Switzerland's Martina Hingis is the keynote speaker of the international jumping competition that began yesterday at the stud farm Rooses Strazeele.
Before entering the competition, the tennis champion, former world No. 1, evokes passion unknown to the general public riding.
Martina, why did you come to Strazeele?
"I had to go to Lyon at the base for another international show jumping. But I have a horse who can participate in a five star contest. It was too complicated. With my boyfriend (Hutin Thibault), it suited us better to come here.
He had already come twice, I had never come into the North, except once at Bethune. He knows the competition and hospitality of the people here.
You consider yourself an amateur?
"Yes, of course. Tennis has always been a priority in my life. It is through the exhibitions that I earn money. Horseback riding is the opposite: we must spend. To participate in major competitions, we must prepare differently. "
What are your limits?
"I hope one day to cross 1.40 meters. But I'm in no hurry and I do not put pressure. It is important that the horses are healthy too. It's not like tennis: we are both in the sport there. "
Strazeele is it an important step in your season?
"I always want to do well, here or elsewhere, as when I played tennis with weekly competitions. Riding remains a challenge. I am happy when I'm good competition, when I'm closed. It's really a hobby. I do not want to put the horse or myself in danger. "
What exercises do you work this weekend?
"The show jumping course. For now, I manage to cross bars 1, 20 m, 1.25 m Ragana (horse 8 years). This will be the first contest that I will make with him: I did not ridden for five months while I've had it a year. With Cortino (13 years), I have already crossed 1.35 m. But with either one or the other, I only participate in events a star this weekend. "
What are your next contest?
"I would like to align myself to major competitions in Paris and Brussels in late November, early December.But I need to gain confidence in myself and my horses. That's why this weekend is important. It's a bit like a Grand Slam in tennis: if you arrive by trembling, it's over. "
You train a lot at home in Switzerland?
"No, I'm not even a quarter of what I did for tennis, that is to say four to six hours of training per day. This should be done if I wanted to reach the top level. All this does not come from heaven. A little talent, that helps too. "
Translated with Google (which is why it's a bit choppy but overall not bad).
Good to know she's taking things slowly with this new hobby wouldn't want a repeat of what happened to her in '97 (where she fell off the horse breaking her hip).
Thus costing herself the French Open title. And I guess the boyfriend rumor was true after all, hope she takes things slowly on that front as well.