Doctor: Hingis injuries may be career-threatening

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The Independent Online

Former world number one Martina Hingis may have to give up tennis because of joint injuries, her doctor said yesterday.

Dr Heinz Buehlmann told private Radio 24 that Hingis, 21, is suffering severe pain in her feet, left knee and left hip which had forced her to stop training although she was able to ride a bicycle.

She is undergoing tests, and the results could prove serious, Buehlmann said. "We have to see how far the inflammation in the joints already has led to arthrosis," he told the radio.

"We cannot yet say how sensible it would be for her to continue her career or whether an end to it would be advisable on medical grounds."

Results are expected by the end of the week, Buehlmann said. Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor, confirmed to the radio that her daughter was undergoing tests in the private Bethanienheim clinic in Zurich.

She said the damage may have been caused by the shoes that Hingis wore for tennis from the age of 11 until three years ago.

Hingis missed the German Open last week and the Italian Open this week. Molitor said that it was unlikely her daughter would compete in the French Open, one of the four major tournaments of the year.

Last June, Hingis filed a $40 million lawsuit against Italian sportswear manufacturer Sergio Tacchini, with whom she had a five–year sponsorship deal. She claimed that she had been provided with "defective" shoes "unsuitable for competition," forcing her to withdraw from several tournaments.

Sergio Tacchini said the claims had been made only so Hingis could avoid paying damages for breaching her contract with the company.