Hingis Remembers Her Past Glory, But Now It’s Teamwork That Matters Most To Her

WASHINGTON, September 12, 2017 (by Michael Dickens)

Martina Hingis added her 24th and 25th Grand Slam titles to her impressive collection over the weekend at the U.S. Open. On Saturday, she teamed with Jamie Murray of Great Britain to win the mixed doubles final over Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Michael Venus of New Zealand, 6-1, 4-6, 10-8. Then, on Sunday, she won the women’s doubles final with Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan over Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova, both of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-2.

“Awesome,” said Hingis, describing in one word her pair of doubles triumphs, after winning the women’s doubles on Sunday. “That’s two in two days!”

The 36-year-old Hingis has enjoyed a career renaissance as a doubles player after winning five Grand Slam titles in singles, from 1997 to 1999, as a teenager. Since giving up singles, something which the Czech-born Swiss professional has no regrets about, Hingis has captured 13 major women’s doubles titles to go with seven in mixed doubles.

“No, thanks,” Hingis told The Los Angeles Times. “I’m doing just fine with the mixed and the doubles. I have a couple of great partners I can rely on.”

Indeed, Hingis and Murray (older brother of Andy) have now won two consecutive major mixed doubles titles without a loss – they won Wimbledon earlier this summer – and, by winning the U.S. Open women’s doubles with Chan without losing a set, they are now the No. 1-ranked team in the world. Hingis and Chan have won seven titles this year.

Twenty years ago, at age 16, Hingis won her only U.S. Open singles title – over Venus Williams in straight sets in 1997 – after capturing titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. While it was a remarkable achievement, Hingis has moved on and is having too much fun playing doubles. She said her motivation is her love of the game.

“What I have done in my career earlier, I’m very proud of that,” said Hingis, who will turn 37 on September 20. “I was very young. It’s been 20 years, been on and off. But I think today is even more – it’s different, it’s sweeter, because it’s also the way how we won, the fashion.

“We just played impeccable, pretty much, I mean, from the start to the end.”

While attending Day 7 of the U.S. Open, my wife and I joined a small but very enthusiastic crowd that packed Court 5, in the shadows of Arthur Ashe Stadium, to see Hingis and Chan, 28, play their third-round match. The No. 2 seeds beat No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic of France and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 6-4, 7-5. I observed firsthand the teamwork and communication that went into the Hingis-Chan team excelling, and just as importantly, I noticed that Hingis was totally calm and at ease being out of the singles spotlight. She and Chan appeared to be having loads of fun playing together – fist-bumping after every point – and, bottom line, Hingis still has great reflexes and is an excellent volleyer at the net.

During the trophy ceremony for mixed doubles, Murray was asked to describe what makes his partnership with Hingis so successful. He said, “She’s such an amazing player who’s had such a great career.”

After winning the women’s doubles final on the last day of the 2017 U.S. Open, Chan showed her appreciation for her doubles partner. “It’s been a very amazing journey – a dream come true – to make it all the way here,” she said. “And since the first day we agreed to play together, next day I said, ‘Oh, Martina said yes to me. That means I’m going to play beside my own idol, and we are going to fight together.'”

After their U.S. Open victory, Chan said during the trophy ceremony, “It’s like a real dream come true. I’m living my dream.”

So, too, is Hingis.

About the author

Michael Dickens is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who writes and blogs about tennis.