I used to think Hingis won Australian Open by luck, got to #1 by luck (like
Sanchez), won 6 straight tournaments by luck (can you believe what I was
thinking?) but after watching the semi-final match between Hingis and
Seles, I hate to admit she can be a great champion. My narrow-mindedness
was due to the fact that I had not actually seen her play a full match
especially against Graf or Seles then.
With Graf injured, Seles not in old form (not an excuse for losing because
it's been obvious), I thought Hingis would have been thrashed had it not
happened to Graf & Seles but now in my opinion it will be a tough fight
among three of them even if all are playing at their peak.
Hingis clearly has no weapon (I don't call great down-the-line shots as
weapon). I define weapon as shots that can consistently throw opponents off
balance when executed; Seles & Graf have huge weapons. However, Hingis is
the most intelligent player who happens to have every kind of shot to
counter each opponent's strength. Plus her anticipation of shots is simply
unbelievable. Graf can beat her easily in 100m, but she can run faster than
Graf to reach the ball. Evidence is obvious against Seles. No matter how
hard Seles hits or to which corner, Hingis somehow seems to be able to run
to retrieve the ball effortlessly and unlike Sanchez (a pure retriever),
she returns the ball smartly usually a winner. That was why Seles was badly
beaten in few occasions. On the other hand I have seen Graf scrambling form
one corner to another trying to retrieve Seles's shots. Hingis manages to
neutralise all Seles's powerful shots no matter at which corner and
eventually returns a moderately-paced shot to a part of the court
unreachable to Seles. Seles can move Graf but she can't actually move
Hingis. From this, I strongly feel that Hingis is more difficult to beat
than Graf for Seles. However, Seles is more difficult to beat than Hingis
for Graf because of Graf's sheer athletism.
Having said it all, Seles has been clearly off-form otherwise I still
believe Seles can beat Hingis as much as she wants to but definitely not as
easily as I used to believe. From Hingis-Seles matches, one could easily
notice how inaccurate Seles's shots had become and her unforced errors were
unbelievable, those killer shots we used to witness years back simply could
not be executed consistently anymore. And her angles were not as wicked.
She had been losing through unforced errors due to her nature of going for
broke. Despite all this she could still get to semi-final in FO. Her future
is still good.
Right now, Hingis is indisputably the best player. And finally I concede
that she is a great champion, she belongs to a league of Court, King,
Evert, Navratilova, Graf, and Seles. It's great for the women's tennis and
I have not written off Graf yet, not yet.