Hingis: I wanted to return after three months
After her first title in four years, Martina Hingis has now established herself as a serious contender for the French Open which begins on Sunday. Earlier in the season, she confessed to us that it wasn't long into retirement that she began spoiling for a
"I was given the life I always wanted" Hingis told Eurosport in Doha earlier this season. "In the last three years when I wasn't playing, I maybe felt that I missed something. I realised after about three months that I'd rather be playing if I could."
Operations on both feet obliged the 25-year old former world number one to retire in 2002.
Despite being a shot-maker rather than a power hitter, she hints that she fears no one:
"So many of them in the top five of ten who I was competing against were having a great season last year like Pierce, Davenport finishing at number one, so I thought 'OK those are the girls I was playing against when I was 20, when I finished. They are on top of the game.'"
Martina felt that with her peers still competing at the cutting edge of the game, there was no reason she could not return to the tour with success.
"Maybe my body will last," she added, "and finally I'll get to see how far it will take me."
However, she was the first to admit that: "Maybe I take a little longer to recover now. When you are younger you take care of yourself differently."
"You go to different places, different tournaments that you haven't been to before, so it is always a new life style," she said.
"You're faces with so many new things and challenges that you haven't seen before and no one can really prepare you for that so you have to grow up really fast."
The driving force behind Martina's stunning rise to the top of the women's game when still only 16-years-old was her mother, acting as her coach and mentor through her learning processes.
"Now it is a different relationship, different perspective. We respect each other so much because she knows me best, I know her very well, so I can always trust her. I'm very happy she is around me."
Is was also Hingis' mother that decided on Martina's name, in honour of Martina Navratilova, a source of inspiration as her younger namesake looked to make her name, and also still plying the circuit (albeit on a part-time basis aged 49).
"I always respected her for what she has done for the game and for the legend that she is."