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justineheninfan
Oct 25th, 2010, 11:43 PM
Looking back at the career of Martina Hingis was she an underachiever, overachiever or how would you view her. I believe she was a definite underachiever. She came on the scene as the heir apparent to be the next dominant player and legend of tennis. While she probably was in hindsight somewhat overrated at first, coming in at a time of opportunity in womens tennis with the previous generation all falling at the time her rise to the very top really began, and the emergence of the more powerful and athletic Williams sisters was unforseen at the time, she still could have done more with her career.

After her dominant 97 slam season it seemed she got a bit too complacent, thinking she was just too great and nobody could challenge her for years. Overconfidence is the worst thing for a champion and it came back to bite her in a big way in 1998. She still managed a very good year, some would say she was the best player of the year despite ending it #2 to Davenport in the WTA rankings. However she was not even close to her 97 level of dominance. Then by very late 98/early 99 it seemed that Hingis had revived her game in many ways, beating her new nemisis Davenport impressively in the WTA Championships final and looking as good as ever in sweeping to the 99 Australian Open title. However she then had some crushing big match defeats which were setbacks to her career, and which seemed to lead to her confidence evaporating and her becoming increasingly headcasey. The 99 French Open debacle with Graf. Then the resumption of her beatdowns to Davenport, and the acclerating rise of the sisters. She began losing in important matches to people she generally owned, such as her 2000 French Open semifinal defeat to Pierce and by 2001 even a string of big match loses to a resurgent Capriati. The 2000 U.S Open semifinal defeat to Venus was a painful loss as it all hinged on an overhead she didnt put away when she was 2 points from victory. This would have cemented her as the true #1 player of that year had she won. Then losing the Austrailan Open final to Capriati after beating both Williams. The match that really ended Hingis for good was probably the 2002 Australian Open final where she squandered 4 match points and a big lead to Capriati.

So how do you look at Hingis and her career today. Was she an underachiever, was she an overachiever who came in at the right time, or did her career pan out basically how you think it should have.

Lucemferre
Oct 26th, 2010, 12:36 AM
She's definitely an overachiever.To be frank she had no game:tape: While it was impressive how much she won with natural talent alone and at such a young age, she never had anything the true greats have.Like a killer shot, good serve or world class athleticism.She was average and was the best when everyone was average.But the results of her matches were never on her racquet against the elite. Her brief era was so weak it was embarrassing.

Matt01
Oct 26th, 2010, 12:41 AM
She's definitely an overachiever.To be frank she had no game:tape: While it was impressive how much she won with natural talent alone and at such a young age, she never had anything the true greats have.Like a killer shot, good serve or world class athleticism.She was average and was the best when everyone was average.But the results of her matches were never on her racquet against the elite. Her brief era was so weak it was embarrassing.


Oh, just when I started to like you a bit :lol:

Sorry, but you have no clue :help: Saying that Hingis had no game is just :tape: :weirdo:

And to answer the question, yes she was an underachiever. With her talent she could (or maybe should) have won more big titles. RG in particular comes to my mind here.

Lucemferre
Oct 26th, 2010, 12:57 AM
Oh, just when I started to like you a bit :lol:

Sorry, but you have no clue :help: Saying that Hingis had no game is just :tape: :weirdo:

And to answer the question, yes she was an underachiever. With her talent she could (or maybe should) have won more big titles. RG in particular comes to my mind here.

Overachiever come on!Just look at her pathetic era and players she beat in majors.All washed up hasbeens or leftovers from past era and a raw erratic venus.When she had a chance to beat a true great like graf she blew it with her immature antics. Talent is irrelevant santoro was talented too. Nothing of hingis was world class except her backhand.Serve sucked,forehand cost her so many big matches, movement was good but not at the same level as someone like graf and she became a choker later in her career. She was desperate against faster stronger elite players.I agree she was talented but compared to real greats her game looks like club level. Do you see peak hingis vs peak anyone threads? I don't. Think about why.

Sonf@
Oct 26th, 2010, 02:30 AM
I think she achieved what she deserved considering the way she worked for it. She was the best shot-maker of her era (I'm not talking about power here, but about her ability to always hit the right shot) but was so weak physically compared to the likes of the Williamses or Davenport that she even reached a point where she couldn't beat any of them being at her best. Had she had more competition during 1997 I think she would've succeeded more. At least she would've been pushed to work harder.

Consider this fact: her peak year was 2000 (at least in terms of quality tennis and always in my opinion) and perhaps she was the player who won more titles, but always fell in the big matches and could barely beat Seles in the YEC final.

justineheninfan
Oct 26th, 2010, 04:07 AM
It is true her timing was good at first. When she began her rise to the very top in late 96 Seles was exploding to her highest weight ever, Sanchez Vicario had already reached burn out and was never the same after mid 96, Martinez had also reached burn out with her grinding game and like Sanchez entering the past her prime phase of her career, and Graf despite still completely dominant until the end of 96 was soon to be hit down hard with injuries and never returned to dominant form. Davenport was still out of shape bigtime in 97, and the Williams hadnt even emerged. Her main competition during her dominance in 97 was Novotna who wasnt mentally strong enough to beat Hingis and was only a major threat in big events on grass and indoors, an out of shape Davenport who wasnt a big threat to win slams yet, an out of shape Seles who wasnt a big threat to win slams anymore, and Pierce on the comeback trail who was an easy matchup for Hingis over the years.

Still there is something about her game that was special I found. She really had an ability to see multiple shots ahead and had such great precision and timing. She also had soft hands, great finesse shots, and very good volleys in an era few of the top baseliners had that proficient of volleys. She constructed points like almost nobody else since Chris Evert. And when the competition improved alot more in 98 and 99 she still stayed at the top and was a major contender, even in the early 2000s she still was. She unfortunately blew multiple chances for future majors.

I see Lucifers point about though. Here is who she actually beat to win her slams:


1997 Australian Open- quarters Spirlea, semis Fernandez, final Pierce. So an underachieving headcase who was only in the top 10 for about a year (Spirlea), a well past her prime slamless former top 5 player (Fernandez), and an unseeded player just starting her comeback to the elite after one of her worst years ever (Pierce).

1997 Wimbledon- quarters Cladkova, semis Kournikova, final Novotna. Her only opponent was an injured and choking Novotna who blew that final after soundly outclassing Hingis for a set or even set and half.

1997 U.S Open- quarters Sanchez Vicario, semis Davenport, final Venus. Ironically this was probably her toughest draw to a slam title of this year. Still a burnt out/past her prime Sanchez Vicario in one of her worst years ever, a still out of shape and pre prime Davenport who hadnt reached a slam final yet, and a raw shock finalist Venus.

1998 Australian Open- quarters Pierce, semis Huber, finals Martinez. Pierce was her toughest opponent. In the semis a past her prime player who reached only 1 slam final her whole career anyway, and in the finals a past her prime clay court specialist who didnt win a hard court slam even in her prime.

1999 Australian Open- Pierce quarters, Seles semis, Mauresmo final. This was her toughest draw of all to a slam title probably. Still not that amazing really. Pierce again, Seles past her prime, and Mauresmo well before her prime in her first final. Mauresmo did her a big favor by taking Davenport out probably, as Davenport was starting to own Hingis on hard courts.

Rollo
Oct 26th, 2010, 04:46 PM
Overachiever come on!Just look at her pathetic era and players she beat in majors.All washed up hasbeens or leftovers from past era and a raw erratic venus.

When it comes to someone who won 5 slams arguments about weak eras are "weak" IMO. I suppose the conventional argument is that without Graf the whole era is weak. Well, if that's true we should start discounting all of Graf's slams from 1993 forward-right? Or should we start questioning Venus's slams because Hingis was in decline after 2000? It's a slippery slope.

I think the big unanswered questions with Hingis come down to these:

Was she mentally ready to stick it out after her early success?

Others can list her "youngest ever" acheivements better than I, but we forget just how young Hingis was when she stormed to 3 slams in 1977 and came within one match of winning all four majors. She was of 16. The tennis world hadn't seen anything like that since Maureen Connolly. Not even Seles was that young, and Graf didn't win her first slam until she was 18.

I always got the impression that Hingis was closely controlled by her mother Melanie. Parental dominance is a fact of life for most female champs, but the dynamics were different for Martina. Without one parent it was Melanie or nothing. Evert, Seles, Graf, the Willie sisters, even Connolly, all had at least two parental figures in their lives. I've always wondered how this imbalance affected Hingis when she went through the rebellious teenage stage most young adults go through.

The Hingis loss to Dokic at Wimbledon in 1999 was telling IMO. Hingis had grown up her entire life with her mother's goal in mind: be a champion. That's good enough enough as things go, but sooner a later you have to win for yourself, and I wonder to this day how "hungry" Hingis was to win after so much early success. We know she liked to have a good time. If the stories about drug use turn out to be true one could argue she checked out mentally, not that her game was weak.

Did she physically in decline ?

None of the women after Hingis has been even close to injury free. Considering the beating that hardcourts have on bodies in women's tennis the possibility that injuries caused a lot of decline has to be seriously considered.

Physically I thought Hingis actually got progressively weaker. She got more and more defensive and the mps on her serve went down. What's the full story on this? Did her shoes cause her physical problems?She sued a company for this-right? What was the outcome?

It would be one thing if Hingis' game stayed the same and she went from winning everything to not being able to win a slam. That's not what happened though. Whatever was going on off the court mentally she was not the same physically.

Her game-can a defensive player win in a big babe era?

Many would argue that Hingis had a static and defensive game that was incapable of winning a slam after the "big babes" took over. I say bull hockey. From start to finish she had a tennis brain and strategy second to none except for Chris Evert. Evert is a great point of comparison with Hingis. When Evert saw the first evidence of decline she was much more mature mentally and physically than Hingis.
Chrissie hit the gym, got more offensive, and added power to her serve. It's a testament to Evert's mental toughness.

And Hingis? Anyone could see she needed added power to her serve. Yet nothing happened. If anything she went backwards. Even her backhand went from an offensive shot to one of defense. I defy anyone who say her game stayed the same to watch her from 1997 to 1999 and then again in 2001-2002. Her game went backwards.

Even a defensive Hingis was a top ten player. Had she ramped it up and added some power to her serve I'm convinced she could have easily many more slams with her all court game. Was she mentally unwilling to put in the extra work or physically unable? Perhaps both. It's a mystery I hope we'll get closer to one day. I eagerly look forward to any autobiography Hingis writes.

Last thought: Caroline Wozniacki may have some bearing on how Hingis is viewed down the road. If Caroline is unable to win slams the argument that Hingis' game was limited is stronger IMO. Should Caroline prove up to the challenge, and I hope she is, we might be see more variety atop a sport that lost something special the day Hingis called it quits.

hingis-seles
Oct 27th, 2010, 12:49 AM
This is a link to a thread I posted on Martina Hingis. It cites an article published in Sports Illustrated in 2002, which more or less explains everything.

Rollo
Oct 27th, 2010, 12:54 AM
This is a link to a thread I posted on Martina Hingis. It cites an article published in Sports (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=422705#) Illustrated in 2002, which more or less explains everything

Hi Hingis-Seles:wavey:

It could be it's a late night and I'm tired, but I don't see the link.

hingis-seles
Oct 27th, 2010, 01:04 AM
Hi Rollo! :wavey:

It's a late night and I'm tired too, which explains why I didn't put a link in my previous post. ;)

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352019

justineheninfan
Oct 27th, 2010, 06:27 AM
I think Wozniacki has a long way to go to even be truly compared to Hingis, results aside. She is mostly just a great steady baseline and defender who can hit all day, which was true of Hingis too (Woz is probably faster, but Hingis anticipated well which almost negates it). However Woz is nowhere near as tactically saavy and versatile as Hingis yet, maybe in the future. And whereas Hingis had very nice volleys, Wozniacki has almost never heard of the word.