The problem is Hingis was already on decline by the time she retired. I already mentioned her 2002 results, beatdowns to Hantuchova, Dokic, Dementieva, Myskina (ok this was a 3 setter but a bagel in the final set she ate), a pre prime Petrova, people she would outside of very rare occasion have handled comfortably from 97-2000. So not only was she starting to have alot of trouble with the best power hitters at first (1999-2000) but she was always looking past her prime by 2001, and even more by 2002. She was an early bloomer who hit her all time peak in 1997-1998 so I highly doubt regardless of the field she was winning any slams post 2003. Even the greatest players arent at their best for 10 or 12 years, and Hingis was a very early bloomer. Anyway the field post 2003 wasnt THAT weak, it was nothing like 09-2011 field. She did come back in 2006 and didnt come anywhere near winning a slam, and went 1-11 vs the then top 4 of Henin, Mauresmo, Sharapova, and Clijsters. Even with the Williams AWOL, and much less power type players at the top, she still wasnt a factor at that point. Had she not retired a few years would she have been doing any better in 2006? Who knows, the way she was looking in 2002, she might have needed to break to put in a last respectable year of pro tennis. She actually played better tennis in 06 and early 07 than she did most of 02 after all. The slam winners from 2003-2009 were Henin (7 times), Serena (5 times), Venus (3 times), Mauresmo (2 times), Clijsters (2 times) Sharapova (3 times), Kuznetsova (2 times), Ivanovic (1 time), Myskina (1 times). Hardly a free for all. By far the weakest of that group are Ivanovic and Myskina, Ivanovic who easily beat Hingis in the Canada final in 2006, and Myskina who bageled Hingis in her last match before her first retirement.
Now had Hingis been in her prime of 1997-2000, I agree she would have had a shot to win slams again post 2003, although even then I am not sure how many. The French is likely out with Henin and her own lack of success there even in her prime, maybe she could win in a year like the one Myskina won in, but who knows if she would be as lucky with her peaking moment of form or the draw. Wimbledon is probably out too, there were no weak winners there, and this is by far her worst surface even though she did win that one Wimbledon back in 97, had made marginal impact there in the years since. The U.S Open would be hard with Clijsters in 2005, Sharapova, in 2006, Henin in 2007, Serena in 2008 all playing so well to win, 2004 would have been her best shot there just like the French. Australian Open would have been a good annual shot for prime Hingis probably, nobody played unbelievably well to win there other than to some extent Serena in the 07 final round only, and Sharapova for parts of 2008. This is hypothetical prime Hingis I am speaking of though, so obviously the older, slowed down, regressing Hingis of reality would have had almost no shot of slams post 2003, barring sneaking out out randomly ala Myskina or Ivanovic perhaps.
As for your other points, yes Hingis should have won the 2002 Australian Open for sure, but that would have been her first slam in almost 3 years had she done it. Of the power players we agree she is likely owned by peak Serena (and lets not kid ourselves, Serena is great in many ways, but power is a HUGE part of the reason she would have the edge over Hingis, it is not like Hingis cant match her in many other areas). You are right she hung with prime Venus pretty well, but if your best matchup of the big power guns you are still mostly losing too, even if in tough matches, that doesnt bode well for your chances of slams. Venus was a better matchup for Hingis prime to prime than any of Serena, Davenport, or even Capriati, yet she still usually lost from 2000 onwards, so what are your chances of slams at that point if of the then big 4 the 1 you are doing best against you win 1 of 5 against (their 2000-2002 record), and your best efforts are usually losing in 3 sets. Davenport was a nightmare opponent for her when both were near their best in 98-2000. Capriati once she became a top player again was too, although in her case capatilizing on an already declining Hingis as well. So no she wasnt incompetent vs any power opponent that existed, you are right on that, but the point is once that power group emerged she was never going to come anywhere near her 97-early 99 level of success against where she won 5 of 9 slams, and for someone so young that is hard to cope with mentally. It was to the point another slam victory at any point would be a huge achievement for her, the very fact that probably caused her to suffer that epic choke in the 02 Australian final. In general she declined since with the power hitters it was looking like she was never going to be #1 again and might not even win another slam. Fitness questions and loss of motivation could be part of that too, but dont kid yourself and think her decreasing success vs the power hitters, and her own general decline in her own game and form, wasnt a huge factor in her retiring.
Prime Hingis in 2009-2012 could have won about 8-10 slams I will admit though, so if that is your point I agree. Then again that could be said for a ton of players Other than Serena there is nobody that any past great would fear today, absolutely nobody. Even Sharapova is nothing like her 2004-2008 level, and even then she was no dominant player, but a much more opressive one than today, but is as much or more a factor in a weaker field today.
Last edited by NadalAgassi : 10-02-2012 at 08:49 PM.