Martina Hingis made a show of giving Venus and Serena Williams's father, Richard, an autographed T-shirt after her 6-3, 6-1 victory over Germany's Sandra Kloesel, telling reporters that her relationship with the Williams family is just fine.
There has been some back-and-forth between Hingis and the Williams sisters the past few days, with Hingis saying Richard has a "big mouth" and Serena shooting back that Hingis must be saying that because she "has no formal education." Today Hingis remarked that "I don't think I'm that dumb -- I'd like to see some other people talking in three languages." But she also said she had no problems with the Williams family.
She remarked that Richard has asked her for her autograph several times before, although in the past he has always wanted her to sign his forearm, which she has declined to do.
"He was always showing his arm, and I was like, `Why waste it -- if you take a shower, it will go off anyway,' " Hingis said. "He's asked me basically every single tournament when I saw him when the girls were playing."
Hingis said she decided this would be the "perfect timing" finally to give Richard his autograph.
"He always has his comments," Hingis said. "You know, it's fun, because I am better than them so far. I am number one, and not them."
No. 8 seed Jana Novotna tried taping her right ankle in her third-round match today against Anke Huber, but no amount of adhesive could fix the sprain that has plagued her all summer. The injury, suffered while playing a doubles match at the French Open, did her in again in a 6-3, 6-2 loss that was so disheartening the 1998 Wimbledon champion has started to think about retiring.
"Even after the very long time off I had right after Wimbledon, the ankle is not getting better and I am not feeling 100 percent," Novotna, 30, said. "For right now I don't know what my future is; I want to take some time to think about it.
"I want to take some time to think about everything and not make any emotional statements."
No. 9 seed Greg Rusedski hit an ace at 143 mph in the third set of his match today, helping to seal his 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over David Prinosil. "The crowd got into it, and it gave me another chance to break the next game," Rusedski said. "It's a nice edge to have. It makes your opponent think twice sometimes if you can hit those sort of aces with a mixing up of the serve, which I've also been doing."
Being 6 feet 4 helps Rusedski hit so many booming serves, although today he joked that he also gets an edge from his clothing. Rusedski recently switched sponsors, and his new tennis shorts are, well, short, especially compared to the long and baggy style most players choose to wear.
"They let me have a choice of what I want to wear," he said. "These make me a little quicker around the court." . . .
Serena Williams is doing more than just banter with Hingis -- she is giving fellow American Mary Joe Fernandez fashion advice. Fernandez, who defeated No. 13 seed Dominique Van Roost, 7-5, 6-0, today, is engaged to Tony Godsick, the agent for Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles. Williams, who would like to become a fashion designer after finishing her tennis career, wanted to know if Fernandez needed any help designing her dress.
"I'm into wedding dresses, as well as a lot of other things," Williams said. "I'm trying to add color to wedding dresses -- still pure white, but with some trims, maybe lavender, even a black, red and burgundy trim around it."
Fernandez politely declined, saying she already has a wedding dress picked out. She and Godsick are getting married in April. "We talked about the dress at Fed Cup" in July, Fernandez said. "Actually, she has some very good ideas."