Sania’s Grand Slam a proud moment for Hyderabad

February 1st, 2009 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Feb 1 (IANS) It was a proud moment not just for Sania Mirza’s family but for this southern city as the tennis ace Sunday became the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam title.Pairing with Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open in Melbourne, beating France’s Nathalie Dechy and Israeli Andy Ram 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

Sania’s former coaches and wellwishers were all proud of her and hoped that the 22-year-old would win many more titles in the days to come.

“I thank Allah for blessing her with this title. We were all waiting for this for a long time. We are all excited that she has won a Grand Slam,” Naseema Mirza, her mother, told reporters at her residence in the posh Jubilee Hills here.

“It is a mixed doubles no doubt but a Grand Slam is a Grand Slam,” said Naseema.

“She performed well and went on to win despite facing a stomach problem for the last few days,” she said.

“It was a great comeback for her after a wrist injury forced her out of action for the last several months,” said Naseema.

She said that the coordination between Sania and Bhupathi was excellent. “They encouraged and complemented each other.”

Naseema said the family would celebrate the victory after Sania and her father Imran Mirza return home. “There will definitely be celebrations once they come back,” she said.

Sania’s younger sister, Anam Mirza, said she was confident that Sania would win the Grand Slam. “I had told her that you are definitely going to bag the title. I will congratulate her after her return,” said Anam.

“It is a very good for moment for all Indians and all Hyderabadis. It is wonderful,” said Sania’s former coach Narendranath.

“It is always difficult to predict winning a Grand Slam but when she paired with Mahesh Bhupathi, I was pretty sure that this pair would win the title,” Narendranath told IANS.

“Sania is playing very well. She is lot more consistent. This Grand Slam will be a confidence booster for her as she has just come out of injury. I am confident that she will do well in the coming days,” he said.

Her former coaches Ganesh Raman and Vasudev Reddy also hailed her Grand Slam win and hoped this would give her lot of confidence.

“We are proud of her. This win is commendable. The whole family is proud of her. I have no doubt that she will win even more titles in future as she has immense talent,” Nisar Ahmed, a cousin of Imran, told IANS.

“Injury for few days was a setback for her but she is regaining the original form. Every champion comes back strongly after the setback and she is a champion,” said Nisar, son of Ghulam Ahmed, former captain of Indian cricket team.

“It is a happy moment for all Hyderabadis and Indians. It was nice to see her back in action after so many months. Her supporters were apprehensive whether she would regain her fitness. This victory has brought cheer to all,” said Zafar Javeed, a family friend.

“We hope and pray that in the months to come she will get back her original ranking and make both Hyderabad and India proud,” he said.

Born on Nov 15, 1986, Sania started playing tennis at the age of six. Trained by her father Imran and others, she had a meteoric rise in the tennis circuit.

After winning the junior girls doubles at Wimbledon in 2003 with Russian Alisa Kleybanova, Sania never looked back. She made history by entering the third round of the Australian Open in 2005. She was the first Indian woman to achieve this at a Grand Slam event. She later broke her own record by reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

Her performance during 2005 saw her singles ranking improving to 31 from 163 at the start of the year.

The same year she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open finals.

With an aim to be one of the top 10 players in the world, she continued to perform well in 2006 and 2007. The highest ranked female tennis player ever from India has had a career-high ranking of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles.

However, her ranking started slipping last year due to lack of consistency and the injuries. She was ranked 107 before the Australian Open.

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