Hingis suffers from 'putting too much pressure on myself'
Posted: Saturday September 12, 1998 07:19 PM
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- By most standards Martina Hingis is having a great year.
The Swiss star has won four tournaments, including her second consecutive Australian Open crown.
But by the standards the 17-year-old sensation set for herself last year when she rocketed to world No. 1 by winning 12 tournaments, including three Grand Slam titles, this season has been a big dropoff.
"I've still been pretty solid even though my game wasn't at the top," said Hingis after surrendering her U.S. Open title to hard-hitting second seed Lindsay Davenport 6-3 7-5 in Saturday's final.
"I just feel like I put too much pressure on myself sometimes," said Hingis, who went out in the semifinals of the French Open and Wimbledon.
Last year Hingis had come within one match of winning the Grand Slam, losing in a major upset in the French Open final to Iva Majoli.
"I had awesome year last year, It was just unbelievable. Nobody would expect me to do that well. I was just going for it," said Hingis, who had a 75-5 match record last year.
This year she has already lost 10 times, a sign that the other top players have found the way to beat her.
"You have to be aggressive and overpower her," said the 6-foot, 2-inch Davenport, who has beaten Hingis three times this year. "I don't think she likes to play big hitters."
Hingis has gone without winning a tournament since claiming the Italian Open crown in May. In her last seven tournaments, she has reached only two finals, at Manhattan Beach last month and the Open.
"Last year she was almost unbeatable and confidence can carry you a long way," said Davenport, who edged to within 146 points of overtaking Hingis in the computer rankings.
"She is not as aggressive as she used to be. I had more time to set up and go for my shots," said Davenport, who dictated the match by keeping Hingis scrambling behind the baseline with deep punishing groundstrokes.
Searching for something to build on from the Open, Hingis looked back on successive Open victories against Monica Seles and Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna as positive steps.
"You know after those wins I think I have the confidence back. I have my willpower back," said Hingis.
"In the last two tournaments in the Grand Slams I made the semis, now it is a big improvement. I made it to the finals again," said the precocious 17 year old.
"So I'm kind of happy about that. I hope you know there are some more years to come from me."
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