Friday, December 29, 2006

Martina Hingis confirms Engagement to Radek

Martina Hingis says that Czech tennis player Stepanek Radek proposed to her in Prague last month. The couple are seen here arriving for the Swiss premiere of the James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' in Zurich on Nov. 16.


Tennis stars Martina Hingis and Radek Stepanek are to get married, the Swiss former world number one has announced.

Hingis told a news conference that the pair had got engaged last month but that no-one had noticed her ring in Switzerland.

"I was surprised when it was spotted right away [in Australia] because in Switzerland I've been walking around for a month and no-one's said anything," she said in reference to her diamond engagement ring.

"I guess people here pay more attention to things."

Hingis returned to competitive tennis this year after four years away from the sport and has shown glimpses of her previous dominant form.

She ended the season as the seventh-ranked woman in the world, claiming titles in Rome and Kolkata and reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian and French Opens.

Before her premature retirement in 2002, after a spate of injuries, Hingis has picked up five grand slam titles, including at Wimbledon in 1997 and the Australian Open for three successive years between 1997 and 1999.

Stepanek, 28, has not played since Wimbledon this summer because of a neck injury and is currently ranked 19th in the world.

He caused a storm in his native Czech Republic when he announced his retirement from his country's Davis Cup side earlier this month.

A statement from the Czech tennis federation said he had "unequivocally confirmed that he is completely indifferent to playing for the Czech Republic and that he despises Czech tennis, his team-mates, officials and Czech tennis fans".

Another Report

Hingis Engaged To Stepanek; No Wedding Date Set Yet

Newly-engaged Martina Hingis is intent on making an Australian Open run; the three-time Australian Open champion has not yet set a date for a walk down the aisle.

Hingis arrived in Australia with a new sparkle and reason to smile. The 26-year-old Hingis hit the practice court in Queensland on Tuesday sporting a sparkling diamond ring that is more than an accessory to her adidas attire.

The former serial-dating Swiss is engaged to boyfriend Radek Stepanek. The couple have not yet set a date for their wedding.

A Hingis representative told Tennis Week today the five-time Grand Slam champion is engaged, confirming published reports in the Australian media.

"She is engaged," the representative told Tennis Week. "No date has been set for the next steps."

The seventh-ranked Hingis, who is the top seed at the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourt Championships, which start on Sunday, did not speak to the media or publicly comment on her engagement earlier this week, however Wednesday's edition of The Herald Sun reports a happy Hingis "chatted to tour regulars about her engagement."

It is the first engagement for Hingis, who has established a reputation as a tennis temptress. Hingis has dated tennis players in the past including Justin Gimelstob, Julian Alonso, Ivo Heuberger and former French Open finalist Magnus Norman prompting Sports Illustrated, in a 2001 issue, to nickname Hingis "Tennis' Black Widow" as all four of those players suffered injuries after their liasons with Hingis, suggesting she may be to tennis players what the Sirens were to Ulysses: an alluring and perilous presence. Hingis also dated Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia and former Florida prosecutor Chris Calkin, who was the assistant state attorney in Florida's Dade County and presented the case against Hingis stalker Dubravko Rajcevic resulting in his conviction in 2001.

The six-time Australian Open finalist, who was born in Slovakia and is of Czech descent, has reportedly known Stepanek since the pair were junior players.

The 28-year-old Stepanek, who has been sidelined with a back injury since he bowed to Jonas Bjorkman in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, is the fourth seed in next week's Next Generation Invitational in Adelaide. Stepanek will not represent the Czech Republic when it hosts the United States in the first-round Davis Cup tie set for February 9-11

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