MARTINA Hingis is a Wimbledon champion once again, 17 years - exactly half her life - after the last time.
Already a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame on the merits of her “first” career in the sport, Hingis teamed with Sania Mirza to win the women’s doubles final at the All England Club by beating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.
The 34-year-old Hingis added to her collection of Wimbledon trophies that includes the singles title from 1997, plus the women’s doubles titles from 1996 and 1998. The latter was her last appearance in a final at Wimbledon.
“It feels like it was in another life,” Hingis said.
“Usually, you’re lucky to win it once or happy to be out here and play on the Wimbledon grounds,” Hingis said.
“It’s above my expectations.”
She will get a chance to earn yet another trophy, when she and Leander Paes face Timea Babos and Alexander Peya in the mixed doubles final.
And to think: A few years ago, Hingis was taking part in the Legends tournament for former players.
The No. 1-seeded Hingis and Mirza trailed 5-2 in the final set before taking the last five games against the second-seeded Makarova and Vesnina, who won last year’s US Open.
Hingis, who reached No. 1 in the rankings and won five Grand Slam singles titles in the 1990s, initially quit tennis in 2002 because of foot and leg injuries, then rejoined the circuit full-time in 2006. She announced her retirement again in 2007, when she was given a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. At the time, she denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ruling.
The Swiss star returned to tennis in recent years as a coach and now is back playing, perhaps with an eye to competing at next year’s Rio Olympics.