Last Sunday in Miami, Martina Hingis captured her 38th doubles title, her first. 17 years ago in Miami she was crowned the new Queen of tennis. Between those two dates? Lots of highs and lows, trophies and retirements.
Summary of an article published in French sports daily L’Equipe, translated by Tennis Buzz:
By sweeping Monica Seles in final at Key Biscayne 6-2 6-1 in only 44 minutes, Martina Hingis reached the number one ranking at age 16 1/2. A record of precocity that still stands to this day.
Surpassed in all areas of the game, Monica Seles didn’t know how to counter Martina Hingis’ tactical intelligence. The stronger she hit the ball, the quicker it came back at her.
Despite her precocity, her accession to the top was ineluctable, scheduled a long time ago. Scheduled since her birth on September 30, 1980 in Kosice in the then Czechoslovakia? Perhaps not, but her mother Melanie Molitor put a lot of effort for her daughter to succeed. This former good player named her daughter Martina in honor of Martina Navratilova and put her on tennis courts at the age of 3. Two years later she entered her first tournament and in 1987 mother and daughter exiled in Switzerland.
Her progress and exceptional talent attracted agents, sponsors and medias and she hasn’t deceived them. She became junior world champion in 1994 and turned pro the same year.
Her arrival on the circuit at such an early age was criticized by many people who feared Hingis would follow the same path as troubled teen prodigy Jennifer Capriati.
In 1996, Hingis reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and the semifinals at the US Open (loss to Graf 5-7 3-6) and finished her season with another loss to Steffi Graf in the Masters final at Madison Garden 0-6 in the fifth set.
1997 was her biggest year (71 wins, 5 defeats). She captured her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne against Mary Pierce and also won in Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, Key Biscayne and Hilton Head. And just before the clay court tournament in Hamburg she fell off a horse. Injured, she didn’t play any clay court tournament before Roland Garros, where she lost the final to Iva Majoli.
She then won at Wimbledon (victory over Jana Novotna 2-6 6-3 6-3) and the US Open (victory over Venus Williams 6-0 6-4).
Even though she won two more Grand Slam titles after this fantastic 1997 season (Australian Open in 1998 and 1999), the Swiss was no longer as dominant when approaching the 2000s.
Overpowered by the Williams sisters and bothered by recurring injuries, she dropped out of the top 10 at the end of 2002, for the first time since 1995. She announced her retirement in May 2003, at only 22, after 209 weeks at the top ranking.
She came back in 2006, reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros but in 2007 she tested positive to cocaine at Wimbledon. Suspended for two years by the ITF, she retired again.
Since then she came back to the courts to coach or play a few doubles tournaments, but she was also often on the front page of gossip magazines.
The first Slam of the season is already over for 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, defeated by Ekatarina Makarova. Is it time to retire for the 33 yr old?
Upset of the day: Luksika Kumkhum defeats Petra Kvitova
Last year she lost to Laura Robson in the second round, this year she was defeated by unknown 88-ranked Thai Luksika Kumkhum.
3 years ago, after her surprising Wimbledon victory, Petra Kvitova was seen as a future number one, who would challenge for Grand Slam titles, but she hasn’t so far lived up to expectations.
Tweet of the day: Ashleigh Barty
The young Aussie, ousted 6-2 6-1 by Serena, congratulates her opponent on Twitter. Refreshing.
Absolutely incredible! Serena is an absolute champion. An honour to play against her! Thanks everyone for the support. Love playing at home!
— Ash Barty (@ashbar96) January 13, 2014
Image of the day: L’Equipe
Matches to follow on Day 2:
Andreas Seppi (23) – Lleyton Hewitt
Rafael Nadal (1) – Bernard Tomic: can Tomic cause an upset like Mark Philippoussis when he beat Sampras in 1996?
The whole collection is available at elevenbyvenus.com.
Preview, recap and analysis:
Novak Djokovic first practice session
Roger Federer first practice session
Day 1 recap
Day 2 recap
Day 3 recap
Day 4 recap
Day 5 recap
Day 6 recap
Day 7 recap
Women’s semifinals highlights
Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova roads to the 2014 Australian Open final
Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka roads to the 2014 Australian Open final
Li Na defeats Dominika Cibulkova, wins first Australian Open title
A trip down memory lane:
Australian Open trivia
The tragedy of Daphne Akhurst
The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup
1960 Australian Open: Neale Feaser, a costly volley
1960: first Grand Slam title for Rod Laver
1960-63 Australian Open: Jan Lehane four time runner-up
1974 Australian Open: Jimmy Connors first Grand Slam title
1981: First Australian Open title for Martina Navratilova
1987-1988 Swedes spoil the party
January 11, 1988: first day of play at Flinders Park
1994: First Australian Open title for Pete Sampras
1996 Australian Open: Mark Philippoussis defeats Pete Sampras in the 3rd round
1997 Australian Open: Pete Sampras defeats Carlos Moya
2001 Australian Open: Pat’s last chance
2001 Australian Open final: Andre Agassi defeats Arnaud Clément
2003 Australian Open: last Grand Slam title for Agassi
2005 Australian Open: Heartbreak for Lleyton Hewitt
2009 Australian Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer
Fashion and gear:
Andy Murray adidas outfit
Ana Ivanovic adidas dress
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga adidas outfit
Caroline Wozniacki dress by Stella McCartney
Rafael Nadal signature shoes: the Nike Lunar Ballistec
Roger Federer signature shoes: the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5
Novak Djokovic Uniqlo outfit
Venus Williams dress by EleVen
Rafael Nadal Nike outfit
Roger Federer Nike outfit
Serena Williams Nike dress
Maria Sharapova Nike dress
Victoria Azarenka Nike outfit
Li Na Nike outfit
Juan Martin del Potro Nike outfit
Lleyton Hewitt C’mon outfit
Kei Nishikori Uniqlo outfit
Eugenie Bouchard Nike outfit
Flavia Pennetta outfit by Stella McCartney
Who will be the 2014 Australian Open champion?
- Rafael Nadal (33%, 92 Votes)
- Novak Djokovic (28%, 80 Votes)
- Roger Federer (27%, 76 Votes)
- Juan Martin Del Potro (4%, 11 Votes)
- Andy Murray (4%, 10 Votes)
- Stanislas Wawrinka (2%, 5 Votes)
- Tomas Berdych (1%, 3 Votes)
- Other (1%, 3 Votes)
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
- Richard Gasquet (0%, 1 Votes)
- David Ferrer (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 283
Australian Open 2014 champion?
- Serena Williams (49%, 70 Votes)
- Victoria Azarenka (15%, 21 Votes)
- Maria Sharapova (12%, 17 Votes)
- Na Li (9%, 13 Votes)
- Other (5%, 7 Votes)
- Caroline Wozniacki (4%, 6 Votes)
- Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
- Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
- Angelique Kerber (1%, 2 Votes)
- Petra Kvitova (1%, 1 Votes)
- Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 144