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Martina watches as archrival Venus soars

By Matthew Cronin
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Susan Mullane
Camerawork USA, Inc.
It has to be irking Martina Hingis that Venus Williams will become No. 1 next week. Not because the Swiss believes that the vexing V is a physically stronger player, nor a mentally tougher competitor, but because she thinks deep down inside that she is a smarter player and should have figured out a way to keep Venus from her beloved queen of hill spot for a few more years.

Martina will not concede Venus the year-end No. 1 spot yet, much yet the top spot next month. In her typical ultra-confident fashion, she refuses to concede that Venus is the clear-cut No. 1, even though Williams has won two out of the last three Grand Slams and accept for her major hiccup in Australia to Monica Seles, has been the out and out favorite in every tournament she has entered since last July.

"I think she won the last two tournaments now, so it's a very close call there," said Hingis, who is about to set off on a three U.S. hardcourt swing in Scottsdale, Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.


"All those players, it can be: one week Jennifer, one week Venus. Hopefully, pretty soon I'll battle with them, too. ... At this point there's lots of girls up front which are still playing great tennis. So I think it gets more and more difficult, as you see in the men's game. You don't have too many steady No 1 players up there. It was nice for me to be there for so long, like four years. At this point it's hard to say. I mean, like I said, the competition is getting stronger, so."

HINGIS HAD TOUGH SUMMER
It's hard to forget how impotent Hingis looked last summer, when she run out of every Slam like she was countrywoman Patty Schnyder in her orange juice-only days, not the best women's athlete in Swiss history. Recall that Serena blasted her 6-3, 6-2 in the U.S. Open semis, one of Martina's most embarrassing losses. "Sometimes it happens," she said. " I beat Venus in Australia the year before [6-1, 6-1], and I beat her more than once. Can't be embarrassed about it."

However, Martina had never been wasted like that before when she was healthy. "Well, it doesn't feel the greatest," she said. " Sometimes it isn't your day. But she was just better than me at that point. I was happy to get into the semifinals. I could have lost in the third round. Later in the fall, I got injured. I knew I wasn't playing the best tennis at that point. And that's very hard to beat somebody like Serena."

Hingis' fall injury was actually a stroke of luck, because it allowed her time to reflect on where her career is going and recommit herself to her sport. She did think back on the loss to Serena. "Maybe a little bit, too, yeah, was part of it," she said. "The whole season wasn't good enough. The break probably did me well. Now I feel like I'm playing better than before."

STRONGER, QUICKER, HAPPIER
Hingis has a lot to be happy about this year. She's much stronger and a little quicker than she was in '01, appears to be very motivated and understands that without the injured Lindsay Davenport and Mary Pierce around, she has a couple less big-hitters to scrape by in the coming months.

Although Venus, Serena and Jennifer can beat her when they are focused, Hingis understands as well as anyone that neither sister has played a full season without being diverted, and that Jennifer can be had if Hingis regains her once immense courage. That gives Martina a terrific shot at winning her sixth Slam in 2002 – if she rediscovers that pushing the ball against elite players when trying to close out matches is not the right recipe for success.

Hingis said that she has already put aside her disastrous loss to Capriati in the Aussie Open final. " I didn't have such a tough time getting over it," she said. "I won the week after that in Tokyo, beat Monica in the finals. I can't be too disappointed about that loss. I came very close. Can't get closer than having four match points. So I think I did better than expected."

The 21-year-old says she now treating her tennis with more responsibility and enjoys it more. And if the Swiss is about to break out her trademark slightly evil smile again on a regular basis, it could be bad news for Venus.

"Before I was sometimes like, 'Okay, do the same old business,' she said. But now I enjoy it more and just prove myself again. ... Last year when I went into tournaments and you know you're not in best shape, you kind of feel like, "Okay, those matches are going to be very hard to go through again, like the Williams sisters or Lindsay or Jennifer, and it's just going to be very hard to win.' But now I feel like I made another step in my game that I got better. So I feel like I have the game to beat everybody."
 

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I think that underneath Martina's snide remarks lay absolute respect for Venus' talent and ability. It is our human nature to rather ignore what we consider "beneath" us. There are some talents that Venus possesses that Martina does not, and visa versa. I think it gnaws at Martina's sense of self that in some areas Venus might be better than her, now when that wasn't always the case. I think that when Venus first arrived on the scene and Martina was the dominator of everything she surveyed, Martina instinctively knew who would be her true rival and that there was nothing she could do to stop the train from running her over. The Martina/Venus rivalry reminds me of everything I'd read about the Chris/Martina N rivalry. Since Chris was the early dominator and Martina N usurped her throne, Chris has always been the one that has been snide in her remarks about Martina N. So it is that Martina H will always see Venus as the usurper.
 

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I agree. I've always felt that their rivalry goes very deep. And I don't mean hatred, some of it is envy and some of it is awe. Whenever I see these two play each other I get the sense that they want to beat each other really badly, and not just to win the match.:cool: That's really exciting.
 

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Yea, when they play eachother, they seem not to focus on the fact that they're winning the semi or final of a big tournament, but they focus on "yes, I'm beating HER again!" Notice neither of them smile or giggle when they play eachother?
 

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I love a good rivarly:cool: (when it stays sportive)
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Yup... whenever they play each other.... sparks fly!

I bet even if it were an exhibition, they'll still fight as hard. But it is always nice to see players give their all in a match like they do when they play each other. I'm looking forward to more matches again! :D
 

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I miss their classic matchups :( Like US Open 99 and 00, to name a couple more obvious ones.

I'd love to see them meet up more this year, and play matches like that again.

It seems that no matter how well she plays - Venus still has difficulty with Hingis. Not to say she has never beaten her in straight sets, cause she has.

But most of her victories have been in three tough sets.

As have many of Hingis.

Hope to see more and more of that :)

Venus and Henin make for some good matches too, but nothing tops a great Martina- Venus matchup :)
 

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scoop said:
I think that underneath Martina's snide remarks
What was snide? Cronin said she didn't concede that Venus was #1, not Martina. It looks like, since he dances around the point, she could have been asked if Venus was #1 and she didn't know the point totals. It was by 6 points. Do you think every player knows these things off the top of their heads? If your next point was right, she wouldn't. I doubt she would anyway.


It is our human nature to rather ignore what we consider "beneath" us.
Since when, Dr. Freud? I have never noticed this nor seen it commented on before. Maybe you do it, but would that mean it is human nature?

[/B][/QUOTE]I think it gnaws at Martina's sense of self .............Martina instinctively knew who would be her true rival......So it is that Martina H will always see Venus as the usurper. [/B][/QUOTE]

Ah, a mindreader.


What was snide was Matt Cronin's story. I thing it's also dishonest. If Martina had denied Venus was #1, you would have seen it on a credible news site.

I keep wondering if people believe that if they say these things often enough then they can make people believe they are true. She's snide. She's jealous. She's afraid. Her day is over. She's #4 and has the opportunity to stay there. Like hell. Just keep hoping.
 

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Hingis Article: The Vee Question

Good response, Bella!!;) Your analysis of the article are far better than most!!:D

barmaid:wavey:
 

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NeverWoz
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I always love to watch Venus vs. Martina. They always have such great matchups, and their rivalry goes way back.
 

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I merely expressed my opinion. To me, in context of this article, snide is being asked a question about Serena and answering about beating Venus.

What I meant by "It is our human nature to rather ignore what we consider "beneath" us." in reference to Martina is that she rarely refers or offers an opinion about those players who she doesn't consider as good as her. I wasn't trying to ascribe good or bad connotations to anything. It was you who read negativity into what I said.

I think it is pretty obvious that Martina has a sense of entitlement... how could she not. Honor, fame, championships came pretty quickly and early in her career. Others like Lindsay and Venus had to wait. Still others like Jennifer and Monica had early fame and then had their careers interupted before reclaiming a high level again. It is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, if suddenly your ascendancy is challenged and you fail to achieve those things that came so easily and unchallenged -- particuarly when you lose your mantle to someone you once mocked or didn't think was as good as you are. She never said bad things about Jennifer, so it was easy for her to say Jennifer was the number 1 player. With Venus, it's a whole different dynamic and perhaps a bitter pill to swallow. I just don't think it is easy to back off a position that you have publically stated or admit that you might have been wrong.

She and Venus will probably have an interesting history together and I feel they are both worthy champions. Since they are only three months apart in age, they will in all likihood be battling for that top spot. At least I'd like to see them both perform as worthy and honorable adversaries.
 

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"It is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, if suddenly your ascendancy is challenged and you fail to achieve those things that came so easily and unchallenged -- particuarly when you lose your mantle to someone you once mocked or didn't think was as good as you are. She never said bad things about Jennifer, so it was easy for her to say Jennifer was the number 1 player. With Venus, it's a whole different dynamic and perhaps a bitter pill to swallow. I just don't think it is easy to back off a position that you have publically stated or admit that you might have been wrong.

She and Venus will probably have an interesting history together and I feel they are both worthy champions. Since they are only three months apart in age, they will in all likihood be battling for that top spot. At least I'd like to see them both perform as worthy and honorable adversaries."

>I agree.:D
 
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