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Hingis aims to start comeback in Australia

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Zurich (dpa) - Five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis said Saturday she is planning to start her comeback to tennis after three years away with next month's tournaments in Australia.

Four days after revealing that she plans to return to the game that she dominated in the mid-to-late 1990s, the 25-year-old Swiss spelled out her plans.

Hingis quit in October, 2002, due to foot and ankle injuries - and there are no guarantees that the same problems won't return.

"With every job, you have to be willing to pay some kind of price," said the winner of three straight Australian Opens 1997-1999.

"You have to be willing to play with pain to a certain level. The question is how much can you take." The Swiss will be in close contact with her doctor to monitor the stress on her problem areas.

"It's absolutely possible that that problem will come back one day," said Dr. Heinz Buehlmann. "It all depends on how many tournaments she will play, it depends on the training."

Hingis has already been promised a wild card entry in the Australian Open starting January 16. She is currently pondering an earlier start with possible entries into a New Year's Hong Kong exhibition event or the WTA tournament on Australia's Gold Coast.

"It's going to be great," said Hingis. "The goal at this moment is to be able to participate at that level." The player tested the waters in a one-off appearance at a minor WTA event in Thailand early this year, losing in the first round and saying she was not embarking on a comeback.

She owns 40 singles titles and 36 career doubles crowns. She won three of the four majors in 1997, losing the French Open final to Iva Majoli.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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