‘I want this Academy to be the hub of tennis not just in Hyderabad but in all of Asia,’ says the two-time Grand Slam winner

It’s all love-all serve at Sania Mirza Tennis Academy. And to the delight of the first batch of young talent which assembled to get a feel of the Academy before its formal inauguration at the end of next month, India’s best-ever women’s tennis player Sania Mirza donned the role of a coach, albeit briefly.

“Oh! It is a wonderful feeling to share whatever you know about the game and the thoughts and experiences having played with the best across the world,” exclaimed 26-year-old Sania in an exclusive chat with The Hindu after a stint with the ‘future’ star players.

“I want this Academy to be the hub of tennis activity not just in Hyderabad but for the entire sub-Continent and Asia,” says the excited champion who redefined the levels of excellence in tennis by an Indian woman player.

For the love of sport

“I keep telling parents that let the kids play the sport for the love of it and enjoy. If one starts playing it with an eye on the fame and name, then things might go awry, however talented one is. The passion has to be complemented with hard work, commitment,” reminds Sania.

Dream project

“It is great to see kids turn up at this Academy, which has been my dream project for so long. Honestly, when we started off, we never expected it to turn out to be of this scale,” says Sania about the project which has nine synthetic courts right now.

Everything is in place for the formal inauguration and there were quite a few players like Amreen, Sharmeen, Adam and Ganesh, who were trying to master the nuances of the sport.

“Essentially, this Academy caters to each category of players from under-14 to under-50 years differently. Since we have nine courts, time slots will not be a factor and the players should really enjoy the whole ambience,” says the two-time Grand Slam winner about the Academy, located at Murtuzaguda - a 20-minute drive from the posh Jubilee Hills locality.

“Yes, we are waiting for a couple of foreign coaches (some Hyderabad-based coaches are already on the job) before we make the formal launch of the Academy,” insists Imran Mirza, father-cum-mentor of the ace tennis player.

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