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Copyright 2013 by Paul Fein

Martina Hingis: The "Spice Girl" Champion

When 16-year-old Martina Hingis, the Open Era’s youngest No. 1 player, was  compared with golf’s new superstar, she shot back, “I think I’m even better than Tiger Woods.”

     The Swiss Miss was the leader of the brash and beautiful brat pack—nicknamed “the Spice Girls of Tennis”—featuring black phenoms Venus and Serena Williams and sexy Anna Kournikova. Teen queen Hingis backed up her cockiness. During a sensational 1997 she came within one match of capturing the Grand Slam, losing only in the French Open final. When the Swiss prodigy won the 1997 Australian Open at the age of 16 years and 3 months, she made history as the youngest Grand Slam singles champion in the 20th century.  

     “Hingis beats you with court savvy and high-percentage tennis. She is the best all-court player I’ve ever seen,” raved Pam Shriver, the former doubles star-turned TV analyst. She fared even better in doubles where she grabbed nine major titles and became the fourth woman in history to achieve the Grand Slam in doubles in 1998.

     But the smiling assassin could buck the power trend only until 1999 when she won her last major singles title. Her slight 5’7” frame gradually broke down, and painful foot, knee, and hip injuries prematurely ended her career in early 2003 at age 22. She made a comeback in 2006−2007 but couldn’t repeat the success of her halcyon days and retired again.

     Never shy about voicing her opinions, Hingis transitioned smoothly into TV tennis commentary while also pursuing various business, recreational, and charity interests. During the past two years, she has followed in the footsteps of her renowned mother-coach Melanie Molitor and became a coach herself, based at the prestigious Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris. Now 32 and married, she has coached Russian standout Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and worked with world No. 1 junior Belinda Gencic, who was taught by Molitor in Switzerland.

     During Wimbledon I talked with the knowledgeable Hingis, who would be enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame a week later, about her storied career and a wide array of playing and coaching issues.   

     You seem very happy these days. What is the reason?
     I like my life. I’m more into tennis than I had been in the last two years. I’m doing what I like to do. I’m back on the court more.

     What did you think and feel when you were informed you would be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this July?

     It’s a tremendous honor to be enshrined into the Tennis Hall of Fame next to the great, great champions who are already in it. I’m looking forward to go there next week.  

     On June 6 between the women’s semifinals at Roland Garros, the WTA Tour and its pioneers were honored in a ceremony. Images flashed on two giant video screens of Billie Jean King and the other women who rebelled against tournament organizers in 1973 to form their own international tour. Serena Williams said, “I think tennis empowers women. Honestly, it’s the best sport for a female to play and to be a part of.” What went through your mind when you attended the ceremony along with Martina Navratilova and other past and present players?

     It was a once in a lifetime experience to be with all those past and present players on the same podium. It makes me proud to be a part of the game of tennis during the past, historic 40 years. It’s great Billie Jean and the other “Original Nine” pioneers made today’s thriving game possible for women. I met them all last year in Charleston [South Carolina]. It was another great meeting of the past players. Every young player should know about the history of women’s tennis. My mom was great in teaching me about it. It was cool to meet these players from the past. Thanks to them, we are able to have a great life in the game of tennis. And thanks to them, there is a lot of money in the sport—Maria Sharapova earned $29 million last year—and it’s very professional. As Serena said, it’s the greatest and most beautiful sport for women. It’s a global sport, and if you make it to the top, you’re world-famous and you can make a great living. 

      Agnieszka Radwanska expressed her delight at being likened to you, after she defeated Li Na in the Wimbledon quarterfinals: “I was watching Martina when I was a kid. She was my idol... Then we played once.  It was a few years ago in Miami...It was really good match.  I think she was top 10 again... I really have great memories from that match.  I think she’s a great champion playing so smart tennis. So when I heard they were comparing me to her, it’s a very big compliment.” What is your reaction to Agnieszka’s quote? And in what ways does her game resemble yours?

     I heard that quote, and it’s a nice gesture that Agnieszka said that.  Of all the present players, she’s definitely the one who is closest to me in playing style. I like her game. She has pretty much an all-around game. I’d like to see her win a Grand Slam [title]! (Laughter). She came close against Sabine Lisicki [in the Wimbledon semifinals], and she was close last year when she pushed Serena to three sets in the final. I’d really like to see her win a Grand Slam sooner or later.

     Since only power players—except for Anastasia Myskina and Francesca Schiavone—have won Grand Slam titles this century, do you think it’s possible for Radwanska to win a major title?

     Yes, it definitely is. She’s a very solid player, especially on surfaces where you need to move quickly, like here at Wimbledon. She’s always come closest here. For her, though, it doesn’t really matter which Grand Slam it is because she can play well on all court surfaces. She does everything well. She doesn’t have weaknesses.

     But sometimes you need a [big] weapon, and this is missing in her game. It was similar to what [Caroline] Wozniacki was doing in Grand Slams. They are both missing a big shot. Today it’s necessary to have a big shot.

     In my prime, I hit the ball harder than them, and I read my opponent’s shots well and I disguised my shots well. I hit the ball very early and sometimes I wrong-footed my opponent. Sometimes Radwanska waits too much for her opponent to make an error. You have to take control of rallies and not just wait for them to miss.

     Since you were the smartest player of your era and your mother was one of the best coaches, was it inevitable that you would become a coach yourself?

     It’s very natural because I like to spend time on court and do that. A year and a half ago, I was helping at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy [in Paris] and improving all the girls I was working with, such as Daria Gavrilova and Yulia Putintseva. It was really fun to work out with these two upcoming Russian juniors and a couple others. Each player was a little different, so I had to adjust and make their weaknesses better. It was funny sometimes because I called my mom for help and asked, “What should I be doing with this one?” and “What should I be doing with that one?” It was nice to have this conversation with my mom because obviously she has a lot more experience than I do. They all had their own coaches, but I was helping them with their games.

     Do you ever help the Swiss girl, Belinda Bencic?

     Yeah, I was watching all her matches here [at Wimbledon]. It’s actually really easy coaching her now because she’s had eight years of experience learning with my mom, and she already knows everything. (Laughter) I’m mostly encouraging her from the sidelines during her matches.

     Is Bencic the next great Swiss player?

     I hope so. I think so. She won the French junior title. She just won the Wimbledon junior title, beating Taylor Townsend in the final. She’s moving up in the rankings.

     Does Bencic have the potential to be a top 20 player?

     Oh yes, of course. She’s improved every year, and she’s still improving. My mom did a great job of teaching her all the shots. She’s very good when she dictates rallies. Her serve has improved. It’s up to Belinda now. She has to work with all the weapons she has. Many juniors have too many ups and downs during matches, and she has improved her concentration a lot in the last year. Confidence is very important with juniors, and if they win a few matches—she’s won the last four junior tournaments—now she feels like she can’t lose. I know what this feeling is like. You go on court, and you feel unbeatable. That’s a nice feeling to have, especially on the big points.

     Why did you decide to coach Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a sensational junior player who has underachieved so far in her six-year pro career? And why did you decide to stop coaching her?

     Anastasia came back to the Mouratoglou academy, and that’s where I met her last October. I hit with her a couple times. She had her coach from the academy at that time, and at the training camp on Mauritius, we did some work together with her coach. Then she did well at Brisbane [beating No. 8 Kvitova and No. 5 Kerber in straight sets], getting to the final. Then I coached her for a few months during the clay court season. In Madrid, even though she lost to Azarenka [7-6, 7-6], I think it was one of the best matches she ever played. She was ahead 6-5, 40-love on her serve and 6-3 in the tiebreaker. She needed a little bit of luck and belief. After that she hurt her left leg because she wasn’t used to such a tough match, and she couldn’t walk for the next three days. Sometimes it’s frustrating for a coach. We’re not working together any longer. She said she wanted to go back home. Her Dad used to be her coach until she was 15. There were no bad feelings between us.   

     In 2010, USA Today wrote: “Pavlyuchenkova has a well-rounded, powerful game reminiscent of compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova and the killer instinct of fellow Russian Maria Sharapova.” Do you agree with that assessment? And why, or why not?

     Yes, she has a great knowledge of the game. She read the game well. She hits the ball well, and she has the instincts. Most of these [top] girls today are better movers, especially Kuznetsova.

     Is Anastasia’s biggest problem being overweight?

     Let’s say that in today’s game, being overweight doesn’t help. You need to be fit enough to be able to play your game [effectively].

     In 1990, the average age a player joined the WTA Tour was 17.9 years old. In 2009, the average age was 21.6 years old. What accounts for that dramatic increase?

     Most of that has to do with the age eligibility rule [which gradually allows girls starting at 14 to play more tournaments each succeeding year]. We were playing full-time at age 16, but today it takes longer for the girls to adjust to the women’s game. You still see Sharapova [who won Wimbledon at 17] and Radwanska and Pavyuchenkova move into the top 30 pretty quickly. But fewer players do that now. The main reason is that they only can start playing the full schedule of tournaments at age 18. I’ve never agreed with this rule. Age 14 might be too young to start playing a full schedule, but 18 is too old. I think 16 is probably the right age. When I was 16, I was allowed to play 15 tournaments. Every player is different. If you’re playing at a high level, you should be able to play a full schedule. I think it’s easier to learn when you are 16 than when you are 18 or 20. You recover faster when you’re younger; you learn quicker. It is unnecessary to lose two or three years. I’ve been saying for years that the rule should be changed. But I don’t think the WTA is going to change it because of me.

     What were the most important lessons you learned from your mother’s coaching that you intend to use in your coaching career?

     To have a system, believe in that system, and don’t change. You need to have one system. If a player changes coaches too many times, I don’t think it’s right. One system—right or wrong—is better. For example, Bartoli is not technically perfect. But you need to have one system that is right for you, and you believe in it. That will take you a lot farther than if you’re changing a lot and get messed up.

     The overwhelming majority of players on the WTA Tour are coached by men. Why aren’t there more women coaches? And what are the advantages of girls and women players being coached by a woman? Please explain.

     I think women are more sensitive. My mom was not only my Mom. She was a friend, a woman and a coach. Sometimes it’s hard to be a mother and a coach and a friend. But it has advantages and disadvantages because she knew me so well. She had to handle my moods, which is not always so easy. She was more sensitive because she knows the needs of a woman—which a father or a man does not understand. (Laughter) I think men sometimes can be too tough on women because they are not as sensible sometimes. But it depends on the man. You have to put pressure on players to a certain extent. That’s okay. But there are limits to everything.

     What can women pros learn from men superstars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic?

     All three have a great mind. They have mental toughness. Their games are a little different from each other. Roger’s movement is terrific; he never makes a wrong step; everything is efficient. I love Rafael Nadal. He is the biggest fighter on earth. Djokovic is the cleanest hitter. He has all the shots. You can’t always tell where he’s going to hit his shots. He is the most all-around player today. He has such clean and pure technique. He has the cleanest two-handed backhand today. It is a pleasure to watch him play.

    

     On the controversial issue of on-court coaching on the WTA Tour, TV analyst Mary Carillo told Inside Tennis: “I find that to be so sexist. Men don’t have it, but the women are allowed to say, ‘Daddy, she’s breaking my serve.’ Are you kidding me? This is the biggest women’s sport in the world. We’ve had decades of mental toughness. It was always, ‘Give me the ball, I’m going to figure out a way to walk off winning this. I refuse to lose.’ That’s the whole, beautiful point of it. Here’s a sport with a chance to show young girls what a strong and independent woman can do. Yet you get this—basically saying, ‘I can’t figure this out by myself, I’m just a woman.’ That galls me.” Do you agree with Carillo?

     I like on-court coaching. All other sports allow coaching. So why not tennis? The coaching is only once a set. It can help a player win a match. From the outside, a coach can obviously see [analyze] the match a lot better. So, if you can help the player, why not [allow coaching]?

     What about the importance of a player being self-reliant?

     Yeah, but if a player plays stupidly and she continues to play tactics stupidly, then, if someone can tell her, “You should be doing this and that, instead of this and that,” that can change and turn around the match. I think that can be very helpful obviously. Everybody does a little bit of [illegal] coaching anyway, so why not make it official [legal]?

     Opponents of on-court coaching would say that just because some people get away with breaking the rule doesn’t mean you should change the rule.

     Everyone can have a different opinion about it. I think on-court coaching is okay. It’s only once a set. If it works, great. Tennis is already enough of a lonely sport. Sometimes I only needed to looked at my mom and know: okay, I better get my stuff together.

     In Max de Vylder’s “Where Tennis Is Going” seminar at the 2011 ITF Worldwide Coaches Conference, he analyzed four trends in player training. The first trend is less emphasis on rhythm and more emphasis on a dynamic “move and hit” approach that we see in the explosive movement of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Andy Murray. Please talk about this trend and how it applies to your coaching.

     The pro game has gotten much more physical so players are pushing each other even harder—thanks to improved rackets and strings. Also, players are taller, heavier, and stronger. So the natural evolution of the sport is that players have to be more dynamic in their movement. Because women don’t serve as hard as the men and some women hit really hard serve returns, it sometimes better to place your serves so you have enough time to react to the fast returns. Instead of serving bullets, change of pace can be really effective. Even with Murray and Djokovic, you see them not hitting bullets for first serves, and instead they hit kick serves wide. When I watched Djokovic against Del Potro today, when he served at 40-30, he kicked it out wide. By reducing the pace, he made his opponent think. It was nice to see they are thinking out there and not just hitting hard. They also slice sometimes. What is also effective is mixing up short and long shots. A lot of players run better laterally than they run up and back, especially on grass. But on any surface, it’s a smart tactic.

     The second trend De Vylder discussed was training for more extreme situations in Attack and Defense. For example, he advocates hitting the ball harder from outside the court, rather than settling for a defensive shot. Do you agree?

     It depends on what kind of shot your opponent has hit and where you are when you hit your shot. It depends on whether you’re still on balance and can hit an offensive shot and try for a 50-50 shot to hit a winner. It depends on the score as well. Sometimes it’s a good idea to return a difficult shot hard and deep up the middle so your opponent doesn’t have a good opening with an angle to work with. Sometimes a medium-speed low return gives you time to recover your position in the middle. Those are three different shots: a 50-50 shot, hard up the middle, or a defensive shot that stays low, like a slice, which forces your opponent to get under the ball, which is difficult to hit for a winner. It also depends on the player and how well he can recover from that shot. Obviously, when you have someone like Pavlyuchenkova, who doesn’t get back to the middle quickly, has to go for the 50-50 winner shot. If you have someone like Radwanska, who can cover the court quickly, then she can hit the other two options as well.
    
     The third training trend is based on his finding that points in men’s tennis average four to five shots. De Vylder concluded players need to practice their serve and serve returns more. Do you agree?

     I don’t know who this De Vylder is. I agree because the serve and return have become very important in today’s game, especially the serve. Women usually return very well, but the serve sometimes is lacking. That’s why Serena [Williams] is so amazing. She serves incredibly well.

     The fourth training trend involves the contact comfort zone. The goal is to push opponents back and around the court by enforcing uncomfortable contact points. How important is this ability both to create uncomfortable contact points and to be able to handle them? Please explain.

     To get your opponent off balance, you have to determine where he’s standing. It’s like wrong-footing your opponent and moving your opponent side to side. Heavy topspin, like the way Nadal hits, is very effective to produce high-bouncing balls on clay, but not on grass, except for the two years [2008 and 2010] he won Wimbledon when he was incredible on grass. But Nadal’s topspin hasn’t been as effective at Wimbledon this year and last year. You should still give yourself a [reasonable] margin for error over the net on grass but these somewhat flatter shots are much more effective than heavy topspin shots that land near the service line. Steffi [Graf] was so successful at Wimbledon [winning seven titles] partly because her slice backhand bounced so low.

     Why do some players, like Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, handle the pressure of big points—game points, break points, set points, and match points—and big games, especially tiebreakers, much better than other players, such as Tomas Berdych and Samantha Stosur?

     Because they have better technique. Stosur’s backhand is not always reliable and Berdych’s forehand is not perfect in my eyes. It’s good but not as perfect as Djokovic’s or Serena’s. Better technique leads to a better mental game to handle crucial situations, in my opinion.

     You had a 6-7 career record against Serena, 11-10 against Venus, 5-4 against Jennifer Capriati, 11-14 against Lindsay Davenport, 4-5 against Kim Clijsters, and 15-5 against Monica Seles. What were the tactics and shots that helped you beat these and other power players so often?

     I lost three of those matches to Clijsters in my [2006-2007] comeback. (Laughter). The players I had losing records against, like Davenport, were players who overpowered me. They didn’t allow me to play. My strategy was to stay consistent and make them play an extra ball. I also mixed it up against them—I came to net and I wrong-footed them.

     Serena Williams improved her clay court game greatly to win her second French Open and 16th major title. What did Patrick Mouratoglou change in her game? And do you think Serena, who turns 32 in September, can surpass Navratilova and Evert at 18 major titles, Graf at 22, and Court at 24? Please explain.

     He changed her serve. It has gotten more consistent. She already had a great serve. She has a perfect serve; she has the most beautiful serve in my eyes. The technique is the simplest, and it’s the fastest. She snaps her wrist more now. She also became a smarter, more patient player on clay. She’s still overpowering people. But now she’s using more spin on her shots and she has more variety.   

     How did you master the art of hitting the right ball at the right time?  Did you learn patterns, or was this more instinctive to you? How do you teach this art?

     I played a lot of tennis, a lot of matches. I hit a lot of balls to see, to adjust to different opponents, different balls, different surfaces. I don’t think anyone, except for maybe Andre Agassi, hit as many balls as I did in my life. I learned patterns that my mom taught me. There are basics to everything. Against the two players I played against the most, we knew in advance that if you hit this shot, this return is coming. So you knew sometimes two shots in advance that you would lose the point. One of them was Lindsay Davenport and the other was Jennifer Capriati. When we practiced, we knew the patterns. That is the education not many people have today. It’s sad. A lot of the coaches don’t teach girls that anymore because the coaches don’t know it themselves.

     Is it important for a coach to have been a world-class player?
     Not necessarily. My Mom was not like top10 in the world. You can learn those shot patterns. You can learn the game of tennis. I have a lot of respect for the parents of the Williams sisters. They were never players. But they learned the game. They also had the right coaches to teach Venus and Serena. And then they learned from the coaches. And Capriati’s dad, Stefano, never had anything to do with tennis before. But he learned the game. I never met Rick Macci, but the Williams sisters and Capriati were taught by him. Macci must have done something right.

     What are the keys to a controlled slide on clay? And should players try to slide on hard courts?

     I never slide on hard courts. I find it quite dangerous. I turned my ankles over. There are some players who slide on hard courts like [Jelena] Jankovic and [Svetlana] Kuznetsova and [Kim] Clijsters. I admire that. But they are very flexible and have strong legs. I’m not sure if it’s necessary to slide on hard courts. I don’t know how you have a controlled slide on clay. It comes naturally. It’s a matter of being balanced. It probably easier for smaller players than someone like [John] Isner or [Juan Martin] del Potro. It’s easier for me or Justine [Henin] or [Arantxa] Sanchez Vicario.

     The women with the best two-handed backhands—Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, and Lindsay Davenport—have semi-closed or closed stances. Do you consider these stances superior to the semi-open or open backhand stances favored by Serena and Venus Williams?

     I use the semi-open stance myself, especially for down-the-line backhands. Djokovic uses both stances. When he’s forced to play defensively, he used the open stance. When you have time, you can use the semi-closed or closed stance. [Ten years ago] when Serena and Venus were the best players in the world, they had great matches, they had great athleticism and perfect movement. They used open stances a lot, and when Lindsay and Jennifer and me were pushed to the limit, we had to use open stances. Otherwise, you can’t cover as much of the court with the closed stance. Because the game has gotten even more physical, when you are out of position, sometimes you have to go for a 50-50 winner or else you can’t recover your position. With the open stance, the legs aren’t the problem, it’s the hands or the upper body doesn’t turn enough. But with the semi-open stance, you can hit the diagonal [crosscourt] shot much faster and give the opponent less time.

     How active was your left hand during your backhand stroke?  In your estimation, has the role of the left hand changed dramatically in today’s game? If so, please explain how?

     I tell my players today that it’s very important to use their left hand a lot. From halfway through the stroke to the follow-through, the left hand takes over. The left hand provides more control and direction for the shot, as well as more strength, power, and topspin. It depends on where you’re hitting the ball. For short, angled cross-courts, you need more topspin, so you need a lot of action of the left hand. Obviously, for down-the-line shots, you need a little less to control the ball. [Caroline] Wozniacki uses the left hand a lot, and I use it a lot. It’s so nice to see Davenport hit backhands and use her left wrist.

     I always thought Davenport had the best backhand in women’s tennis history.
     Mine was pretty good, too. (Laughter) I usually won the backhand crosscourt rallies against Lindsay. She had a better forehand than I did. I didn’t fear anyone playing backhand cross-courts. Lindsay showed no mercy when she had a short forehand. She never missed.

 
     The Big 3 now—Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka—are power players who hit angles only occasionally and drop shots rarely. Did you teach Anastasia, who has the power to match them, to incorporate angles and touch shots more often?  

     She can do it, but you have to be in position to be able to hit those shots. If you’re out of position, it doesn’t make sense to hit a drop shot. It’s a nice way to win an easy point sometimes. When your opponents are behind the baseline, sometimes it’s a good tactic to surprise them. I think Maria [Sharapova] definitely made the most of her career. I admire her because her professionalism is amazing. Every time she steps on the court, she fights so hard. She works so well with what [abilities] she has. Serena’s mental game is the best out there. She’s so strong on the big points. She comes up with an ace or a big return. Serena and Maria never give up. Victoria has always been more up and down, compared to Serena and Maria. She’s a little more moody

     You used to wrong-foot opponents a lot. Women’s tennis features baseline slugging but very little wrong-footing. Would wrong-footing opponents be even more effective today?

     You see Radwanska do it, and it works quite well. But not many players use wrong-footing. When a player sprints from the corner back to the middle, wrong-footing can be quite effective.

     The men’s game has become extremely physical this decade. Although the women’s game has become increasingly physical, some women, like Anastasia, are still overweight and out of shape. Why have some women lagged behind?

     All the men aren’t totally fit either. Look at Mardy Fish [who admitted he was 25 pounds overweight for several years]. I think there are a lot of men who haven’t made the most of their tennis careers. Of course, I told Anastasia [Pavlyuchenkova] that she has to be in great shape to be able to play her tennis because she can play much better than she’s shown so far. She knows that.

     Injuries that sideline players for a significant amount of time have increased a lot this century. What has caused this trend?

     The main cause is players using the wrong technique. Incorrect serving technique causes back and shoulders injuries. If you have the wrong technique and you’re doing it over and over again for years and years, it’s going to cause injuries at some point. If you keep hitting the ball late or make other wrong movements, you can injure your wrist, or some other part of your body will eventually break down. The stronger you are physically, the longer your body will hold up, but you can’t get away with bad technique forever.

     Which stroke do you predict will evolve the most in the next 20 years? Why? And how?

     I don’t know the answer. There will always be different playing styles. For example, Belinda Bencic hits the ball flat, but Louisa Chirico [whom Bencic beat 6-0, 6-3 in the Wimbledon junior semifinals] has a lot more topspin on her shots. The playing styles will depend on the mentality of the player and where she comes from. Spanish players have more topspin in their blood, whereas players from Eastern Europe hit the ball flatter. I think the game will probably get more physical. Serving harder will probably become more important. One of the reasons I didn’t serve harder was that I didn’t want to get injured. My mom didn’t want me to get injured. She didn’t want me to put too much pressure on my back and shoulder. As women get taller and stronger, there will be more and more women serving regularly between 110 and 120 miles per hour. Already you’re seeing a lot of junior girls serving between 105 and 110. In two or three years, if they get stronger, they can add 5 to 10 mph more to their serves.

     I always thought your era, 1998 to 2007, was the strongest era in women’s tennis history.

     I think so, but it’s hard to talk about it because people always say the next era is stronger. When I talk to Lindsay or Monica or Jennifer, we believe we were very well-educated players. We were smart players when it came to drilling and other kinds of practices. We had great coaches and parents who cared. We were also pushing each other because when this person was doing better, you tried to beat her. Today, except for Serena, Maria, and Victoria, the other players are not consistent. We were always very consistent. There were always four or five other players who could win Grand Slams besides Venus and Serena. I think it was a great era but not because I played in it. I can’t say it’s the greatest. But if you say it, I’ll feel very flattered.

     As a player, you reigned as No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles and won 15 Grand Slam titles and featured one of the most interesting, crowd-pleasing styles in history. As a coach, what is your goal or dream?

     My dream would be that if I were coaching Anastasia, she would do just as well or better than me. It would be for her to win Grand Slams and play great tennis. I want to coach someone to win at least one Grand Slam title. But I don’t know where my career path is going to take me. I watched Belinda today winning her match, and I told my mom that I think Belinda is a great little player. Who knows how good she will become. 

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