On this day: Martina Hingis crashes out of Wimbledon

Fourteen years ago today, 16-year-old Jelena Dokic knocked number one seed Martina Hingis out of Wimbledon.

Ordinarily, when an 18-year-old is knocked out of Wimbledon in the opening round, there are no massive headlines.

However, back in 1999, it was not just any teenager who had fallen at the first hurdle. Two years earlier and just short of her 17th birthday, Martina Hingis had taken the tennis world by storm when she became the youngest singles champion at Wimbledon since Lottie Dod in 1887 by beating Jana Novotna in the final.

In fact, 1997 would end with further success at the Australian and US Opens, which in turn elevated Switzerland's rising star to the top of the world rankings.

Jelena Dokic plays a shot against Martina Hingis at Wimbledon.© PA Photos

She had been unable to repeat that feat a year later, but still went into the 1999 event at SW19 regarded as the best player around and a big favourite to win the title.

First up was 16-year-old Jelena Dokic - a qualifier who was ranked 129 and had been born in Croatia but represented Australia. She had been given, quite frankly, little chance of toppling Hingis.

What followed, though, nobody had expected. Dokic simply blew Hingis off the court, winning 11 straight games to wrap up a 6-2 6-0 victory in just 54 minutes. It is still considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of Wimbledon.

Jelena Dokic celebrates beating Martina Hingis.© PA Photos

Some put it down to the absence of Hingis's mother Melanie. As the right-hander had risen to stardom, the pair had enjoyed a close relationship. Things had become increasingly strained, though, culminating in Hingis's meltdown at the French Open just a fortnight before her match with Dokic.

"We have decided to have a little bit of distance and work a little bit more on our private lives," Hingis explained after her early Wimbledon exit. "I want to be more independent, to make decisions about the way I train, and the way I do things, not having somebody else telling me what do do."

Little did we know at the time, but Hingis would never win a Wimbledon title again. What's more, at the age of just 18, she would also fail to pick up another Grand Slam.

Laura Robson
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