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'Maybe I just need a break'
Hingis contemplates time off after Wimbledon shocker
Posted: Tuesday June 22, 1999 01:16 PM
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- What now for top-ranked Martina Hingis?
Her first-round match Tuesday at Wimbledon was a shocking humiliation, beaten 6-2, 6-0 -- losing the last 11 games -- by 16-year-old Australian qualifier Jelena Dokic.
Dokic isn't just any qualifier, she's the defending U.S. Open junior champion and last year's No. 1 junior. But she was -- remember -- ranked a lowly 129.
Hingis, of course, was the top-seeded player here winner of four Grands Slams at only 18 -- and a prodigy who grabbed the No. 1 spot two years ago at just 16.
What happened? For starters, Hingis' mother and coach, Melanie Monitor, wasn't here because her daughter asked her not to come, an apparent falling out after Hingis' widely criticized loss just over two weeks ago in the French Open final against Steffi Graf.
Her mother saved her in the French, coaxing the petulant Hingis back on to the court after she stormed off in tears following the loss. That was followed by some calls for Hingis to be barred this year from Wimbledon.
This was the first time her mother wasn't with her at Wimbledon and the first time she'd missed her in a major match. And it showed.
"With this tournament we decided to have a little bit of distance," Hingis said.
"I think it has been a great life so far. I mean, I really like it and I just probably -- I need a break, it would really suit me right now."
Hingis said she needs four or five weeks to "recover again," figure out how independent she wants to be as she and her mother work on their "private lives."
Of course, the first person Hingis tried to call after one of the most shocking losses in Wimbledon history was her mother. "I couldn't get through on the mobile phone," she said.
It was only the third time in Wimbledon history that the top-seeded woman has lost her opening match -- and only the third time it's happened in a Grand Slam since the Open era began in 1968.
Too much success too soon?
"Well, I have been always handling the pressure quite well," Hingis said.
Hingis may regret the day she invited Dokic to her home in Switzerland to practice on the eve of the French Open.
"She [Dokic] is very good. She is talented. She was No. 1 [in juniors] last year and with this win, it will definitely give her some confidence."
And what of Hingis' own confidence?
"As I said, we're going to talk about it, and then we will make some more decisions. But right now I need a break."
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