CARLSBAD, California (Reuters) - Switzerland’s former world number one Martina Hingis said her renewed hunger for competition inspired her forthcoming comeback in doubles but she has no plans to return in singles.
Hingis is teaming up with Slovak Daniela Hantuchova at this week’s Southern California Open with the pair slated to play an evening match on Wednesday against Julia Goerges of Germany and Darija Jurak of Croatia.
Hingis, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of fame just two weeks ago, has not played a WTA-level match since 2007.
She and Hantuchova are also intending to compete at Toronto, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open but have not made any plans beyond that.
“If it’s a complete disaster, I would not want to continue, but I hope that’s not the case,” Hingis told reporters.
”I don’t have any expectations, but I wouldn’t put myself in this position if I didn’t feel that I couldn’t compete at this level.
“In (world) Team Tennis I was good enough, but is it good enough to be able to compete at this level? We’ll see.”
Hingis retired in 2002 with five Grand Slam singles titles to her credit only to launch a full-scale comeback in 2006. She called it quits for the second time in 2007, but said she always had it in the back of her mind that she might return again.
She barely picked up a racket from 2008-2011, but has played a lot of exhibitions and senior doubles during the past two years and has also coached, mostly notably world number 25 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, whom she stopped coaching after this year’s French Open.
However, even though she would not completely rule it out, Hingis said she has no plans to return in singles again.
“Not at this point,” she said.
”You have to put so much effort into it. Playing tournaments is the easy part, but it’s all the behind the scenes training that people don’t see, the six to eight hours of training and really the older you get, the harder it gets.
“I wouldn’t want to come out and play one or two matches and lose in the third round. That’s not my type of personality.”
While Hingis feels that top level singles play may be beyond her, she does not feel that way about doubles.
There are three players in the WTA doubles world top 20 who are older than she is - Lisa Raymond, Kveta Peschke and Liezel Huber - and a handful of others just slightly younger than her.
“It’s different as when we used to play there were so many more singles girls who played doubles: the (Williams) sisters, me Anna (Kournikova) and Lindsay (Davenport),” she said.
“There were like six to eight of the top 10 who played doubles. Now it’s just a few girls in the top 10 who play doubles. There is much more of an opening now.”
Editing by Julian Linden