"You gave me life, you gave me love, you gave me tennis," Martina Hingis said of her mother and coach, Melanie Mollitor, today when the Swiss player was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Hingis said that her mother "tore open the Iron Curtain" for her by naming her after Martina Navratilova and introducing her to tennis.
Hingis's remarks were brief, and she emphasized her gratitude toward her mother. I wish Anna Kournikova had been there.
Martina Hingis, who was born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, is the holder of five major singles titles and ten major doubles titles. She began playing tennis at the age of two, entered her first tournament at age four, and at age 12, she won the junior French Open title. At age 15, she and Helena Sukova won the Wimbledon doubles title, which made Hingis the youngest player ever to win a major doubles title. At age 16, she won the Australian Open, thereby also becoming the youngest player to ever win a major singles title.
Hingis achieved a career Grand Slam in doubles, but not in singles; the French Open title eluded her, though she was the runner-up in 1997. Hingis was also a finalist in six other majors. She was ranked number 1 in both singles and doubles, and she held the rankings simultaneously (one of only five players to ever do so). The Swiss star won a total of 43 single titles and 37 doubles titles.
Martina Hingis is perhaps best known for her anticipation and her ability to read the court. A superb tactician, the Swiss champion was simply too clever for most of her opponents. Her backhand could be deadly, and her volleying helped her become one of the best doubles players ever.