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Martina Hingis slips into dancing shoes

Swiss former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis will take part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing, a popular competition on British television.

Hingis, 29, who was banned from the tennis circuit for two years in 2008 after testing positive for cocaine, will join other sports stars and various minor celebrities in the seventh series of the reality talent show, which returns to BBC1 in September.

“I want people to see a different side of me from the player running around the tennis court. I’m here to win and I’m very competitive. Everything I do, I want to be the best at it,” she said.

Hingis, who won the Wimbledon women’s singles title in 1997 in addition to four other grand slam titles, had a reputation for being outspoken and criticising her rivals.

“I’ve always said what I think. Don’t you think tennis is boring today? People don’t say anything anymore. I have changed. I’m not like I was when I was 18. I’ve calmed down and always have fun.”

Hingis announced her retirement in November 2007, although she strenuously denied ever taking the drug and proclaimed her innocence.

“I want to put everything behind me now and this is a new challenge. I can’t wait to learn some of the Latin dances and some of the faster ballroom ones, like the quickstep.”

Strictly Come Dancing features celebrities with professional dance partners competing in ballroom and Latin dances, including jive, rumba, waltz, foxtrot and tango. Hingis has been paired with Matthew Cutler, who won the show in 2007 with British pop singer Alesha Dixon. The 2008 final pulled in 13 million viewers. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR