By Martyn Herman
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – They should make a movie out of Martina Hingis’s tennis career.
First the meteoric rise, five grand slam singles titles while still a teenager, the world number one ranking and her dazzling smile adorning magazine covers around the world.
Then there were the accidents, injuries, relationship bust-ups, retirements, two comebacks and a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine in 2007.
Older and wiser, the former Swiss Miss added another line to an already rich plot on Sunday when, 20 years after playing in her only previous Games in Atlanta, she added an Olympic medal to her collection in Rio.
It was not the color Hingis wanted as she and partner Timea Bacsinszky were beaten to gold in a 6-4 6-4 defeat by Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina and there were plenty of tears shed at the end.
But a while later the 35-year-old, who came out of retirement for a second time in 2013 and has won three grand slam doubles titles to add to the nine she managed earlier in her career, reflected on her achievement.
“I think if you asked me 10 years ago if I would be here in Rio, I would say you’re crazy because I didn’t play for six years and being able to play for gold is unbelievable,” she told reporters.
“Of course, you are a little disappointed (not to win gold), but looking back it’s been an incredible journey,” added Hingis, who had hoped to partner Roger Federer in a dream mixed doubles match-up until he was forced out by injury.
The Swiss, who recently announced that she had split with doubles partner Sania Mirza, said the tears were a mixture of joy and relief after a tension-packed week in which herself and Bacsinszky had saved two match points in the semi-final.
“We are there together to fight through thick and thin. We are one team, we made it on the court this far and I think we were very emotional in general,” she said. “If it doesn’t touch you at the Olympic Games, where does it touch you?”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)