BERN, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Martina Hingis will play a "pretty full" schedule next year, feet permitting, according to her manager Mario Widmer.
Speaking to Reuters the day after the former world number one from Switzerland announced her surprise comeback, Widmer said a lot still depended on how well Hingis coped physically.
"Martina has been thinking about a return throughout this year and made the decision gradually after seeing how much stronger her tennis was becoming," Widmer said on Wednesday.
"We haven't yet decided how many tournaments she will play, and she is certainly not setting any targets in terms of titles or world ranking places because she first has to see how her feet react."
Still only 25, the five times Grand Slam winner announced her retirement at the end of 2002 after undergoing two ligament operations.
Plagued by a string of foot, heel and ankle injuries, Hingis sued her former shoe suppliers Tacchini before the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement.
Widmer gave no details about where Hingis would make her tournament comeback. She plans to hold a news conference on Saturday in Zurich.
The Swiss is expected to be back on the professional circuit in time for January's Australian Open. A three times winner of the Melbourne grand slam, Hingis was told by organisers on Wednesday that a wild card would be available if required.
Hingis made a one-off comeback to the WTA Tour in February 2005, losing to Germany's Marlene Weingartner in the first round of Thailand's Pattaya tournament.
Many in the game saw that tournament as an attempt by Hingis to see if she could relaunch her professional career. However, the Swiss said a return to the sport was "inconceivable".
During her time away from the court, Hingis has perfected her English, worked as a tennis commentator and indulged her love of riding.
Her change of heart follows strong performances at exhibition tournaments as well as in World Team Tennis, an American team competition in which Hingis steered a New York side to victory in September.
"I have enjoyed my time away from the court, a period that has allowed me to experience a different side of life," Hingis said in a statement on Tuesday.
"However, I miss the game and the challenge of competing at the highest level of tennis, and I want to gauge whether I can stay healthy and compete against today's top players."
Her return will give a further fillip to a women's circuit which has rarely been so open. Four different players won the four grand slams in 2005, Lindsay Davenport ended the year as number one and Amelie Mauresmo won the year-ending Masters Cup.
"For fans of women's tennis, Martina's return will add another level of excitement to the sport and enhance the incredible rivalries and roster of big-name stars," said Larry Scott, chief executive officer of the WTA Tour.
"Her passion for the game has never wavered and we look forward to her return."
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