Sania Mirza Martina Hingis create history win Wimbledon Women Doubles Final


Martina Hingis has waited 17 years – half her life – to add to her three Wimbledon titles. The wait is over after a topsy-turvy, tooth-and-nail women’s doubles final in which the 34-year-old Swiss and her partner, India’s Sania Mirza, defeated the formidable Russian pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

The match started on Centre Court in bright sunshine and finished under the roof and floodlights, two and a half hours later, with Hingis and Mirza finally prevailing 5-7, 7-6, 7-5. Hingis may have won bigger individual prizes but the way that she and Mirza bunny-hopped around the court after coming through match point, finishing with a celebratory arse-bump, suggested that few victories have given her such satisfaction.

“It feels like it was in another life,” said Hingis, reflecting on those previous titles. “But 17 years, usually you’re lucky to win it once or happy to be out here and play on the Wimbledon grounds. It’s above my expectations.”

Mirza was making history of her own: she became the first Indian woman to win a grand slam event. “It means everything to be here today,” she said. “To come out at Wimbledon Centre Court and have the whole crowd behind you is pretty incredible. But I think for me, as an Indian, I’m in Little India here. There are so many Indians in England. Thankfully there are a lot of us everywhere, but in England especially I’ve always had amazing support.”

It was, to be frank, a match that Hingis and Mirza, the No1 seeds, rarely looked like winning. For most of it Makarova and Vesnina, the No2 seeds, were powerful and merciless. Vesnina, who announced each involvement in a rally with a glass-shattering shriek, smashed volleys as if they had personally insulted her, while Makarova served faultlessly, at least until she had to do so to win the match at 5-3 in the final set.

Doubles tennis, by its nature, is collaborative but it was hard for this final not to be dominated by the narrative of one person with a long, complex history at SW19. Almost inconceivably, Hingis won her first Wimbledon prize, the girls’ singles title, as a precocious 13-year-old in 1994. She first claimed the senior doubles title two years later, aged 15, and then won her one and only singles championship here the following summer. Her last significant victory at Wimbledon came in the women’s doubles in 1998, when she was partnered by Jana Novotna.

It has certainly been an eventful decade and a half since then. Hingis retired, for the first time, in 2003, aged 22, after a pair of ankle surgeries, first on her right, then her left. She announced she wanted to spend more time horse riding, maybe even patch up an education fractured by an adolescence on the tennis circuit. Hingis returned in 2005, rose to the world’s top 10 again but then tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon in 2007. The amount was minuscule – and she still denies taking anything – but she was banned for two years.

The third coming of Hingis – “no longer a spring chicken,” as she said recently – has been as a doubles specialist since 2013. And she has clearly lost none of her skill at the net and astute reading of the game: with Flavia Pennetta, she reached the final of the US Open in 2014, losing to Makarova and Vesnina; she then won the mixed doubles final of this year’s Australian Open with India’s Leander Paes.

“I had one comeback when I came back in singles, now another one in doubles,” said Hingis. “I always believed in it. Without that you can’t come out here and play and compete at this level. I always felt like I had one of the best volleys in the world, one of the best backhands in the world, so you got to believe in something if you want to win.”

Hingis, who was obviously drained by a long fortnight at Wimbledon, will be reunited with Paes on Sunday afternoon in the mixed doubles final against Austria’s Alexander Peya and Hungary’s Timea Babos. One of the most unexpected stories in tennis is set to have another chapter.


Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.