The bond between Melanie Molitor and her daughter, Martina Hingis, becomes clear the moment Hingis enters the room. They converse in their native tongue, Czech, about players, matches and inline skating. They are inseparable at home and on the road, although Hingis admits, "We have arguments like any daughter and mother. But my mother is everything to me - my friend, coach, sister and mother. That's the difference between us; she is willing to make many sacrifices for me, (but) I don't like to sacrifice."
Mother and daughter split their time off between their newly built homes in Switzerland and the Czech Republic, where Hingis does most of her training. Her mother gives a glimpse into their lives and dreams.
Question:Do you think there's too much pressure on Martina?
Answer: No, not at all. Martina has worked very hard to get to this point. She has taken her career in very careful stages. Every step has not been so quick but long enough to prepare for the next step. That is why I know she is ready for what happens now. Also, I'm here to support her.
Why do you think that Martina has not had the same burn-out problems, physically or mentally, that others have experienced?
Martina has a whole life, not just tennis. She has time to do what she wants. In Switzerland, she can ride in the mountains, and in the Czech Republic, she can be with her friends. To her, this life is not a sacrifice.
Up until the age of 15, the sport helps children to mature. It gives them a direction and opportunity to develop mental and physical skills. After 15, it is important that a child grows beyond the sport. She needs to be herself, not just a tennis star.
This lifestyle affects the whole family. It is how the parents react to it. Problems don't come from the sport but from the family. I think that even without the sport, those players would have the same problems.
What are your occasional arguments about?
The typical arguments that you have with teenagers. We argue when Martina doesn't react logically. This is normal. They think that they always know what is best over small issues - nothing big. For instance, rollerblading without the protective pads or talking on the phone too long. Sometimes teenagers just want to learn for themselves.
What has been your proudest moment so far in Martina's career?
The proudest moment for me has nothing to do with her tennis, it has to do with the person she is off court. I am so proud of the way she handles herself and how well she behaves with everyone. She has developed into such a good person, and that is far more important than anything she could do on court. She has developed so well from a little girl into a happy, caring and level-headed young woman.
Is it difficult to separate being her coach and being her mother?
No, I am first and always Martina's mother. As her coach, I help her with her game. But there is never anything more important than being her mother.
When was the first time you realised that Martina would become such a top tennis star and perhaps No. 1 in the world?
From the time she came out of the womb.
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