The French Open final loss is hard to swallow, admits Sania Mirza, but the Indian tennis ace also has a sense of immense satisfaction at finishing runners-up in the women’s doubles event, given the way she was struggling for form and fitness a few months ago.
“A loss is a loss at any stage and initially it hurts. But when I look at where my career was a while back, there is a feeling of immense satisfaction at what I have managed to achieve,” Sania, who was battling a career-threatening wrist injury not so long ago, told PTI from Paris.
A second Grand Slam title slipped out of her hands when she lost the French Open final, along with Russian partner Elena Vesnina. The Indian star said, the strong wind throughout the clash was a major factor but lauded her rivals for overcoming the adverse conditions better than them.
Sania and Elena lost the final 4-6 3-6 to unseeded Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, yesterday. The Czechs were the sixth unseeded pair in 30 years to win a Grand Slam.
Both the pairs committed numerous unforced errors but the Czech girls put on slightly better show which was instrumental in their win.
While Sania-Elena’s first serve percentage was 54, it was 61 for rivals. Winning percentage for both the first and second serve was less than 50 percent for the Indo-Russian duo.
The only area where they performed better was when they committed five double faults to eight of the Czech pair.
“Yes, there was (wind), but in tennis, it is always the team that acclimatizes to the existing conditions that comes out on top. In the final, our opponents managed to adjust to the conditions better than us,” Sania said.
Sania was categorical in stating that Elena was the best of all the partners she has played with before.
They teamed up at the start of the year and won titles at Indian Wells and Charleston, though, they continue to wait for their first Grand slam title together.
Sania has teamed up with America’s Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek and Chinese Taipei’s Chan, Yung Jan before.
“Elena is definitely right up there among the best,” she said.
Asked what it is that makes this partnership so successful, Sania said, “We’ve been friends since our junior days and get along wonderfully. She has a brilliant backhand and serve and is an ideal foil for the forehand and return of serve, which are my strengths.”
As the talk veered from doubles to her singles career, Sania was asked about her not-so-impressive Grand Slam record.
She has not reached the singles third round in a Grand Slam since the 2008 Australian Open.
But the Hyderabadi said it’s only because she drew against strong players early.
“I don’t look at it as a jinx. I think I’ve generally lost to better players in the Grand Slams. I lost to Justine Henin in Australian Open and to Agnieszka Radwanska in French Open,” she said.
The next Grand Slam-Wimbledon is on grass, a surface Sania enjoys more than the clay.
Sania was not ready to predict how long would she stay in the singles there but was hopeful of breaking into the top-50 in the WTA rankings.
“I will continue to work hard and try to be the best that I can be. Yes, I could break into the top 50 in singles in a few months.