Hingis Helps Mirza in March Towards No. 1 Doubles Ranking
By: Nick McCarvel
Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza play the third match after 1pm today at the Volvo Car Open. Tickets still available.
For the first time in 14 years, Martina Hingis is back as a player at the Volvo Car Open.
The former world No. 1 in singles and doubles - as well as a two-time Cup champion in singles (1997 and 1999) and 1999 winner in doubles at the Cup - has partnered up with Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and the two are off to a fast start: They are undefeated, having won two Premier-level events en route to titles in both Indian Wells and Miami.
The success has led to a rise in the rankings for both, but Mirza, a superstar in her home country, is within striking distance of the No. 1 ranking in doubles. Win the title in Charleston and she ascends to the top for the first time in her career.
“That’s the main goal for me,” Hingis told reporters in Miami after their win there. “To get her to No. 1.”
Hingis has been back to Charleston since her 2001 runner-up performance against Jennifer Capriati before this year. Two years ago she accompanied Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as a coach.
But the Swiss miss has slowly made her way back into the doubles game, starting in late 2013 and amassing six titles, three of them coming this year, bringing her career total to 43.
“Everything that I achieve now is a bonus,” Hingis, 34, said. “I really enjoy every minute, every moment of it.”
Friday night Hingis and Mirza wowed the Charleston crowd for a second time this week, beating defending champions Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova for a spot in the semifinals.
“When I’m hitting the ball big at the back and she’s at the net, it’s tough for the other team to find space,” said Mirza, who is 28. “(And Martina) knows how to win.”
Charleston fans get a rare treat in seeing Hingis play: The five-time singles Grand Slam winner is on a second comeback in her career, though she says she’s just sticking to the team game – for now.
“It’s different when I was 17… or (now) I’m like 34. It’s twice the age,” said Hingis. “It’s not the same… Now (I) have more time to enjoy later in my career.”
And what a joy it is to see her back.