Re: How good is it to have Martina back?!
Hingis can win another slam
By Daniel Pace
November 17, 2006
WORLD No.7 Martina Hingis still has some questions to answer but she is more than capable of winning a grand slam title in 2007.
That's the opinion of Liz Smylie, tournament director of the Australian women's hardcourt event on the Gold Coast where Hingis launched her comeback early this year as an unranked wildcard.
The Swiss is one of five top 20 world players who will compete in the season-opening event at Royal Pines Resort from December 31 to January 6.
In the past 10 months Hingis has climbed back into the world top ten, notching WTA victories in India and Italy.
"To go from where she was, oblivion, to (world) number seven, I can't recall any other male or female tennis player that's done that," said former Australian Fed Cup player Smylie.
"I know Andre (Agassi), his ranking dropped close to 200 and he climbed his way back but what Martina's done in 2006, I don't think has been done by anyone ever."
Asked whether Hingis possessed the weaponry to claim her sixth grand slam event, Smylie replied: "Absolutely. Women's tennis is wide open and has been for the last couple of years.
"The last time we saw someone dominate was Venus and Serena (Williams) and they're not really playing that much."
Three-time Australian Open champion Hingis will again headline the Gold Coast tournament in preparation for a shot at lifting the silverware in Melbourne.
But Hingis still has a fair bit of work to do before she can consistently beat top guns Justine Henin-Hardenne, Maria Sharapova, Amelie Mauresmo, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kim Clijsters.
"Martina's answered all the preliminary questions and now of course there's still more questions," said Smylie.
"She's had a good year but if you asked her, she'd probably highlight the things she didn't make.
"Her world ranking could be higher than seven. All the time she probably knew she'd get back into the top ten so seven might be a little disappointing for her."
Smylie said she was excited Serbian teenager and world No.14 Ana Ivanovic had agreed to play on the Gold Coast.
"She's going to be a superstar in the making," said Smylie.
The 19-year-old Ivanovic, coached by Australian Fed Cup mentor David Taylor, beat Hingis in the Rogers Cup final at Montreal in August to clinch her biggest title yet.
Gold Coast girl Samantha Stosur will enter her local tournament as an unseeded player after missing out on a Hopman Cup spot in Perth.
Stosur, the world No.1 doubles player, has declared she wants to win her first WTA singles titles in her home town.
"Playing in front of your home crowd always gives you an extra boost and it will be great to experience that atmosphere again," said the world No.29.
Other entrants for the hardcourts event include world No.11 Dinara Safina of Russia, this year's finalist Italian Flavia Pennetta and two-time champion Ai Sugiyama of Japan.
There will be 32 players in the main draw competing for a total prize pool of US$175,000 ($228,350).
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