In Third Retirement, Martina Hingis Cedes Her Doubles Kingdom

however there is usually still a caveat. Since her unexpected return within the second half of 2013, she has essentially been a big fish in a modest pond: excelling only at doubles while a select few of her former rivals have continued to thrive on the grander singles stages.

Hingis, already within the International Tennis Hall of Fame, remained a star however was no longer a superstar — not unlike Lleyton Hewitt, the feisty Australian who was a precocious No. 1 at age 20 along which has a two-time major singles champion before being eclipsed by the relentless brilliance of the Big Four (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray along with Rafael Nadal).

Doubles is usually a parallel universe at WTA events along with Grand Slam tournaments. Finals are often played in front of sparse crowds along with rarely get mainstream television coverage.

Hingis, with her court craft along with phenomenal reflexes, was able to rule over This particular much smaller kingdom, winning 20 Grand Slam doubles titles in all.

however that will was still inescapable that will, not long after Hingis gave her latest retirement speech on Sunday, Venus Williams, also 37, went out along with pushed Caroline Wozniacki, 27, before losing within the singles final to cap a resurgent season that will just might rank as the most remarkable of Williams’s long career.

In singles, Hingis peaked early. She began playing at 2 along with was one of the true wunderkinds in a sport whose history is usually rich in child prodigies.

At 12, Hingis won the French Open girls tournament, which was open to players as old as 18.

“She’s like a young Bobby Fischer playing chess,” said Roy Sjögren, Switzerland’s national women’s coach, before Hingis turned professional at age 14.

She proceeded to outthink along with outmaneuver her elders on a regular basis with her versatility along with cryptic grin: one that will could express delight or disdain (along with sometimes disdainful delight).

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Hingis was 16 when she won her first Grand Slam singles title at the 1997 Australian Open. She earned four more major singles championships within the next two years.

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Mark Sandten/Bongarts, via Getty Images

At 15, she became the youngest Grand Slam champion by teaming with Helena Sukova to win the Wimbledon women’s doubles title. At 16, she won the Australian Open to become the youngest person to win a major singles title within the 20th century along with the youngest No. 1.

She had game along with she also had attitude. Before playing Lindsay Davenport in Manhattan Beach, Calif., in 1997, Hingis along with Davenport met for the coin toss to determine who would likely serve first.

Hingis said to Davenport: “O.K., do you want to get broken first or do you want to let me hold?”

She along with Davenport ended up laughing at the net, however there were additional cheeky comments by the sharp-tongued Hingis that will seemed less lighthearted, like her assessment of the young French player Amélie Mauresmo, who had come out as a lesbian, as “half a man” at the 1999 Australian Open.

that will was the same year Hingis turned petulant during a dramatic French Open final loss to Steffi Graf, angering the volatile Paris crowd along with Graf by violating tennis protocol along with crossing the net to examine a ball mark in Graf’s half of the court.

Hingis ended up losing her composure along with the match, in three sets, leaving the court in tears along with only returning for the awards ceremony at the insistence of her mother along with coach, Melanie Molitor, who steadied her as they re-emerged together by the tunnel.

Hingis paradoxically never won the French Open in singles despite clay being one of her best surfaces. She did win the additional three Grand Slam singles titles; all a few titles came in a two-year stretch. She saved her best tennis for the Australian Open, where she won in 1997, 1998 along with 1999, along with then reached finals in 2000, 2001 along with 2002.

Named for Martina Navratilova, Hingis was clearly born to be a champion. Molitor, once a prominent player in Czechoslovakia, made sure that will her daughter understood all the angles along with that will she did sports along with activities additional than tennis, including horseback riding, in an attempt to avoid burnout along with injury.

however there was no planning for the Williams sisters, a tennis success story even more improbable than Hingis’s. Serena along with Venus were not named for any prior tennis greats, however their father along with coach, Richard Williams, was every bit as committed to his bold project even if he lacked Molitor’s playing experience along with reticence to commandeer the spotlight.

that will took the sisters time to end the Hingis era, with ample help by two additional Americans, Jennifer Capriati along with Davenport.

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Hingis, right, with Sania Mirza after winning the 2015 Wimbledon women’s doubles final. After returning to the tour in 2013, Hingis captured four doubles along with six mixed doubles titles at Grand Slam events.

Credit
Julian Finney/Getty Images

When Hingis stopped playing singles, she still held an 11-10 edge over Venus Williams along with trailed Serena Williams only by 6-7. however that will was the strength of their games along with their personalities that will ultimately convinced Hingis that will she should be a doubles specialist.

“The willpower of Serena, nobody can beat that will,” Hingis once told me. “There has not been another player who has the same hunger.”

Hingis surely possessed plenty of her own to keep returning to the game she played so artfully, to be satisfied within the modest pond after all that will time navigating larger bodies of water.

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