Sania will be back in action in India again(Lead Interview)

June 22nd, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Sania Mirza will be back on Indian tennis courts this year. Tired of controversies chasing her throughout her career, Sania decided to stay away from tournaments in India and pulled out of the Bangalore Open in March, creating a huge uproar with many former tennis stalwarts criticising her extreme step.

Sania told IANS in an interview that she honed her skills as a tennis player playing in every tournament in India right from her junior days and Bangalore Open should be seen as an aberration. She has obviously reconsidered her decision and the change of mind means that fans can see her playing in the Sunfeast Indian Open in Mumbai in the first week of October.

“I have played in every tournament conducted in India for the last 10 years in which I was expected to play right from the junior days except for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Bangalore Open in March. It seems likely that I will play again in India this year,” Sania said.

Sania pulled out of the Bangalore Open, saying that she wanted to avoid controversies that chased her everytime she played in India. The unnecessary issues were hurting here career as she could not focus on the game, she reasoned out.

The 21-year-old was upset after she was accused of disrespecting the national flag during the Hopman Cup in Perth. She was shown putting her feet towards the flag while watching a match. Before that controversy could die down, she was embroiled in another over the shooting of a commercial in the premises of the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and had to later tender an apology.

The Hyderabadi has returned to the circuit only a couple of weeks after a wrist injury and the subsequent surgery kept her off tennis for over two months, forcing her to miss the French Open. She is seeded 32nd at the Wimbledon championships, starting Monday, but she feels she needs a little time to get back her rhythm.

Sania will take on Colombia’s Catalina Castano in the first round and if she wins she will face another opponent ranked much lower than her. She should be looking forward to a third-round meeting with defending champion Venus Williams of the U.S. as she had keen battles with the two Williams sisters at the grand Slam events.

“It is a reasonable draw as I have done well last year to be seeded and that makes sure that I don’t run into a top-32 player in the early rounds at a Grand Slam tournament. But as a tennis player, it would be premature to talk about the third round at this stage,” Sania said.

“I prefer to take one match at a time and my first goal will be to try and win the first round.”

Sania’s run-up to Wimbledon has not been great as she did not progress beyond second round in the Netherlands after being dispatched in the first round in DFS Classic in Birmingham.

“Form and fitness are obviously not at the highest level but under the circumstances, I am as well prepared as I could possibly be for Wimbledon.”

“I still feel pain in some movements of the wrist but that is likely to remain for a few more weeks until the ‘new wrist’ adjusts to handling the impact of the ball and the complex movements of a tennis strokes. I still need painkillers at times but the good news is that the damage to the wrist has been repaired by the surgery and in due course of time, the pain should disappear.”

Injuries have hampered Sania’s progress to the top ever since her breakthrough year in 2005. Last year also she was out of the circuit due to a knee injury.

Sania, who has Sven Groenveld as coach during Grand slams, said it is very difficult to comeback to top-level competitive tennis after long breaks.

“It is always difficult to comeback after an injury and straightaway get into the groove. I have to first see how my wrist behaves during the next few weeks before setting any targets for this year.”

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