Martina and Monica team up for doubles

Anna Kournikova is on the look out for a new partner – after her doubles relationship was brought to an abrupt end by Martina Hingis.

Hingis claimed on Sunday that the split was due to her need for greater “independence” and a need to “concentrate” on her singles career.

But the Swiss 20-year-old confirmed that she will be teaming up with Monica Seles for the women’s doubles at the Australian Open in January – the tournament Hingis won with Kournikova two years ago.

The pair have enjoyed a profitable on-court relationship since then, and had also forged a close friendship on the WTA Tour as well.

However, they were involved in a public bust-up during an exhibition singles match in Chile earlier this month.

The row erupted over a disputed line call, with Kournikova happy to concede the point and Hingis determined to argue the matter with the umpire.

Kournikova was said to be in tears after the incident.

Pioneering t-shirt

Most observers believe the rift runs deeper than that, but Hingis, after enjoying a successful start to the new season with victory over Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn in the Hopman Cup in Perth, said: “I would like to be more independent now.

“This is going to be a big year for me on the singles Tour, and I want to concentrate on that side of my career.

“It has nothing to do with Anna, but I don’t want or need a regular doubles partner anymore, although I will keep playing doubles when I can. “Monica and I are teaming up for the Open, which will be a great experience for me.”

Hingis sported another change on her return to action in Perth – a pioneering t-shirt with the right sleeve longer than the left.

“The extra material on my sleeve helps keep my hitting arm warm,” she said.

“You need to use any extra advantage available to you if you want to keep ahead of the rest.”