Meet... Martina Hingis
Grace and skill characterised Martina Hingis's career on the Tour. Now after being forced into retirement at the age of 22, the Swiss miss looks back at her outstanding career and her new life after tennis. Hingis reveals it all as Eurosport's Guest of the Week.
After entering the history books as one of tennis' greatest, Hingis decided to call it quits in February after an ankle injury brought a premature end to her professional career.
It was not a decision Hingis took lightly but after several failed comebacks, the youngest ever world number one told Eurosport that she was left with little choice. "I tried to play for four hours but the next day the pain in my ankle came back so I said to myself 'I have to watch out'", she recalled.
Hingis' chances of returning to competitive tennis remain slim - and she appears to have accepted her fate. Still just 22, Hingis has gone back to school to recommence her studies, although admits she is keen to stay involved in tennis in some capacity, commenting: "I hope I can give something back to the companies and sponsors the I worked with".
Hingis first picked up a racket aged two and since then her natural talent allowed her to reach the top. "My mother was very smart at using my natural talent for the game, as I am not as strong as the other girls; she is the best coach in women's tennis," Hingis claimed.
Melanie Molitor, Hingis' mother, set goals for her daughter and little by little she began to achieve them. "I knew I had the gift, the possibilities and the chances after I won the juniors' title at Roland Garros and Wimbledon when I was just 12 or 13," she explained.
From that day on Hingis began to break record after record. The first professional tournament she entered was in her home country Switzerland and, although it did not go as well as she had hoped, she told herself "come on, you have to get better". These words of encouragement certainly paid off as the years went by.
Today Hingis considers 1997 to be her best year on the Tour. She won three out of the four Grand Slams and sat proudly on top of the tennis world.
In order to reach her goals Martina had to work hard and give up many things in her personal life. Nevertheless she has no regrets, insisting: " For four or five years I gave it all and I have no regrets as that was my game plane, my strategy, that's what I needed to be the player that I was."
It may come as a surprise to some that Hingis considers herself a better doubles player than singles. But with a total of eight Grand Slam crowns in that category, the Swiss has many fond memories. "I was looking at some pictures from Filderstadt when I played with Anna (Kournikova), we had great times, we supported each other and we were great friends".
Martina's first Grand Slam victory allowed her to prove the critics wrong as they had always said she didn't have what it takes to win a major. "That gave me the motivation, set a challenge, which made me really want to do it" she told us.
In a short period of time Hingis achieved what many dream of doing in a lifetime. She will be missed on the courts but she won't be forgotten.
Article is from Eurosport
. There's some nice pictures as well, albeit a bit small.
I never thought I'd say this, but I actually miss her.