Hingis' S'pore swansong

Martina Hingis exchanging high-fives with Chan Yung-jan during their 6-3, 6-2 quarter-final victory over Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Kveta Peschke.
Martina Hingis exchanging high-fives with Chan Yung-jan during their 6-3, 6-2 quarter-final victory over Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Kveta Peschke.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

37-year-old says she'll retire for third and final time after WTA Finals

Martina Hingis is ready to say goodbye to tennis but Singapore has not seen the last of her yet.

The world No. 1 doubles player, together with Chan Yung-jan, beat Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Kveta Peschke 6-3, 6-2 in their first match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global last night.

In a Facebook post put up after her match, Hingis said she will retire for "the third and final time" after her last match here.

The Swiss, who has held the No. 1 ranking in singles and doubles, confirmed yesterday before her match that the US$7 million (S$9.5 million) tournament would be her last.

The 37-year-old won her 25th Grand Slam title at last month's US Open.

She has five Grand Slam singles titles, the first of which came 20 years ago, 13 women's doubles major titles and seven mixed doubles crowns.

She won the 1996 Wimbledon women's doubles title aged 15 years and nine months, and remains the youngest Major winner.

The next year, Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam singles winner after winning the 1997 Australian Open at age 16. Less than three months later, she became the youngest-ever singles world No. 1 in history.

  • FIGURING OUT HINGIS' CAREER

    WOMEN'S SINGLES GRAND SLAMS

    5

    • 1997, 1998 and 1999 Australian Open
    • 1997 Wimbledon
    • 1997 US Open

    MIXED DOUBLES SLAMS

    7

    WOMEN'S DOUBLES SLAMS

    13

    1 Martina Hingis has been world No. 1 in both singles and doubles.

    11 Partners, male and female, she has teamed up with to win Grand Slam titles.

    15 years 9 months Age when she won the 1996 Wimbledon women's doubles title. She remains the youngest Grand Slam winner.

    16 years 182 days She became the youngest women's singles world No. 1 in March 1997.

    18 Her age when she had five Grand Slam singles titles.

    25 She is one of only five players to have at least 25 Grand Slam titles in the Open era, joining Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King.

    IN HER WORDS

    "I always say I taught him how to win his first tournament." HINGIS, on fellow Swiss great Roger Federer. They won the 2001 Hopman Cup team exhibition.

    "I didn't have the same fitness or ability as the other girls, so I had to beat them with my mind." HINGIS, on thriving in a power-baseline era.

This is her third retirement from professional tennis. In 2003, at age 22, she left the sport for the first time due to injury, but returned to competition in 2006.

The following year, she retired after receiving a two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine.

Hingis won the bulk of her doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles after returning to the sport for the second time in 2013.

This year, she won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with home favourite Jamie Murray, and bagged the women's (with Chan) and mixed doubles (with Murray) titles at last month's US Open.

In her Facebook post, Hingis said: "This isn't a goodbye. As history shows, I haven't been able to stay away from tennis for long in the past, and I am looking forward to seeing what new opportunities and challenges lie ahead of me."

Hingis and Chan will face Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova in tomorrow's semi-final.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'Hingis' S'pore swansong'. Print Edition | Subscribe