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tennisIlove09
Feb 8th, 2004, 09:47 PM
Hingis is happy to talk a good game


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By Eleanor Preston

It is odd to hear someone as young as Martina Hingis talking about her career in the past tense. She is still only 23 and it is a year ago today since she announced that her prodigious career was over.

Stranger still is Hingis's lack of bitterness or sadness at having such a brilliant career snuffed out so early. Most people in her position would


be desolate but Hingis never went in for that sort of thing. Instead of mourning the fact that it is, in her words, "99% certain" that she will never compete again and add to her seven grand slam titles or the 209 weeks she spent as world No1, she is busying herself with a new career in television commentary.

"I have no regrets about my career and I shouldn't have, because otherwise you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life," she says with her customary bluntness. "Even now people ask 'could I come back?' But you have to get it done and over with, otherwise you'll have a frustrated life."

It does not seem long ago that Hingis was the dominant force in women's tennis. Before the arrival of the Williams sisters and when Justine Henin-Hardenne, now the world No1, was still in the juniors, observers were wondering how on earth anyone was ever going to beat Hingis, the Swiss miss with the almost pathologically cheery disposition. In the end chronic heel problems and a dwindling desire to play through pain did the job for her opponents, forcing her to retire at 22.

"I started at a very young age and you always have a high in your career," says Hingis. "I had it when I was 17. Justine has it now, when she's 21. It doesn't really matter what age you are. When you are at the best of your game, you carry yourself on that wave. Some last longer, some less.

"Sometimes it lasts less long because your priorities change or because, in your mind, the motivation goes. That's why I admire players like Andre Agassi or Pete Sampras or Steffi Graf who kept going but, in the women's game, you see that less and less. Physically you can only keep up with everyone for so long. Players will dominate for one or two years at the most.

"For me, to struggle with injuries, have three operations, come back when you are not sure what's going to happen and be in pain all the time . . . I don't want to live like that. Having to live on painkillers and worrying about your health, that's not the lifestyle I want because once you struggle with your body then it stops being fun. I never knew that when I was 16, 17. I was just playing easy out there and winning things. But all of a sudden my body was in my way."

Hingis and her lawyers still insist the foot problems that ended her career came as a result of shoes supplied by her former sponsors Sergio Tacchini, and she is now waiting for her lawsuit against them to make its way through the laborious Italian legal system. She has been told it could take another two to three years. She is understandably impatient to get the matter settled but is equally determined to prove that the shoes were to blame for her injuries and ending her career prematurely.

"My foot gets inflamed all the time, when I play for like four or five hours, so I could never get back into professional sport like that," she says. "It's good enough for the daily business but it would never stand playing week in, week out and I would never want to be just another one of the 128 players in the draw. It's not really my style. I'd rather get better at something else."

The something else could turn out to be a female version of John McEnroe, a pundit who is sharp and acerbic yet can also describe what it feels like to serve for a grand slam title.

Hingis dabbled in commentary during November's WTA Championships in Los Angeles and worked for Australia's Channel Seven network (alongside McEnroe) throughout the Australian Open. The reviews were mixed - she admits her English, while fluent, has its idiosyncrasies - but she is already lined up with Eurosport to cover the French Open. She is also in talks with the BBC, so her distinctive tones may well be trilling from the Centre Court commentary box at Wimbledon this year.

In a tennis world devoid of characters, her return to the sport is good news, if only because retirement has not dulled her sense of humour. "I love commentary," she says with that familiar grin. "This way I make it to the finals no matter what."

(The Guardian)

KoOlMaNsEaN
Feb 8th, 2004, 10:04 PM
:sad: This article just makes me even more sad that Martina had to retire :sad:

Raj
Feb 8th, 2004, 10:04 PM
Great piece but what about her statment that was reported here before:
"I'd like to think i couldn return to the tour in some capacity be it singles or doubles as the tour is so much fun?"

CinnamoninCinema
Feb 8th, 2004, 10:59 PM
SEVEN Grand Slam titles? Any article that makes such a basic mistake cannot be read.

Volcana
Feb 8th, 2004, 11:07 PM
"My foot gets inflamed all the time, when I play for like four or five hours, so I could never get back into professional sport like that," she says. "It's good enough for the daily business but it would never stand playing week in, week out and I would never want to be just another one of the 128 players in the draw."

Why is it that so many people couldn't seem to accept that as a reason not to play? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it WASN'T so many people. But it sure SEEMED like it.

CinnamoninCinema
Feb 8th, 2004, 11:11 PM
"My foot gets inflamed all the time, when I play for like four or five hours, so I could never get back into professional sport like that," she says. "It's good enough for the daily business but it would never stand playing week in, week out and I would never want to be just another one of the 128 players in the draw."

Why is it that so many people couldn't seem to accept that as a reason not to play? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it WASN'T so many people. But it sure SEEMED like it.

Because it isn't what they want to believe?

And also, i think due to the way she left the game. She was getting her ass kicked, so some wags no doubt took that as the reason.

Jamie
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:13 AM
If she can't play tennis, she is the best to comment on the tennis matches. She is missed and she knows her tennis.

vishniac
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:27 AM
If she can't play tennis, she is the best to comment on the tennis matches. She is missed and she knows her tennis.
According to Swiss journalists, her commentaries during the Australian Open could have been said by a 12-year old.
Clearly not "the best"!:devil:

tenn_ace
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:30 AM
Because it isn't what they want to believe?

And also, i think due to the way she left the game. She was getting her ass kicked, so some wags no doubt took that as the reason.

being in the final of her last but one GS (AO) and 4th round of the last one (USO) - not exactly being kicked, is it? you really know stuff, don't you... :rolleyes:

tenn_ace
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:33 AM
According to Swiss journalists, her commentaries during the Australian Open could have been said by a 12-year old.
Clearly not "the best"!:devil:
if they (journalists) are from Bild, we are not impressed by this opinion... :devil:

tenn_ace
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:45 AM
SEVEN Grand Slam titles? Any article that makes such a basic mistake cannot be read.
btw, 2 other which are counted as GSs in this article are YE Championships.

Daniel
Feb 9th, 2004, 05:52 AM
Martina , I miss you so much!!!!! :kiss:

go hingis
Feb 9th, 2004, 06:10 AM
I loved listening to Martina for two weeks and would take more anyday. I found Martina didn't just state the obvious like many others, informed us on more interesting stats about the players which helped in saying something positive about each player she commentated on and had alot of good inside talk from players like Kim, Justine etc that we would usually not hear.

starr
Feb 9th, 2004, 06:24 AM
She's got to be better than Pam. :)

Miranda
Feb 9th, 2004, 08:07 AM
what I always admire Martina is her always positive, never look back attitude :worship:

tennnisfannn
Feb 9th, 2004, 10:46 AM
I also loved listening to her but I could tell her heart was breaking for Kim in the finals. Those two seem close.