Saturday, November 3, 2007

Martina Hingis - end of an era

In probably the lowest point in tennis so far in 2007, Martina Hingis retired on the backdrop of the accusation levied upon her very recently, that she had tested positive cocaine at Wimbledon, soon after losing to Laura Granville of US, in the third round. Much to everyone's surprise she has chosen to retire from tennis - the second time she did in her career; the first time she retired was in 2002 only to make a comeback in 2006.

I have never been a staunch Hingis-fan. I only came to support her during her second run as a tennis player since last year! Perhaps because she was the next to take the mantle of No. 1 (her mid-90s run) after my all-time favourite Graf. But i admired her play and her sheer tenacity on court. She was like a chess-player, carefully plotting her moves and and then hitting a winner or forcing an error out of an opponent's racket. She did not have the power like the other girls such as Williams sisters. Her biggest strength was her mind. She used the power of others and her own mind games to unsettle the opponent. She was one of the most crafty players I have seen on court. In today's day when you see players merely whacking the ball, Hingis was a refreshing change as she kept the opponent - and us the viewers as well - guessing her next move. A healthy mix of down the line forhands, drop shots, lobs, slice, double-fisted backhand and even a good net game to go with it, comprised her armoury. Good variety.

I particularly enjoyed watching her matchces against Graf and Seles. She had surprisingly mastered Seles and had a streak of 5-0 against her untill Seles reversed that trend in the French Open semi-final in 1998.

Her retirement, especially in this way, is a shame. I feel very strange that she would have taken cocaine or any drug. As a tennis fan, I hope she did not and her name gets cleared asap.

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