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Meet SanTina: Two Great Women, Forming A Great Partnership in Tennis
Sania Mirza is unarguably the most successful female tennis player in India’s history. She currently ranks first in women’s doubles, alongside Swiss player Martina Hingis. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked India’s number one player, in both singles and doubles. They are known for their great partnership in the the game of Tennis.
Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis became the youngest Grand Slam champion and the youngest woman to earn the world’s No. 1 ranking. Together SanTina have become a formidable duo in Tennis.
Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis are that happy tennis partnership in which each brings something unique to the table; they complement each other and visibly enjoy playing together, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. So much greater that they have had a spectacular 2015 playing doubles together: nine titles, including Wimbledon, the US Open and the WTA Finals.
Their success is also about how their skills complement each other. Mirza has always had a fierce forehand. She sends it shooting past opponents, leaving them looking flat-footed. We have seen her patiently hit it crosscourt over and over again, then suddenly rifle it down the line for a screaming winner. Mirza is not big and powerfully built, yet somehow she packs some fearsome power into that forehand.
Sadly for Indians, Mirza never quite made it as a singles player. Several injuries were unexpected obstacles in her career. Besides, at the highest levels of the game, you get found out if you have just the one weapon, especially in singles where you are on your own on court. The rest of Mirza’s game isn’t as stellar as that forehand. Perhaps that explains why the highest she was ever ranked was No. 27, in 2007.
Hingis, on the other hand, is the ultimate touch player who rode her quickness, court sense and intelligent shotmaking all the way to the top of the game. She relies on guile and angles for her shots. She does hammer the ball when she’s at the net and gets the chance for an easy putaway, and she will do it with a shriek of triumph.
She was the queen of women’s tennis in the late 1990s, racking up the titles, including five Slams. In 1997, she was the No. 1 women’s player in the world, something remarkable considering that, at 16, she was really still a young girl. In fact, she won three of the four Grand Slams that year and was the losing finalist at the fourth (the French Open).
And like Mirza, Hingis suffered from a series of injuries. By 2003, she saw the writing on the wall and retired; she was just 22 years old. She did make an attempt to return to pro tennis a few years later, but this time, there was nothing like the success she had had in her late-teens prime.
For both Hingis and Mirza, then, doubles was a natural place for their talents. They had each won doubles titles, women’s and mixed—at the Grand Slams before, with other partners. In fact, Hingis even won Legends titles, for older retired players.
In March 2015, these two women joined forces. Once they did, they must have wondered why they had never done so before. Nine titles came in the next eight months and they are now comfortably the best women’s doubles team in the world.
Watch these two play or at least follow their fortunes—for the joy and skills they bring to the court. But watch also because they have both emerged from tough tests. Hingis once tested positive for a drug. She argued that the amount detected was so small, it was likely that she had inadvertently ingested it. Regardless, she was suspended for two years.
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