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Sania more confident than ever

“I'm feeling a lot better,” confides Sania Mirza unwinding at her home in the city

Sania Mirza is in the comfort zone – both in life and in sports too. A far cry from the days around this time last year, when she was in focus for all the wrong reasons.

The 25-year-old tennis star from Hyderabad has just returned from a remarkable, sixth month run which saw her enter the French Open women's doubles final and catapulted her to the World No. 2 in doubles rankings.

These achievements would have been almost unthinkable even last December when she was ranked World No. 166 in singles. Putting behind her every avoidable aspect both in life and in sport, Sania has come up with one of the most stunning comebacks in Indian sport. “Yes, I remember then I was not in a position to even hold a coffee cup. Playing tennis again was a distant thought,” Sania says in an exclusive chat with The Hindu at home in the company of husband Shoaib Malik.

“Definitely, winning silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games was the defining moment of my comeback,” says Sania.

“It gave me the confidence and the feeling that my strong point, the forehand, is back,” she adds.

It is a tribute to the genius of Sania that she continues to be the best women's tennis player from India even now.

This puts in perspective her ability to stand apart from the rest of the crowd.

“It sometimes hurts when you don't see too many showing the talent and the consistency. But I still hope to see someone to come up in a big way,” she points out.

On her part, Sania is in the mood to keep going and not thinkof anything other than tennis. Now, with a new trainer in Roger Anderson of South Africa, the ace Indian star is looking ahead with renewed zeal.

“In sport, as in life, learning is an endless process and I am no exception,” she says with Shoaib nodding in approval.

“It is true that for the first time since 2005, I felt that everything was falling in place; I am feeling lot fitter and getting my forehand,” reveals Sania.

Apparently in a bid to avoid any injury scare, Sania says that she is already planning to be selective about tournaments in the next six months. “It will be difficult, but I will have to do the balancing act,” she adds.

“The immediate target is to keep improving and break into the top 40 in singles rankings and pick a few major titles in doubles too,” Sania saysabout her goals. For the record, she happens to be the only Indian woman tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam (the mixed doubles title in the Australian Open with Mahesh Bhupathi as partner).

About her doubles partner Elena Vesnina, the Hyderabadi says, “Yes, this is where Elena keeps counting. She lost in four finals and is very keen to realise this one big dream.”

“Definitely, the French Open final appearance was a memorable one considering that we (with Elena Vesnina) started playing only recently,” Sania observed.

“Essentially, we both enjoy the game. It is because of our friendship. We are a settled pair and can only look ahead now, complementing each other strengths,” the Indian tennis star remarks.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 12:05:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/sania-more-confident-than-ever/article2276593.ece

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