Google Down the Line!: MARTINA HINGIS: A champion living in limbo

Thursday, August 2, 2007

MARTINA HINGIS: A champion living in limbo

Martina Hingis is facing a very different tennis life than what she started with in 1997. That year, Martina won 3 out of the 4 Grand Slams with her ethereal all-court game (losing the French Open final to Croatia's Iva Majoli), dominated the women's tour where Steffi Graf and Monica Seles left off, and became the youngest No. 1 in history. Like a grinning assassin, Martina seemingly took pleasure in the efficiency at which she picked off each opponent.

But at the end of 2002, after being hit off the court by bigger, stronger athletes and suffering several injuries, Martina left the tour for the next 3 years. She had a successful return last year, finishing in the Top 10 and making the quarterfinals of the Australian and French Opens. However, the 5-time Grand Slam has been challenged this year by new injuries and old issues - namely her lack of power and strength.'s Matt Cronin talked with the "Swiss Miss" who had this to say about the state of her body and mind:

"If your body doesn't let do things you should be [doing], it gets hard on the mind and motivation because you know what you should be doing and you are not and it doesn't give you a huge chance at success. It can vary. Sometimes I have very fast thoughts. When I feel better I say I can continue for another five years, but then when I am not, I say, 'Do I really have to do this to myself?' If everything is great and I'm playing well and winning, I feel go on forever. And, if I'm not, I say why all the hassle and the travel? It's very close. Sometimes in a few weeks I can be a totally different person. You talk to me at Wimbledon and I'm one way, and then now I'm another person who is saying the fire is back."

Is it her body, her mind, or both? Some think Martina should emulate the current World No. 1 Justine Henin, who is similar to Martina in stature but superior in physical conditioning. Or maybe the winning ways of her fiance, Czech Radek Stepanek, will rub off on her.

She can only hope.

Fun fact: Martina Hingis was the first female athlete to grace the cover of the U.S. edition of GQ magazine.

(image courtesy of bueroalbers)

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