Martina Hingis to make a return to Dubai
By A Correspondent
27 January 2006
DUBAI — Martina Hingis, the first women’s title-holder at the Dubai Tennis Championships, will make a return to the star-studded $1,000,000 event next month.
Hingis, who defeated Nathalie Tauziat to win the title in 2001, will continue her comeback after an injury-induced retirement forced her off the tour for over three years. The 25-year-old showed this week that she can still compete with the best after pushing new world number one Kim Clijsters all the way in the quarter finals at the Australian Open.
“I’m looking forward very much to coming back (to Dubai),” said Hingis. “I have great memories, especially being the first woman to win there. I remember not only lifting the trophy, but the Gold Souk. That’s one of my great memories.”
The announcement follows confirmation this week by event owners and organizers, Dubai Duty Free, that Indian star Sania Mirza will also return to compete in the Dubai Women’s Open.
Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming back our first ever women’s champion and there will be many tennis fans who will be looking forward to seeing Martina playing in Dubai again.”
“Martina’s return to tennis is a real inspiration and her inclusion will add extra excitement to what is already a superb line-up of the world’s best players.”
Although Hingis returned to Dubai after winning her title, a persistent foot injury meant she was there only to hold a tennis clinic. Missing the competition, she spent much of her time with her horses and taking part in show-jumping events, her biggest passion after tennis. “I missed not having the stress, not having to travel week in, week out,” she said. “I enjoyed my time with my horses, with skiing, with doing other things. Passing a test (she studied English). And here and there, those are different highs I set myself in my life.
“But what I hated more was not having a regime. I’d wake up in the morning, and there’d be sometimes you had no reason to wake up, and that’s what I was missing.
“I still so much love the game and enjoy it, and that’s why I want to come back. I love to compete and love the challenge, when there are three to five thousand people watching and you’re really put on the spot. And if you come out of the arena as a winner, that’s all I knew and that’s probably the biggest fulfillment you can reach and gain as an athlete. And that’s definitely one of the things I missed not being on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.”
The game has moved on since Hingis left the game, but she is confident she will be even better than when she won 40 singles and 36 doubles titles, including 5 singles and 9 doubles Grand Slam crowns.
“I should be better than that. If I wanted to play the tennis I played three years ago I would not survive, I know that,” she said. “You have to grow with the game. You have to get better, physically and tennis-wise.” And her comeback is supported by world number one and Dubai defending champion Lindsay Davenport.
“I think it’s great,” said the American. “I was outspoken in my disappointment that she did quit because I always enjoyed her as a player. I enjoyed competing against her. I enjoyed having her around. I think it’s great she took the time she felt she needed away from the game and realised she really did miss it and is coming back. I wish her all the success.”