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Updated: June 8, 2012 16:37 IST

We are the team to beat in Olympics: Sania

PTI
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File photo: Sania, the flag bearer of Indian women’s tennis, along with Mahesh Bhupathi, won her second Grand Slam trophy with last night’s triumph at the physically demanding clay courts of the French Open.
The Hindu File photo: Sania, the flag bearer of Indian women’s tennis, along with Mahesh Bhupathi, won her second Grand Slam trophy with last night’s triumph at the physically demanding clay courts of the French Open.

The timing of a Grand Slam title victory could not have been better for Sania Mirza, who is desperately seeking a wild card into the London Olympics, which in all probability is her last chance to become an Olympic medal winner.

Sania, the flag bearer of Indian women’s tennis, along with Mahesh Bhupathi won her second Grand Slam trophy with last night’s triumph at the physically demanding clay courts of the French Open.

When all the national associations would be frantically pushing the case of their players with the ITF for six available wild cards, this win has come just at the right time for Sania as she missed the rankings cut in doubles.

And she is confident that her team with Bhupathi, whose Grand Slam kitty has now swelled to 12, would be a strong medal contender at the London event.

“Each day is a new day in tennis but we have made it clear that we are the team to beat in any tournament,” Sania told PTI from Paris.

Sania too feels that this win has strengthened her case to get a wild card for the London Games, beginning July end.

“I think winning the French Open title is an achievement in itself. We have shown once again that we are a tough team to beat. I am hopeful about a wild card at the Olympics,” she said.

Sania had scripted history in 2009 by becoming the first Indian woman tennis player to win a Grand Slam when she won the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Bhupathi.

Now that Sania has tasted success at a tennis major for the second time in her career, does it feel different from the first time?

“To win a Grand Slam is always special and I think Mahesh is as thrilled as I am at winning his 12th Grand Slam title,” she said.

“It’s just now that the feeling of winning my second Grand Slam is sinking in. It’s absolutely amazing,” she added.

Out of four major titles, Sania now has two in her pocket. She has every chance to complete a career Grand Slam and it can happen this year itself with the two missing trophies up for grabs in the remaining season.

Leander Paes is the only Indian player to complete a Slam. Bhupathi has won French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open but the Australia Open is still missing from his cabinet.

However, Sania just wants to savour her victory in Paris and does not want to think much ahead.

“Right now, I want to enjoy my second Grand Slam title.”

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I'd love to think that Mirza will still get in, but I would be
extremely shocked if it were to happen. In order to play mixed
doubles, she'd have to get a wild card into the singles. That probably
would have happened had she qualified in doubles because what's really
working against her is the limit on the total number of tennis players
of 172 (approx. 86 per gender). She's competing against the top-ranked
player from Hungary, Switzerland, Georgia, Netherlands, Japan, not to
mention Great Britain for this wild card. You also have a good number
of other players from other Asian countries: Kazakhstan, China, and
Taiwan. The possibility of two Indian men's doubles teams works
against her, too. While they would make a formidable team in the
Olympics, their only chance in London will be The Championships,
Wimbledon.

from:  Glenn
Posted on: Jun 14, 2012 at 04:18 IST
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