ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association announced today that the doubles pairing of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza has qualified for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. They secured their qualification by winning the Wimbledon doubles title, which marked Mirza’s first Grand Slam doubles title and Hingis’ first Wimbledon title in 17 years.
The Hingis/Mirza partnership began in March of this year and achieved instant success, winning 14-straight matches en route to three successive titles – the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells), Miami Open presented by Itau, and Family Circle Cup (Charleston). These results, in addition to the Wimbledon crown, propelled Mirza to the top of the WTA doubles rankings – the first Indian woman to reach No.1 – and have seen Hingis reach a high of world No.2 following her comeback to tennis. Between them, they have 72 career doubles titles – Hingis boasting 45 career doubles titles and Mirza with 27.
Qualifying as a team for the first time, both players have enjoyed success at the WTA Finals. Mirza will return to Singapore as defending champion, having won the doubles title with Cara Black in 2014. Hingis, meanwhile, has also enjoyed success at the WTA Finals as a two-time singles champion (1998, 2000) and two-time doubles champion (1999 and 2000, both w/Anna Kournikova). Hingis previously participated in the WTA Finals six times, competing in both singles and doubles from 1996-2000, while also qualifying for the season-finale in 2006 in singles. Mirza is the fifth different partner Hingis will compete with at the WTA Finals having also qualified with Helena Sukova (1996), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1997), Jana Novotna (1998) and Kournikova (1999, 2000).
“It is truly a remarkable accomplishment for Sania and Martina to have earned qualification for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global so soon after beginning their partnership,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “I know the fans in Singapore will be very excited to see Sania return as defending champion and welcome Martina back to the WTA Finals for the first time in nine years. With the Road to Singapore Leaderboard now taking shape, it will be an exciting next few months ahead.”
Mirza said she was excited to be returning as defending champion: “For me as an Asian player it’s really exciting to be playing in Singapore. The crowd that supports us is incredible and there’s a great atmosphere at the event. Qualifying for the WTA Finals after winning Wimbledon couldn’t be any more perfect. Martina and I have had some incredible results this season and I’ll do whatever I can to defend my title.”
Hingis added: “Qualifying for the WTA Finals again is a dream come true. When I stopped playing in 2007, I never dreamed of coming back – but returning and now playing for the year-end doubles title is way above my expectations. Since I started playing with Sania it’s been a joy – we always keep fighting and we motivate each other. And now after winning our first Grand Slam on grass, we’re just both so happy.”
Among her notable achievements, Mirza was the first Indian woman to reach the world No.1 doubles ranking; the first to win a WTA singles title; the first to reach the third and fourth rounds of a Grand Slam; the first to surpass $1 million in career prize money; and the first to win a Grand Slam title of any kind when she claimed the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi. She has since added two more mixed doubles titles – 2012 Roland Garros (w/Bhupathi) and 2014 US Open (w/Soares) – in addition to the 2015 Wimbledon doubles title (w/Hingis).
Hingis has also enjoyed a glittering career, winning five Grand Slam singles titles among her 43 career singles titles; 10 Grand Slam doubles titles among her 45 doubles titles; and three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, most recently 2015 Wimbledon (w/Paes). She is one of only six women to have been ranked world No.1 simultaneously in both singles and doubles and achieved a calendar doubles Grand Slam in 1998. The Swiss is also the youngest Grand Slam singles champion of the Open Era (capturing the 1997 Australian Open at 16 years, four months) and is the youngest singles world No.1 of the 20th century, at 16 years, six months.