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Martina Hingis (born 30 September 1980 in Košicemarker, Slovakiamarker, then Czechoslovakiamarker) is a retired professional tennis player who spent a total of 209 weeks as World No. 1. She won five Grand Slam singles titles (three Australian Opensmarker, one Wimbledonmarker, and one US Openmarker). She also won nine Grand Slam women's doubles titles, winning a calendar year doubles Grand Slam in 1998, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title.

Hingis set a series of "youngest-ever" records before ligament injuries in both ankles forced her to withdraw temporarily from professional tennis in 2002 at the age of 22. After several surgeries and long recuperations, Hingis returned to the WTA tour in 2006. She then climbed to world number 6 and won three singles titles. On 1 November 2007, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis while admitting she had tested positive for cocaine during Wimbledon in 2007. She denied using the drug. On 4 January 2008, she was banned from tennis for two years after both cocaine tests (samples A and B) turned positive. She has stated that she will not return to professional tennis when this ban expires. She participated in the seventh (2009) series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, partnering Matthew Cutler, where she was the first contestant to be voted out.

Childhood and early career

Hingis was born to accomplished tennis players: a Czechmarker mother, Melanie Molitorova, and a Hungarian father living in Košicemarker (Slovakiamarker), Károly Hingis. Molitorova was a professional tennis player, who was once ranked tenth among women in Czechoslovakia, and was determined to develop Hingis into a top player as early as pregnancy. Her father was ranked as high as nineteenth in the Czechoslovakian tennis rankings. She was named after tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Hingis's parents divorced when she was six, and she and her mother relocated around a year later to Trübbachmarker in Switzerland. Her father, who continued to live in Košice as a tennis coach, said in 1997 that he had seen little of his daughter after the split.

Hingis began playing tennis when she was two years old and entered her first tournament at age four. In 1993, 12-year-old Hingis became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam junior title: the girls' singles at the French Openmarker. In 1994, she retained her French Open junior title, won the girls' singles title at Wimbledonmarker, and reached the final of the US Open.

She made her professional debut in October 1994, two weeks after her 14th birthday. She ended the year ranked World No. 87, and in January 1995, she became the youngest player to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament when she advanced to the second round of the Australian Openmarker.

Grand Slam success and period of dominance

In 1996, Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam champion of all time, when she teamed with Helena Suková at Wimbledonmarker to win the women's doubles title at age 15 years and 9 months. She also won her first professional singles title that year at Filderstadtmarker, Germany. She reached the singles quarterfinals at the 1996 Australian Openmarker and the singles semifinals of the 1996 US Openmarker. Following her win at Filderstadt, Hingis defeated the reigning Australian Open champion and co-top ranked (with Steffi Graf) Monica Seles 6–2, 6–0 in the final at Oakland. Hingis then lost to Graf 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 at the year-end WTA Tour Championships.

In 1997, Hingis became the undisputed World No. 1 women's tennis player. She started the year by winning the warm-up tournament in Sydney. She then became the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century by winning the Australian Open at age 16 years and 3 months (beating former champion Mary Pierce in the final). In March, she became the youngest top ranked player in history. In July, she became the youngest singles champion at Wimbledon since Lottie Dod in 1887 by beating Jana Novotná in the final. She then defeated another up-and-coming player, Venus Williams, in the final of the US Open. The only Grand Slam singles title that Hingis failed to win in 1997 was the French Openmarker, where she lost in the final to Iva Majoli.

In 1998, Hingis won all four of the Grand Slam women's doubles titles, only the fourth in women's tennis history to do so, (the Australian Open with Mirjana Lučić and the other three events with Novotná), and she became only the third woman to simultaneously hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. She also retained her Australian Open singles title by beating Conchita Martínez in straight sets in the final. Hingis, however, lost in the final of the US Open to Lindsay Davenport. Davenport ended an 80-week stretch Hingis had enjoyed as the No. 1 singles player in October 1998, but Hingis finished the year by beating Davenport in the final of the WTA Tour Championships.

1999 saw Hingis win her third successive Australian Open singles crown as well as the doubles title (with teammate Anna Kournikova). She then reached the French Open final and was three points away from victory in the second set against Steffi Graf, but ended up losing 4–6, 7–5, 6–2. During the match, Hingis had infuriated an already partisan crowd by arguing with the umpire over several line calls (crossing the net in one instance), taking a bathroom break early in the final set, and twice delivering a rare underhand serve on match point. In tears after the match, Hingis was comforted by her mother as she returned to the court for the trophy ceremony. After a shock first-round 6–2, 6–0 loss to Jelena Dokić at Wimbledon, Hingis bounced back to reach her third consecutive US Open final, where she lost to Serena Williams. Hingis won a total of seven singles titles that year and reclaimed the No. 1 singles ranking. She also reached the final of the WTA Tour Championships, where she lost to Davenport 6–4, 6–2.

In 2000, Hingis again found herself in both the singles and doubles finals at the Australian Open. This time, however, she lost both. Her three-year hold on the singles championship ended when she lost to Davenport 6–1, 7–5. Later, Hingis and Pierce, her new doubles partner, lost to Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs. Hingis captured the French Open women's doubles title with Pierce and produced consistent results in singles tournaments throughout the year. She reached the quarter final at Wimbledon and played great tennis but was beaten by Venus Williams in a thrilling match. Although she did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament, she kept the year end No. 1 ranking because of nine tournament championships, including the WTA Tour Championships where she won the singles and doubles titles.

Injuries and hiatus from tennis

In 2001, Switzerland, with Hingis and Roger Federer on its team, won the Hopman Cup. Hingis was undefeated in singles during the event, defeating Tamarine Tanasugarn, Nicole Pratt, Amanda Coetzer, and Monica Seles.

Hingis reached her fifth consecutive Australian Openmarker final in 2001, defeating both of the Williams sisters en route. She lost to Jennifer Capriati 6–4, 6–3. She briefly ended her coaching relationships with her mother Melanie early in the year but had a change of heart two months later just before the French Openmarker. Hingis underwent surgery on her right ankle in October 2001.

Coming back from injury, Hingis won the Australian Open doubles final at the start of 2002 (again teaming with Anna Kournikova) and reached a sixth straight Australian Open final in singles, again facing Capriati. Hingis led by a set and 4–0 and had four match points but lost 4–6, 7–6, 6–2. In May 2002, she needed another ankle ligament operation, this time on her left ankle. After that, she continued to struggle with injuries and was not able to recapture her best form.

In 2003, at the age of 22, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis. In several interviews, she indicated she wanted to go back to her country and coach full time.

During this segment of her tennis career, Hingis won 40 singles titles and 36 doubles events. She held the World No. 1 singles ranking for a total of 209 weeks (fourth most following Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert). In 2005, Tennis magazine put her in 22nd place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.

Return to the game

2005

In February 2005, Hingis made an unsuccessful return to competition at an event in Pattayamarker, Thailandmarker, where she lost to Germany's Marlene Weingartner in the first round. After the loss, she claimed that she had no further plans for a comeback.

Hingis, however, resurfaced in July, playing singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in World Team Tennis and notching up singles victories over two top 100 players and shutting out Martina Navratilova in singles on 7 July. With these promising results behind her, Hingis announced on 29 November her return to the WTA Tour in 2006.

2006

Martina Hingis in the Australian Open, 2006.
At the Australian Open, Hingis lost in the quarterfinals to second-seeded Kim Clijsters. However, Hingis won the mixed doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi of India. This was her first career Grand Slam mixed doubles title and fifteenth overall (5 singles, 9 women's doubles, 1 mixed doubles).

The week after the Australian Open, Hingis defeated World No. 4 Maria Sharapova 6–3, 6–1 in the semifinals of the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo before losing in the final to World No. 9 Elena Dementieva.Hingis competed in Dubai then, reaching the quarter-finals falling to Sharapova 6-3 6-4 in a very impressive match.At the Tier I Pacific Life Openmarker in Indian Wells, Californiamarker, Hingis defeated World No. 4 Lindsay Davenport in the fourth round 6–3, 1–6, 6–2 before losing to Sharapova in the semifinals.

On clay at the Tier II tournament in Warsaw, Poland, Hingis and Venus Williams reignited a rivalry in the second round that had been dormant since 2002. Williams won the match 4–6, 7–5, 6–4. At the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Hingis defeated Dementieva in the fourth round but lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 1 Amélie Mauresmo. At the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italiamarker in Rome, Hingis posted her 500th career singles match victory in the quarterfinals, beating World No. 18 Flavia Pennetta, and subsequently won the tournament with wins over Venus Williams in the semifinals and Dinara Safina in the final. This was her 41st Women's Tennis Association tour singles title and first in more than four years. Hingis then reached the quarterfinals of the French Openmarker, losing to Clijsters 7–6(5), 6–1.

At Wimbledonmarker, Hingis lost in the third round to Ai Sugiyama 7–5, 3–6, 6–4.

Hingis played three tournaments during the North American summer hard court season. At the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diegomarker, Hingis lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 2 Clijsters 7–5, 6–2. Hingis then defeated World No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal before losing the final to Ana Ivanović. Hingis's return to the US Openmarker was short lived, however, as she lost in the second round to World No. 112 Virginie Razzano of France 6–2, 6–4.

In her first tournament since the US Open, Hingis won the second title of her comeback at the Tier III Sunfeast Open in Kolkata, Indiamarker. She defeated unseeded Russian Olga Poutchkova in the final. The following week in Seoul, Hingis notched her 50th match win of the year before losing in the second round to Sania Mirza 4–6, 6–0, 6–4. At the Tier I Zurich Open three weeks later, Hingis lost to Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals 6–1, 1–6, 6–3.

Hingis qualified for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Madridmarker as the eighth seed. In her round robin matches, she lost in three sets to both Justine Henin and Mauresmo but defeated Petrova 6–4, 3–6, 6–3.

Hingis ended the year ranked World No. 7. She also finished eighth in prize money earnings (U.S.$1,159,537).

2007

Hingis started the year by reaching the final of the Tier III Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourtsmarker in Gold Coast, Australia, losing to Dinara Safina of Russia 6–3, 3–6, 7–5. The next week at the Medibank International in Sydney, Hingis lost her first round match to Jelena Janković in three sets.

At the Australian Open, Hingis won her first three rounds without losing a set before defeating China'smarker Na Li in the fourth round 4–6, 6–3, 6–0. Hingis then lost a quarterfinal match to Kim Clijsters 3–6, 6–4, 6–3. This was the second consecutive year that Hingis had lost to Clijsters in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the third time in the last five Grand Slam tournaments that Clijsters had eliminated Hingis in the quarterfinals.

Hingis won her next tournament, the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, defeating Ana Ivanović in the final. This was Hingis's record fifth singles title at this event.

Three weeks later, Hingis lost for the second time that year to Janković in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Women's Openmarker. At the Qatar Total Open in Dohamarker, Hingis lost to Daniela Hantuchová 1–6, 6–4, 6–4 in the quarterfinals after being up a set and 4–1 (40–0) in the second set. In women's doubles, Hingis teamed with Maria Kirilenko to win the title, defeating Ágnes Szávay and Vladimíra Uhlířova in the final 6–1, 6–1.

At the Tier I Pacific Life Openmarker in Indian Wells, Californiamarker, Hingis again lost to Hantuchová, this time in the fourth round 6–4, 6–3. Hingis was up a service break in both sets but, as in Doha, could not hold her lead. At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Openmarker in Key Biscayne, Floridamarker, Hingis again failed to reach the quarterfinals, losing in the third round to Agnieszka Radwańska of Poland 4–6, 6–3, 6–2.

Her next tournament was the Qatar Telecom German Open, where she lost in the third round to compatriot Patty Schnyder 6–4, 6–0. A hip injury that troubled her at the German Open caused her to withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d'Italiamarker, where she was the defending champion, and the French Openmarker, the only Grand Slam singles title that eluded her.

In her first round match at Wimbledonmarker, Hingis saved two match points to defeat British wildcard Naomi Cavaday, apparently not having fully recovered from the hip injury that prevented her from playing the French Open. In the third round, Hingis lost to Laura Granville of the United States 6–4, 6–2 and claimed afterwards she should not have entered the tournament.

At the Acura Classic in San Diegomarker, Hingis defeated Michaella Krajicek before falling to Schnyder 6–1, 6–7(4), 6–3. Hingis was leading 3–1 in the final set before losing five consecutive games. Hingis then lost to Sania Mirza in a second round match of the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles.

Hingis's next tournament was the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Openmarker, which she had won exactly ten years ago for the first time. Hingis lost in the third round to Belarussian teenager Victoria Azarenka 3–6, 6–1, 6–0.

In her last career singles match in September, Hingis lost in the second round of the China Open in Beijing to Chinese player Shuai Peng 7–5, 6–1.

Retirement

Hingis did not play any tournaments after the China Open, as she was beset by injuries for the rest of the year. However, on 1 November 2007, Hingis said at a press conference in Glattbruggmarker near Zürichmarker that she was retiring permanently from competitive tennis. She confirmed that she had tested positive for cocaine during Wimbledonmarker in 2007. But Hingis maintained her innocence, saying, "I have tested positive but I have never taken drugs and I feel 100 percent innocent." She also said, "I would personally be terrified of taking drugs. When I was informed [about the test] I was shocked and appalled." She is not planning to contest the positive drug test because it could take years. "Because of my age and my health problems, I have also decided to retire from professional tennis." The drug test results were released to Hingis after her third round loss to Laura Granville at Wimbledon, with both "A" and "B" urine samples failing the tests. Hingis then underwent a private drug test on a hair sample, which came back negative.

Hingis played an exhibition match at the Liverpool International tournament on 13 June 2008. Although this event was a warm-up for Wimbledonmarker, it was not part of the WTA Tour. This allowed Hingis to participate without breaching the rules of her ban. In a rematch of their 1997 Wimbledon final, Hingis defeated Jana Novotná 6–3, 6–4.

Controversies

Hingis is also well known for usually being outspoken. During her career, Hingis has made a number of statements about her fellow players that have subsequently become the focus of attention and the source of controversy, such as:



  • When asked in the late 1990s how she felt about the budding rivalry between herself and the then-up-and-coming Anna Kournikova, Hingis responded, "What rivalry? I win all the matches."


  • After the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) had complained of discrimination against them, Hingis told Time magazine in 2001: "Being black only helps them. Many times they get sponsors because they are black. And they have had a lot of advantages because they can always say, 'It's racism.' They can always come back and say, 'Because we are this color, things happen.'"


  • At the peak of the Williams sisters' and Hingis' competitive and fierce rivalry, Hingis stated in a press conference during the 1999 US Open referring to the sisters' remarks, "They always have big mouths. They always talk a lot. It's happened before, so it's gonna happen again. I don't really worry about that."


  • On the long-dominant player, Steffi Graf, Hingis said, "Steffi has had some results in the past, but it's a faster, more athletic game now than when she played. She is old now. Her time has passed." (Hingis made this comment in 1998 while Graf was on an injury-related hiatus from tennis, and before she lost against the German player in the 1999 French Open final).


  • Responding in a 1999 press conference on why she terminated her doubles partnership with former Wimbledonmarker champion Jana Novotná, Hingis remarked, "She's old and slow."


Record against other top players

As of 30 October 2008, Hingis win-loss record against players who have been ranked World No. 10 or higher is as follows:Players who have been ranked World No. 1 are in 'boldface.



Playing style

Hingis was renowned for her tactical approach to the game of tennis and for her technical skills, enabling her to produce a wide array of shots with finesse. She lacked the power possessed by many of her contemporaries; therefore, she relied on low error-rates and good shot selection to keep opponents off-balance. She often used change of direction and pace to catch opponents off guard and sharp angles to open up the court. She was also well known for her ability to break long rallies by hitting accurate drop shots and coming to the net, where she was a skilled volleyer. A signature play of Hingis was the drop shot followed by a lob, often resulting in an easy volley or overhead to finish the point. Hingis often hit the ball extremely early by standing close to the baseline (or inside it) in order to take reaction time away from her opponent.

Hingis's strongest groundstroke was her two-handed backhand, which had an extremely low error-rate and great variety. Her backhand down-the-line was among her signature shots and often the shot she chose to hit with greater pace to surprise opponents during a rally.

Personal life

Hingis has dated Spanish golf player Sergio García and British footballer Sol Campbell. She was engaged to Czechmarker tennis player Radek Štěpánek, but split from him in August 2007. She has also dated former tennis players Magnus Norman, Ivo Heuberger and Julian Alonso.

Career Statistics

Main Article: Martina Hingis career statistics

Records

  • These records were attained in Open Era of tennis.
Grand Slam Years Record accomplished Player tied
Australian Openmarker 1997-02 6 consecutive finals Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Australian Open 1997-02 3 consecutive wins Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles


  • By winning Wimbledon doubles title in 1996 with Helena Sukova became youngest doubles winner at 15 years, 282 days and youngest ever grandslam winner in Open era.
  • By winning Australian singles title in 1997, became youngest winner there in tennis history at 16 years and 3 months.
  • By defeating Monica Seles 6-2, 6-1 in 1997 at Key Biscane, ascended the no. 1 spot as the youngest ever in tennis history.
  • By winning the US Open against Venus Williams in 1997, Hingis contended all Grandslam tournament finals that year; second youngest winner in the US Open at 16 years, 11 months and 8 days.
  • Won the Australian and US Open in 1997 without losing a set.
  • In 1997, from Sydney to the final of Roland Garros created a 37-match winning streak, best from 1995 until present.
  • By Winning the US Open doubles title in 1998 with Jana Novotna, completed a doubles Grandslam third in the Open Era.
  • Held simultaneously the no. 1 position for singles and doubles in 1998.
  • Most successful player to play the Toray Pan-Pacific Tournament with 5 wins in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, and reached 8 finals in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007.
  • Ended her career with 103 top-10 wins (behind Lindsay Davenport at 129), 43 singles titles, 37 doubles titles, 1 mixed title, and 209 weeks at no.1 (4th behind Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert).


Awards and accolades

1994
  • ITF Junior Girls Singles World Champion. Won Wimbledonmarker junior singles title (youngest junior champion there at 13 years, 276 days). Won French Open junior singles and doubles titles. Runner-up at US Openmarker junior singles tournament.
1995
  • Tennis magazine. Female Rookie of the Year.
1996 1997
  • Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
  • Selected as the Player of the Year by the WTA Tour, the International Tennis Federation, and Tennis magazine.
  • BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/keyfacts/stories/spoty_overseas.shtml
1998
  • First female athlete to be on the cover of the American men's magazine GQ in June 1998.
  • WTA Tour Doubles Team of the Year with Jana Novotná.
1999 2000
  • One of five female tennis players named to the 2000 Forbes magazine Power 100 in Fame and Fortune list at No. 51.
  • WTA Tour Diamond ACES Award.
2002
  • Elected to Tour Players' Council.
2006
  • World Comeback of the Year Award at the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards.
2007 Others
  • Except for the French Open, has won every major WTA Tour singles title at least once during her career (Grand Slam tournaments, WTA Tour Championships, and Tier I tournaments).
  • Except for Berlin, has won every major WTA Tour doubles title at least once during her career (Grand Slam tournaments, WTA Tour Championships, and Tier I tournaments).
  • 1999 French Open final (Graf d. Hingis 4–6, 7–5, 6–2) was voted by worldwide fans as the Greatest Match in 30-Year History of the Tour (online voting spanned two months and included a ballot of 16 memorable matches).
  • To celebrate the WTA Tour's 30th Anniversary, attended on-court ceremony at 2003 season-ending WTA Tour Championships that honored 13 world No. 1 champions (past and present), and founding members of the tour.


See also



References

  1. Weeks at No. 1
  2. Martina Hingis News and Trivias at CelebrityWonder.com
  3. AskMen.com - Martina Hingis pics
  4. Julianne Malveaux on Business and Economics
  5. U. S. OPEN; Serena Williams Wins Match, Then Takes a Shot at Hingis
  6. Player Profiles
  7. http://tennisplanet.wordpress.com/2007/06/22/youngest-wimbledon-champions/
  8. http://www.tennis-x.com/tournaments/ozopen.shtml
  9. http://www.tennistours.com/event_pages/usopen/history.asp
  10. http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=333053
  11. http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=247329
  12. http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=14885966&postcount=3
  13. http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=286942&page=5


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