Hingis, Kournikova set for SW19 return
Originally published on: 05/05/10 11:27
Former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis is to return to the All England Club at this year’s championships to play in the veterans doubles with Anna Kournikova.
The 29-year-old, who beat Jana Novotna for the singles title in 1997, retired from the WTA Tour three years ago after testing positive for cocaine while competing at SW19 in 2007.
Hingis was handed a two-year suspension, which ended in September 2009, and sparked rumours of a comeback to the WTA Tour earlier this year after admitting that she “can not imagine a life without tennis.”
But the Swiss, who will also compete for the New York Buzz in the coed World Team Tennis league founded by Billie Jean King, has settled on playing the veterans event at Wimbledon with Kournikova, with whom she formed a successful doubles partnership at the height of their careers.
Ranked No.1 in the world for a spell, the duo teamed up to win the Australian Open doubles titles together in 1999 and 2002. And though Hingis returned to the tour after initially retiring in 2003, her former doubles partner Kournikova has not played on the WTA tour since that same year after a spate of injuries and particular problems with her spine and back.
But after announcing her intention to return to Wimbledon, where she achieved her best Grand Slam singles result by making the semi-finals in 1997 aged just 16, the 28-year-old Russian was thrilled at the prospect of teaming up with Hingis again on the lawns of SW19.
“I’m so excited to be returning to the UK to play doubles with Martina again,” said Kournikova this week.
“This tournament has always held a special place in my heart, and it will be a great honor to play on the courts of Wimbledon again. I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun.”
Former world No.1 and five-time Grand Slam champion Hingis echoed her sentiments.
“Anna and I have had a lot of success together and I look forward to being reunited with her at Wimbledon,” she said.
“Having won singles in 1997 and doubles in 1996 and 1998, I am excited about returning to the place where I have had some of the best memories of my career.”