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What exactly happened to Martina Hingis?

Some say if Steffi hadn't been hurt, Martina wouldn't have won 3 GS titles in 1997.<br />Maybe not They didn'tplay at all that year. And Steffi certainly dominated the series.

vs Graf

1995 GRAF__ Paris_ Hard (I) QF 2-6 3-6 <br />1995 GRAF__ WB____ Gras (O) 1r 3-6 1-6 <br />1996 HINGIS Rome__ Clay (O) QF 2-6 6-2 6-3 <br />1996 GRAF__ WB____ Gras (O) 16 1-6 4-6 <br />1996 GRAF__ US____ Hard (O) SF 5-7 3-6 <br />1996 GRAF__ Champs Carp (I) FR 3-6 6-4 0-6 6-4 0-6 <br />1998 GRAF__ Phil._ Carp (I) QF 2-6 6-4 0-6 <br />1999 HINGIS Tokyo_ Carp (I) QF 3-6 6-2 6-4 <br />1999 GRAF__ RG____ Clay (O) FR 6-4 5-7 2-6

Give or take a couple, Martina has won 38 tournaments.<br />33 of these were between 1997 and 2000, when Martina averaged 8 touranemts wins a year.

00 1993<br />00 1994<br />00 1995<br />02 1996<br />12 1997<br />05 1998<br />07 1999<br />09 2000<br />03 2001

She played Steffi 3 times in this period, winning once and losing twice.<br />So there is some 'Steffi factor' to 1997. But there are GS wins in 1998 and 1999, with Steffi around.<br />So I think Martina has to be given full credit for her wins.

So what happened?

Martina's skills didn't drop off. <br />And the AVERAGE skill leveI of the top twenty isn't any different.<br />We add Venus and Serena, but we subtract Mary Pierce, Jana and Conchi as well as Steffi.<br />If anything, the average top 20 player has LESS skill.<br />But the entire rest of the top 10 can walk onto the court expecting to beat Martina now.<br />Not 'hoping', EXPECTING.

It makes no sense.

Maybe there's only one way to play Martina and beat her.<br />But if it took the rest of the tour five years to find that way, it doesn't say much for them.<br />Because it was right in front of them. It's the exact same thing Steffi did. Deep shots with lots of pace.

But it's one thing if Steffi Graf does it to you in 5 sets. It's another to lose 2 and 2 to Dementieva.

Martina's better.<br />The tour as a whole is NOT better.

Martina used to win a lot.<br />Martina doen't win a lot now.

The Williams sisters only won nine tournaments between them in 2001.<br />So they aren't winning all the tournaments Martina used to.

Which brings us to confidence.

When you KNOW you can do something. Easily, perfectly, unthinkingly. Like walking.<br />You do it with effieciency and ease and nonchalance. That's how Martina Hingis used to play tennis.<br />Her comfort level was extraordinary. Now she looks like she's laboring on the court. The ease is gone. <br />One reason, of course, is everyone is making her work hard, making her run, forcing her to play at a speed that she doesn't like.

Forcing her to play at a speed she hasn't yet demonstrated she can win at.

The vastly superior speeds at which the players are hitting the ball is maxing out Martina's anticipatory sense.<br />She can still tell where the ball is going to go before it's struck, but not soon enough to reach it.<br />Or at least, reach it and hit the unreturnable angles she used to.<br />Which in turn gives other players more opportunites to pass her.

I think Martina's confidence has been shaken. And I'm not sure she can get it back.<br />Used to be, Martina's lack of speed or power didn't matter. She almost sneered at power.<br />Now, even marginal players like Dementieva are beating her with a power game.<br />That's got to smart.

And that may be where the problem lies. <br />Martina may have gotten to believing her own press clippings about how 'smart' she was.<br />(Not that she isn't, but no one is as good as the press makes themout to be when they're on top.)<br />So now that she's losing...

Did the other players get smarter?<br />Did the Martina get stupider?<br />Maybe Martina was winning for some reason other than smarts?

Who knows?

Thing is, Martina doesn't seem to.

Everyone who can, plays her the same way these days.<br />If they keep their UEs down, and hit the ball hard enough, they win.

To build confidence, Martina has to win. <br />She may have to take a page from Mnnica's book and play a string of Tier III's.<br />But if Mary Pierce comes back strong (She's only 26) the top ten is going to be VERY crowded.

Martina has to play faster.

Major problem. The top ten hits MUCH harder than the rest of the tour, so a Tier III 'vacation' is only so much good.<br />I think her best model is Amanda Coetzer, but it takes a LOT of mental discipline to stay in that kind of shape.
 

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Ain't no mystery. It's a little thing called love. She was playing good tennis then this stalker guy demands to see her in court. Thus she meets her current boyfriend, Chris Calkin. This is specualtion on my part but from articles I've read, it seems Martina is racking up frequent flyer miles to see her main man. She's just got her head planted firmly you know where, and hopefully in january she has grown acustomed to her new surroundings. I think she's discovered that there is more important things in life and that's good. Mom might be pissed but I don't think Martina cares at this point. I' m not saying she is happy losing but I think she is struggling to find balance. She said in a recent article that for a good part of the yr she was on a search. She didn't give details, she doesn't have to. I think her tennis will improve when she settles in her new relationship. Martina knows exactly what she needs to do to play great tennis. Finding the will to concentrate on her game, when her man is on her mind, is a different story. Hell, the girl flew to florida a week after her surgery to be wih him. That's gotta say something. I for one am happy for her, and we'll just have to wait to Jan. to see if "tennis" Martina shows up.

[ November 29, 2001: Message edited by: Smash ]</p>
 

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Well, to start with here's Hingis' win-loss record this year:

Overall Record (including non-WTA Tour events): 63-14

TOURNAMENT SURFACE RD OPPONENT W/L SCORE<br /> * - Hopman Cup Hard RR Tamarine Tanassugarn W 6-1, 6-1<br /> RR Nicole Pratt W 6-1, 6-1<br /> RR Amanda Coetzer W 6-1, 6-0<br /> F Monica Seles W 7-5, 6-4<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> adidas International Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Kim Clijsters W 6-4, 6-4<br /> QF Serena Williams W 6-4, 7-5<br /> SF Conchita Martinez W 6-3, 6-2<br /> F Lindsay Davenport W 6-3, 4-6, 7-5<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Australian Open Hard 1 Katalin Marosi-Aracama W 6-1, 6-1<br /> 2 Els Callens W 6-1, 6-0<br /> 3 Virginie Razzano W 7-5, 6-1<br /> 4 Rita Grande W 6-0, 6-3<br /> QF Serena Williams W 6-2, 3-6, 8-6<br /> SF Venus Williams W 6-1, 6-1<br /> F Jennifer Capriati L 4-6, 3-6<br /> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Pan Pacific Open Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Cara Black W 6-3, 6-3<br /> QF Ai Sugiyama W 6-0, 5-7, 6-2<br /> SF Magdalena Maleeva W 6-3, 1-6, 6-0<br /> F Lindsay Davenport L 7-6, 4-6, 2-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Qatar Open Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Maria Alejandra Vento W 7-6, 6-1<br /> QF Joannette Kruger W 6-4, 6-2<br /> SF Barbara Schett W 6-1, 6-2<br /> F Sandrine Testud W 6-3, 6-2<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Dubai Open Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Joannette Kruger W 6-2, 6-1<br /> QF Sandrine Testud W 6-3, 5-7, 6-4<br /> SF Tamarine Tanasugarn W 7-6, 6-1<br /> F Nathalie Tauziat W 6-4, 6-4<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Tennis Masters Series Hard 1 Bye<br /> -- Indian Wells 2 Kveta Hrdlickova W 7-5, 6-0<br /> 3 Cristina Torrens-Valero W 6-3, 6-0<br /> 4 Barbara Schett W 6-3, 7-6<br /> QF Silvia Farina Elia W 6-0, 6-1<br /> SF Kim Clijsters L 2-6, 6-2, 1-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Ericsson Open Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Rita Grande W 6-2, 6-2<br /> 3 Tatiana Panova W 6-1, 6-0<br /> 4 Magui Serna W 6-3, 6-4<br /> QF Anke Huber W 7-5, 6-0<br /> SF Venus Williams L 3-6, 6-7<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Bausch & Lomb Clay 1 Bye<br /> Championships 2 Virginia Ruano Pascual W 6-2, 6-1<br /> 3 Henrieta Nagyova W 6-1, 6-3<br /> QF Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario L 2-6, 4-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Family Circle Cup Clay 1 Bye<br /> 2 Bianka Lamade W 7-6, 6-1<br /> 3 Iva Majoli W 4-6, 6-2, 6-3<br /> QF Amelie Mauresmo W 7-5, 6-2<br /> SF Conchita Martinez W 6-2, 6-2<br /> F Jennifer Capriati L 0-6, 6-4, 4-6<br /> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> German Open Clay 1 Bye<br /> 2 Tathiana Garbin W 6-2, 6-3<br /> 3 Nathalie Dechy W 6-3, 6-1<br /> QF Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario W 6-3, 7-6<br /> SF Amelie Mauresmo L 6-3, 0-6, 4-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Italian Open Clay 1 Bye<br /> 2 Tatiana Panova W 6-2, 6-3<br /> 3 Elena Likhovtseva W 6-4, 6-3<br /> QF Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario W 6-3, 6-1<br /> SF Amelie Mauresmo L 4-6, 6-7<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> French Open Clay 1 Gala Leon Garcia W 6-1, 6-0<br /> 2 Catalina Castano W 6-1, 6-0<br /> 3 Rachel McQuillan W 7-5, 6-1<br /> 4 Sandrine Testud W 6-1, 2-6, 6-2<br /> QF Francesca Schiavone W 6-1, 6-4<br /> SF Jennifer Capriati L 4-6, 3-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Wimbledon Grass 1 Virginia Ruano Pascual L 4-6, 2-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Acura Classic Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Lilia Osterloh W 6-1, 6-4<br /> 3 Alexandra Stevenson W 6-1, 6-3<br /> QF Ai Sugiyama W 6-3, 6-4<br /> SF Monica Seles L 3-6, 4-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> estyle.com Classic Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Lilia Osterloh W 6-2, 7-5<br /> 3 Elena Likhovtseva W 6-0, 6-3<br /> QF Amy Frazier W 6-2, 6-3<br /> SF Monica Seles L 3-6, 6-1, 4-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> U.S. Open Hard 1 Laura Granville W 6-2, 6-0<br /> 2 Lina Krasnoroutskaya W 6-0, 6-2<br /> 3 Iva Majoli W 4-6, 6-4, 7-6<br /> 4 Jelena Dokic W 6-4, 6-0<br /> QF Daja Bedanova W 6-2, 6-0<br /> SF Serena Williams L 3-6, 2-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Kremlin Cup Carpet 1 Bye<br /> 2 Sandra Kleinova W 7-5, 6-2<br /> QF Elena Dementieva L 2-6, 2-6<br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Porsche Grand Prix Hard 1 Bye<br /> 2 Magdalena Maleeva W 0-6, 6-4, 6-2<br /> QF Tatiana Panova W 6-1, 6-2<br /> SF Lindsay Davenport L 1-2, retired
 

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Some things to note:

1. She had some excellent results indoors, beating Monica, Lindsay, Serena twice, Venus, Kim, Conchita and only the one loss indoors to Jen at the Oz Open.

2. One of the interesting things here is that even when she lost matches, she still sometimes managed to win one set very easily:

Indian Wells: SF Kim Clijsters L 2-6, 6-2, 1-6

Family Circle Cup: F Jennifer Capriati L 0-6, 6-4, 4-6

German Open: SF Amelie Mauresmo L 6-3, 0-6, 4-6

E.style.com: SF Monica Seles L 3-6, 6-1, 4-6

This suggests that Marti can still play well against the power players, even on hard courts but that she's having trouble keeping up that standard throughout a match.

So, I suspect that her main problems are confidence and stamina. The confidence problem probably stems from what happened at the Australian Open - having had such a good indoor season and victories over Venus and Serena not to win must have been crushing. The stamina problem is probably down to having to work harder that she's used to during a match, and also not being as fit as she was this time last year.

But I honestly feel that she can come back from this. She's not completely lost it as some people suggest. She's still playing her best tennis sometimes, it's just not often enough.
 

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Martina has not gotten stupider, nor has she lost stamina (She can play 20+ tourneys a year!). Martina's problem is purely confidence, and deservedly so. Her game has actually improved compared to her earlier days. I think she's starting to hit the ball faster, too. She's still being beaten because her best effort is not good enough anymore.

I agree that everyone has gotten familiar with her game and have devised ways to neutralize her, but other players have gotten much better. The Big Babes (in particular Venus) have taken the game to a whole new level. Martina has become almost a purely defense player. She'll lose more often than not until she gains the confidence to take more risks and start playing offense.
 

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Imho a key factor is stamina and the power game she is facing more power then ever and it took it's toll at the end of alot of her matches. Hingis should wise up and play fewer tourneys.
 

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On the pics I saw from her and her bf she looked very happy but I am not sure that`s good for her tennis. The sentence "I am very happy when Chris comes home from work" sounds like she enjoys the housewife role <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> (nothing wrong with that btw)
 

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Originally posted by irma:<br /><strong>On the pics I saw from her and her bf she looked very happy but I am not sure that`s good for her tennis. The sentence "I am very happy when Chris comes home from work" sounds like she enjoys the housewife role <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> (nothing wrong with that btw)</strong><hr></blockquote>

Exactly, Irma! I think martina's head isn't in the game right now. She definitely is in great shape, her game against Majoli at the US open proves that. It's just that her mind being in her game is essential and she is not coincentrating enough. She didn't do that badly this year, maybe below her standards, but she still can kick any power girl butt when she puts her mind to do it.
 

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It's a combination of a few different variables:

1) The game isn't 'easy' for Martina anymore. That's how she likes it, and I question what her work ethic is.

2) Her game hasn't improved. Her fitness might of, but while every other player (bar 2) in the Top 20 have developed their games, Martina has seemingly rested on hers (and her laurels).

3) Anyone here recall the final when Martina won Wimbledon. The pace of the game alone since then, by all players, is out of this world in comparison.

4) Confidence. It's not easy seeing your best game trodden upon (particular by opponents who you were beating fairly consistenly 6-12 months previously).

Martina needs a desire to get back to the top. That desire has to come with the acknowlegement that a helluva lot of WORK will be involved. Now is Martina prepared to put in that work?
 

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I just want to see her have a stronger SERVE. Period! It's unbelievable how she can't hold her serve against anyone (i mean anyone, everybody can break her serve!).. it's extremely fragile! So until she takes that next step, I'm not expecting that big from her. She needs maybe a kick 1st serve and need to take a little more risks on that (non-existent) 2nd serve <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ah, love. I hadn't considered that. Nor can I quantify it.

Confidence comes of experiencing success. Martina hasn't experienced susscess against a fast-paced game in long time.
 

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Is this Martina and Chris Culkin? I thought she'd kicked him to the curb?
 

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tfd: Nope, Marti and Chris are still together! Hotter than ever! If you wanna se pics, go to the Marti-Party! they look great together! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Martina will be back dominating 2002!!!!! <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0"> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" />
 

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Yup, PEA!!! Martina will rule the courts again!!!!!! She'll be back!!!! <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" />
 
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