The two Grand Slam winners will be back where they simply love to be – on the tennis court. For India’s Sania Mirza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) will join hands after a brief respite from the hectic schedule to achieve their new-set goal – to be the World No.1 women’s doubles pair. And, if the mood and the bonhomie between the two is any indication during their visit to Sania Mirza Tennis Academy that is fast nearing completion in Murtuzaguda in Hyderabad, then they clearly mean business.
“I enjoy playing with her. Honestly, the chemistry is excellent for we not just partners on the court but even off it maintain a great relationship,” insists the 26-year-old Sania, the only Indian woman player to win two Grand Slam titles, in a chat at the Academy.
Clearly floored by the magnificent Academy that is coming up, with nine synthetic courts to start with and three more clay courts in the future plans, Bethanie, the 2012 Australian Open mixed doubles title-winner, reciprocates to the feelings of her partner.
“Somehow, I am at home playing with her. Mind you, she is a terrific fighter, never gives up easily. This is the beauty of her game,” points out the 27-year-old American.
Well, that the two enjoyed a special bonding was clearly evident when Bethanie and her husband Justin Sands stayed at Sania’s place, went around the city and even had a glance of the famous Hyderabadi’s Ristretto that is coming up in the posh locality of Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad.
“I would love to see you stay here for a longer duration,” was the gentle request of Sania to her partner which had the latter acknowledge it with all warmth.
“Sure. I love this Academy. A perfect setting for any tennis player and surely would like to spend more time on the court very soon,” Bethanie said even while being inquisitive about the future plans of Sania on the Academy which also include floodlighting in the next phase.
Coming back to the more serious business of WTA Tour, Bethanie believes that Sania has lot more tennis left in doubles right now.
“Our dream is to win a Grand Slam title. Once we do that, we will set new goals to chase,” says the smiling American.
“We know it is a very highly competitive and demanding circuit. But we are preparing with all seriousness to make a huge impact on the tennis world,” says the champion duo.
For his part, Imran Mirza, father of Sania Mirza, says that the Academy will be functional in an informal manner when he is planning to have kids to train on these new courts next month itself to give them a feel of what it is all about. “In all probability, the Academy will be operational in all aspects by April this year,” he says.
By all means, it is obvious that the Mirzas are keen to see that Sania Mirza Tennis Academy will be the final destination of training for the young talent. “The whole idea is to give back something to the sport which made me what I am. And being familiar with the travails in moulding raw talent, we are keen to see that the youngsters don’t suffer for want of that,” says Sania.