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Early Lead

Martina Hingis announces retirement for third and, presumably, final time

By Matt Bonesteel

October 26, 2017 at 2:04 PM

Martina Hingis will retire for good after the WTA Finals. Maybe. She has led us down this road before. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Martina Hingis, who won five Grand Slam titles and is one of only six women’s players to hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles at the same time, announced her retirement from tennis via a Facebook post Thursday.

It’s the third time she has announced her retirement over her career and, at 37, one would assume that this one will stick.

“Now that the cat is out of the bag, here we are for the third, and final time,” she wrote. “Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that almost exactly 23 years ago I made my professional debut. The years that followed have been some of the most rewarding years of my life, both personally and professionally, but I believe the time has come for me to retire, which I will be doing after my last match here in Singapore.”

Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan of Taiwan are the top-seeded doubles team at the WTA Finals in Singapore. On Thursday, they defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarterfinals. Hingis and Chan won their first Grand Slam doubles title together last month at the U.S. Open, one of 13 women’s doubles Grand Slam championships Hingis has won. (She also won seven mixed doubles championships.) In 1998, Hingis won the calendar-year doubles grand slam with two partners, Mirjana Lucic at the Australian Open and Jana Novotna in the other three majors. She also is the youngest Grand Slam winner in professional tennis history by virtue of her Wimbledon doubles crown with Helena Sukova in 1996, when she was 15.

The next year, Hingis won her first singles Grand Slam at the Australian Open and defeated Novotna to become the youngest Wimbledon singles champion since Lottie Dod in 1887. Hingis won or finished second in nine of the 12 Grand Slam events between 1997 and 1999, with her final victory coming in the 1999 Australian Open. After that stretch, however, Hingis would only appear in three more Grand Slam finals, all of them at the Australian Open, and in February 2003 she announced her first retirement, citing injuries and a desire to get her education.

Hingis returned to the sport in 2006 but was unable to advance past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. In November 2007, she retired for a second time after announcing a blood test taken at Wimbledon that year revealed that her sample contained traces of a metabolite of cocaine.

The International Tennis Federation suspended her for two years, which she spent playing World Team Tennis. Hingis returned to WTA play in 2013 and won four more Grand Slam titles in doubles.

This isn’t a goodbye,” Hingis wrote Thursday. “As history shows, I haven’t been able to stay away from tennis for long in the past, and I am looking forward to seeing what new opportunities and challenges lie ahead of me. I believe the best is yet to come and will continue to share my experiences with you!”

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After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and The Post's other Web-based products.

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