Published July 13, 2013
| Sports Network
Newport, RI – Former world No. 1 star and five-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Hingis headed the class for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The other members of the Class of 2013 are Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, Ion Tiriac, and Thelma Coyne Long.
The 32-year-old Hingis entered the Hall in the recent player category, while Drysdale, Pasarell and Tiriac went in as contributors, and the 94-year-old Coyne Long entered in the master player category.
"An accomplished champion and brilliant player, Martina Hingis is one of the all-time greats in our sport," said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. "Were it not for the vision, dedication, and drive to grow the game that Cliff, Charlie, and Ion have all shared, tennis would not be the established, high profile, exciting sport we all know and love today. In addition, we are delighted to honor Thelma Coyne Long and the Master Player enshrinees, all of whom played such an important role in the history of our sport."
The Swiss Hingis was the world No. 1 singles player for 209 non- consecutive weeks and the No. 1 doubles player for 35 non-consecutive weeks. She is in elite company with Martina Navratilova, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters as one of only five players in history to have simultaneously held both the No. 1 singles and doubles ranking.
Hingis captured a total of 15 Grand Slam titles during her career, including nine in women's doubles. Her first major championship came at Wimbledon in 1996, when she partnered with Helena Sukova to win the doubles title at the age of 15 years and 9 months, setting the record for the youngest Grand Slam champion in history.
The "Swiss Miss" was also the youngest woman to reach No. 1 in the singles rankings, doing so in March 1997 at 16 1/2.
In 1997, Hingis captured singles titles at three of the four Grand Slam events -- the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open -- and lost in the final of the French Open. She was honored as the WTA Player of the Year.
Plagued by foot injuries, Hingis retired for a second time in 2007 after receiving a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. She denied ever taking the drug, but did not appeal the penalty.
Hingis finished with 43 singles titles, 37 doubles titles and a singles record of 548-133. She also led Switzerland to its lone Fed Cup final in 1998, which resulted in a loss to Spain.
"Thank you tennis, you gave me the world. And chose to give me a place here for eternity," said Hingis.
The 72-year-old Drysdale was a player in the 1960s and '70s who reached a career-high No. 4 in the world and helped start the ATP Tour, serving as its first president from 1972-74. He has been a tennis announcer for ESPN since the network's first telecast of the sport, a United States-Argentina Davis Cup matchup in 1979.
The 69-year-old Pasarell was also a fine player. He was a former college champion at UCLA and a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team before helping to grow the sport. Like Drysdale, he was a key figure at the ATP's inception. Pasarell also had a long association with the combined men's and women's tournament at Indian Wells, Calif.
And following his own playing career, which included the 1970 French Open men's doubles title, the 74-year-old Tiriac has held prominent roles as a coach, player manager and tournament promoter. His most famous client was fellow Hall-of-Famer Boris Becker.
Coyne Long was a female player who dominated Australian tennis from the mid-1930s to the 1950s. She captured the Australian Championships twice in singles, in 1952 and 1954, and was a four-time runner-up. The Sydney native piled up 13 doubles titles at the Aussie Championships from 1936-58 and was also a four-time mixed doubles champion there. She also tallied a mixed title at the 1956 French Championships.