Controversy-hounded Sania back on court in Qatar Open

February 16th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by admin  

Doha, Feb 16 (IANS) Sania Mirza will be back on court, leaving behind all off-court controversies, at the $ 2.5 million Qatar Total Open, starting Monday here at the Khalifa Tennis Complex. The 21-year-old Indian’s participation at the Tier I hard court event was in doubt after she sustained a foot injury during the Australian Open last month. However, squashing all doubts, Sania, accompanied by her mother Naseema Mirza, landed here Friday to take part in the 64-field event.

“I expect to do well here, now that I have recovered from the injury,” Sania told reporters.

“I have come here to play good tennis. I have had some practice back home. As of now, I am very much fit, no problem at all and very much looking forward to challenge.”

Sania has been hounded by off-court controversies since her breakthrough 2005 season. She stunned the tennis fraternity and Indian fans after deciding to pull out from Mar 3-9 slated Bangalore Open on the advice of her manager to evade controversies.

Sania said she was on the two-stop Middle East trip without a coach. “I am currently without a coach.”

Among those chasing the big prize money in Doha include Serbian beauty Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova of Russia, her compatriot Anna Chakvetadze, Venus Williams of the US, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Marion Bartoli of France.

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