Swiss Martina Hingis’s hot favorite is to win this year's title for the women’s French Open, according to her leading rival Lindsay Davenport.
"She is again the favorite this year," said Davenport of her arch-rival Hingis, who climbed back into the world number one ranking past the American this week.
"Martina wants the French more than anything else, everyone knows that, and I don't think she'll lose her temper like last year," Wimbledon champion Davenport told the French sports daily L'Equipe.
The French Open, which starts on Monday, is the only Grand Slam title to have so far eluded the precocious 19-year-old Swiss player.
Last year Hingis came desperately close to beating Steffi Graf in the final, but her temperament - and her temper - let her down and she was beaten in a flood of tears and acrimony.
"Martina has already won the three other Grand Slams several years ago and wants the fourth badly," said Australian Open champion Davenport.
The American is still troubled by a back injury and has pulled out of this week's Madrid WTA Tour event to give her time to recover. She is also not as much at home on clay as faster services and has never triumphed in Paris.
And she does not rank her chances in this year's tournament. "I can't believe I have a real chance to win. Martina wanted the title last year, she wants it even more this year, she will do everything to win," said 23-year-old Davenport.
Davenport nevertheless said she was going into this year's tournament with confidence.
"I built so much confidence last year and over the past six months that anything can happen at the French," she said.
"I have not been so bad here as I have lost to the future winner for the past two years. Everything depends on conditions. If I play really well, I will be hard to stop,” -- PARIS (AFP)
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