Hingis, Mirza team to win US Open women’s doubles title
NEW YORK — Martina Hingis earned her 11th Grand Slam women’s doubles title and second at the U.S. Open.
At 34 years old and already a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Hingis paired with Sania Mirza of India to beat Casey Dellacqua of Australia and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3 in the U.S. Open final Sunday (Monday Manila time).
The title comes 18 years after Hingis’ first major in doubles, at the Australian Open, and 17 years after the Swiss star won her other doubles championship at Flushing Meadows.
We all felt like there was a little bit of nervousness, definitely, especially today because … it’s been a while, 18 years,” said Hingis, who won the 1998 U.S. Open with Jana Novotna. “But it feels like it’s doing it all over again. It’s like I don’t think about, ‘OK, last time, it was 18 years ago.’ It’s what counts for me is, like, right now, today in this moment.”
Hingis also won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title this year with Leander Paes.
Hingis, who reached No. 1 in the rankings and won five Grand Slam singles titles in the 1990s, initially quit tennis in 2002 because of foot and leg injuries, then rejoined the circuit full-time in 2006. She announced her retirement again in 2007, when she was given a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. At the time, she denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ruling.
She returned to the tennis tour in recent years as a coach and now is back playing, perhaps with an eye to competing at next year’s Rio Olympics.
But could she envision a return to singles competition?
“No, thanks. I was just, like, practicing yesterday and I almost hurt myself. Oh, my God, it’s a long season, hard-court season,” Hingis said. “I (would) rather win, alongside Sania and Leander, Grand Slam titles than having to struggle with my body.”
Hingis was asked about the possibility of continuing to play into her late 40s, the way the woman she was named after, Martina Navratilova, did.
“Yeah, but I’m not Martina Navratilova,” Hingis replied.
Hingis and Mirza only began playing as a team in March, and now they’ve won a second Grand Slam trophy in a row, after Wimbledon in July.
“I think we trust each other on and off the court,” Mirza said. “I think that helps us through a lot of tough moments on the court. Obviously our games match, kind of complement each other, so to say, with her at the net and me at the back.”
Hingis and Mirza were seeded No. 1 in New York. Dellacqua and Shvedova were seeded fourth.
“With all the pressure on us, all the time, we’re really happy to come through,” Mirza said.
Said Shvedova: “They’re very tough to beat. Maybe we can beat them next time.”
Mirza thinks her victory will be a big deal back home in India.
“Grand Slams mean a lot, but obviously being a woman and being the first one to be able to achieve everything that I’m achieving is amazing for, not just India, for Indian women, but for Indian sports, for women to pick up sports in the country and that side of the world,” she said. “So I hope they’re proud.”