MELBOURNE – To say the least, French player Kristina Mladenovic didn’t have the most gracious of days.
She kind of threw mixed doubles partner Daniel Nestor under the boss after their 6-4, 6-3 loss to Martina Hingis an Leander Paes in the mixed-doubles final (well, really, there wasn’t much “kind of” about it).
And when asked about legend Martina Hingis, who is back in the Grand Slam circle again, she spoke her mind.
Here’s what she said (in French), when asked if she was impressed by Hingis.
“No, not really. What I’m saying is not arrogant, but today I think it was Leander Paes who pretty much won the match on his own. She was there at the end, when there were volleys to finish; she finished them because he set them up so well.
“She has a fabulous resumé. She’s a very good player, especially in doubles; she has very good hands. I think it’s the first time I’ve lost to her in mixed. … I played her when she played with another partner. And other times in doubles with Pennetta.
“Whether it’s the serve, her diagonal, her speed … she doesn’t overwhelm me with the speed of her shots. She has good hands, but in doubles, for me, it’s not that impressive with the speed. But she remains a good player just the same.”
Well, allrighty then!
In fact, Mladenovic had played and beaten Hingis (with Bruno Soares) once, at Wimbledon. She and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova played Hingis and Flavia Pennetta, once, and won 10-6 in the match tiebreak.
Here is partner Leander Paes on Hingis:
“Pick a partner who has got such quick thought from the baseline, even when she’s playing mixed doubles, when the guys are popping serves at her. Daniel Nestor is one of the best mixed doubles servers in the game. He is lefty. He has this wicked slice serve on the ad court, which is Martina’s side. He can hit his spot down the T. To see how quick Martina reacts to it in her thought process, then commits to a shot, that’s something I learned.”
“Martina, you pick a shot and stick to it. Any up-and-coming youngster in any walk of life, it’s not about yourself. You got to learn yourself quick, then you play for the team.”