WTA stands behind Hingis – tentatively

In an update of the Martina Hingis testing-positive-for-cocaine-then-retiring story, the World Tennis Association is standing by its star this week.

Guardedly.

Last week, it was revealed that Hingis came up positive for cocaine in a test conducted last summer at Wimbledon. She followed up that disclosure by calling a press conference and tearfully announcing her retirement from pro tennis. She stated that since fighting the charges would totally consume her life, she decided instead to retire, despite declaring her innocence.

On Sunday, WTA Tour president Stacy Allaster was at the Sony Ericsson Championships, and expressed support for Hingis:

“I personally haven’t seen her, but she’s part of our tennis family, and I’m glad she joined us here,” Allaster said, noting Hingis’ surprise appearance at the event, which she won twice in her career. “Martina was a great champion, a very accomplished athlete. Our sport has been very fortunate to have Ms. Hingis.”

Allaster also stated, however, that the women’s tour would only get involved after doping authorities issue a report on the matter.

“We’ll let that process happen independently, and then, depending on the findings of the tennis anti-doping committee, we’ll be there to support Martina.”

Talk about driving on both sides of the street.

Meanwhile, Justin Henin won the tournament, downing Maria Sharapova 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, in what was the longest three-set final in tourney history. It was Henin’s 10th title of the year and earned her another $1 million, as she became the first woman to pass $5 million in a year’s earnings.

The victory was also Henin’s 25th straight. After losing in the Wimbledon semifinals to Marion Bartoli, she closed the season by winning her last 25 matches. Henin is, ironically, the first player since Hingis to record double-digit victories in a season. Hingis achieved the feat back in 1997.

The Henin-Sharapova championship match took 3 hours and 24 minutes to complete. It was also an impressive performance for Sharapova, who competed in the tournament after a nearly two-month layoff due to a shoulder injury.

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