View Full Version : Is Melanie Molitor partly to blame?

Jan 19th, 2003, 11:26 PM
I don't want to cause an uproar, nor do I hate Melanie or Martina, eh? :D so please try to just take the quesion as it is and be objective if you answer.

I don't know all that much about Martina Hingis, I admit to that. I think I read somewhere that she was playing semi-seriously since she was about 4. I have always thought that Melanie pushed Martina hard. I have read what Navratilova and many others have to say in general about little girls being pushed too hard and destroying their bodies.

Probably I am adding 2 and 2 and coming up with 7 ;) but I am just wondering whether people in here think that maybe Melanie pushed her daughter too hard when she was a little girl and is partly responsible for Martina's current injury.

What do you people think?

Jan 19th, 2003, 11:32 PM

it's not good to live your dreams through your daughter period

it's why I never want children

Light-skinned Girl
Jan 19th, 2003, 11:43 PM
I *don't* think Melanie pushed her too hard. Martina has been *injury-free* until recently. Personally I think what's happened to Martina is basically a case of *bad luck* which is so sad. :(

Gallofa I *don't* think you were unfair at all. Actually you handled this whole topic *nicely*. :)

Jan 19th, 2003, 11:44 PM
Many of the top players were playing very young - some were "pushed" by their parents (eg Martina, and supposedly Venus and Serena), some weren't. Hewitt's parents never intended to turn him into a prodigy until he started hitting shots in at their social tennis matches at the age of 2 or 3. So they got him lessons so he wouldn't get bad habits. Now I've heard them accused of pushing him too early and denying him a childhood thereby causing his somewhat overexcited court style.

I think Molitor is a loving mother who did what she thought best. Martina has said she adores playing tennis so I don't think she was unwilling either.

Jan 19th, 2003, 11:47 PM
I meant to add, Molitor was actually very aware of injuries early on. She discouraged Martina from serving at full throttle until she was fully grown, for example. Some people say this was a problem in itself so I guess you can't win!

Jan 19th, 2003, 11:50 PM
It really seems to me like Martina's body fell apart just suddenly, after being one of the healthiest players around. I think if she was burning her body out, there would have been a series of minor injuries first, kind of like Dokic has had.

Martian KC
Jan 20th, 2003, 12:05 AM
She had been training harder the past 2 years trying to compete with these powerful players. I think that's what done her in.

Tennis Fool
Jan 20th, 2003, 12:11 AM
Who is this Casanova player Melanie has taken up as her protegee?

Jan 20th, 2003, 12:31 AM
Don't think Melanie is to blame ..as already stated above, in the early years Melanie took every precaution she could to protect her daughters health ie type of training they did and type of training they didn't do... Child prodigies is always going to be a difficult area in which to make decisions cos there is no such thing as one size fits all look at steffi ,Tracy ,Andrea , gaby, monica, ASV, Jennifer ......just as some examples of players who turned pro at a young age ...their careers follow different paths. Melanie Allowed martina to turn pro(martina was already far to good for the juniors, so what choice did she have) and play tournaments ...Richard allowed his daughters to turn pro but restricted their tournaments, even though they wanted to play.
I don't see either decision to be right or wrong simply two different approaches which could have been both wrong ,both right or either one wrong or right. People on these boards rarely understand the word Different it's always right or wrong or inferior to superior ... On the old boards I always used to be amazed at the stupidity of hingis fans, Whenver she was healthy and A williams sister was injured it was because the biomechanics of their shots was wrong ,or how can a muscular girl be injured or they must be faking ,or they don't love the game etc.....Completely no understanding that each individual athelete even siblings has a totally different skeletal structure and some girls will be injured and some won't. I do believe martina overplayed when she was at the top but thats just a personal opinion, and I also believe she made that decision not Melanie. Recently she came out in an interview and said the no of tournament requirements for players that go deep in the draws is excessive ....maybe her staure in the world of tennis will finally add some weight to an argument many of us have been making for a long time.

Jan 20th, 2003, 01:09 AM
Melanie raised a great champion. Life then brought its highs and lows and whatifs. Reverse the line call in the FO99, let old Capriati out on one of the match points in 2002? Two questions though are intriguing - I look at the first serve statistics and even look at the players of Martina's height and weight and I wonder why Martina's serve is so relatively slow. I also wonder about those damned shoes - if they hurt where would she be today if she had binned them?

Jan 20th, 2003, 01:27 AM
Molitor is not to blame for Hingis' injury - she is her mother after all ! I doubt she would have forced Martina to play so much just to save the no.1 ranking which is what caused her to get injured in the first place.

Jan 20th, 2003, 01:47 AM
Gallofa - Yes, Melanie's partly to blame. Tennis is very hard ligaments and joints, and Martina played a lot of tennis at a young age. Did Melanie say, "You have to go and practice, eight hours a day isn't enough"? Not that I've heard. Did Martina play more at a young age than her joints could withstand, causing chronic problems? Evidently. As a parent, was Melanie responsible for seeing Martina didn't overplay? Of course.

This is why we have Age Eligibility Rules. Too many young girls playing too much too soon causing long term injury to their bodies. Martina and Venus are the last elite players to come up before the AER would have applied to them. Orecene (and Richard) restricted Venus's tournaments anyway, so effectively, she's an AER-restricted player.

This is the reality of professional tennis. And gymnastics. And figure skating. Children are put through stresses on the body that injure adults. Repeatly. And if you want your kid to be a top pro, or your kid wants to be a top pro, you have to expose them to those risks.

But, while Melanie doesn't get a pass, she's hardly solely to blame. Martina Hingis is 22. That means for the last four years, she, not her mother, was ultimately responsible for the choices she made. If her feet hurt, she needed to stop playing. And from what I've heard, her feet and ankles had been hurting quite a whiule before she finally stopped.

If Martina didn't have this problem at 18, then the question is, was it inevitable from too much early play? My answer. No, it wasn't INEVITABLE. But if you got Melanie alone and asked her point blank, after she slapped you, she'd no doubt admit she at least FEARED she might be responsible. (Which is a pretty normal maternal response.)

Jan 20th, 2003, 01:59 AM
yes, but not intentionally

The fact that Martina won well everything and when she lost she did in the SF or F in both Singles AND Doubles...THATS what did her in.

They really need to change the system 13-15 Tournys is enough
or better yet, do a QUALITY system

Like this, Give pts for the amount of games lost, winner/UE ratio, stuff like that. That way the better you play, the higher ranked you'll be.

That makes sense doesnt it?

Jan 20th, 2003, 04:11 AM
The Williams sisters have had lots of joint and tendon injuries as well. Lets not kid ourselves and think that their training was much less intense or started much later than hers. If you want to be a pro, that's how its done.

And that training earned Martina somewhere between 40-60 million US dollars in the past 7 years or so. If you are assigning blame to sheep-head, you better give her some of the "blame" for that too.

Jan 20th, 2003, 04:17 AM
she's as much to blame as Richard. and Stefano. and every other parent who dares to coach their child instead of hiring someone else to do it.

hiring someone else is the only way to guarantee no injuries...:o :o

Jan 20th, 2003, 12:08 PM
I am just surprised her body has given up on her like that. I hear what you say about having signs of it beforehand, disposablehero, was that the case with Tracy Austin too? or did she suffer something similar to Martina?

I think even if the William sisters might have pushed themselves as hard as Martina when they were children, they have certainly taken better care of their bodies since they came fully on tour.

Jan 20th, 2003, 12:24 PM
Hingis has a secured future now even if she will not come back to tennis.....and who's to blame for this????:p

Sam L
Jan 20th, 2003, 12:33 PM
"Partly" is an understatement but I don't agree with the original post. Others are right, you have to push hard if you want to be at the top. Where she went wrong was not keeping her daughter grounded and losing her head. A mother should've taught her a few things about respect, humility, that sometimes in life things don't always go your way.

Jan 20th, 2003, 12:34 PM
you can partly blame her
but without her mother, Martina would be mabye a girl in a Factory doing any stupid job
but now she saw the whole world, earned many money and can enjoy her whole life

Jan 20th, 2003, 01:07 PM
Well I just read this about Martina..

UP TO HER: Martina Hingis would face no problem from her injured ankle if she decides to return to tennis, according to her surgeon.

Heinz Buehlmann operated on Hingis in May. He told a Swiss newspaper Sunday that her ankle has healed properly.

``Martina can play again,'' Buehlmann said. ``Martina has had this problem for four years, but the joints of her foot are absolutely OK.''

Hingis said last week that she had no idea if she would return to tennis and didn't have a time frame in mind.

Buehlmann said her barrier would be mental.

``From a medical point of view a comeback would be no problem, but Martina would have to grit her teeth. She would have to be prepared for some pain,'' he said.

``I know Martina very well. I know from the past that she can come back. But whether she wants that, I do not know.''
So obviously injury isn't going to stop her from coming back..

Jan 20th, 2003, 01:56 PM
dh - You're absolutely right. Richard and Orecene bear the same level of parental responsibility for the current plight of their children/students as Melanie does. And yes, Richard and Orecene bear responsibility for injuries Venus and Serena suffered as teens. And any long term side effects from too much physical stress to early. And yes, Venus and Serena have certainly had their share of joint and ligament injuries. However...

Venus and Serena are in the QFs of a major right now. Martina may never play again.

Venus and Serena seem to possess the knowledge of when it was safe to play and when it's not. According to her doctor, Martina played with this problem for FOUR YEARS.

The parents are equally responsible, yes. But the results they produced are not the same.

However, your last point is best. Martina 22, not 15. SHE bear responsibility for not dealing with this, ultimately, not her mother.

Jan 20th, 2003, 02:37 PM
Well according to Melanie, Martina didnt exactly train as hard as she should have or as hard as melanie would have liked her to. I think it couldbe a combination of a few things. I dont however think that anybody is responsible for this except maybe hingis. I think the fact that Martina was small and had to cover alot of ground when playing Lindsay and other players who ran her around alot, has taken its toll on her legs. If she didnt train as hard as melanie suggested, then its no surprise that she is injured, u cant chase down lindsays groundstrokes for long without being in top shape. i wonder if a similar thing would happen to Justine who seems to be working awefully hard chasing down these powerful shots. U have to be in top condition, if you are not , then u are doing yourself a disservice. people criticized Venus and Serena for not playing through pain adn i applaud them for not sacrificing their bodies to put on a show just because fans paid money to see them. thats ridiculous. I think they could play tennis a long time simply because they pic and choose their breaks nicely and rest a lot and dont sacrifice their health chasing the number 1 ranking. Serena is number 1 with only 12 or 13 tourneys and look at how many points she has, Martina had the sam enumber of points playing 21 or more tournaments. Serena is smart for not playing more than that. why risk it. you are only gonna win about 8 or 9 titles a year anyway if its not gonna affect your ranking then why put yoursefl through the risk. i hope other players do the same so we can see some high quality matches instead of players limping off court.

i just think that the last few years Martina tried so hard to maintain the number ranking that she overplayed. its one thing to play alot beating low ranked players, and its another to play alot with the likes of Lindsay, Jen, Seles, Serena, Venus, Daniela, Kim, Justine, Amelie. To win a major you have to go through at least 3 palyers of this caliber. its not likely that u will win a match from either in two easy sets either. The last person who did was serena at USOPEN 99. i think maybe kim could. But i dont even know that Venus or serena would be fresh after 3 tough 3 setters anymore. who knows, i dont think we should blame anybody. she was just unlucky and at the moment its seems that she is unmotivated.
I think her injuries are mostly mental.

Jan 22nd, 2003, 05:03 PM
Melanie has never trained Martina 8 hours per day when she was a kid . No more from 15-30 min. I read this some ears ago . And in 2002 Martina said that she was training no more than 3-4 hours daily . As you can see from the last PICS. Martina is very happy without tennis at the moment . She is reach , she is a superstar whereever she goes, because of her personality . Tennis is only a game and not her whole life .

Grand Slam 2003
Jan 22nd, 2003, 05:10 PM
There was a good article in Sports Illustrated a few months back about Hingis, and I read it with interest. I think Martina realizes that she can no longer compete at the same level as before, and rather than attempt a Jordan-like comeback in which she would more than likely fail, she is content with her life. In the words of the late Kurt Cobain: "It is better to burn out than to fade away." I think Hingis fully realizes this.

Just my two cents... :)

Jan 22nd, 2003, 05:19 PM
To compare Melanie with a Jim Pierce or Marinko Lucic as absurd. Melanie always encouraged Martina to pursue her other interests (soccer, horseback riding, skiing, etc). Until about 1997 or so, Martina only practiced 2 hours a day and no more than 30 minutes of off court work after. Martina NEVER banged balls from sunup to sundown like many touring pros. However, Melanie expected Martina to work hard when she was out on the court. That's not asking too much. If Melanie gave up her life essentially to better Martina's career/life, the least she can do is work hard for 2 1/2 hours a day. However, I do think the short practices affected Martina in the long run. When Martina realized she would have to play 6 hours a day to compete for the top, her body wasn't used to it and she probably didn't enjoy the much harder practices. That combo ultimately results in disaster.

Jan 22nd, 2003, 05:41 PM
It was not playing too much too soon, it was that endless quest to keep the #1 ranking that did hingis in. From late 1998/1999 when Davenport hit full stride, then VEnus came on strong in 2000, Hingis was playing a lot and going deep into tourneys week after week. She was determined to hold onto #1 because she was the historical significance of it. it must have taken its toll.

now, I don't know how much Melanie pushed that or how much of it was Hingis herself, but during that stretch she really played a lot. And by that time, they had long ago filed the lawsuit against Tachini (sp?) so they both knew that Hingis was having trouble with her feet.

yes, Hingis is now 22, but when some of these injuries started or took root, she was much younger, and I think her mom is *partly*to blame. But for the most part, melanie did not over train her daughter and was always careful of her stroke mechanics etc. but for most of her career, Hingis was too young to make the *right* choices on her own. that is where you rely on parents.

honestly, I think it is a bad idea to have your parents as your coach. the line is just too hard to draw- when do you push as a coach and when do you offer a shoulder to cry on as a parent? I know that Oracene and Richard seem to have done a great job, but I just don't think its wise all around. Hire a great coach for your kids, be involved of course to support, but leave the coaching to a hired coach.

just my two cents. :)