Monday, November 19, 2007

Still Sad (About Martina)

Ten years ago, Martina Hingis had launched herself to the top of women's tennis. She was a bratty 17-year-old with cat-like quickness and a feline personality to match. She was tennis' ultimate diva arriving at the cusp of the millennium.

For everything that she was, I hated Martina. I thought her game was boring, her attitude disrespectful and her confidence cocky. She epitomized the exact reason I disliked tennis sometimes: arrogance.

But Martina was the best, and above everything else, that's probably why I hated her so. She ruled in '97, and carried her swagger into the '98 and '99 by retaining the world No. 1 ranking, winning two more slams and becoming a dominant force in the doubles game.

Ten years later, however, she's retired a second time - and this one just may be for good.

(Hingis could almost always find a way to win on the court, but finding happiness has been another thing. Photo by anam1973 via flickr.)

No one could have predicted what Hingis would face during the decade after she crashed onto the scene in '97 while winning three of four majors. She was the Queen of Cry at the '99 French, then the Princess of Puff when the Williams sisters arrived with their games of power in the early 2000s.

Martina was always somewhat disinterested in tennis, though her craftiness and passion we just as evident. She was born and bred an athlete, but unsure if that's really what she was supposed to be doing with her life.

But ten years and two retirements down the road, I'm still sad about Martina. I went from hating her, to being indifferent, to wanting her back, loving her return and being frustrated with her lack of results.

Now, I'm just plain sad. Wondering if the woman who looked so comfortable on any spot of a tennis court can figure out where she feels comfortable in life. I hope she does it. She certainly deserves to.

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