Sports Outside the Beltway

Martina Hingis denies cocaine charges, retires

She was the number #1 women’s tennis player in the world when only age 16. From AP-

ZURICH, Switzerland – Martina Hingis said Thursday she has been accused of testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon, and then announced her retirement from professional tennis. Hingis, a five-time Grand Slam champion and former Wimbledon winner, denied using cocaine.

“I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous that I’ve decided to confront it head on by talking to the press,” she said. “I am frustrated and angry. I believe that I am absolutely 100 percent innocent.”

Her voice broke as she fought back tears in reading the statement. At the end, she took no questions and left the news conference.

The 27-year-old Swiss player lost in the third round at Wimbledon to Laura Granville, 6-4, 6-2.

Hingis said the positive test, which could lead to a doping suspension of up to two years, led to her retirement because she doesn’t want to spend years fighting the case.

Mario Widmer, Hingis’ manager, said he did not know why she waited until now to make the announcement.

Hingis returned to the sport two years ago after a four-year absence because of injuries.

She won three straight Australian Open titles from 1997-99, and Wimbledon and the U.S. Open championships in 1997. She came within one match of winning the Grand Slam in 1997, losing only in the French Open final.

On March 31, 1997, Hingis became the youngest female player ever to lead the world rankings. She was 16 years, 6 months and 1 day at the time. She is currently ranked No. 19.

It is said Hingis career has to end the way it did. If she thinks retiring will make the cocaine use charge go away, it won’t. Sports fans have heard so many athletes deny drug use and then either confess later on or have the use definitively proved, that we automatically believe the allegations. I don’t follow tennis well enough to render a verdict but I do wish Martina well in retirement.

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