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Tuesday, June 22, 1999 Published at 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK

Sport: Tennis

Hingis prepares to face crowd

Martina Hingis: Controversy over French Open final tantrum

The second day of the Wimbledon championships sees Martina Hingis make her first appearance in a singles match since her controversial French Open final defeat.

The day will also see the start of Boris Becker's final appearance at the championships while Andre Agassi and defending women's champion Jana Novotna are also in action

[ image: Jana Novotna after her Wimbledon win of 1998]
Jana Novotna after her Wimbledon win of 1998
Hingis was booed during the final at Roland Garros in Paris during a lengthy temper tantrum.

The reaction of the Wimbledon crowd to her actions will be intriguing, although she has received the backing of close friend Anna Kournikova.

"This was not something outrageous," said Hingis's doubles partner.

"We've seen something crazy before, like reacting to line calls with John McEnroe or whoever, so I don't think it was something new for tennis - just something new in women's tennis."

No respect - Navratilova

But her actions were criticised by heroine Martina Navratilova.

"She showed great disrespect for Steffi Graf," said the nine-times champion.

"I think she went too far with that underhand serve. She wanted to show off to the crowd.

"I think she was embarrassed to be losing. A few years ago she said Steffi was too old for tennis and there she was losing to her on clay."

Arrested father

Hingis will face another teenager who can probably sympathise with all the criticism.

Australian 16-year-old Jelena Dokic's father was arrested during the Edgbaston tournament in Birmingham two weeks ago.

He had been ejected from the court for over-enthusiastic vocal support when he was arrested outside - for allegedly blocking traffic by lying in the street in protest.

[ image: Agassi: Bidding for another grand slam title]
Agassi: Bidding for another grand slam title
Reigning champion Jana Novotna faces a question-mark over an ankle injury as well as Shi-Ting Wang of Taiwan.

She starts proceedings on Centre Court, before Britain's Chris Wilkinson faces no 11 men's seed Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil, a former French Open champion but decidedly shaky on grass.

French Open champion Andre Agassi will then start his latest bid for a second Wimbledon title when he takes on Andrei Pavel of Romania.

Hingis's match on the other show-court is followed by Italy's Cristiano Caratti, Italy facing men's second seed Patrick Rafter and 1996 champion Richard Krajicek's match with Christian Ruud of Norway.

Becker vs the Brit

But more eyes are likely to be on court no 2 where the crowd will face the dilemma of who to cheer.

[ image: Becker in 1985 aged 17]
Becker in 1985 aged 17
Normally Miles Maclagan would earn their support as Britain's fifth best player.

But few will want to see triple champion Boris Becker end his Wimbledon singles career away from the show-courts.

Becker has been a perennial Wimbledon favourite since smashing his way to the men's title at the age of 17 in 1985.

The 31-year-old is retiring from tennis this year but has got himself back into shape specifically to play one last time in south London.

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