For two decades, Martina Hingis has been one of the most diverse players on the Tour, claiming five singles Majors and 20 more in the doubles, seven of those in the mixed doubles. The Swiss had won ten of those 25 Majors in Australia, dominating in Melbourne in all three categories and carrying the dearest possible memories from the Melbourne Park ever since 1997 when she was 16!
Hingis grabbed her last trophy at the Australian Open in 2016, retiring a year later and enjoying time off the court with her husband and daughter. Still, Hingis watches tennis whenever she has time and Ashleigh Barty is one of her favorites, praising her unique style and fluidity that separates her from the powerful girls with "boom boom" strokes.
Watching her progress since Barty made a return in 2016, Martina likes her low-key grounded approach, feeling confident about Ashleigh's chances at the upcoming Australian Open where the home star will seek the first title for the Aussies since 1978.
Barty will open the new season in Brisbane and Adelaide before heading to Melbourne for that ultimate test and the quest for the second Major crown.
"Since returning to tennis, Ashleigh became world no. 1 and claimed a Major title, she doesn't have to prove anything to anybody," said Hingis.
"Now, you feel like she is out there because she loves it and enjoys her tennis, that's why the results have come. There's a lot of things she does that's really great, what I love about her game is just her fluidity.
In the past, Barty had all the shots but didn't always use the right things at the right time, which was good enough in juniors but not on the Tour. Now, I think she's found herself; staying grounded now knowing what she wants on the court; I really like the variety in her game.
Ashleigh has all the shots and such a vast repertoire; for me, that's the real tennis and not some boom boom strokes. She is a strong girl with a different style in comparison to what we've seen in the last ten years. I think she can handle the pressure of playing in front of the home fans and perform well in Melbourne."