After 23 years on the professional circuit, two retirements, 25 Grand Slam titles, and sitting on the top of the world’s women’s doubles rankings, tennis legend Martina Hingis has decided to end her professional career after the WTA Finals in Singapore. The 37-year-old Swiss player made the announcement on social media, where she thanked her team, fans, and sponsors. The good news for tennis fans, however, is that despite her astonishing record, she said “the best is still to come.”
Hingis’ record in 2017 alone is astonishing. Alongside her partner, Chang Yung-Jan, she has won nine WTA doubles titles, including Indian Wells, the Madrid Open, and the China Open. The pair also won this year’s US Open together in September. Alongside her doubles success, Hingis also won the Wimbledon and US Open mixed doubles with Jamie Murray this year, in a wave of success that she herself has described as one of the best in her career. Competing with Chang again in Singapore, with both women sitting atop the women’s doubles rankings, Hingis hopes that she can end the year with a tenth title to add to the pairing’s collection, and after their 6-3 6-2 demolition of Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Kveta Peschka Thursday, it seems like it is written in the stars for the Swiss.
It is easy to forget that it has been a long and tough journey for Hingis, with memorable victories, as well as bad luck and controversy, accompanying her. She became the youngest-ever Wimbledon champion in 1996, winning the women’s doubles title with Helena Suková at the tender age of 15. She subsequently became women’s singles World #1 in 1997, a year when she won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open singles titles all in one go. She also reached the Roland Garros singles final that year, but lost to Croatian Iva Majoli. She would go on to win two back-to-back Australian Open singles titles in 1998 and 1999. Her final appearance in a women’s singles final came at Roland Garros in 1999, but she could not overcome her French singles final hoodoo, and lost out to Steffi Graf in one of the tournament’s most memorable women’s finals.
In February 2003, at the age of 22, Martina Hingis shocked the world by announcing her first retirement. She had been suffering from ankle injuries, and told L’Equipe magazine that she had “no plans ever to return”. Three years later, however, Hingis was back. She announced her return to the singles and doubles scene in 2006, breaking into the Top 10 at the end of that same year. At last, things appeared to be working out for Hingis.
Sadly, her success was short-lived. Injury problems began to creep back into the Swiss player’s life, halting her progress in 2007. In November, after a Wimbledon campaign that saw her crash out in the third round, it emerged that Hingis had tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine at SW19 that year. She was forced to undergo a ban, despite denying the charges, and went into her second retirement, from which she emerged again in 2013.
Since her return to the game in 2013, Hingis has competed solely in doubles and mixed doubles events, but with great success. Since coming out of retirement in 2013, she has added 10 Grand Slam titles to her list, most of which came alongside her partner Shania Mirza. She even returned to the top of the doubles rankings in 2015, before parting company with Mirza and trying out different doubles pairings. Her partnership with Chan has been her most successful since Mirza by a long stretch.
Hingis revealed that she had told her doubles and mixed doubles partners of her desire to hang up her racquet earlier this year. At 37 years old, Martina Hingis can retire on a positive note, an honour permitted only to true legends of the sport.
Thank you for all the great memories, Martina, and we wish you all the best for the future.
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