Hingis is back.
I like Hingis for the same reason I like Federer - she plays tennis.
I know - she had the maturity of a 12 year old when she quit in a huff because the Williams sisters were beating up on her. I know, she threw tantrums on the court. I know she made excuses for everything that ever went wrong.
I don't care.
She has more strokes than, "hit it harder," and more ideas than, "hit it even harder." She spins the ball, she drops it, she places it, she will even moon-ball it. She needs the power to hit back at the Williams's, Davenport, and their ilk, but she is capable of finding that weakness in their games and exploiting it. I know she can.
She just needs to face her demons.
She has mental troubles when she is on the court. She likes to play from in front, and when she is behind a Williams-type player, she begins to doubt herself.
Take a quick look at Anna Kournikova. You know how she never made a splash in a major, right? She was all looks, and no tennis, right? Did you know she was the world's #1 doubles player for quite while, and that she was the strong half of the team?
Her mind feeds on itself.
Singles is a very lonely sport, and much more so when things quit working. You are out there on the court, alone, and the ball is not doing what it does in practice. No, instead it is doing what it always does when you are having a meltdown. That ball just keeps sailing and falling. Deep. Net. Wide. In your mind, the conversation begins, right where it left off last time you drummed yourself off the court. The conversation is already half over before you notice it is eating your mind away.
A doubles player looks at his (or her) partner and says something stupid, and he says something stupid back. The demon conversation is over.
A singles player says something smart to himself. You don't have time to be stupid when you are out there alone, watching the match slipping away. But saying something smart doesn't end the conversation. You're dying out there, and you know it.
On a really good day, I quit thinking. I just feel my body uncoil itself and wrap itself around the ball, grab it with the racket, and set it anywhere on the court my subconscious desires.
Then two or three balls sail long, when they should have gone for easy points.
When the conversation starts, instead of feeling my body, I feel that little spot on the handle of the racket just past my forefinger - just out of my reach. I can't play from my bellybutton any more. I have to play from WAAAAAaaaayyyyy out there past my finger tips. I swing the racket, and I hope that I can put the head of the racket somewhere near the ball, and I aim for the center of the court. It's like writing in cursive without letting either hand touch the paper. You can do it, but every shot is filled with fear.
It's called choking.
Kournikova never had the whole game. I sympathize with her, but never cared to watch her play. Hingis has got it all, plus my sympathy vote.