Sania Mirza: Not playing for records
Published: 30th September 2013 10:15 AM |
How do you cope with the pressure of changing partners? Ask Sania Mirza and she would smile and say, ‘I've picked up a few tricks from each of my doubles partners over the years!’ The New Indian Express caught up with the Indian ace after her winning run at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
Excerpts from an email interview:
TNIE: Congrats Sania on your fourth WTA doubles title this season! It was also your 18th overall; would you dream of setting yourself a target?
Sania Mirza: No, I don't have any targets as far as winning a precise number of tournaments. But whenever I play in any tournament, my goal is always to win it!
TNIE: This one was a first of its kind in your career; you teamed up with a new partner (Cara Black) and won the title in your first tournament together? What clicked?
SM: Cara is a seasoned player and we knew if we both played up to potential we could beat anybody.
TNIE: We witnessed a nice mix of your devastating forehand and Cara’s swiftness at the net. Are you two looking at a longer partnership?
SM: We have not yet talked about it.
TNIE: This season has been productive so far, winning four out of five finals. Which title was the most special and why?
SM: For me every title is special but in terms of the number of ranking points and the level of competition that we had to overcome, Tokyo was probably the most satisfying.
TNIE: Are you playing more tournaments after China Open to finish with a possible high-five this season?
SM: No, the China Open is my last tournament of the season.
TNIE: Despite being one of the leading title winners this season in doubles, do you regret not being able to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul?
SM: Yes, it’s disappointing for sure! But there are certain things that are beyond one's control and I don't regret what I cannot help.
TNIE: You recorded yet another landmark in your career, making it to your 25th final at New Haven. Now 26 and counting, what do you think is needed to sustain your longevity?
SM: The desire to want to continue to perform at the highest level and staying away from injuries!
Sania Mirza photo gallery
TNIE: You have teamed up with around 46 players on the WTA scene alone and perhaps another 9 in mixed doubles, you have carved a niche for yourself in the doubles game. Do you enjoy doubles more than singles?
SM: After my 3rd surgery, I realized I could not carry on with singles as my body was battered after almost a decade of top-flight tennis. I started focusing on doubles after that and the results have been rewarding!
TNIE: From partnering Mary Pierce in 2003, to the latest Cara Black…your favourite pick?
SM: That's a tough one but it would be fair to say that I've picked up a few tricks from each of my doubles partners over the years!
(Photo gallery: Sania-Bhupathi are French Open champions)
TNIE: You have won WTA titles with 12 different partners, how tough is it to play with different partners?
SM: It’s definitely not easy to keep changing partners but I now have plenty of experience of playing with different doubles players and this experience helps me to adapt my game according to the needs.
TNIE: That one trophy – women’s doubles Slam is still eluding you. You came very close to winning it in 2011; will that be a priority next season?
SM: Yes, of course, I will continue to give my best when it comes to the Slams and hope for the best!
TNIE: With almost 11 months of active tennis in a season, how are your coping with the threat of injuries?
SM: As one gets older, one needs to work harder to stay match-fit and I try to put in that extra effort.
TNIE: Playing in the 30s is the new trend on the WTA circuit. Do you fancy yourself joining the elite group?
SM: I will play as long as I enjoy the game and feel fit enough to compete at this level. I am not someone who deliberately chases these kind of records.
Sania Mirza’s 18 titles with 12 different WTA partners since 2006:
Liezel Huber (2)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (5)
Shahar Peer (1)
Vania King (1)
Mara Santangelo (1)
Chia-Jung Chuang (1)
Edina Gallovits Hall (1)
Elena Vesnina (2)
Yaroslava Shvedova (1)
Anastasia Rodionova (1)
Zheng Jie (1)
Cara Black (1)
Sania Mirza photo galleries: