Hingis expected to announce retirment

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BERNE, Switzerland, Nov 1 (Reuters) Former world number one Martina Hingis is expected to announce her retirement from professional tennis for a second time today, after struggling to recover from a string of injuries and health problems.

Hingis's advisors have convened a media conference for later today, at the same hotel outside of Zurich where the player confirmed her return to the sport in December 2005.

Hingis, 27, called an early end to her season last month following difficulties with her hip, saying she would take ''as much time as it needs to get fully fit again''.

The Swiss media has subsequently been full of reports that the five-times Grand Slam champion is set to hang up her racket for good.

The Czechoslovakian-born Swiss, who won many fans for her graceful and tactical style of tennis, first announced her retirement in 2003 after failing to overcome a series of ankle injuries.

Following her return to the tour, Hingis surprised her doubters by winning three more titles and ending 2006 as the world number seven.

Even with her current injury problems, she is ranked 19th in the world.

Reuters AB RN1801

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