's good to see that Venus is in a good place again. I think she is going to make some huge noise this summer. If Serena gets healthy, we could see another Aussie Open repeat. I'm getting excited! :bounce:

vwfan
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:22 PM
enjoyed the article..Venus' comments about golf cracked me up

their singles grand slam stats mirror each other:
Venus is 155-32 (.82888) (at Wimbledon 51-7) (played in 38 won 6)
Martina is 151-31 (.82967)(Aust.Open 52-7) (played in 36 won 5)yeah, pretty amazing!

supergrunt
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:24 PM
basically she just wants not to be surpassed... b/c she doesn't like Venus. :shrug:

Bijoux0021
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:41 PM
basically she just wants not to be surpassed... b/c she doesn't like Venus. :shrug:
EXACTLY!

Hashim.
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:57 PM
super article..:D

frenchie
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:05 PM
Hingis says she needs matches, but also says that she'd consider playing a Serena-type light schedule next year. She's a type of player who seems to perform better at tournaments where she has prospered in the past.

I don't think it's a good idea!

Martina needs to play a lot of matches. That's what worked for her in the past;)

BTW I like Cronin's articles

Max565
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:12 PM
basically she just wants not to be surpassed... b/c she doesn't like Venus. :shrug:

Yes, of course, that's exactly what she said... :rolleyes: :o

tennisIlove09
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:13 PM
She doesnt like Venus? I think back in the day they didnt get along, but I remember a mutual respect between the two last year after their matches (Venus won 46 75 64; Hingis won 06 63 63)

Paneru
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:07 PM
She doesnt like Venus? I think back in the day they didnt get along, but I remember a mutual respect between the two last year after their matches (Venus won 46 75 64; Hingis won 06 63 63)

BINGO!

I think the bottomline is that their is a mutual respect
btween the two that maybe wasn't their in the heyday of
their rivalry. Regardless of if they personally like each
other or not, fact is they can & do respect each other.

I love their match-up's and I think the fact that the
board was overloaded last year for their two matches
spoke for itself.

DA FOREHAND
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:26 PM
Venus is healthy and motivated to win, and has shown that she can beat the big dogs, still waiting for Martina to get a big win at a major event.


It sounds like Martina is still a bit bull headed as far as listening to good advice, she is def. better when she takes her chances and moves forward to pick off shots at the net. I loved the fearless Martina of old.

GracefulVenus
Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:28 PM
Fantastic read, I have so much respect for both these Champions. Good Luck Martina!

Andrew Laeddis
Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:38 PM
am i the only who finds it funny that martina thinks she can win another slam just because venus did?

hingis-seles
Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:44 PM
Nice article. It would be nice to have a 99 rematch in the final this year.

Or a Y2K SF rematch. :drool:

SF

I think he's referring to the 1999 San Diego final, which Hingis won 6-4, 6-0.

friendsita
Aug 2nd, 2007, 09:40 PM
A "Serena type light schedule" will help her.

ico4498
Aug 2nd, 2007, 09:53 PM
am i the only who finds it funny that martina thinks she can win another slam just because venus did?

no you're not alone. also found the "Serena type schedule" :haha:

vwfan
Aug 2nd, 2007, 10:34 PM
am i the only who finds it funny that martina thinks she can win another slam just because venus did?no!:angel:

Gryffindor80
Aug 2nd, 2007, 11:59 PM
Thanks for the article... I really love this rivalry it always put me at the edge of my seat.. Hope Martina and Venus resurface this great rivalry..

Morrissey
Aug 3rd, 2007, 12:32 AM
Why is this loser calling Oracene spacey? This is a total asshole and he has always had an axe to grind against the sisters. Hingis had one good year 1997 and thats it.

DA FOREHAND
Aug 3rd, 2007, 12:51 AM
Hingis needs some inspiration, she's getting drilled by Patty

servenrichie
Aug 3rd, 2007, 07:23 AM
am i the only who finds it funny that martina thinks she can win another slam just because venus did?
Sure and it was the same reason she came back on the tour, after watching Venus win W'05:lol:
I dont really give a damm how matured Hingis has become, I never liked her big mouth and I am not impressed with her current humility, cos her ass is constantly been spanked, AND I will continue to root against her:o
Go Patty:worship:

Max565
Aug 3rd, 2007, 07:54 AM
Come on Hingis ! You can do it ! :D ;)

Max565
Aug 3rd, 2007, 08:01 AM
Why is this loser calling Oracene spacey? This is a total asshole and he has always had an axe to grind against the sisters. Hingis had one good year 1997 and thats it.

One good year ?! :confused: :tape: :lol:

She's been No.1 for 209 weeks, 5 singles Grand Slams, Year-End No.1 two times, 43 singles titles (17 of them are tier 1, a record), 37 doubles titles with 9 doubles GS...

So Hingis had only 'one' good year... ?! Did she achieve all of that in one year ?

servenrichie
Aug 3rd, 2007, 12:42 PM
Calm down! What he meant was that Hingis had the year of her life in 1997, where she collected 3 out of her 5 slams.
She stayed no.1 for 209 weeks by overplaying and going deep into tournaments and also winning some, but her best year was definitely 1997:p

Tennisaddict
Aug 3rd, 2007, 12:53 PM
am i the only who finds it funny that martina thinks she can win another slam just because venus did?

Nope, Venus can beat any player when she's on her game. Hingis used to be able to do that but I don't see her beating three top ten players in a row to win a slam.