Sunday, 19 January, 2003, 18:43 GMT
Hingis cleared to return
Former world number one Martina Hingis will be able to return to top level tennis after her recent ankle surgery, according to her surgeon.
The former world number one feared she could be forced to retire because of her ankle problem.
But Heinz Buehlmann, who operated on Hingis' ankle in May 2002, claimed the injury had healed perfectly and that she would soon be able to resume training.
"Martina can play again," Buehlmann told Sonntags Blick newspaper.
"She has had this problem for four years, but the joints of the foot which was operated on is absolutely OK.
"From a medical point of view a comeback would be no problem, but Martina would have to grit her teeth and be prepared for some pain.
"I know Martina very well and I know from the past that she can come back. But whether she wants that, I do not know."
Hingis is studying for a degree in English and professes to be happy away from the court.
"It is totally possible that I won't play top tennis again, because my feet will not allow it," she said.
"I do not want to completely exclude a return. It is possible if I can play pain-free tennis again, but that is not the case with my foot injury yet.
"I do not have a comeback plan though. I am leaving everything in the future open."
"I'm not bored. I've spent the last two months doing lots of sport - skiing, riding, long walks in the wood with my dog."
So, looks like the medical verdict is positive, it's all down to her ladyship now whether or not she wants to come back. The choice... is hers. At the mo she will be thoroughly enjoying life away from tennis, she needn't bother about it at the moment, but I think retiring would probably be a mistake, anyway, the choice is hers.