Finally some good news about Hingis!
Martina Hingis aims to clear name
By Simon Hart
Last Updated: 2:26am GMT
Martina Hingis, who announced her retirement from tennis last week
because she did "not want to have a fight with anti-doping authorities" following her positive test for cocaine, is continuing to wage a legal battle to clear her name and has hired the London-based lawyer who helped former British athlete Diane Modahl overturn a four-year drugs ban.
Anti-doping officials are astonished by Hingis's decision to go public with the cocaine charge, which arose from a urine sample she gave at this year's Wimbledon, because she is in the middle of a legal process that will culminate in a personal disciplinary hearing by an independent panel in the near future.
Under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code, any athlete charged with a drugs offence is guaranteed anonymity until he or she is found guilty. Were she to be cleared by the disciplinary panel, her involvement in a doping case would never be known and her reputation would remain intact.
Far from going quietly to avoid a protracted fight with the drug authorities, as she said in her press conference on Thursday, Hingis is continuing with her battle and is being represented by solicitor Tony Morton-Hooper, who worked for Modahl in the mid-Nineties in her battle against a positive test for testosterone.
He also successfully defended British triathlete Spencer Smith, who was cleared of any doping offence after testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in 1998.
In both cases, Morton-Hooper attacked the "chain of custody" documentation of the urine samples, which ensures that the sealed test tubes can be tracked accurately throughout the testing procedure.
Comments made by Hingis this week, when she strenuously protested her innocence, suggested Morton-Hooper would be using the same defence.
"The attorney and his experts discovered various inconsistencies with the urine sample that was taken during Wimbledon," said Hingis, who won five Grand Slam titles and became the youngest world No 1 at the age of 16.
"He is also convinced that the doping officials mishandled the process and would not be able to prove that the urine that was tested for cocaine actually came from me."
The International Tennis Federation, who are responsible for dope testing at Grand Slam tournaments, are understood to repudiate any claims that their testing procedure is flawed.
Quite why Hingis decided to reveal the doping allegations remains a mystery. One theory is that the news was about to leak. Another is that she is resigned to her fate and was trying to take the sting out of the story with an early denial.
However, retiring may not allow her to escape the shame of a drug suspension. Regardless of whether she is playing, the ITF would still have no choice but to impose a punishment in case she decided to come out of retirement. Cocaine is a performance-enhancing stimulant and carries a two-year ban.