"Interview of "Berner Zeitung" as of Oct.24, Made during opening of a Omega boutique in Interlaken"
Inteview by Adrian Ruch. Berner Zeitung October 24, 2006
Title: "The watch of a player ticks faster"
Q: Tennis was already early the centre of your life; you did not live life like other teenagers. During the absence from the tennis circuit, could you supply the backlog demands of normality?
Martina: What is normality?(laughs). for me, it was normal to play tennis every day and with 14 to travel around the world. I did not know anything else. And that life was fun for me. I got the chance to be top of the world . So one shouldn't ask, what you could miss. Although there were moments , when I thought that I missed something. I had rarely the chance to go out. During the 3 years without competitions, I went out once or twice. But it is not my business to hang around in night clubs.
Q: When and why was the thought about a comeback to the tour concretized in your head?
Martina: This was a lenghty process. The first year was hard not to be with the Tour. I tried several times to begin with training, but the body did not want to. Doing commentaries at Grand Slams raised a bit of wistfulness. In the third year I did some exhibition matches and when I bore the strains, the thought about a comeback got concrete.
Q: Which aspect of the tennis sport did you miss at the most during your break?
Martina: Although I was for 4 years the number 1, I felt that I could do more. The watch of a player ticks faster. I wouldn't blame myself for not risking to start again.
Q: The trill must be extreme for a tennis pro.
Martina: It was also exciting to compete at a horse show, but to play in a stadium with a crowd of 15000 to 20000 is just another world.
Q: Since 10 months you are active again. Do you sometimes long for the calm life of an early retired woman?
Martina: No, it is only a pity, that I have not enough time for horse riding. Furthermore I cannot often see my acquaintances. But real frienship still holds, even when you don't see your friends for a longer time.
Q: You grew up in public and got only in the last years a bit of privacy. How did you feel the comeback to the limelight?
Martina: I was surprised how big the echo to my comeback was. The time in Australia at the beginning of the year was intensive.
Q: Was it difficult to lose the privacy you just got?
Martina: I had already before more quietness, but I just got used again to the public. Finally, you have to find the balance between privacy and sport, which can bring you in two minds. But the capability to relax and recover fast is a must for a successful player.
Q: Was it difficult to start the intensive training?
Martina: No, I even missed the daily routine. Furthermore I knew that an intensive training would be necessary in order to be a top player.
Q: Were you afraid you could make a fool of yourself?
Martina: Yes. Every player has doubts and after 3 years of absence I did not know where I was. I had no doubts because of my technique, but because of my physic. Could my body endure the strains? Am I fit enough.
Q: Did the inflammations of your feet return?
Martina: No, I feel well. I have good shoes and I look, that I don't train to much on hard surfaces.
Q: Already at the first tournaments you made quite a splash. Did you expect such a brilliant start?
Martina: I hoped for the best. But you must stay realistic and you should not look for the unachievable. The great successes as the wins in Tokyo against Maria and in Rome against Venus were satisfactions for me. Then I knew, the comeback was worthwile.
Q: Recently you had to suffer some bitter defeats.
Martina: I had already in the earlier times an interim low after the French Open. Furthermore the first excitement and the first kick after the comeback were gone. But now I am near the best ones, That you could see in Zurich against Svetelana. I wasn't swept 6:1, 6:1 from the court.
Q: How do you deal with defeats?
Martina: Nobody rejoices when one loses, but the most important thing is to draw the right conclusions. How a defeat stings depends against whom and how I lost. I would much more bother when I would be no more near the top players. To know to have a chance against any player is the essential thing.
Q:After 20 years of tennis, is it possible to improve?
Martina: Of course, technically I play much better than in the early times, my body changed and the material is better nowadays. I play now some shots, I only have dreamed some years ago(laughs). I clearly made some improvements, but upto now they don't work in the decisive situations. When it is getting tight I fall back to the old manners.
Q: Your mother made of you what you are now. At the moment you do without her help. Could you imagine to work together with another coach?
Martina: I think not. I am now 26 years old and want to live indenpendently. But I do not quarrel with my mother. I still train in Wollerau and seek advices from her. Only, she does not accompany me to all tournaments.
Q: your boyfriend Radek is also tennis pro. Is there any competition, who is better ranked?
Martin: If we would have made a bet, we would keep it for ourselves. It is good that we can support each other mutually and sometimes we train together. It is more simply to live with somebody who knows what it is to play with top players.
Q: change of the theme: Even as you were born in Slovakia, do you feel as a real Swiss?
Martina: I live here since I was eight and I consider Swiss german as my mother tongue. Although I got much about the eastern culture by my mother, I am a Swiss - also I am thinking Swiss.
Q: Recently you spoke about a greater feeling to the home(country) as ten years ago. How does the feeling express?
Martina: I love being at home and I like more being with my friends than to travel and to see new things.
Q: How do you explain, that you are now more popular now in Switzerland than years ago?
Martina: Maybe it is because of the advertising for washmachines(laughs). No, really; I have developed as a person. You cannot please everybody; but an image you must develop.
note: interview translated by Hilarius, edited by me.
Hingis Martina Hingis Omega boutique opening in Interlaken Hingis at Omega boutique opening Hingis interview Hingis boyfriend Radek Stepanek Hingis in Zurich