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Calm Hingis

Posted August. 29, 2001 09:25,   


The `girl from the Alps`, Martina Hingis (Switzerland. Photo) was smiling. Hingis, the top ranker among world`s women tennis players for last 203 weeks, seemed, for a short time, to be putting away her stress of not winning a single title from the 10 major tournaments since her last championship from the 1999 Australian Open. Does she have some secret?

Playing yesterday at the opening match of the U.S. Open, the last major tournament of the season, National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, she looked happy all day long.

· At the Arthur Ashe Stadium

Hingis had her first round against America`s Laura Granville at the center court. Since it was a weekday morning game, only real frantic fans showed up occupying just a half of the stadium that can accommodate 22,911 spectators. However, they enthusiastically responded to the top player`s fine play, and the home fans loudly cheered the weak. Hingis, who suffered a painful first round elimination from the Wimbledon last month, easily won the game 2-0 within 46 minutes. It was a sweeping victory during which she recorded four service aces, and did not lose a single game during the second set. After the game, Hingis responded with a bright smile to the spectators` standing ovation.

· At the interview room No. 1

Hingis, who had decorated the first game with a perfect victory, sat at the press conference room with a tidy look after a shower. At the conference room, she had to fight against a different kind of match. She was asked a series of questions by reporters about what she had mentioned regarding Williams sisters which appeared on the title page of the Sept. 3rd Time magazine, ``They are getting benefits because they are black.`` Hingis, who was involved with a racism controversy, confidently answering the questions of tenacious American reporters, ``If I hurt someone`s feeling, I apologize for that. I did not mean to hurt them. I just said what I thought.``

· At the players` restaurant

Although she is a world top-class player, she ate same food as the ordinary people. Hingis, who came to the players` lounge for lunch, picked up a trey and chose pizza and salad at the buffet style restaurant. For players participating the tournament, a 15 dollars value meal coupon is given for lunch. Lee Hyung-Taek, who happened to be taking a break at the restaurant was wondering, ``How come she, who makes millions of dollars a year, pays with the coupon!`` Hingis, joking with other players and managers with a smile, paid with the coupon and moved to the special section assigned for top seeded players.

Kim Jong-Seok kjs0123@donga.com