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Busted Racquet

YouTube Classic: Hingis nearly defaults against Graf in French final

Busted Racquet

Wimbledon and the Davis Cup are finished and the start of the US Open Series is still a week away. To pass the time, Busted Racquet will be taking a daily look back at some classic matches via YouTube. Today, we examine the bizarre 1999 French Open final between 30-year-old Steffi Graf and 18-year-old Martina Hingis.

1. Hingis was up a set and a break on Graf when she hit a ball wide. The world No. 1 asked the chair umpire to check the mark. Then the craziness began:

2. Hingis received a point penalty for walking to the other side of the net. She also received warnings during the match for racquet abuse and slamming a ball into the crowd. Commentators on Eurosport wondered whether she'd be defaulted from the tournament for her behavior.

3. The French crowd was pro-Steffi the whole way and Hingis' antics only made them more vocal. Hingis lost the game at 2-0 but broke back to lead 3-1. She gave up that lead and eventually lost the set.

4. Before the decider, both players took a bathroom break. While Hingis was off the court, the crowd at Roland Garros chanted for Graf and did the wave. Hingis emerged from the locker room with a new outfit and hairstyle and was roundly booed for the delay/fashion change. She quickly went down 0-3.

5. Facing double match point in the third set, Hingis served underhanded, a moment I still insist was the inspiration for Richie Tenenbaum's similar move in "The Royal Tenenbaums." (The clip below begins at Hingis' serve and extends to the conclusion.)

6. Hingis stormed off the court before returning for the trophy ceremony. She was in tears and being comforted by her mother.

7. Graf hadn't won a Grand Slam since the 1996 US Open. After defeating Hingis, she announced that it was the last French Open of her career. She retired the next month following a loss to Lindsay Davenport in the finals of Wimbledon.

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