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CaptnMatt
Nov 3rd, 2007, 04:20 AM
Hingis a local institution: McNamee
By Darren Walton
13:51 AEST Sat Nov 3 2007

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Former tournament director Paul McNamee says Martina Hingis was an "institution" at the Australian Open who will be sorely missed at the season-opening grand slam in Melbourne.
For the second time in a tumultuous but mostly brilliant career, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis on Friday after testing positive to cocaine.
While maintaining her innocence and insisting she had never taken drugs, it was a sad end for the 27-year-old former world No.1.
But McNamee hoped and believed fans would forgive her and remember the Swiss Miss for the champion she was.
Hingis was the dominating darling of Melbourne Park between 1997-2002 and once again last year when the five-time major champion reached the quarter-finals just a month into her comeback from three years on the sidelines.
"She was really an institution at the Australian Open. In the modern era, nobody made six finals in a row - and won three of them," McNamee said.
"And of course she was part of that epic final (in 2002) with Jennifer Capriati where she had to be covered in ice packs in the 10-minute break before the third set.
"Apparently that had never been seen before.
"I think of her in that way. Look, how it has ended is not ideal at all obviously. That's an understatement.
"But I don't think how she ended the game will be how she will be remembered because it was so long after her heyday.
"It was an amazing comeback, but she never recaptured those glory years she had from the age of 16 to 21 when she got to six (Open) finals in a row. That was phenomenal."
At 16 years and three months old, Hingis became the youngest grand slam champion of the 20th century with victory over Mary Pierce in the 1997 final.
Compensating for her lack of power with unrivalled cunning and guile, Hingis completed a hat-trick of Open triumphs and also collected Wimbledon and US Open trophies as a teenager before retiring for a first time in 2003 with chronic ankle injuries.
"When she was at the peak of her power, from 16 years of age to 21, she was phenomenal," McNamee said.
"I mean, that was her career in that period. Pretty much from 22 she was looking around for something else to do in her life."
McNamee said he could see the writing on the wall for Hingis long before the drugs storm.
"She wasn't playing much this year. I think she was accepting she wasn't going to win another grand slam," he said.
"She'd come back and got back in the top 10 but I could detect that there didn't seem to be the goals there anymore from a tennis perspective.
"I must admit I wasn't starting to suspect retirement was pretty imminent.
"There just weren't any signs this year that she was committed to playing.
"So, in terms of her tennis, it's not a great shock that she's retiring."
McNamee said Hingis should always be welcomed back to Australia.
"I'd love to see her again to see how she is going," he said.
"She was always friendly with a smile. She was certainly one of the easiest top players I've ever had to deal with.
"What you saw is what you got with Martina. She's a really good person.
"I'm obviously sorry to hear what's going on, but I take people how they come."

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Xanadu11
Nov 3rd, 2007, 04:29 AM
Martina is seriously loved here. She always played alot of tournaments and started off so well at the beginning of the year. You can just tell Paul McNamee would let her play at the Australian Open if it was up to him :lol: Very nice word from him.

KoOlMaNsEaN
Nov 3rd, 2007, 04:35 AM
She surely was the best in Australia and has remained very loyal to the country that has treated her so well. Whenever i think of martina i think of her 6 australian trophies in 3 years.

go hingis
Nov 3rd, 2007, 05:09 AM
I can't believe she won't be playing. gold coast, sydney and melbourne will miss her.

frontier
Nov 3rd, 2007, 07:35 AM
Its time she find a purpose for her life,charity work is a start and not to hide in shame otherwise she will end up like Jen,clueless about the future and suicidal.How the mighty have fallen!

Max565
Nov 3rd, 2007, 09:56 AM
Great words from him :)

Ben.
Nov 3rd, 2007, 10:01 AM
Very nice words from Mc Namee :)

Farina Elia Fan
Nov 3rd, 2007, 12:54 PM
:)

tennis_lover89
Nov 3rd, 2007, 12:59 PM
:sad:

irinska
Nov 3rd, 2007, 03:34 PM
Australians have always loved Martina. They will support her there more than anywhere in the world!

iPatty
Nov 3rd, 2007, 05:54 PM
She surely was the best in Australia and has remained very loyal to the country that has treated her so well. Whenever i think of martina i think of her 6 australian trophies in 3 years.

I think it's the other way around. :lol:

Ryan
Nov 3rd, 2007, 09:53 PM
I think it's the other way around. :lol:



Not if you think of her 3 singles and 3 doubles titles from 1997-1999. ;)

hingisGOAT
Nov 3rd, 2007, 10:00 PM
She definitely owned that place. 6 straight finals, 3 victories, 3 (4?) doubles victories... In 2001 she defeated Serena twice, Venus, Davenport, Clijsters all in the span of two weeks... definitely the best in Australia of this generation :yeah:

I wonder how the 2008 surface change will mix things up. Maybe Hingis is leaving at the right time :lol: