x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Tennis comeback for Hall of Famer Martina Hingis will be welcomed

Swiss star is candid, enthusiastic and a charismatic character, and women's tennis does often miss those qualities, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Martina Hingis has been playing World Team Tennis and has accepted a wild card to play doubles alongside Daniel Hantuchova at the Southern California Open in Carlsbad later this month. Kim Johnson Flodin / AP Photo
Martina Hingis has been playing World Team Tennis and has accepted a wild card to play doubles alongside Daniel Hantuchova at the Southern California Open in Carlsbad later this month. Kim Johnson Flodin / AP Photo

As one Swiss great probably ponders his future, another has decided to come back to the game for a third time, just days after being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

A year older than Roger Federer, Martina Hingis was the original Swiss tennis superstar, winning five grand slams before she turned 19. At 22, she announced her retirement from the sport due to injuries, but was back three years later, in 2005.

She quit again in 2007, following a positive dope test, but has decided to come back because her "competitive spirit is still very much alive".

Now 32, she has been playing World Team Tennis and has accepted a wild card to play doubles alongside Daniel Hantuchova at the Southern California Open in Carlsbad later this month.

It is always good to have someone like Hingis back on the tour. She is candid, enthusiastic and a charismatic character, and women's tennis does often miss those qualities.

If she says her competitive spirit still burns, then she must be wishing for a return to the singles game as well. With Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka around, what hopes does someone have after six years out of the game? And let's not forget the depth of women's tennis, with Petra Kvitova, Li Na, et al. lurking?

Hingis has looked in great form in her World Team Tennis matches and looked very fit, but the WTA Tour is a different place.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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