Sania Mirza may have lost the title but she won many a heart at the French Open
True to her character, 24-year-old Sania Mirza kept her date with history by becoming the first-ever Indian woman to enter a women's doubles (partnering Elena Vesnina) Grand Slam final in the French Open. Unfortunately, she tripped at the final hurdle, missing a chance to clinch India's maiden women's doubles Grand Slam title.
“We were beaten but not disgraced. Remember, clay has never been my favourite surface and to come this far in the French Open is something I will remember for a long, long time,” says a contented Sania.
The gutsy Hyderabadi has every reason to feel proud, having reached World No. 58 rank, thanks to her French Open performance, and from World No. 166 only last December. More importantly, Sania and Vesnina are now placed third in the race for the WTA World championship doubles team event by virtue of their recent impressive run on the circuit .
“It is very natural to feel the excitement. It would have been really great to win another Grand Slam (she was the first Indian woman player to win a Grand Slam title, partnering Mahesh Bhupathi in the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles),” she adds. Sania has now set her eyes beyond the French Open. “If I am injury-free and keep improving, then I should look for more titles,” she says with a smile. Like all champions, the Hyderabadi gives complete credit to the unseeded Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka for winning the title (6-4, 6-3). “They have played really well and deserved the title. Seedings at this level have very little bearing on the result of the match,” Sania points out with a touch of grace.
Sania may have lost the doubles final, but she clearly won the hearts and imagination of the tennis fraternity. There was a beeline of OB vans of various TV channels outside her residence on the night she played the final. Reason? Just to get her mother Naseema's response. The Sania Mirza caravan rolls on in the world of tennis.
Keywords: French Open 2011