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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 01:07 PM   #1
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Hingis news/interview

Apologies if this has ben posted already. Never was much of a Martina fan, but you have to appreciate her honest assessment...

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Hingis won't return to tennis if she can't play her best


Former world No 1 tennis player Martina Hingis, still upset with her failure
to recover 100 per cent from double ankle surgery, said on Tuesday that she'll
hang up her tennis racquet if she can't regain the form that earned her five
Grand Slam titles.

The 22-year-old Swiss Hingis - who is fourth on the all-time list with total
weeks at No 1 - said that merely reaching the quarters or semis of major
tournaments wouldn't satisfy her.

"I don't think that would be good enough for me because I know I'm better
than that," said Hingis, who won three Australian Open titles, one Wimbledon and
one U.S. Open, but hasn't won a Grand Slam in three years.

"The players are getting better and this year I was okay at a certain level,
but not good enough for the top. When you are used to being at the top, that's
tough."

Hingis is at the WTA Home Depot Championships this week in Los Angeles to
help promote the event, even though she is not participating. Play begins on
Wednesday for the 16-player field, which includes the top five ranked women -
Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin and Kim
Clijsters of Belgium.

"I'm in a different position this year," said Hingis, who won the tournament
in 1998 and 2000. "You feel you're part of it, but not really. It's a funny
feeling."

Hingis returned to the tour in August after spending three months on the
sidelines rehabilitating her right ankle, but failed to win a title and in
October was crushed by Nadia Petrova in Moscow and Elena Dementieva in
Filderstadt.

Because she couldn't stand losing to players she once could control like a
puppeteer, Hingis concluded her comeback was premature. Now, she is unsure when
and whether she wants to return to the tour.

"I haven't set a timetable," said Hingis. "I'm not going to put myself under
pressure right now. I'm taking it one step at a time. I've been trying to clear
my head and doing things I like to do - running, biking and horse back riding.
I've been taking things slow and easy.

"I've been playing tennis with mom and friends two or three times a week,
but no hard practices. There's less stress and pressure. Now, I actually enjoy
not having a schedule."

Hingis has been in the public eye since she turned pro in 1994 at the tender
age of 14. After she dominated the tour in 1997, winning three of the four Grand
Slams, the daughter of a former Slovak national player - her mother and coach,
Melanie - appeared to have women's tennis in the palm of her hands.

But with the rise of the physically stronger Williams sisters beginning in
1999, the smaller Hingis has been forced to scratch and claw to maintain her
position in the top echelon of the sport.

She underwent ankle surgery in 2001 and only scored at the Australian Open
that year. The same fate befell her this year when she gave up four match points
to Capriati in the 2002 Australian Open final and lost the contest.

It has been downhill since then.

"You get worked up a little sometimes," she said. "It's been so hectic, four
years at the top and a pro since 1994. My body didn't hold up.

"This year I experienced a real down as a professional. I can't do what I
need to do when I'm out there. That's why I feel it's better for me and
everybody for me not to play because it's not possible for me to play the way I
used to. Physically, I can't do it."

Hingis added the mental stress of knowing that she couldn't dig out balls
and then slap winners down the line was overwhelming mentally as well.

"It's combined," she said. "If you can't do it physically you're not up for
it mentally. "I'm hesitating. In practice, I'm fine, but once on the court you
know you have to chase certain balls down and if you can't, it's frustrating.

"The level gets better almost each month. For three months, tennis went on
without me."

Hingis is planning on seeing her doctor when she returns to Switzerland this
week and if her ankles do get back to 100 per cent, a return to the practice
courts for five hour practice sessions is not completely out of the question in
the future.

"If my body would allow it, I would do it, its just not the case at this
point," she said. "My body won't allow it."
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 01:24 PM   #2
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Hingis start plying too earlier in her career and too much never took a time out for her body, and some time when you push your body too much it fails, at least she knows the game is more stronger and faster, and it can be very hard on your body and I hand to these players tennis is not a easy game to play, so your body do need a break & rest....................so hope she comes back soon I like to see her riverly with the Williams........but she better come back soon because I'm sure the Williams won't be sticking around the tennis world as long as seles & Davenport!!!!!!
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 01:27 PM   #3
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Hingis news/interview

Very realistic assessment of her game at the moment..she is very honest and knows that she has experienced "limitations" on the court because of her injuries...I thought since her return from her ankle injury in May..that she was in denial...she was always expressing optimistic views...saying she would get better with more match play....but that all came crashing down when she realized she could not beat lower ranked players......so she now seems to be relaxed..going to take her time in trying to regain her form and because its been so frustrating for her.....needs some time to mentally prepare for the "long haul" once again! Good Luck Martina in achieving your goals!!


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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 01:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting!

Martina doesn't say anything new, anyway.
She's right saying that if her body can't handle, she won't play but, on the other hand, the later she comes back to the court, the harder she will find back the rhythm and reach the required level. I think it would be better for her to fix a date of return as an objective, be it on the middle of 2003 or later.
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 01:30 PM   #5
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she played to much tournaments in the last years and this year she had to pay for that!
I hope she will be happy with whatever decission she makes, return or not!
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 02:30 PM   #6
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Martina won't be satisfied being no 8 or 9 in the world, she wants to be #1 or at least in the top 5 and be a grandslam contender. She has the talent and the experience, hopefully she can get back to the form she had from 97 to Mar 02...

Good Luck Martina!
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:19 PM   #7
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Its interesting to me that if she can't be #1 or contend with the top girls, that she'll hang it up...
Monica Seles, another fine champion, has clearly decided that being competitive and playing into her late 20s is an appropriate way to go. I guess a difference could be that that Seles knows she won't be #1, but does feel like she can contend with the top 5 (and she does).
its such an interesting dilemma - continue to compete, because you are an athlete and thats what athletes do, or decide that you CAN'T compete at the level you want and basically give it up. not an easy choice.
clearly, though, Hingis played way too much way too early. its sad that she's as young as she is and seems so burnt out.
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:23 PM   #8
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Post Ever optimistic...!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by lukehingis
Martina won't be satisfied being no 8 or 9 in the world, she wants to be #1 or at least in the top 5 and be a grandslam contender. She has the talent and the experience, hopefully she can get back to the form she had from 97 to Mar 02...

Good Luck Martina!
Ever optimistic, however, one must realize that even a return to her '97 - Mar '02 form, probably won't be enough to best her opponents, who have improved immensely since that time. As Martina stated, the"game of tennis got better without her". And yet, in my heart of hearts, I know Hingis can compete with the others, she just won't dominate with any semblance of her '97 run.
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting it.
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:39 PM   #10
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thanx
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 05:35 PM   #11
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she sounds so mature, smart and realistic!
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 06:08 PM   #12
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Thanks Pinkie

Good Luck Hingis, wish you will come back soon!
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 06:59 PM   #13
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First of all this does't surprise me, I thought that if she didn't continue to win,that she would hang up her raquet.

Although, I don't like her words in this interview. She's frank though but I disagree with her not wanting to comeback. I guess being the best and #1 is more important then playing the tennis game that she loves. It's like she's giving up!
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 10:20 PM   #14
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I can understand where she is coming from. In my sport of wrestling I faced asimilar situation. While I am no where near the talent level in wrestling that Hingis is in Tennis, I do have a love and a passion for my sport. But after my 3rd knee surgery I had to consider whether I should keep on competing and losing to people I was dominating less than a year before, or hang it up. When it got to the point that the pain combined with not being able to compete at my previous level was just to much I did hang it up. I miss wrestling a lot, and I still haven't found something to replace the fire that I had when wrestling.

I guess the point is that if she can get herself back to what she views as her top level then fine, but if she isn't able to, then I respect her decision to walk away.
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Old Nov 6th, 2002, 10:47 PM   #15
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I would HATE to see this happen, but if Hingis is indeed a woman of her word, she may have to put the racket down.

Even after the miserable two first rd. matches that I just witnessed at the Staples Centre, I can't see Hingis hitting with them.
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