When rumors began to swirl that Martina Hingis was set to end her two-year return to professional tennis, few who know the game were surprised. After a brilliant comeback in 2006 that saw her rocket back into the women's top ten, Hingis's results began to slip in 2007 as power players adjusted to her cerebral style of play and her body began to show signs of wear and tear. Currently ranked #19, the writing seemed to be on the proverbial wall.
Hingis was expected to confirm retirement at a press conference yesterday, which she did, but no one could have anticipated the one final bit of drama that Hingis would bring to the game. Hingis abruptly announced that she had tested positive for cocaine use during this year's Wimbledon. While firmly asserting her innocence, Hingis acknowledged that she does not have the motivation to fight the accusations when simply competing on tour has become more and more difficult. Just like that, her career was over. Again.
Hingis certainly leaves quite a legacy. She was known as many things: a precocious kid who won with guile and lost without grace; a defiant strategist denied by the increased power in women's tennis; a homophobe; a welcome comeback; a drama queen; and now an infamous two-time retiree. For all that she was and all that she wasn't, however, Hingis was always a champion. The game is better for having known her. --Wyman Meers