Apologies if this has ben posted already. Never was much of a Martina fan, but you have to appreciate her honest assessment...
Hingis won't return to tennis if she can't play her best
Former world No 1 tennis player Martina Hingis, still upset with her failure
to recover 100 per cent from double ankle surgery, said on Tuesday that she'll
hang up her tennis racquet if she can't regain the form that earned her five
Grand Slam titles.
The 22-year-old Swiss Hingis - who is fourth on the all-time list with total
weeks at No 1 - said that merely reaching the quarters or semis of major
tournaments wouldn't satisfy her.
"I don't think that would be good enough for me because I know I'm better
than that," said Hingis, who won three Australian Open titles, one Wimbledon and
one U.S. Open, but hasn't won a Grand Slam in three years.
"The players are getting better and this year I was okay at a certain level,
but not good enough for the top. When you are used to being at the top, that's
Hingis is at the WTA Home Depot Championships this week in Los Angeles to
help promote the event, even though she is not participating. Play begins on
Wednesday for the 16-player field, which includes the top five ranked women -
Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin and Kim
Clijsters of Belgium.
"I'm in a different position this year," said Hingis, who won the tournament
in 1998 and 2000. "You feel you're part of it, but not really. It's a funny
Hingis returned to the tour in August after spending three months on the
sidelines rehabilitating her right ankle, but failed to win a title and in
October was crushed by Nadia Petrova in Moscow and Elena Dementieva in
Because she couldn't stand losing to players she once could control like a
puppeteer, Hingis concluded her comeback was premature. Now, she is unsure when
and whether she wants to return to the tour.
"I haven't set a timetable," said Hingis. "I'm not going to put myself under
pressure right now. I'm taking it one step at a time. I've been trying to clear
my head and doing things I like to do - running, biking and horse back riding.
I've been taking things slow and easy.
"I've been playing tennis with mom and friends two or three times a week,
but no hard practices. There's less stress and pressure. Now, I actually enjoy
not having a schedule."
Hingis has been in the public eye since she turned pro in 1994 at the tender
age of 14. After she dominated the tour in 1997, winning three of the four Grand
Slams, the daughter of a former Slovak national player - her mother and coach,
Melanie - appeared to have women's tennis in the palm of her hands.
But with the rise of the physically stronger Williams sisters beginning in
1999, the smaller Hingis has been forced to scratch and claw to maintain her
position in the top echelon of the sport.
She underwent ankle surgery in 2001 and only scored at the Australian Open
that year. The same fate befell her this year when she gave up four match points
to Capriati in the 2002 Australian Open final and lost the contest.
It has been downhill since then.
"You get worked up a little sometimes," she said. "It's been so hectic, four
years at the top and a pro since 1994. My body didn't hold up.
"This year I experienced a real down as a professional. I can't do what I
need to do when I'm out there. That's why I feel it's better for me and
everybody for me not to play because it's not possible for me to play the way I
used to. Physically, I can't do it."
Hingis added the mental stress of knowing that she couldn't dig out balls
and then slap winners down the line was overwhelming mentally as well.
"It's combined," she said. "If you can't do it physically you're not up for
it mentally. "I'm hesitating. In practice, I'm fine, but once on the court you
know you have to chase certain balls down and if you can't, it's frustrating.
"The level gets better almost each month. For three months, tennis went on
Hingis is planning on seeing her doctor when she returns to Switzerland this
week and if her ankles do get back to 100 per cent, a return to the practice
courts for five hour practice sessions is not completely out of the question in
"If my body would allow it, I would do it, its just not the case at this
point," she said. "My body won't allow it."