(Reuters/NAN) Women tennis great Martina Hingis of Switzerland has announced she will retire from the sport at the end of this week’s WTA Finals in Singapore.
The 37-year-old multiple Grand Slam champion is currently playing in the doubles tournament alongside Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan.
“Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that almost exactly 23 years ago I made my professional debut,” Hingis said on Facebook on Thursday.
“The years that followed have been some of the most rewarding years of my life, both personally and professionally.
“But I believe the time has come for me to retire, which I will be doing after my last match here in Singapore.”
The retirement will be Hingis’s third in a long and illustrious career.
During her career, she claimed 25 Grand Slam titles since her WTA Tour debut in 1994, five in singles, seven in mixed doubles and 13 in women’s doubles.
Hingis first decided to end her career as a 22-year-old in 2003 due to persistent injuries after picking up all five of her singles crowns as a teenager.
This comprises three Australian Opens, as well as lone Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles from 1997 to 1999.
The Swiss returned to the Tour in 2006 and although she found more success in doubles than singles, she retired for a second time a year later.
This retirement was after she was handed a two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine.
The right-hander returned to the sport for a third time in 2013 and has enjoyed another successful spell of doubles tennis in the latest comeback.
She has won four women’s and six mixed grand slam titles from 2015 to 2017.
Hingis and Chan opened their WTA Finals campaign with a 6-3 6-2 quarter-final victory over German-Czech duo Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Kveta Peschke.
After this win, the Swiss elaborated on the decision to end her playing career.
“I’ll be always part of the game of tennis. Somehow we will be connected. I will definitely take some time out.
“I have done coaching before. I can help my mom at her tennis school. I will be connected,” she said.
“I am really looking forward to the things and challenges which will be ahead of me, but I think I also deserve some time away from the game, although I‘m not going to walk away.
“I will be always part and this will always be part of my life.
“I‘m definitely not going to miss that day-in, day-out grind, practising, waking up. Maybe I will miss it after a while, but in a different way.
“And the travelling, it’s also one thing at the start I definitely won’t miss anymore.”
The Swiss also spent 209 weeks as world number one and has won the season-ending WTA Finals twice in singles, three times in doubles.
She also claimed a 2016 Olympics silver medal in women’s doubles with compatriot Timea Bacsinszky.
“Well, I think now it’s definite,’’ she added. “So it’s different. Because, before, I was like `okay, I walked away’, thinking I might come back, and if I didn‘t, so that was it.
“So, it’s a different way now and I think it’s the right thing to do this time around.”