Swiss great Hingis quits for third and ‘final’ time

SINGAPORE: Swiss tennis great Martina Hingis announced her “definite” retirement on Thursday, signalling the end of a career which took her from 1990s teenage superstar to doubles world number one some 20 years later.
The 37-year-old ‘Swiss Miss’ has retired twice before — once after testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine — but she said the ongoing WTA Finals in Singapore will be her last tournament.
“I think now it’s definite. It’s different, because before I walked away thinking I might come back,” Hingis told reporters after her 6-3, 6-2 doubles win alongside Chan Yung-Jan over Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke.
“After a season like this, I think it’s also perfect timing. You know, you want to stop on top and not when you’re already going backwards. I couldn’t ask for a better finish.”
Fellow Swiss star Roger Federer credited Hingis with helping him become a record 19-time Grand Slam champion.
“Martina was partially the one who showed me how it was all done,” 36-year-old Federer said in Basel where he is playing at the Swiss Indoors tournament.
“It was great for Switzerland to have someone of her calibre. We were very lucky.
“I’m not sad to see her retire, she’s been in the game for long enough, she seems at peace with her decision — that’s wonderful. I’ve always been a fan of her and I always will be.”
Hingis could end her career on a high in Singapore, with a semifinal looming against Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova. “We have a pretty decent chance. I think we are the ones to beat right now,” she said.
Slovakian-born Hingis took the tennis world by storm when she won her first three major titles, the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, in 1997 at the age of just 16, opening a period of dominance when she spent 209 weeks as world number one.
It was a run that inspired a young Roger Federer, the leading light of the group of Swiss players — also including Stan Wawrinka and Belinda Bencic — who followed Hingis onto the world stage.
Hingis, coached by her mother, Melanie Molitor, has enjoyed considerable success since her reincarnation as a doubles specialist, and ends her career at the top of the rankings and with 20 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles. “Here we are for the third, and final time,” Hingis posted on Facebook. — AFP