Tennis: Martina Hingis to retire 'for a third and final time'

Martina Hingis reacts during the mixed doubles final with Jamie Murray of Great Britain at Wimbledon in July 2017.
Martina Hingis reacts during the mixed doubles final with Jamie Murray of Great Britain at Wimbledon in July 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - 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.

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.

At a press conference after the match, Hingis said: "My partners already knew it. I told (Chan) from the start that this will probably be my last year.

"I think it's also perfect timing. You want to stop on top and not when you're already going backwards. I couldn't ask for a better finish like that.

"I'll be always part of the game of tennis, I'll always be connected. I'll take some time off, but I've done some coaching before, I can help my mum with her tennis school ... really looking forward to the challenges which will be ahead of me but I also deserve some time away from the game.

"I'm not gonna walk away, I'll always be a part and this will always be a part of my life but I'm definitely not going to miss the day in day out practising, waking up. Maybe I'll miss it after a while.

"It would be nice if I could at least make the final, and taking away the trophy will be the cherry on top but you never know. There are great teams, we've played them before I'm looking forward to the (next) match.

"You never know, I have to accept (the outcome) no matter what I think. Still, I can look back and be proud of my career."

Hingis and Chan will face Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova in the semi-finals.