The look, the hairstyle, the smile. Everything belongs to 1997 but in black and white could go through a tennis player from the 60s. Martina Hingis She was a prodigy with the face of an unconscious girl who passed over her rivals, a case of extreme precocity that in tennis in general and in women in particular was quite common, even though this Swiss born in 1980 came to the circuit with 14 years and became, at this time 23 years ago, at 16 years and 6 months, the youngest number 1 in history.

23 years ago today I became the youngest tennis player to become # 1 in the world. In these challenging times though, it is hard to enjoy it. I can only reflect on how many people are suffering. We need to stay strong. We are all in this together. —- —- #AloneTogether pic.twitter.com/VG8QLuVjow

– Martina Hingis (@mhingis) March 31, 2020

Anyone old enough and passionate enough will remember how that happened. The speed of events, seen the newspaper archive to exercise the respective tribute and remembrance, was impressive. At the age of 15 he played his first final, in Hamburg’95, falling to Conchita. A year later he was playing the Masters, reaching the final, to play the finals of the Big Four in 1997, the year of the meteorite. Adding 35 consecutive victories from January to May, only Iva Majoli in the Roland Garros final stopped one of the largest known disruptions ever.

In his first tournament, in Filderstadt, Hingis got rid of Anke Huber and received a Porsche, without knowing or being old enough to drive, a perfect prime example that Hingis was out of time and that precisely at that speed, that of a High-end sports car, he was going to start running his career, leaving behind Novotna, Graf, Conchita, Arantxa, Davenport, Pierce or Capriati. Twelve Grand Slam finals in six years (97-02) and a subsequent collapse, when he was only 22 years old, after two operations and a discouragement that did not recover until after the years, with a renewed stage, more than ten years after his first retreat, in the double circuit, greening similar laurels (four majors).

Marked surely for being exposed to victory, success and pressure at a very premature age, her career was marked and plagued by events at least questionable, with a positive for cocaine in 2007 that she retired for the second time, from which she renounced for not wanting to battle with the anti-doping agency, disagreements with his mother and mentor, Melanie Monitor, who stopped attending tournaments, and misfortunes surely due to the wear and tear of a tender body, with two serious ankle injuries.

However, his memory is still quite intact, and will remain so. Because Martina Hingis, tennis player, was one of the purest and most emerging talents in the history of sport. First, because his game was technically impressive, so clean that he did not need to measure more than 1.70m to dominate the center, touch the ball impeccably, with intelligence and variety, and second, because his talent had been accompanied by a mentality to competition of the same value. Tennis managed to create and retain such a compendium for the enjoyment of its followers. 23 years later, Hingis is still in force.

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