Friday, September 15, 2017

Martina Hingis talks tennis & longevity in new CNN interview

(CNN) Much has been made of the resurgence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal this season.

Aged 36 and 31 respectively, both have defied the odds to collect two grand slam titles.

But another legend of the game, who is 10 months Federer's senior, has just sealed two grand slam titles in the space of 24 hours.

Martina Hingis, 36, won the women's doubles and the mixed doubles at the recent US Open, taking her overall grand slam total to 25. She partnered with Taiwan's Chan Yung-Jan to win the women's doubles title and Briton Jamie Murray to win the mixed doubles tournament.

In doing so, she returned to the scene of her first US Open singles triumph, recorded against an emergent Venus Williams exactly two decades ago.

It has been a "wonderful journey," to quote Hingis herself, beginning with a debut on the WTA Tour just a week after turning 14, and showing no signs of stopping as her 37th birthday approaches.

"I've always loved to play tennis," Hingis told CNN Sport's Don Riddell. "This is what I do best; this it what I know; this is my education since I was two years old."

The Swiss remains the youngest grand slam champion in history -- having won the Wimbledon women's doubles aged 15 years and 282 days alongside Helena Suková, a partner twice her age.

And she remains the youngest singles grand slam winner in the Open era -- having reached all four major finals in 1997, only missing out at Roland Garros.

"I was the youngest in most of the things I did," says Hingis. "Now, I look back at it and see [today's] juniors and young upcoming players ...You say 'Oh Jelena Ostapenko, when she won the French Open she was only 20 years old!'

"And I'm like hang on ... Back then when you were 20, if you hadn't won a grand slam by then you were almost too old!"

Hingis became the undisputed world No. 1 aged 16 and it was a position she held on and off at the top of women's tennis for a total of 209 weeks -- the fifth longest of all time -- until a series of ankle injuries forced her to retire aged 22.

Had she done too much too young?

"In my case I definitely wouldn't want to change what I went through with anyone," says Hingis. "It's a lot cooler than having to go to school."

"I did education until I was 14 when I turned pro and then some later on as well, but I think this is the best education you can get.

"My mom always made sure that when we traveled to different cities and countries that we also took something from there to learn about."

Hingis came out of retirement and returned to the ATP Tour in 2006, duly lifting the Australian Open mixed doubles trophy with India's Mahesh Bhupathi.

But, hampered by injury, she was never again the same electrifying talent and, on 1 November 2007, the "Swiss Miss" announced her retirement for a second time following a positive test for metabolites of cocaine.

The former darling of women's tennis was banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years and, though she refuted the charges, this time it really did look like the end.

"I believe her when she says she's retiring permanently," commented Larry Scott, the chairman and chief executive of the WTA at the time.

And yet once again Hingis was not to be denied.

Since returning to the WTA Tour in 2013, she has won 10 further doubles grand slam titles and insists her only major regret is relinquishing control of the 1997 French Open singles final to Croatia's Iva Majoli.

Twenty three years after her WTA debut, the game has changed but Hingis's inimitable desire to win remains the same.

And her longevity means there are few players better positioned to appreciate the grand sweep of women's tennis history.

"Sometimes I did complain that I want to see a bit more variety and a little bit of strategy in the game," she said.

"You see that more in the men's tennis, but eventually women will return to that.

"Once you are able to control that power, [you] have the variety out there again. Sometimes I think that's forgotten.

"Hey, tennis is a game. It's not just sheer power!"

Many players, both male and female, have looked up to Hingis during her long and storied career -- not least Federer himself.

"I always say I taught him how to win his first tournament," she laughs, reflecting on their mixed doubles victory at the 2001 Hopman Cup. "We ended up winning Sydney too the week after.
"There were some great moments we shared. We all know what happened afterwards."

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Martina Hingis & Yung Jan Chan U.S. Open Ladies Doubles Champions!

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NEW YORK, NY, USA -- One day after claiming the mixed doubles at the 2017 US Open, Martina Hingis clinched her 13th women's doubles Grand Slam championship -- and brought a brand new partner into the circle of major winners.

Chan Yung-Jan and Hingis disposed of the Czech team of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday. The Taiwanese/Swiss pairing claim their seventh title of the year, and their first Grand Slam as partners.

It was also Chan's first Grand Slam title ever, after twice being a women's doubles runner-up, as well as a one-time mixed doubles finalist. By contrast, this was Hingis' 25th Grand Slam title, when you combine the Hall of Famer's exploits amongst singles, doubles, and mixed.

It was a powerful performance by the No.2-seeded team, who never faced a break point in the match. Chan and Hingis got the pivotal break at 2-1 in the first set and did not look back from there.

24 hours after winning mixed doubles with Jamie Murray, her 24th career Grand Slam, Martina Hingis wins her 25th.  Tying her in 4th place all-time with the great Billie Jean King. 

So that make it 13 women's doubles, 5 in singles and 7 in mixed for Hingis.  

Talk about a great early birthday present, Hingis is just a few weeks shy of her 37th (Sept. 30). 

It's also lucky #7 for Chan and Hingis as a team, having won; Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Mallorca, Eastbourne & Cincinnati. 

That's titles on all 4 surfaces.  Absolutely outstanding.  But even more impressive, they won this one without losing a set!.  

This match may have been somewhat one sided, but it did not lack in some awesome shot making and rallies at the net, particularly from Chan who was just on fire today. 

And of course Martina who clinched the match with another one of her trade mark backhands down the line at championship point.

Hard to believe that 20 years ago on this day Martina Hingis won her 1st and only U.S. Open singles title as a teenager, beating Venus Williams. 

And all these years later she still has that same joy, talent and drive to capture yet more titles. Simply inspirational. 

Congratulations on your first Grand Slam together ladies!.  You've proven unstoppable as a team this year, an absolute thrill to watch on court.  

Here's to continued success for the remainder of the tennis season.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Martina Hingis and Jamie Murray U.S. Open Mixed Doubles Champions!

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Hall of Famer Martina Hingis remained undefeated in mixed doubles Grand Slam finals on Saturday, partnering Jamie Murray for a second straight major tournament at the US Open, surviving Chan Hao-Ching and Michael Venus in a tense match tie-break.

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Two decades after she won her first US Open title, Martina Hingis took home her fifth in Flushing Meadows, this time in mixed doubles alongside Jamie Murray with a 6-1, 4-6, 10-8 victory over Chan Hao-Ching and Michael Venus on Saturday.

Following a dominant first set, the top seeds recovered from an early break down but nonetheless found themselves in a tough match tie-break, one in which neither team led by more than one point until 8-8. From there, Hingis and Murray took control to clinch the Swiss star's second US Open mixed title - Murray's first - in one hour and nine minutes.

Hingis and Murray took home their first major title together two months ago at Wimbledon, and reunited once again to take out tough teams including Australian Open champions Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal, and US Open singles semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe and Horia Tecau en route to their second straight final.

The victory increases the former WTA No.1's total Grand Slam title haul to 24, with five in singles, 12 in doubles, and seven in mixed. Hingis has a chance to win a 25th major title on Sunday, as she will partner Hao-Ching's sister Yung-Jan in the women's doubles final, where they take on Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova.

Murray and Hingis are the first team to go back-to-back at Wimbledon and the US Open since Hingis achieved the feat with Leander Paes in 2015. They are the only team to do so in 20 years.

That super tie-break was insane!. I was shaking. It was literally a difference of one point where it could have gone either way. 

But the way Martina handled those last 2 shots from Micheal Venus was incredible!. 

She put everything she had in that backhand down the line that set up the winning volley for Jamie. 

A match worthy of champions.  

You really fought your hearts out, out there. 3 fantastic super tie-breaks fans of tennis won't soon forget. 

Congrats on an incredible tournament and a tremendous push to the finish.  Well done!.   

All the best in ladies doubles tomorrow Martina Hingis, go for 25!. 

Friday, September 08, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan into their 1st Grand Slam final at U.S. Open

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Martina Hingis reigned supreme on Grandstand court Friday afternoon, winning both of her US Open semifinal matches in women's doubles and mixed with partners Chan Yung-Jan and Jamie Murray, respectively.

- Former WTA World No.1 and Hall of Famer Martina Hingis has the opportunity to add to her Grand Slam haul in both women's and mixed doubles at the US Open, partnering Chan Yung-Jan to beat No.4 seeds Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai, 6-4, 6-4 and later edging past CoCo Vandeweghe and Horia Tecau, 6-4, 7-6(8) with Jamie Murray.

Hingis has won four US Open titles in singles, doubles, and mixed, and is fresh off her 23rd major title overall at Wimbledon in mixed doubles with Murray.

Meanwhile, the Swiss star has dominated the doubles circuit in 2017 with Chan, winning six titles and qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Starting the day in women's doubles, she edged past former partner Mirza and Peng in just under 90 minutes, hitting a whopping 44 winners to just 22 unforced errors.

In between Hingis' mixed switch, Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova scored the upset over fellow Czechs and No.3 seeds Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, 6-2, 7-5.

Hingis and Chan beat the Czechs in that aforementioned Indian Wells final, leaving the pair eager for revenge.

"It will be a tough match, but we know each other and we've played well in all the matches we've played against them. We might not have finished them as well, so I think we'll be even more hungry to win on Sunday."

How awesome is this?!.  At almost 37 years old she reaches finals of 2 Grand Slam doubles events. 

And trying for her 2nd doubles double which she accomplished a few years ago at Wimbledon with completely different partners (Sania Mirza & Leander Paes). 

Not only that but it's also Hingis' third U.S. Open women's doubles final in the last 4 years. If she wins on Sunday, she will have done it with 3 different partners; Sania Mirza 2015, and Jana Novatna 1998. 

Martina Hingis and Jamie Murray into their 2nd mixed doubles Grand Slam final at U.S. Open

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Britain's Jamie Murray and Switzerland's Martina Hingis made the US Open final with a straight-set win.

The pair, who won the Wimbledon title earlier this year, overcame American Coco Vandeweghe and Romania's Horia Tecau 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in 90 minutes.

Murray and Hingis, unbeaten as a duo, will play third seeds Hao-Ching Chan and Michael Venus in Saturday's final.

"We played a lot of great stuff at Wimbledon. Here we've fought really hard. It was very close," said Murray.

"She made some great shots at the end and we just found a way through."

Hingis is seeking to win her 24th Grand Slam title across singles and doubles while Murray is bidding for a fifth major doubles crown.

Hingis is also in Sunday's women's doubles final where she is playing with Chinese Taipei's Yung-Jan Chan.

Tecau and Vandeweghe came close to forcing a deciding set, squandering three set points in the tie-break.

Tecau had won the men's doubles' title alongside Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer earlier in the day with victory over Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan cruise into ladies doubles semis at U.S. Open

NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.2 seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan captured a 6-2, 6-2 win over Chan Hao-Ching and Zhang Shuai to reach the US Open semifinals.

It was an emotional match that pitted sister against sister; the Chans were a formidable pairing before splitting at the start of 2017, Yung-Jan pairing with Hingis and Hao-Ching playing with different partners to solid success - including a run to the Wimbledon final with Monica Niculescu.

"It was really tough for me, definitely one of the toughest matches in my career," Chan said after the match. We know each other too well, and know everything we want to do on the court.

"It was very emotional during the match, but after the match, she’s still my sister. It’s still great to be able to play her in the quarterfinals of such a big event. I tried to bring out my best tennis today, and my partner helped me quite a bit."

Hingis and Chan clinched their spot at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global earlier this summer but haven't let up on their stellar play, winning the Western & Southern Open and rolled into the semifinals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center without dropping a set, equally emphatic against Chan and Zhang on Thursday.

"At the end of the day, we did our job,. It wasn’t easy for Latisha to play her sister, and waiting for the match for three days wasn’t simple," she said of the rain delays that canceled their match on more than one occasion. "You keep getting ready, and then once the match happens, you have to bring your A game.

"Under the circumstances, we did our best and played really good. The score at the end shows the result, and that’s what matters!"

Standing between Hingis and Chan and their first Grand Slam final as a team is No.4 seeds Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai, who won another weather-affected match against No.5 seeds Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Mirza and Peng played four games of their quarterfinal match on Wednesday before rain halted play on the outer courts, but regrouped well on the same court 24 hours later, edging past an in-form team to book a clash with former WTA Doubles No.1's partner Hingis and Chan.

"I always look forward to these types of matches, because they’re the greatest you can play," Hingis said. "They earned their spot in the semifinal, and we all deserve to be there. I’m hoping for a good match tomorrow.

"I've already played Sania other a few times, so it’ll probably be easier than having to play your sister. I can only imagine how it is because I don’t have one!"