I think Martina was great in her way and day. I think V&S and others feel that she was great there for a time. They couldn't beat her at one time - and especially - consistently.
Hingis good, not great
Posted February 23 2003
If Martina Hingis never plays another WTA match, and it now appears she won't, she will carry into her injury-imposed retirement five Grand Slam titles and three years (1997-99) of dominance.
She will not, however, be remembered as one of the great players in women's tennis. Great means Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Chris Evert.
Hingis was a champion with the most technically polished game since Evert, but her finesse and tactical genius were overpowered by the evolution of the big hitters -- first Venus, then Lindsay Davenport and, finally, Serena.
She never found a way to compete with the power players in women's tennis, and that is what has kept her from greatness.
When Hingis rose to No. 1 on March 31, 1997, she was at 16 years and six months the youngest player to hold that position in women's tennis, and she remained at No. 1 for 209 weeks.
Yet for all the impressive numbers, her legacy is that she filled the void between the demise of Steffi Graf and the ascent of the Williams sisters. In fact, if she were 100 percent fit today, at age 22, Hingis wouldn't be among the top five players on the WTA tour.
She won her last major at the 1999 Australian, finishing short of a trophy in her past 13 Slams. It was one of the great ironies in recent history that, though she supplanted Graf at No. 1, it was Steffi who delivered Hingis' most disappointing loss -- in the 1999 French Open final.
Precocious and self-important, Hingis burst upon women's tennis at age 14, and her pious attitude served her less and less well as she grew. She cried after Graf beat her in three sets at that '99 final at Roland Garros, and then she briefly discarded her mother as coach following a first-round loss at Wimbledon two weeks later.
But from that point on, Hingis grew much more rapidly as a person than as a player. She is, today, one of the most mentally and emotionally mature players on the WTA Tour.
Along with five Grand Slam titles, tennis has helped her grow up.