April 18, 2015 / 5:38 PM / 4 years ago

Returning Hingis loses Fed Cup tie in courageous effort

ZIELONA GORA, Poland (Reuters) - Martina Hingis has no plans of returning to play singles on the women’s tour after a courageous performance in a Fed Cup defeat by Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday in her first major match in eight years.

Martina Hingis of Switzerland speaks after she played an exhibition tennis match with with Himari Sato, an 11-year-old Japanese tennis player, at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

The 15-time grand slam winner was persuaded to make her singles comeback because of injuries in the Switzerland team for the World Group playoff against Poland.

The 34-year-old reckoned she had savored her emergency return, as she brought back memories of her teenage pomp in a thrilling 48-minute first set before capitulating 6-4 6-0 to world number nine Radwanska after 76 enjoyable minutes.

Yet despite proving to herself, with some splendid tennis in the opening set, she can still compete with the best, Hingis, who only plays doubles on tour, was all smiles when reporters suggested she was good enough to consider a return to singles.

“The possibility is always there but I know previously I’m not prepared to do this,” she said. “That’s why I decided to play here because I know it’s only over two days so that it’s not something I shouldn’t be able to manage.

“But to play week after week and five days in a row in a tournament, I know right now I’m not in the shape or capable of doing this.”

Hingis faded in the second set but, after Timea Bacsinszky beat Urszula Radwanska 6-2 6-1 to level the tie at 1-1, Hingis said she would do whatever it took to play two matches on Sunday if needed — a singles against Urszula Radwanska and a doubles — to help Switzerland win in her first Fed Cup tie for 17 years.

“I will have three days off afterwards so it doesn’t matter if I have to go those three days in hospital!” she laughed.

Half a step slower in the second set, Hingis only won 11 points as Radwanska relaxed and upped her game.

The Pole, though, was impressed by her old idol, saying she believed the Swiss, who was making her Fed Cup comeback to be eligible to compete at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, could still play at the highest level in singles if she chose.

Editing by Ken Ferris

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