|Friday, 29 June, 2007|
Martina Hingis admitted after her straight sets defeat in the third round today that she should never have entered this Wimbledon.
Forced to pull out of the French Open last month with a lingering left hip injury, the 1997 Wimbledon winner was told by doctors six days before these Championships began that the problem was only 60 or 70 per cent healed.
But desperate not to miss a second successive Slam tournament, the Swiss former world No. 1 chose to go ahead anyway. She paid the price late this afternoon on Court Two, the notorious “Graveyard of Champions”, by going out in straight sets to Laura Granville, world ranked 77.
“I shouldn’t have been playing,” conceded Hingis. “Probably at the end of the day, it wasn’t the smartest decision. When I first got the injury two months ago, I said I wouldn’t come back until I’m super percent healthy. But then it kind of gets tiring when all you do is watch others. That’s why I didn’t want to miss out on Wimbledon after I missed the French.
“I haven’t been able to run very much. Workouts are just on the bike – things without pounding. I used to run for a couple of hours a day. When you can’t do that, you have cardio work that needs to be done, but I have been able to do it. When I get home, I’ll have a couple more MRI tests to see how it is.”
Then she sighed and added: “The draw was quite open here. I wish I could have done better.”
Although today’s defeat will naturally make headlines, it is debatable whether it really amounted to a big shock. Seeded nine here, Hingis struggled so much in her first round match against the British wildcard Naomi Cavaday that she was forced to fend off two match points.
After that match she ruled herself out as a contender for the title this Wimbledon – correctly, as it turned out. Her second round match promised better but today against the experienced American, 26-year-old Hingis was never in contention. Just like last year, her Wimbledon has ended at the third round – but she was able to see this in a positive light.
“I definitely see this as a success, having won a couple of rounds and come through the second round after being match points down in the first. I’m happy that I’m getting healthier again. That’s the most important thing.
“I am confident it will get better. I was doing rehab stuff four or five hours a day – lots of stretching, relaxing the muscles to give the bone a chance to breathe and heal. But playing tennis doesn’t help. The US Open is a long way ahead. Hopefully until then I can definitely do whatever I need to do for the next four or five weeks until the next tournament.”
Written by Kate Battersby