Hingis in Front of Hall Class
New York — Five-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Hingis leads the 2013 class for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The other new members of the Hall announced yesterday are Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell and Ion Tiriac. Australian player Thelma Coyne Long’s election was announced earlier.
Hingis won 15 major titles, including nine in women’s doubles and one in mixed. The first came at Wimbledon in women’s doubles in 1996 at 15 years, 9 months, making her the youngest Grand Slam champion in tennis history.
The Swiss star also was the youngest woman to reach No. 1 in the WTA singles rankings, getting there in March 1997 at 16½, and spent a total of 209 weeks in the top spot. Hingis spent 35 weeks at No. 1 in doubles, too.
“She obviously had a Hall of Fame career,” said Serena Williams, who beat Hingis in the 1999 U.S. Open final. “She achieved so much at such an early age and did so much for the sport, inspired me a lot to play.”
In 1997, Hingis won singles titles at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open — and lost in the French Open final. She was honored as the WTA Tour Player of the Year and AP Female Athlete of the Year.
Hingis, often troubled by foot injuries, retired for the second time in 2007, when she drew a two-year suspension for positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. Hingis denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ruling.
She finished with 43 titles in singles and 37 in doubles. Her singles record was 548-133. Hingis also led Switzerland to its only Fed Cup final in 1998 before losing to Spain.
Hingis was elected in the recent player category, while Drysdale, Pasarell and Tiriac entered the Hall in the contributor category.
Two nominees who were not elected: 1991 Wimbledon champion Michael Stich and Helena Sukova. One of Sukova’s nine Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles came at Wimbledon in 1996 with Hingis.
Drysdale played in the 1960s and 1970s and reached a No. 4 ranking. He then helped start the ATP men’s tour, serving as its first president from 1972-74. He has been an ESPN tennis announcer since its first telecast of the sport — U.S. vs. Argentina in Davis Cup — in 1979.
Pasarell played on UCLA’s NCAA championship team and was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team. Like Drysdale, he was a key figure at the start of the ATP. Passarell was long associated with the tournament at Indian Wells, Calif.
Following his own playing career, which included the 1970 French Open men’s doubles title, Tiriac has held key roles as a coach, player manager and tournament promoter. His most noted client was Hall of Fame member Boris Becker.
The induction ceremony is July 13 in Newport, R.I.