Freak infant tennis prodigy. In a firmament unhealthily littered with prepubescent prodigies, Martina Hingis takes the rusk. The youngest ever Grand Slam champion, Hingis is now World Number One at the tender age of 18. Has a mother so phenomenally pushy that she named her offspring after world champion Martina Navratilova. And even more enjoyably, the whiz kidlet threw a wobbly at last week's French Open. Described as "petulant" in a series of "disgraceful scenes", Hingis was fined for unsporting behaviour and booed by the crowd. What larks, by Jove! A teenage temper tantrum is just the ticket for livening up a goody-goody genius. Now we might even tune in. Watch out for Wimbledon, where we can expect either glorious mishaps worthy of John McEnroe, or a boring old victory for the World Number One.
Advert for gum shields. Vanessa Paradis's younger, plainer sister. East European ice skater who's just discovered designer clothes. Dish- faced show pony covered in rosettes.
Mother Melanie Molitor handed our heroine a sawn-off racket when she was two, and proceeded to hit balls at her every day. Wouldn't Social Services have something to say? By five, Slovak-born Swiss resident Hingis was playing competitive tennis, and became Wimbledon's youngest champion at 15. "Since I was in her stomach, she was thinking I was going to be a great tennis player," explains the great tennis player. Martina is known as the Smiling Assassin. She has a $10m endorsement deal with Sergio Tacchini, a husky giggle, and an ex-stepfather called Andreas Zogg.
Oh, and Martina likes sushi, ponies, Celine Dion and Miss Saigon. German star Anke Huber: "Without her mother, I don't think she'd play tennis. She'd be off riding her horse." The plot thickens. A little. And so, we hope, do the tantrums.
At the French Open, she was accused of racket abuse, climbed on to the umpire's chair, initiated a "tactical" toilet break and indulged in a protest sit-in on the court. "This tournament was the only one missing in my collection," explains the petulant one. Excellent, Ms Hingis.
A teenage pregnancy, a nervous breakdown, or a brush with the law would liven things up still further. Win Wimbledon if you must, Martina, but do us a favour and keep up the unsporting behaviour.Reuse content