Roger Federer, Martina Hingis to play Rio Olympic mixed doubles

Roger Federer, Martina Hingis
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Roger Federer said Friday that he will play mixed doubles with Martina Hingis at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Mixed doubles rejoined the Olympic program for 2012 for the first time since 1924, and the Swiss duo discussed going for the London debut but opted against it.

“[Hingis] has approached me [for 2016], and I said I’d give it some thought,” Federer, who turns 35 on the first Monday of the Rio Olympics, said March 10. “The problem is, I don’t know how I play singles, doubles, mixed [doubles] within an eight-day period [at the Olympics]. To try to win them all, it’s like 15 matches in eight days [15 in nine days in London 2012]. You tell me how that works. I don’t [know]. I have to figure out things and what my priority is at the end of the day.”

Federer and Hingis’ Olympic careers haven’t overlapped yet.

Hingis, then 15, was the second-youngest singles player at the Atlanta 1996 Games, behind Anna Kournikova, and lost in the second round.

She then won five Grand Slam singles titles, skipped the Sydney 2000 Olympics to avoid injury risk, was retired during the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and not playing WTA Tour events in 2012.

Federer and Hingis played together and won at the 2001 Hopman Cup, a team indoor event in Australia.

“She was, I guess, some say a hero of mine, seeing her on the tour, basically when I was still not knowing what I was doing on the tennis court,” Federer, who played in the last four Olympics but hasn’t won Olympic singles gold, said March 10. “She was already winning Wimbledon and all of those things. It was unbelievable to watch. I’ll obviously give it [mixed doubles in Rio] some thought because I have a lot of respect for her.”

Hingis asked both Federer and Federer’s 2008 Olympic doubles champion partner, Stan Wawrinka, about playing mixed doubles in Rio, reportedly asking Federer first.

Hingis then said Sept. 11 that she would wait for the men to decide who she would play with in Rio.

This year, the 35-year-old Hingis won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open mixed doubles with Indian Leander Paes. She’s the first woman to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in one year since Martina Navratilova in 1985.

Only one female Olympian has gone longer between Olympic appearances than Hingis’ potential 20-year gap — U.S. equestrian Jessica Newberry-Ransehousen (from 1964 to 1988), according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon of OlympStats.com.

The overall record is held by Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, who went 44 years from 1964 to 2008.

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