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Shocked Hingis denies cocaine use, retires under a cloud

Glattbrugg, Switzerland - Five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis retired under a cocaine-test cloud on Thursday, with the Swiss saying the only drug she ever utilised was her love for tennis.



Shocked Hingis denies cocaine use, retires under a cloud

The tearful 27-year-old denied any illegal cocaine use as she announced her second retirement from the game, revealing a positive drugs test taken at Wimbledon.

"I'm 100 per cent sure I took nothing," said the 27-year-old. "I'm frustrated and angry."

The Swiss said that while A and B urine tests came back positive for cocaine in her case, a hair strand test ordered by her side was negative.

"I didn't want to go through a long drawn-out process of trying to clear my name with the anti-doping authorities so I'm returning," she told a media conference, refusing to take any questions on the advice of lawyers.

"But this is not the only reason. It's not worth it if I can't return to the Top ten or challenge for Grand Slam titles."

The Hingis management later said in a statement that the player decided to reveal the news because the accusations were "so horrendous, so monstrous."

It added: "I would personally be terrified of taking drugs. When I was informed I was shocked and appalled."

The former teenaged prodigy who won five grand Slam titles before the age of 20, had been the subject of speculation about her competitive future since suffering this year with hip and back problems since the spring.

The Swiss had not played since losing in Beijing in the second round in September and had said on October 11 she would end her season early in order to try and heal.

She first retired from the game in autumn, 2002, due to foot and ankle injuries, but returned in a surprise move in January, 2006.

During her less than two years back she won titles in Rome, Kolkota and Tokyo.

The WTA said it had not received any official information regarding the positive doping test result to which Hingis referred.

"We are not in a position to comment on the matter," CEO Larry Scott in a statement.

"However, it is important to remember that in the area of anti- doping, all players are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

"The Tour has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to doping in sport, and fully supports the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme. The Tennis Anti-Doping programme is both rigorous and comprehensive, and is designed to keep our sport clean."

Scott called Hingis "a tremendous champion and a fan favourite the world over.

"In her most recent comeback, she proved again that she can perform at the very highest levels of the game.

"Martina will always be respected for not only having achieved the number one ranking, her five Grand Slam singles titles, nine Grand Slam women's doubles titles and two WTA Championships titles, but just as much for her incredible touch, on-court intelligence and off- court professionalism."  Her 43rd title came last February in Tokyo.

|Hingis, who is currently ranked 19th, dominated the sport in her heyday, rising to number one on March 31, 1997.

She topped the rankings for a total 209 weeks and won five Grand Slam titles: Australian Open 1997, 1998 and 1999 as well as Wimbledon and the US Open in 1997.

She missed a Grand Slam that year when she lost the French Open final to Croatia's Iva Majoli.//dpa


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