Thursday 9 July 2015


Youngest Grand Slam Winner in the history of tennis, Martina Hingis at 15 years 282 days
Growing up, just like many, I spent most of my time after school hours playing with my friends. Be it cricket, hand tennis, badminton or just about any game - everyday this ordeal was followed without fail. I thank my parents for not getting me the video games or any of the gadgets! 

Coming back from play, I used to switch on the television and straight away select the sports channel and watch many of the sporting contests that were being streamed live or recorded on the two sports channels available on cable network. Life was simple and one didn't need any aid of remote controls to switch channels as I did my homework during the commercial breaks. I just had to ensure my sister was was not around and I was relieved when she was still out playing or talking to her friends. 

This routine was easy in the months of June and July as there were no unit tests, assignments or the pressure to study. Wimbledon was a tournament that coincided with the beginning of a new term at school. While we were adapting to new subjects, teachers, uniforms and lot of other things, Wimbledon remained a very popular topic. 

Life got even better in the year 1996, when a certain teenager won the hearts of many like me - it was the beginning of an era, the era which saw Martina Hingis take giant strides towards stardom. As I watched that year's Wimbledon coverage, she was on the verge of becoming the youngest grand slam winner at the Wimbledon.

In the singles, the progress of Hingis was smooth until the fourth round, where she had to face Steffi Graf, which the German had no difficulty and won comfortably in two sets. 

In tandem with Helena Suková (Czech Republic), Hingis (born in Slovakia) found an able partner - this mixture of raw talent and experience proved to be a lethal combo. The first three rounds went by with ease and the first fierce challenge of their campaign came in the quarter-finals when the eighth seeded duo faced Jana Novotná and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario - the top seeds. 

Novotná and Sánchez true to their billing started off very well, won the first set 6-3 and seemed like they had the match under control. Things began to get close in the second set as the determined Hingis and Suková matched their opponents evenly - the set was to be decided by a tie-breaker. Unlike other games in a set, the tie-breakers require optimum concentration. A slight opening gave Hingis and Suková to make a comeback in the match. They won the second set.

Two crucial breaks in favour of Hingis and Suková and they had beaten the top pair of the tournament. Winning against a top team provided them the much needed impetus as they won both semi-finals and finals in closely fought three sets. 

History was re-created as Martina Hingis claimed her maiden Grand Slam title - the youngest to hold a Grand slam trophy across the eras. She was just 15 years and 282 days - and narrowly nudged the previous record holder, Lottie Dod (singles title at Wimbledon in 1887) by just three days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment