This is an interesting factoid -- two Hyderabad players enjoying the top five rankings at the international level in their respective fields. It is a rare feat in Indian history that the two sportspersons from the same city hold such high rankings.
While badminton star Saina Nehwal is perched at number two in world rankings, tennis ace Sania Mirza sits at number five in doubles ranking. The two have been having some incredible time at the international level.
Saina, who is set to claim the top spot according to the rankings that will release on April 2, has returned to top form in a big way while Sania, who is the brand Ambassador of Telangana State, has shown consistent form in the last two years. She has been, perhaps playing the best tennis of her career.
Hard work, discipline and passion have driven both Sania and Saina to the top. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap has often praised Saina saying that it is not easy to be one among the top ten. “I feel it is a big credit for Saina to stay in the top ten for so many years. She has been consistently good,” said Kashyap.
Kashyap feels that Saina’s has an impressive work ethic. “She has no doubt taken the game to a new high. Her passion and determination are the key to her success. Winning eight Super Series titles is a tribute to herself,” he says. The top shuttler agrees that Saina has brought a new dimension to the game in the country. “We can learn a lot from Saina as far as her preparation and training sessions are concerned. She is very focused,” says Kashyap.
Former national hard court tennis champion S Narendranath said Sania or Saina did not achieve success overnight. “I remember Sania always enjoyed the long training sessions. That made her a special player. The desire to win and stay at the top helped both Sania and Saina taste success. I have always admired Sania for her discipline and focus. I think it was careful planning and hard work made her one of the top players of the world. There is more confidence in her game now,’’ he observes.
Narendranath also points out that Sania made some important decisions in her career. “The moment she knew she did not have much hope in singles, she concentrated on doubles. Today, she has couple of Grand Slams titles and other major tournament wins besides her good haul at Asian Games. Today she is one of the formidable doubles players of the world. I would not be surprised if she ends as number one doubles specialist in the world,” he points.