Martina Hingis has returned to competitive action for the first time since 2007
Five time grand slam winner played at the Southern California Open
Played alongside Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in 6-1 6-1 victory
Says she has no intention of returning to singles action
Martina Hingis is back – but the five-time grand slam winner says she has no plans to take on the world’s best any time soon.
The 32-year-old ended her six-year absence from competitive WTA action by playing doubles alongside Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova at the Southern California Open Wednesday.
Hingis, who retired for the second time in 2007, spent 209 weeks as the world’s top-ranked player after bursting onto the scene as a teenager.
The Swiss ace has already confirmed that she will play alongside Hantuchova at the U.S. Open and enjoyed a winning start following a 6-1 6-1 victory over Germany’s Julia Goerges and Croatian Darija Jurak.
But Hingis ruled out any thoughts of a comeback on the singles tour – insisting that it’s doubles or nothing.
“Not singles, no,” she told reporters after being asked if she wanted to return to the women’s circuit.
“It’s a completely different world. Even World Team Tennis (WTT) now, it’s brutal, it’s only one set but still the next day you wake up, and you have to put so much more effort into it.”
Hingis has spent the past few months playing World Team Tennis on a regular basis and helped the Washington Kastles win the WTT league title in July.
But her return to WTA action has given her a new lease of life and an extra buzz.
“It was awesome,” Hingis told the WTA official website.
“It took Daniela a lot of courage and inspiration to kind of dig me out of the grave, but I’m really happy to have a partner like her, it makes it so much easier. I was nervous going into the match, but she was really solid out there, and that gave me so much more confidence.
“After the first set it was pure pleasure.”
Hingis first emerged as a star in the making at the age of 15 when she partnered Helena Sukova to win a grand slam doubles crown.
The following year she became the youngest ever singles winner at the age of 16 years and three months at the Australian Open before becoming the youngest woman to become the World No.1.
Hingis, who also won nine grand slam doubles titles, was forced to retire at the age of 22 in 2003 following a struggle with injury problems.
She returned to action in 2005 but her comeback was cut short in 2007 when it was divulged that she had tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine after her third round loss at Wimbledon six years ago.
Hingis maintained her innocence, but was banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation.
Fast forward to the present day and Hingis is more philosophical about her tennis having spent years in the wilderness.
“When you’re 17 everything seems so easy, but now I’m almost twice the age,” she added.
“I wouldn’t want to come out and play one or two matches and then lose third round, that’s not my type of personality.
“I feel pretty good. We’ll see how it goes this summer.
“Obviously I wouldn’t put myself in this position if I didn’t feel like I could compete at this level.”