- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2012

Martina Hingis and the New York Sportimes visit the Washington Kastles on Thursday night at Kastles Stadium with hopes of ending their 18-match undefeated streak. But before she took the court, she addressed several topics in a press conference.

Hingis, who has been with World TeamTennis for five years, contemplated joining Switzerland’s mixed-doubles Olympics team with Roger Federer early this year, but she ultimately decided against it. Not only did the retired Hingis feel unprepared, she also felt it was the best decision for Federer, who will be busy competing in the singles and doubles in London.

“I haven’t played [professionally] in five years, so I’m not the same player,” said Hingis. “I wouldn’t be that kind of help that [Federer] would need in a partner.”

The New York Sportimes have been Hingis’ home for the past four years, and she can’t help but enjoy the atmosphere of the team and the league.

“I love the team spirit,” said Hingis. “Even if you don’t feel great in the morning, you know you have to go out and play for the team. I feel like there is more responsibility and it’s great to share the memories and the victories.”

Hingis is well-known for her abilities in doubles where she has won nine of her 15 Grand Slams, and she sees a lot of similarities even when she plays with the Sportimes. Teams are comprised of two men and two women, and doubles and mixed doubles are essential to a team’s success. 

“I feel more responsibility,” said Hingis on her role with the Sportimes. “Even more than when I teamed up with [Mirjana] Lučić and [Anna] Kournikova.”

Hingis began her professional career at age 14 and believes the current format of waiting until you’re 18 to play a full schedule hurts the development of young players. 

“From 16 to 18 is when you still can learn a lot and adjust your game to the top players,” said Hingis. “I wasn’t traumatized losing at [a young age] … you learn easier at 15 or 16 and waiting until 18, you lose two years.”

Hingis seems to be enjoying her time with her teammates, and a return to the Women’s Tennis Association seems unlikely. 


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