Australian Open 2015: Martina Hingis rolls back the years with mixed doubles win

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ioCHAMPIONS do come back, particularly to Rod Laver Arena, as Martina Hingis rolled back time on Sunday with a mixed doubles win.

Hingis, a three-time Australian Open singles champion, stepped up to accept the mixed doubles trophy with Indian partner Leander Paes.

It was the 16th grand slam title for the 34-year-old Swiss ace and 15th for doubles specialist Paes when they beat defending champions Kristina Mladenovic of France and Canadian left-hander Daniel Nestor 6-4 6-3 in the final.

“After 20 years being back on that court, who would have thought?,’’ Hingis said.

“It’s not even like the cherry on top, it’s more than that to be there and to be able to hold another trophy with Leander. It’s more than I could ever dream of.’’

Hingis was the youngest grand slam singles champion of the 20th century when the 16-year-old won the 1997 Australian Open.

 

She backed it up by winning the following two years too and she’s the owner of three of the four majors, the French being the missing link after she finished runner-up in 1997 and 1999.

Dogged by ankle and hip injuries that needed surgery, she retired in November 2007.

Returning in 2013 to play doubles, the popular Swiss miss was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame later that year.

Playing exclusively doubles on the women’s tour last year, she won three titles and was runner-up in two other finals, including the US Open.

“I was never really completely out of the picture, away from tennis. It was always part of my life one way or another,’’ Hingis said.

“I was playing some exhibitions, then I was coaching a little bit. The coaching probably got me more into it because I was playing with the girls, hitting, being face-to-face to the best players in the world.

“So I felt like maybe I can play with them, only half-court. I don’t have to run that much.’’

Paes admitted to being in awe of his mixed doubles partner and they plan to continue to play the major championships this year.

“Martina is such a smart tennis player and she knows exactly what movements I’m going to do,’’ Paes said.

“It’s the first grand slam (title) I’ve ever won out of my 15 that I’ve never lost a set. And that’s thanks to this young lady here. The smarts, the intelligence is what stands out.’’

Hingis said one of the thrills of being back on Rod Laver Arena was strolling past her life-size photograph in the hall of honour leading to the centre court entrance.