2003 Martina Hingis News Archive (Sports - Tennis)

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  Martina Hingis News Archive, 2003 (Sports - Tennis)

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(Jan. 15, 2003) Martina Hingis, absent from this week's Australian Open (due to chronic pain after torn ankle ligaments suffered in early 2002) has told the Blick newspaper: "It is totally possible that I won't play top tennis again, because my feet will not allow it."
Martina is officially entered in the NASDAQ-100 next March in Miami, but she will not play until she is sure she is fully recovered. Martina has been playing recreational tennis over the last two months, as soon as she starts practicing under competition conditions, the pain spreads through her feet and ankles.

Martina told the Swiss news agency Sport Information: "I am not even thinking of a comeback... Tennis was and remains my passion. But I've also grasped that after eight years on the tour, I will only return if I can practice without pain... Competition is no fun if you can't come in perfectly prepared."

Martina also said: "I'm having fun being able to watch the others, how they are running around in the heat on court... When I wake up I always look for the results on teletext... I'm not bored. I've spent the last two months doing lots of sport – skiing, riding, long walks in the wood with my dog."

The earliest Martina might play would be February, but a return that soon no longer seems likely. News about Martina's current condition can be found only occasionally. The stories above explain her situation in more detail. (Jan. 17, 2003) More about Martina Hingis' remarks that she might never play "top tennis" again: Lisa Chaffey of Octagon, Martina's management company, said: "I definitely would not call this a retirement announcement... She's definitely taking an indefinite period of time off. She came back too early last time." While Martina is sidelined, her mother, Melanie Molitor, is going coach another Swiss player, 17-year-old #53 Myriam Casanova. Molitor is a former pro player herself, and has been Martina's coach throughout her professional career.

Some other players' comments about Martina's statement.

(Jan. 27, 2003) Last week the Swiss newspaper Blick published an interview with Martina Hingis' doctor Heinz Buehlmann (English translation via Google) in which he states that "Martina can play again... From a medical point of view, a comeback would be no problem, but Martina would have to grit her teeth and be prepared for some pain... She has had this problem for four years, but the joints of the foot which was operated on is absolutely OK. I know Martina very well, and I know from the past that she can come back. But whether she wants that, I do not know." Without mentioning the brand name (Sergio Tacchini), Buehlmann said that Martina's injury was clearly due to the shoes she was wearing prior to her adidas contract: "...For a long time she played in shoes which would not have even been suitable for leisure sport." See May 25th and Sept. 24th 2002 in the Hingis News Archive for more about the shoes.

Blick also published an interview with Martina herself (English translation via AltaVista) in which she says she is doing fine without tennis: "I feel relieved somehow. The large pressure... the stress - that is now gone. For me it is as if a completely new period of life has begun." Martina said she has not ruled out a return to competition, but "only if I can again play completely pain-free tennis. And because of my foot injury, for the moment that is not the case." Martina does still play tennis, but only occasionally and "never more than once a day." She is also enjoying skiing and horseback riding in Switzerland; she says her Saddlebrook, Florida home was mostly for tennis training, although she will still use it as a vacation home. But she does keep in touch with Anna Kournikova and Monica Seles, with whom she maintains "a large and close friendship."
Asked about her future outside of sports, Martina said she is studying for a degree in English via the AKAD school in Zurich: "...at present the straight English course. My goal is the highest Cambridge diploma, then I will see."

Martina's career prize winnings total $18,344,660 (she is 22, after all), and she has earned a little on the side from those endorsement things you may have heard about, so she should be OK, but of course we would all like to see her playing tennis, without pain, again.

A lengthy summary article at CNN-SI quotes Lisa Chaffey, a representative for Martina Hingis' agent Octagon, as saying "I definitely wouldn't call it an official retirement at this stage but she's definitely not saying as to when she's going to be coming back... it might be six months, it might be a year, it might be a year and a half."

(Feb. 3, 2003) Lindsay Davenport made some probably press-exaggerated statements about Martina Hingis in Tokyo last week, telling Reuters "I think, mentally, she just doesn't want to be out there losing to players she had never lost to before... I think you have to get over that fear before you are able to go back again. Coming back from injury is tough, but you have got to take your losses. You just have to deal with it... You don't know how bad her ankle is, but I think she is selling herself short. I would just love her to come back and play tournaments."
Although it may seem heretical to some, it appears that Martina simply does not want to play with pain. She does not owe it to anybody. Martina clearly enjoys winning, but she doesn't appear to find tennis itself as much fun as her friends Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova do. When Martina was 13 and playing in the 1994 US Open juniors, she admitted to author Eliot Berry (quoted in his book Topspin) that she was only practicing "only one and a half hours" a day. Can anyone really blame her if she only wants to play (with pain) if she thinks she can win?

(Feb. 7, 2003) In an interview [very rough translation of fragment] with the French sports paper L'Equip, Martina Hingis said: "A return to competition is inconceivable, in the short term at least. That is certain... There's no question of envisaging a return to the circuit... Stop talking about a comeback... You have to understand I really appreciate my new way of life... I am 22-years-old and I have my whole life ahead of me. The only thing I can no longer do is to train in a way as to remain competitive."

(Feb. 9, 2003) A second flurry of stories is out saying that the Swiss newspaper Blick has confirmed that Martina Hingis will retire. But the story in Blick [translation] is just a description of the Feb. 7th story in L'Equip [very rough translation]. Meanwhile, Serena Williams said: "I don't know if she's officially retired yet... I think she just wants to take a break. I didn't get serious until I was 17 and she'd already been around a long time at 17, and I'm tired, I can only image how she feels... She's had a great career. Being number one at 16 and being the youngest winner of Wimbledon. She made me raise the level of my game... I've no doubt it's the last thing on her mind not being able to beat us," she said. "I think a lot of people play tactical. I do. You can't just win by hitting the ball as hard as you can and hope it goes in. But you guys don't see that."

(Feb. 10, 2003) A feature from the New York Times (reprinted here) describes Martina Hingis's current lifestyle: english studies, and tennis only for fun. About Lindsay Davenport's recent remarks in the news, Martina said: "I don't want her to feel sorry for me... Lindsay had an absolutely different injury. How would she know how I feel? That [returning to play] was her decision. I think I should be allowed to make mine." Martina also said: "I was taught to have discipline. You eat. You sleep. You practice. This [retiring, at least for now] gave me a chance to do things I was never able to do. This is where my life is just starting. Everything happened so fast. Now there are not so many stresses... I ski, I go for a run with my mom, I play tennis... I am maybe sore, but no pain-killers. It's not five to six hours a day."
Martina has a new horse (her 3rd?), an 8-year-old chestnut mare named Lytizia: "Some horses, if you make a mistake, they back off, they don't want to jump - but she just wants to go."

(Feb. 20, 2003) In Dubai this week, Monica Seles commented on Martina Hingis's "retirement" and potential to return: "These guys (the media) have always been at it. Putting off some players and then seeing them bounce right back and win. It has happened to so many others that I won't be surprised if Martina goes through the same period... She can still come back after this, if she wants to. The main thing is that she has to be happy about what she is doing... We're good friends and I enjoy having her as a friend. It's tough to be playing against a friend on the tour. I have great respect for Hingis and for her mum. However, at this stage, I think 'If I can make a comeback, so can Martina..."

(Mar. 10, 2003) In an interview in the Zurich daily Tagesanzeiger Saturday, Martina Hingis confirmed that she is unlikely to play pro tennis again. Martina said: "There should be no illusions. My dreams are over. Tennis will certainly still be part of my life, but not what it was before... It's sad to have to end everything at 22, but sometimes you have to open your eyes." Martina said she can play tennis without feeling pain for "Around 60 to 90 minutes. But if I had to play and train every day, it would get worse as the week went by. The body doesn't regenerate as fast as when you're 15 or 16." She said she would probably still be involved with tennis and her sponsor adidas somehow: "There are other ways to make money... I have a huge knowledge of tennis and I want to make use of it... I can also see myself on the courts, checking out who has talent..." But probably not as a coach: "I was a tough enough case myself... But if someone asks for my advice, I'm always willing to help."

(Mar. 19, 2003) The Spanish news agency EFE has reported that a Mexican doctor, Javier Parroquín, claims he could perform ligament repair surgery that would allow Martina Hingis to return to play at her previous level of ability (translation via Google). There is no word of Martina's response to this suggestion, but her current doctor, Heinz Buehlmann, previously stated that "joints of the foot which was operated on are absolutely OK," although Martina would have to play with pain. Martina has said that she will not return to competition unless she can play pain-free.

(May 7, 2003) Although there is no indication that Martina Hingis is considering returning to competition, she still has a relationship with her sponsor adidas. So Martina is expected to attend the 3rd Annual adidas Tennis Smash at the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Brewster, Massachusets on July 14th & 15th, 2003. Rod Laver, Jan-Michael Gambill, Tom Gullikson, and others are also expected to be there.

(May 25, 2003) Martina Hingis is, of course, not playing at this year's French Open, but CNNSI has reported that Martina "will be making an appearance at Roland Garros during the first week of the event."

(May 28, 2003) Martina Hingis was interviewed by the French sport magazine L'Equipe on Monday while she attended the French Open at Roland Garros.
Martina said: "It's very moving to come back here and see the centre court, talk to the players and drink in the atmosphere... Everybody is asking after me. 'What are you doing these days?' It's nice for me -- now I'm no longer in competition with anyone... I played here eight to 10 years -- I know all about it. It's nice to come back three or four days -- but for me that chapter of my life is closed. I can't play anymore. Life goes on... Now I just play a couple of times a week, purely for fun. I don't train at all... The decision I took at the end of last year to retire was one I had duly reflected upon. I live in the future and not the past... Now I live my life like a normal person."

(June 28, 2003) The New York State Court of Appeals has declined to hear an appeal of Martina Hingis' case against sportswear manufacturer Sergio Tacchini. This is not a surprising development; a lower court had already dismissed the case in the US on the grounds that similar litigation in Italy, still pending, took precedence. The appeal was largely a formality (no harm trying). Martina is seeking damages because her feet were apparently damaged by shoes provided by Tacchini when she was under an endorsement contract with that company prior to her adidas contract.
Martina's doctor, Heinz Buehlmann, has stated that the injuries leading to her retirement were clearly caused by the poorly-designed Tacchini shoes. To search this archive for more on this subject, use the find utility: ctrl-f, and enter "tacchini".

(July 9, 2003) About compatriot Roger Federer winning the Wimbledon singles championship on Sunday, Martina Hingis said: "Congratulations! Roger was masterful, it was very impressive. Winning at Wimbledon is a fantastic feeling. Something unforgettable." About Martina, Roger said: "She’s only a year older than me... I’m just getting started now and she’d already achieved so much and just quit. Martina is still very well liked...but of course there was a lot of jealousies because she was so young, so famous, so rich, so good...it’s tough for Swiss people to accept that."

(July 24, 2003) In an interview in the Tribune de Geneve (translation via AltaVista), Martina Hingis said she still has no plans to return to the WTA Tour. Martina spoke on Wednesday, July 23, while appearing at the Oberer Tennis Camp (3000 youngsters). She now lives in an apartment "opposite the lake of Constancy" with her new boyfriend, a ski instructor she met last winter at Saint-Moritz who also manages a restaurant close to Romanshorn.
Martina said: "I still try to remain in form. But I am not really ready to make the sacrifices necessary to return on such a level any more."
Martina also said she had come to an agreement with adidas regarding future promotional activites, and is still negotiating with Yonex and Omega, whose products she had also been endorsing: "It was necessary for them to define how to use the image of a ex-player of tennis. For them, it is a first!"

(July 26, 2003) The Swiss government's news website SwissInfo has published a new interview with Martina Hingis:
Asked if she would never play pro tennis again, Martina said: (a Real Audio version with a slightly different translation is available on the page this link leads to) "You can never say 'never' in life. It was a difficult decision to retire. And short of a medical miracle... In any case, the longer I’m away from the courts, the harder it will be to get back among the top players. Tennis is constantly changing. That’s just the way life is. I’m not bitter because I’ve had a lot of great chances throughout my career. But it’s quite hard nowadays when I’m at the championships at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon. At times like those I wish I could get back on court and play at the level I was at, and feel that special atmosphere again. But that’s not possible. So I do other things instead...
"It wasn’t my decision to stop playing, it was my body’s! These last few years have been very difficult with all the operations I had to have. I had to stop or I would not have been able to walk again, let alone play sport. But if I hadn’t been injured, I would definitely still be playing... Looking back, I realise I got a lot out of tennis. From now on I have to learn to live differently. I’m studying, I devote a lot of time to my passion for horse riding and I’m often travelling around fulfilling my obligations to my sponsors."

(Sept 30, 2003) Martina Hingis is 23 years old today. The photo shown, from the current Tokyo Open website, apparently indicates that Martina is in Tokyo now promoting adidas (she is wearing one of the latest adidas outfits). Unfortunately, although Martina has been fairly active in some promotional activities the past few months, there is no news of it on the Internet to report. At least you can see that her world-class smile is totally untarnished.

(Oct 15, 2003) Martina Hingis is attending the Swisscom Open WTA tourney in Zurich (not far from home) this week, visiting with friends and taking part in some player festivities. Martina is shown on Wednesday flanked by current # 1 Kim Clijsters and Manuela Maleeva, one of still-active pro Magdalena Maleeva's two retired WTA pro sisters.


(Nov 7, 2003) Martina Hingis is attending the WTA Championships in LA this week as a guest analyst for Eurosport TV. Martina's comments and her player interviews (Myskina, Clijsters...) can be seen in RealVideo format from the links below. Martina's English has improved considerably; she has been studying the language since her retirement from WTA play.
Among the many interesting comments by Martina Hingis: in her talk with Martina Navratilova, she said she would like to play some exhibition matches in the future, possibly one against Navratilova (whom Hingis has never played), but she currently feels she is too out of shape (she sure doesn't look it). So the younger Martina asked the elder how she has stayed in shape all these years.

Eurosport: WTA Championships RealVideo Clips
Hingis: Justine Henin-Hardenne v Jennifer Capriati
Hingis: Do you miss playing WTA tennis?
Hingis: What's it like to interview other players?
Hingis: What was your most memorable match?
Hingis: Australian Open Final v Capriati
Justine Henin-Hardenne: # 1 is very special
Martina Hingis & Martina Navratilova
Hingis: Still a Belgian # 1 when Williams sisters return?
Martina Hingis's picks
Martina Hingis meets Anastasia Myskina

(Nov 20, 2003) In addition to the WTA Championships videos below, Martina Hingis also did a lengthy interview video on Eurosport about her career and retirement, much of which is online in 4 parts:
1 Hingis discusses retirement
2 "I started young"
3 "No regrets"
4 "Proud to be a Grand Slam winner"

click to view larger (Dec 1, 2003) Kim Clijsters and that Hingis girl took a walk on the beach in during the WTA Championships last month. See this photo & a few more at Kim's Official Website Photo Gallery.


Note: Links to news stories on some other websites may expire with time, others maintain the links indefinitely.

Martina Hingis News Archive: Martina Hingis pages at quickfound.net:


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