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Factfile-- Name: Maritina Hingis, Birthdate: September 30, 1980 , Birthplace: Kosice, Slovakia, Nationality: Swiss, Weight : 59kg, Height :5ft 7 inches, Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand

She plays right-handed forehand and two-handed backhand, she is the archetypal all-court player, at ease playing from the baseline or with a natural serve and volley. Her astonishing talent and wide array of shots are coupled with a strong mind and a tactical sense that many chess masters dream to have, making her extremely dangerous on court.

On the 7th of February in 2003, Martina Hingis told the world what most did not want to hear that she was retiring from all tennis. The reason? A series of crippling injuries to the ankle which made her fear if she would ever walk properly again much less be able to put up with the strains of playing competitive tennis.

However, tennis's favourite daughter is back and 2006 will see her return to professional tennis nearly three years after she had originally left it.

Hingis is an anomaly, in that she was born in Kosice which is now Slovakia, moved to Roznov which is now in Serbia and Montenegro and then to Trubbach, a quaint town in German speaking Switzerland.

In 1993, Hingis became the youngest-ever player to win a Grand Slam junior title when she won the girls' singles at the French Open at the age of 12.

She made her debut on the professional tour in October 1994, two weeks after her 14th birthday. In 1995, she became the youngest player to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament when she advanced to the second round at the Australian Open.

In 1996, Hingis became the youngest-ever Wimbledon champion when she partnered Helena Suková to win the women's doubles title aged 15 years and 9 months. She also won her first professional singles that year at Filderstadt, Germany. She reached the singles semi-finals at the 1996 US Open, and she lost to Steffi Graf in a five-set final at the year-end WTA Tour Championships.

In January 1997, Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century by winning the Australian Open aged 16 years and 3 months. In March, she became the youngest-ever player to attain the World No. 1 ranking. And in July, she became the youngest singles champion at Wimbledon since Lottie Dod in 1887. She went on to win the US Open title by defeating another up-and-coming star, Venus Williams, in the final. The only Grand Slam singles title she failed to win that year was the French Open, where she lost in the final to Iva Majoli.

Hingis's career continued its unabated rise and by 2003, when she had to retire, she had won 40 singles titles and 36 doubles events. She held the World No. 1 singles ranking for a total of 209 weeks.

Hingis, who gained the nickname of the "Swiss Miss" on the tour, won over crowds with her attractive playing style. Her bright, bubbly demeanour in public helped make her a favourite with tennis fans. Hingis was twice rated among FHM magazine's 100 sexiest women, and her doubles partnership with tennis' all-time glamour girl Anna Kournikova in the late-1990s and early-2000s attracted a great deal of attention.

Did you know?
· Hingis played her first tennis game at the age of four when she couldn't even look over the net. The match ended 6-0, 6-0 in her favour.
· In 2005, TENNIS Magazine put her in 22nd place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.


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