Steffi Graf – Martina Hingis Roland Garros 1999

Steffi’s last Grand Slam win: Graf defeats Hingis 4-6 7-5 6-2

A must see match, not really for the quality of the match, but for all the drama. I remember watching this match on TV way back in 99. Never seen such a crazy match before.
Hingis, was the clear favorite to win the title: at only 19, the then world number 1 was seeking the only Grand Slam still missing to her collection. Graf, 29, was playing her first Grand Slam final since her victory against rival Monica Seles at the 96 US Open.

Everything started well for the Swiss Miss, leading 6-4 2-0, but the drama started and a single point completely changed the course of the match. Hingis disputed a line call and went round the net to Steffi’s side to show the ball mark.

Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf - Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

From then on, the crowd was rooting for Graf, booing Hingis. Hingis served for the match at 5-4 but Steffi broke and won the set 7-5. Graf took the control of the match.

Steffi Graf - Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf

Martina Hingis

Trailing 5-2 in the third and serving to stay in the match, Hingis faced double match point. She hit an underarmed serve, argued again with the umpire. Graf finally converted her third match point.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf - Martina Hingis

But the drama wasn’t over: Hingis left the court at the end of the match, but came back, crying in the arms of her mother.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

No question, the chair umpire was bad, but Hingis behaviour was really disrespectful as she acted like a spoiled kid. I really wonder how Graf could remain so calm and focused after all that Hingis’ whining and arguing.

Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf

Graf reached the finals at Wimbledon a month later (lost to Lindsay Davenport), and retired a few weeks later:

I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis. I feel I have nothing left to accomplish. The weeks following Wimbledon weren’t easy for me. I was not having fun anymore. After Wimbledon, for the first time in my career, I didn’t feel like going to a tournament. My motivation wasn’t what it was in the past.

Graf turned professional in 1982, when she was 13 years and four months old. She won her first tournament in April 1986, beating Chris Evert in Hilton Head. She won 107 singles titles, 22 Grand Slams (7 Wimbledon, 6 French Open, 5 US Open, and four singles titles at the Australian Open).
She was ranked World No. 1 for 186 consecutive weeks (from August 1987 to March 1991, still the record in the women’s game) and a record total 377 weeks overall.

This French Open final was also the beginning of the end for Hingis: she was ousted by Jelena Dokic in the first round at Wimbledon in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. She bounced back to reach the finals at the 99 US Open and at the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Australian Open but didn’t win any other major. In 2003 she announced her retirement from tennis, she returned to the tour in 2006 and retired definitely after testing positive for cocaine during Wimbledon in 2007.

Comments
4 Responses
  1. Novak Djokovic says:

    This article is completely wrong. It’s purely based on opinion and no gathered data. The chair umpire was horrible and the crowd was disrespectful and rude. Even Graf apologized for the behavior of the crowd and gave a speech in which she told them their behavior was not appropriate. Hingis left the court and was booed off as during the points on which she served. She broke down and her mother insisted on bringing her back to the court to show the crowd what they had created. Hingis was a warrior and this article is mockingly disrespectful. It has no place being on tennis-buzz and in the future I suggest the authors check their info before pulling something out of their ass and calling it an article.

  2. ludmilla says:

    Thanks a lot Novak Djokovic for commenting on my blog!
    I guess everyone has his own opinions.
    My opinion is that the chair umpire was bad but Hingis acted like a spoiled brat and the boos were totally deserved. I don’t have to check my infos thanks, I watched the match live.
    For the record, Graf bought a page in french sports daily l’Equipe to thank the crowd for the support.

  3. Pooja says:

    I watched the match live too and i remember the collective feelings very well. i have to agree with the author. Hingis acted like a spoilt, entitled brat and in my opinion deserved the boos she got. The crowd had no reason to unnecessarily boo her, in fact they were rooting for her at the beginning.

  4. DDeuser says:

    I think part of this whole controversy started days a weeks before the match when Hingis made a comment that Graf was “passed her prime”. WHO DOES THAT? Only an arrogant, spoiled, immature little brat would make a comment like that about a tennis superstar. I specifically remember the commentators of the match, which I watched live, mentioning the comments made by Hingis and I think that was another reason the crowd was against her.

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