Martina Hingis - Born To Play
Born to Play
Martina Hingis was born September 30, 1980 in Kosice, Slovakia (then part of Czechoslovakia). Her father, Karol Hingis, was a mechanic and a tennis enthusiast. Her mother, Monica Molitor, was an eighteen-year-old ranked tennis player from Roznov when she married Hingis; Martina was their only child. Even before her daughter's birth, Molitor was convinced that Hingis was destined for tennis. Hingis first picked up a racket at the age of two, using a full-sized wooden racket with the grip cut away so she could get her small hand around it. At the age of three, the family moved to Roznov, and Hingis began playing on tennis courts. She entered her first tournament when she was four, which she lost handily, 12-0, to an older player.
Hingis's parents divorced when she was three, and her father returned to Kosice. Coached by her mother,
Hingis, who is named after Czech tennis legend Martina Navratilova, began to compete regularly. By the age of six she had won 80 official matches. At the age of seven, she won a tournament for nine-year-olds playing left-handed due to a broken finger on her right hand. When Hingis was eight years old, her mother married Andreas Zogg, a Swiss computer salesman, and the family moved to Trubbach, Switzerland, near the Swiss border with Liechtenstein. (Molitor and Zogg divorced in 1996.)
As a nine-year-old, Hingis began playing in international tournaments for fourteen-year-olds. Within a year, she was winning some of them. Taking the title at the European Championships in 1991, Hingis began a winning streak that would propel to the top of the professional ranks. The following year, at the age of twelve, she became the youngest player ever to win the Junior French Open, which is open to players up to eighteen years old. When she was thirteen, she won the Junior U.S. Open and the Junior Wimbledon, setting records for both as the tournament's youngest winner.