Wertheim on Hingis! - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2005, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Wertheim on Hingis!

Jon Wertheim
From the April 2005 issue of TENNIS Magazine

During her heyday atop the rankings in the late '90s, Martina Hingis--and we put this mildly--cut a polarizing figure. You either appreciated her cunning tennis as a bulwark against the brute force of her opponents, or you hissed that her success coincided with a soft period in the women's game and despised the smug smile that crept onto her face for seemingly any reason at all.
What was that nickname Mary Carillo gave to Hingis? Oh, right: "Chucky." It was a nod to the horror-movie doll that grinned as it massacred.
Yet today, a little over two years since she left the WTA tour, Hingis is tennis' answer to Jim Morrison: a performer whose popularity has spiked in her absence. We love her madly now that she's walked out the door. At a recent exhibition in Europe and during her main-draw cameo at the WTA's Pattaya City event in February, Hingis was the star attraction. Her Web site continues to generate hits at the pace of Ichiro. When she makes guest appearances at majors, usually to deliver television commentary, she's given a heroine's welcome in the locker room. "It's nice," she says of the Miss Popularity status that eluded her as a player. "I don't know why it is, though."
Maybe the tennis salon has warmed to Hingis because it's become painfully clear that no current WTA player comes close to replicating her style. Hingis' knack for strategy is conspicuously absent from today's game. Those feathery volleys and disguised topspin lobs and nasty drop shots seem like relics against the backdrop of today's relentless baseline bashing. Even Hingis' commitment to doubles--36 of her 76 career titles came in the company of a partner--is virtually unknown among today's stars.
But we also miss her color and candor, her refusal to let minders and handlers suppress her thoughts. True, there were times when she could have used an internal censor. But in a time when players recoil from opinion like a hand from an open flame, the sport could desperately use a Hingis filibuster. A fond personal recollection: I interviewed Hingis shortly after she underwent "media training" in the wake of her 1999 French Open debacle, in which she lost her mind and the final to Steffi Graf. My fear that she had undergone a personality lobotomy was assuaged when Hingis characterized the session as useless. "They didn't tell me anything I didn't already know," she crowed, her Chucky smile squarely intact. A few days later she was back to swapping trash talk with Richard Williams, and all was right with the world.
Hingis retired in early 2003, and while she cited a bum foot as the cause, one wonders whether it didn't really owe to a stress fracture of the psyche. Despite her tactical and technical expertise, Hingis, at 5-foot-7 and 130 pounds, was outpaced first by the so-called Big Babe brigade and then by an army of young sluggers. After coming within a match of achieving a Grand Slam in 1997, Hingis won just two more major titles.
(If Jim Morrison's famous anagram was "Mr. Mojo Risin'," Martina Hingis' seemed to be "I Am Tarnishing.") Maybe, as her ranking slipped, she asked herself why she was still at it, especially when she had both money and other interests in abundance. When the answers were slow in coming, she called it a career.
True to form, recently Hingis has been coy about her plans. She has said that she's happy with her life in repose and harbors no interest in making a comeback. But then she plays a full slate of exhibitions and enters the Tier III Pattaya City tournament. "It's just for charity," her management people explained dismissively. Maybe. But it sure sounded like a choreographed strategy for testing the waters before taking the plunge. For all we know, Hingis could be officially "unretired" by the time you read this.
And why not? She's 24, hardly ancient even in tennis years. Given the decline of the Williams dynasty, the imminent retirement of Lindsay Davenport, and the WTA's injury-o-rama, it isn't hard to envision Hingis returning to preeminence.
Hingis duking it out with the comparably sized Justine Henin-Hardenne? Matching wits on clay with Anastasia Myskina? Exploiting Maria Sharapova's inexperience and indifference to strategy? Love Hingis or hate her, any tennis fan would warm to that. They made a sequel or two to Child's Play, the movie that introduced Chucky to the world. Here's hoping tennis gets one too.
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While I agree we all miss Marti, I wish Wertheim would "chuck" the Chucky reference, its old tasteless trivia (blames it on Mary Carillo) however some nice compliments especially the fact that they "tried" to change her but she remains her own person, a special and unique individual!!

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2005, 11:23 PM
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I find the Chucky reference a compliment - albeit backhanded - because it really does describe Hingis to a certain point.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2005, 11:23 PM
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Any article about Hingis is great, but Wertheim doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. Hingis = awesome. I do love how its YEARS after she retired and the hingis = awesome articles still pour out of major pubications every week...
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 01:20 AM
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Yeah Deja Entendu, however its kind of a double edge sword, because shes only getting the respect for being an awesome player only after shes gone from the tour, which is a bit unfair, everyone and they still do complain and bicker about how Hingis only won in 97 because there was no competition and so on.....

Nonetheless they have got to realize what a great player she was and how much she complimented the game, when today everyone is playing the same game style, you rarely get to see good rallies anymore, rarely more than 12 strokes. You can almost count the matches where it consisted of good rallies with your two hands.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 01:24 AM
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She is also getting this amount of attention because of her "comeback" this year. So most of it is in anticipation of her returning.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 01:45 AM
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Im not a fan of her or her style but it would be nice to have her back
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 03:02 AM
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She can't come back,except for exhibition matches.Her injury was serious and the repair surgery was succesful in terms of a normal human being.But for a tennis player the surgery was such that if she plays for more than 2 hours a day, inflammation and pain set in automatically and if she goes beyond that, then she risks a third surgery and the chance of not been able to walk normally again.So forget it,she won't ever play again professionally.
But lazy journalists that run out of topics,like to tantalize the presumably thousands of Hingis fans (??) once in a while with the possibility of her return ,without offering any proof and without doign their homework such as checking the surgery reports from her doctor,
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 03:16 AM
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werthem just hated that gummy (Joker) grin Hingis had, but it wasn't her fault, she just happened to smile like that.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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A bit surprising considering how much werthless hated Martina and is a graf freak like some on this board.

Good Luck In 2005:
[Martina Hingis] [Justine Henin-Hardenne]
[Cara Black] [Nadia Petrova] [Eugenia Linetskaya] [Patty Schnyder]
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[Maja Matezvic] [Karolina Sprem] [Eleni Daniilidou] [Maria Kirilenko] [Jelena Jankovic]
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cris Senior
She can't come back,except for exhibition matches.Her injury was serious and the repair surgery was succesful in terms of a normal human being.But for a tennis player the surgery was such that if she plays for more than 2 hours a day, inflammation and pain set in automatically and if she goes beyond that, then she risks a third surgery and the chance of not been able to walk normally again.So forget it,she won't ever play again professionally.
But lazy journalists that run out of topics,like to tantalize the presumably thousands of Hingis fans (??) once in a while with the possibility of her return ,without offering any proof and without doign their homework such as checking the surgery reports from her doctor,
Cris
her dorctors were quoted saying that she could come back and be fine...and that was at least a year ago
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 03:55 AM
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I **couldn't stand** Hingis but I LOVED TENNIS more. I really miss her style of play and what she brought to the table. I mean really her rivalry with Venus imho was 100% pure chemistry and I miss it.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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I miss her and her tennis too, she made me interested in the game.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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i think the Chucky thing is funny. never fails to make me smile Martina is just like any great player, refuse to love them while they're playing yet beg for them to come back now she's gone. and i wouldnt have it any other way i wish she would come back but she seems so happy in what she's doing. but that smile, man, i'll always miss that
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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I love her style of play. Strategy and smarts are so entertaining!
There was a lack of competition when she won all her tournaments? Who wasn't playing that should have been? Graf and Seles? Who was she beating in the finals?
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Nicer read.

Martina

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