Martina Hingis: One of the All-Time Tennis Greats
Martina Hingis is proof that an allegation of cocaine use – even a very tiny amount of cocaine — can cast a shadow on an extremely successful career.
Hingis is indisputably one of the finest tennis players of all time. Her incredible list of wins includes 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including titles in mixed doubles, women’s doubles and singles. She was ranked number one in the world for 209 weeks.
Born in Czechoslovakia to parents who were both skilled tennis players, Hingis was named after Tennis Great Martina Navratilova. She was playing tennis at the tender age of two and contending in tournaments by the time she was four years old. Her parents divorced a couple of years later and Martina immigrated to Switzerland with her mother when she was 7. She was playing tennis professionally shortly before her fourteenth birthday, was the youngest Grand Slam champion of all time when she was 16, and was ranked the number one tennis player in the world the following year.
Injuries plagued the young tennis player, and she was forced to withdraw in 2002, after surgery on both ankles hampered her game and limited her success. She was only 22. However, she returned to the Women’s Tennis Association Tour in 2006 and was ranked seventh in the world by the end of that year, although she struggled with a hip injury throughout much of 2007.
Trouble surfaced in late 2007, when a routine drug screen tested positive for cocaine. The level was very low – so low in fact, that many people believe the substance wouldn’t have been detected by less stringent drug testing protocols.
Hingis met the situation head-on and admitted openly to the press that she was under investigation for a positive drug test. The tennis player denied ever using cocaine, and claimed that the low concentration indicated the test may have been contaminated in some way. The following January, the International Tennis Federation announced a two-year suspension.
Hingis, who continued to struggle with painful injuries, opted to retire for a second time rather than initiating a lengthy and expensive appeal process. At the time of her retirement, she was ranked Number 19 in the world.
Out of Retirement Again
After playing in a number of exhibition matches and invitational tournaments throughout the ensuing years, Hingis returned to the WTA tour in 2014. Her comeback has been largely successful, and her wins include the women’s doubles and mixed doubles tournaments at Wimbledon in July, 2015. As of June, 2015, Hingis was ranked No. 2.
One of the World’s Elite
Hingis, named “One of the world’s elite tennis players,” was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013, the fourth youngest player to be inducted.
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