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Newz Forum: OTHER: TENNIS: Hingis ready to make comeback

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posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 10:10 AM
PATTAYA, Thailand -- Five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis returns to competitive tennis after more than two years on the sidelines when she takes to the court in this week's $170,000 WTA

Kept away from tennis with a severe ankle injury since 2002, Hingis launches her comeback campaign Tuesday against Marlene Weingartner in the first round of the tournament.

Hingis last appeared on the circuit Oct. 2002 at Filderstadt, Germany, where she lost to Elena Dementieva 3-6, 1-6.

The Swiss national said despite her long lay off, she would be playing the Pattaya competition to win.

"As a competitor and athlete, I always want to win. But I hope my body will last and hold up and help me to come through," Hingis said Sunday.

"I still stayed in the game. I was a commentator for some matches. I did not totally get lost from tennis," she added.

Hingis admitted missing the game as she watched rising Russian stars dominating women's tennis.

"You miss being out there in a Grand Slam final and not be able to compete," said Hingis, who has not announced what other tournaments she will enter after Pattaya. "Its a big difference between staying on court and commenting for TV. I miss it a lot."

Hingis almost hung up her racket for good, insisting last year that a comeback was unlikely.

"You say things sometimes," she said. "I said that because I didn't know what would happen with my body."

On of Hingis' motivations in playing in Thailand was to donate her prize money to charity.

She visited deprived children here Saturday and plans to travel to the tsunami-battered island of Phuket to support survivors Monday.

"I saw news in Switzerland every day about the natural disaster. It was very unfortunate. I came here to play tennis and hopefully to make people feel better," Hingis said.

But the Swiss star said the tropical temperature in Thailand was "a shock to my body because back in Switzerland the temperature is minus 10."

Leading the field of entrants in Pattaya is world No. 11 ranked Vera Zvonareva of Russia. Seeded second to fourth are Marion Bartoli of France, Conchita Martinez of Spain, and American Mashona Washington.

The 20-year-old Zvonareva is pitted against Argentina's Maria Emilia Salerni in the first round, while Bartoli has a comfortable opening match against wild card Ayu Fanti Damayanti of Indonesia. Veteran Martinez will play a qualifier while Washington will encounter Ukraine's Alyona Bondarenko.

Jelena Dokic, the former No. 4 ranked player who slipped to 126 this week, also joins the action and will play Anne Kremer of Luxembourg in the first round.

Hingis beat Weingartner in 1999 and 2002.




posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 11:41 AM

Hingis deafeated on comeback

Martina Hingis' comeback on the WTA Tour ended in a first-round defeat but the former world number one showed enough glimpses of her immense talent to suggest she could again be a force in the ladies' game. Hingis, in her first competitive match since 2002, started well but eventually ran out of steam and went down 1-6 6-2 6-2 to Germany's Marlene Weingartner in the Volvo Women's Open in Pattaya City.

Despite the loss it was a welcome return for one of the game's more endearing characters of recent years. And although Hingis has refused to confirm whether she will play in more tournaments - her appearance in Thailand was to raise money for local charities - her ability to compete with a member of the top 100 after such a lengthy absence seemed a positive step.

If the 24-year-old were to return it would complete a remarkable comeback after ankle problems prompted a break from the game she dominated in the late 1990s. The Swiss won 40 singles titles and 36 doubles titles from 1996-2002, including 14 Grand Slam crowns (singles and doubles), and held the world number one ranking for 209 weeks.



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