Martina & Anna: Viva Forever
Published June 29, 2010 12:00
LONDON, England - The Spice Girls of tennis, Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, made a popular return to the All-England Club on Tuesday for the Invitational Doubles, beating Sam Smith and Anne Hobbs, 62 64.
Although they were two-time Grand Slam doubles champions together, Hingis and Kournikova never played the team event at Wimbledon when they were pros - but they did both have breakthrough singles results at the grass court major, Hingis winning it in 1997 and Kournikova reaching the semis that year.
Hingis was playing here for the first time since 2007, having retired later that year; Kournikova, who never officially retired but hasn't played a pro match in years, last played Wimbledon in 2002. It was an emotional return.
"For me personally it's an amazing opportunity to be back at Wimbledon, my favorite grass courts," Kournikova said. "I'm not getting any younger, so this is probably my last chance to play here. Playing with Martina, we picked up today right where we left off eight years ago. I had so much fun today."
When asked why neither entered the main draw, Kournikova's compliments started flowing: "Not me. She could be, but me there's no way. This is for fun. If I came back to the tour, I would have to live in the trainer's room three hours every day. I have five different things wrong with my back from two herniated discs."
"I haven't played that much in the last three years," Hingis said. "It's fun to be out there again with Anna. We had some great times. We're sharing some good time again. But I had my comeback. I was very happy with it. Now it's different. I'm going to be 30. You travel 35, 40 weeks a year. I think I've played enough tennis in my life. Tennis gave me everything I have today."
Both Hingis and Kournikova went as high as No.1 in the world in doubles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and won 11 titles together, including two Aussie Opens (1999, 2002) and two season-ending titles (1999, 2000).