The Wimbledon-winning ”Swiss Miss” Martina Hingis was one of the most electrifying and successful female tennis players of modern times.
Named after the tennis legend Martina Navratilova she was always destined for greatness!
Known for her on-court finesse and off-the-court frankness, she spent over 200 weeks as World No. 1 and won a staggering five Grand Slam singles titles. Alongside her Wimbledon triumph, she also notched up 3 Australian wins and 1 US Open victory. Legions of fans also saw her victorious in the doubles circuit, winning nine Grand Slam women’s double’s titles.
Her big ambition is to dance like former Strictly champion Alesha Dixon. If choreography comes as quickly to her as dexterity on the courts did then she may just fulfil her goal!
Martina began playing tennis when she was two years old and entered her first tournament at the age of four. In 1993, 12-year-old Martina became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam junior title, the girls’ singles at the French Open. In 1994, she retained her French Open junior title, won the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon, and reached the final of the US Open.
She went on to dominate the women’s game from 1997 to 2001, winning a total of 43 WTA Tour singles titles and 37 WTA doubles titles.
In October 2002 she announced that she planned to take an indefinite break from tennis because of a recurring ligament injury in both her ankles. However, she embarked on a successful comeback in January 2006, finishing 6th in the world rankings. In November 2007 she announced her retirement, still plagued by health problems.
Why did you agree to take part in Strictly?
Well, I love watching dancing. It is a very hard skill to learn. Some of the other players on the tennis circuit have done other versions in different countries. Monica Seles competed in the US version and had a blast. She didn’t make it very far in the competition though. I hope to get further than she did!
The internet has been very useful to me as I’ve looked at all the different dances performed on lots of international versions of the show and that’s given me plenty to think about. It has helped with my education of what is in store for me!
I should be good with the training as I am used to working very hard for many hours to perfect my sport. Discipline is very important when training for tennis competitions and I think this will be the same when preparing for the Saturday dance.
I am really excited by this prospect of wearing many colourful and pretty costumes. I really cannot wait to begin!
Matthew is 35 and is 6’2”. His professional dance partner is Nicole Cutler, with whom he dominated the amateur section, before turning professional and continuing their success. His speciality is Latin American.
Matthew was born in Chelmsford, Essex. His Mother used to compete in 'Old Time' competitions, and when he was eight she suggested that he might want to go along to dance classes. Matthew never looked back.
With Nicole, he went on to dominate the amateur section becoming World, European, UK, International Amateur Champions, 5 time British National Amateur Champions, and 5 times Closed UK Amateur Champions - to name but a few.
Matthew on Strictly
Matthew first took part in Strictly Come Dancing in Series 3, where he was partnered with 'My Family' actress Siobhan Hayes.
In Series 4 Matthew’s partner was Carol Smillie. The pair improved week after week and managed to survive the public vote until the ninth week.
Series 5 was Matthew’s best, winning the show with Alesha Dixon. “Winning Strictly Come Dancing was like a dream come true for me. Alesha was amazing, she had the rare balance of dedication, fun and talent. The whole experience was mad, exciting, exhausting - I loved it!”
Last year, Matthew danced with TV presenter Christine Bleakley. They left the competition in Show 11.