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Time please! Former tennis champion Hingis ends colourful career

Hingis received numerous titles - some some unwanted headlines - during her career.

(Keystone)

Swiss tennis star, Martina Hingis, who once reigned as the youngest women’s No. 1 player, has called time on a successful, sometimes controversial, career at the age of 37.

Aged 16, Hingis rose to the top of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings in 1997 having won Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open that year. She was the WTA’s No. 1-ranked player for 209 weeks. But her prolific success as a singles player was cut short by injury in 2003, following two more successes in the Australian Open.

Hingis then sued Italian sportswear company Sergio Tacchini, saying their shoes had damaged her feet.

Her return to the tennis circuit was marred by controversy when she tested positive for cocaine in 2007 at Wimbledon. She maintained her innocence but retired immediately from the game, only to return as a champion doubles player six years later. 

That comeback, starting in March 2013, brought Hingis enormous success on the doubles and mixed doubles circuit, where she won numerous titles including ten more grand slam titles. 

Born in the former Czechoslovakia, Hingis moved to Switzerland aged eight and soon made waves in the junior tennis ranks, coached by her mother. This early success immediately translated into stardom when she joined the WTA circuit. Only nine other women players have enjoyed greater success on the Grand Slam stage, having been WTA No. 1. 

Speaking to swissinfo.ch in 2003 in the midst of her injury problems, Hingis said she did not have a career highlight. “I don’t have a best or worst memory. The first tournaments, the Grand Slams, winning and losing, all these moments were learning experiences,” she said.

“At the top level, there’s a fine line between exhilaration and success, and bitterness and defeat. But it was never a question of life and death and there were always other opportunities.”

In 2013, Hingis was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fameexternal link.

swissinfo.ch/mga

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