Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Martina Hingis

World Famous People

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis (born September 30, 1980 in Košice, Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia) is a former world number one Swiss tennis player. Known as the "Swiss Miss," she has won five Grand Slam singles titles (three Australian Open, one Wimbledon, and one US Open). She has also won nine Grand Slam women's doubles titles, winning a calendar year Grand Slam in 1998, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. She set a series of "youngest-ever" records before ligament injuries in both of her ankles forced her to withdraw from professional tennis at the relatively early age of 22.
On November 29, 2005, after several surgeries and long recuperations, the 25-year-old Hingis announced that she would return to the WTA tour, starting her professional comeback at a low-key tournament in Gold Coast, Australia in January 2006. Since then, Hingis has climbed to No. 6 in the world rankings, won three titles (at the Tier I tournament in Rome, the Tier III tournament in Kolkata, India, and the Tier I tournament in Tokyo), was the runner-up in two tournaments (Tier I tournaments in Tokyo and Montreal), and qualified for the 2006 WTA Tour Championships in Madrid.
She is currently engaged to fellow tennis player Radek Å těpánek. She has always been coached by former Czech professional and mother, Melanie Molitor.

Childhood and early career
Hingis was born to two accomplished tennis players: a Czech mother, Melanie Molitorová, and a Slovak father, Karol Hingis. Molitorová once ranked No. 10 among women in Czechoslovakia. Her father is a tennis trainer in Košice. They named their daughter 'Martina' (originally Martina Hingisová - Molitorová) after Martina Navrátilová. Hingis' parents divorced when she was a young girl. She moved with her mother to Moravia for a short period, then to Switzerland.

Hingis began hitting tennis balls when she was two years old and entered her first tournament at age four. In 1993, 12-year-old Hingis became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam junior title: the girls' singles at the French Open. In 1994, she retained her French Open junior title, won the girls' singles title at Wimbledon, and was ranked the World No. 1 junior player.
She made her professional debut in October 1994, two weeks after her 14th birthday. In 1995, she became the youngest player to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament when she advanced to the second round of the Australian Open.

Hingis was twice rated among FHM magazine's 100 sexiest women, and her championship doubles partnership with tennis' glamour girl Anna Kournikova (two Grand Slam championships) in the late 1990s and early-2000s attracted a great deal of attention. Jestingly, they announced that they were "The Spice Girls of Tennis."

Grand Slam success
In 1996, Hingis became the youngest Wimbledon champion when she teamed with Helena Suková to win the women's doubles title at age 15 years and 9 months. She also won her first professional singles title that year at Filderstadt, Germany. She reached the singles quarterfinals at the 1996 Australian Open and the singles semifinals of the 1996 U.S. Open. Following her win at Filderstadt, Hingis defeated the reigning Australian Open champion and co-top ranked (with Steffi Graf) Monica Seles 6-2, 6-0 in the final at Oakland. Hingis then lost to Graf 6-4, 4-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 at the year-end WTA Tour Championships.
In January 1997, Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century by winning the Australian Open at age 16 years and 3 months. In March, she became the youngest ever player to attain the World No. 1 ranking. And in July, she became the youngest singles champion at Wimbledon since Lottie Dod in 1887. She won the U.S. Open title over another up-and-coming player, Venus Williams, in the final. The only Grand Slam singles title she failed to win that year was the French Open, where she lost in the final to Iva Majoli.

In 1998, Hingis won all four of the Grand Slam women's doubles titles (the Australian Open with Mirjana Lucic, and the other three events with Jana Novotná), and she became only the third woman to simultaneously hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. She also retained her Australian Open singles title by beating Conchita Martínez in straight sets in the final. Hingis, however, lost in the final of the U.S. Open to Lindsay Davenport. Davenport ended an 80-week stretch Hingis had enjoyed as the No. 1 singles player in October 1998, but Hingis finished the year by beating Davenport in the final of the WTA Tour Championships.

1999 saw Hingis win her third successive Australian Open singles crown as well as the doubles title (with teammate Anna Kournikova). She then reached the French Open final and was three points away from victory in the second set against Steffi Graf, but ended up losing 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. During the match, Hingis had infuriated an already partisan crowd (the reason had been Hingis statements before the match - see under Controversy) by arguing with the umpire over several line calls (crossing the net in one instance), taking a bathroom break early in the final set, and twice delivering a rare underhand serve on match point. In tears after the match, Hingis was comforted by her mother as she returned to the court for the trophy ceremony. After a shock first-round 6-2, 6-0 loss to Jelena Dokic at Wimbledon, Hingis bounced back to reach her third consecutive U.S. Open final, where she lost to Serena Williams. Hingis won a total of seven singles titles that year and reclaimed the No. 1 singles ranking. She also reached the finals of the WTA Tour Championships, but lost 6-4, 6-2 to Davenport.
In 2000, Hingis and Mary Pierce were runners-up in the Australian Open women's doubles tournament.

Injuries and hiatus from tennis
Hingis' three-year hold on the Australian Open singles title came to an end in 2000 when she lost in the final to Lindsay Davenport 6-1, 7-5. Although she did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament that year, she kept the year end No. 1 ranking because of nine tournament championships, including the WTA Tour Championships where she won both in singles and doubles.
In 2001, Switzerland, with Hingis and Roger Federer on its team, won the Hopman Cup. Hingis was undefeated in singles during the event, defeating Tamarine Tanasugarn, Nicole Pratt, Amanda Coetzer, and Monica Seles.

Hingis reached her fifth consecutive Australian Open final in 2001, where she lost to Jennifer Capriati 6-4, 6-3. She briefly ended her coaching relationships with her mother Melanie early in the year but had a change of heart two months later just before the French Open. Hingis underwent surgery on her right ankle in October 2001.

Coming back from injury, Hingis won the Australian Open doubles final at the start of 2002 (again teaming with Kournikova) and reached a sixth straight Australian Open final in singles, again facing Capriati. Hingis led by a set and 4-0 and had four match points but lost 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. In May 2002, she needed another ankle ligament operation, this time on her left ankle. After that, she continued to struggle with injuries and was not able to recapture her best form.

In 2003, at the age of 22, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis. In several interviews, she indicated she was attending an advanced English course at AKAD in Zürich to broaden her career opportunities.

During this segment of her tennis career, Hingis won 40 singles titles and 36 doubles events. She held the World No. 1 singles ranking for a total of 209 weeks (fourth most following Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert). In 2005, TENNIS Magazine put her in 22nd place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.

In February 2005, Hingis made an unsuccessful return to competition at an event in Pattaya, Thailand, where she lost to Germany's Marlene Weingartner in the first round. After the loss, she claimed that she had no further plans for a comeback.

Hingis, however, resurfaced in July, playing singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in World Team Tennis and notching up singles victories over two top 100 players and shutting out Martina Navrátilová in singles on July 7th. With these promising results behind her, Hingis announced on November 29 her return to the WTA Tour in 2006.

Her Grand Slam comeback debut was at the 2006 Australian Open, where she reached the quarterfinals before losing to Kim Clijsters, the second seed. However, Hingis won the mixed doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi of India. This was her first career Grand Slam mixed doubles title and fifteenth overall (5 singles, 9 women's doubles, 1 mixed doubles).

On May 19, 2006, Hingis posted her 500th career singles match victory in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome, beating top 20 player Flavia Pennetta, and two days later won the tournament. This was her 41st WTA tour singles title and first in more than four years. Hingis then reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, losing to Clijsters, and the third round at Wimbledon, losing to Ai Sugiyama. Her U.S. Open return was short lived, losing in the second round 6-2, 6-4 to Virginie Razzano, who was ranked outside the top 100.

In her first tournament since the U.S. Open, Hingis won the second title of her comeback at the Tier III Sunfeast Open in Kolkata, India. She defeated unseeded Russian Olga Poutchkova 6-0, 6-4 in the final after defeating Sania Mirza 6-1, 6-0 in a semifinal. The following week in Seoul, Hingis notched her 50th match win of the year before losing in the second round to Mirza 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

During her 8 months back on the WTA tour, Hingis has reached three Tier I finals - the first in Tokyo (falling to Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-0, after defeating Maria Sharapova in a semifinal), then in Rome (winning the title over Dinara Safina 6-2, 7-5), and in Montreal (falling to Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-3). She has beaten several top players in her comeback, including Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Venus Williams.

Hingis qualified for the end of year WTA Tour Championships in Madrid as the eighth seed. In her three round robin matches, she lost in three sets to both Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo but defeated Nadia Petrova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Hingis ended the year ranked No. 7 in the WTA rankings, which is based on the previous 52 weeks of results. In the 2006 Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships rankings, she also finished No. 7. She finished 8th in prize money earnings during 2006 (U.S. $1,159,537).

Hingis started 2007 by reaching the final of a Tier III event, the Australian Hardcourt Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, losing to Dinara Safina of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. The next week at the Medibank International in Sydney, Hingis lost her first round match to Jelena Jankovic in three sets.

At the 2007 Australian Open, Hingis won her first three rounds without losing a set before defeating China's Na Li in the fourth round 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. Hingis then lost a quarterfinal match to Kim Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. This was the second consecutive year that Hingis had lost to Clijsters in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the third time in the last five Grand Slam tournaments that Clijsters had eliminated Hingis in the quarterfinals.

Hingis won her next tournament, the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan, defeating Ana Ivanović in the final 6-4, 6-2. This was Hingis's record fifth singles title at this event
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