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Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 15:12 UK

Hingis backs Ivanovic for title

Ana Ivanovic
Ivanovic is the women's top seed at Wimbledon

Former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis has backed top seed Ana Ivanovic to triumph at Wimbledon this year.

But the 1997 champion said the retirement of Justine Henin has left a void at the top of the women's game.

Hingis, 27, said: "Confidence-wise you have got to go with Ivanovic after (her win at) the French Open.

"Justine (Henin) has retired and Amelie (Mauresmo) hasn't had a good season, but on grass anybody can beat you on a given day. A lot of it is mental."

Hingis, who beat Jana Novotna to win her only Wimbledon singles title, bemoaned the loss of Henin, who she described as "a little warrior" in a women's game which has become increasingly reliant on strength and power.

Hingis said: "Everyone was shocked to hear about Justine's retirement and her reasons for it. "She was one of the last little warriors out there. She was known for being such a fighter and her decision was so abrupt."

606: DEBATE
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Hingis believes Ivanovic will have the edge in a women's competition made much more open by the retirement of Henin, with the likes of Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters also in serious contention.

Hingis added: "It's been very open for the last couple of years with Justine dominating a little bit then Amelie Mauresmo coming up and winning Wimbledon and looking like she might take control.

"But Maria is always a good player on grass and I think this year there are about four or five players who you could pick to win it. Of course you can never discount the Williams sisters.

"Playing on grass is special but it is never that easy, and that is what makes it so difficult to pick a winner."




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