HYDERABAD:There will be hope and expectation when this year’s French Open gets under way at Paris from May 24, for the simple reason that Sania Mirza — paired with Martina Hingis — will be a top contender for the women’s doubles title.
The World No 1 had already tasted success at the Grand Slam tournament in 2012, when she and Mahesh Bhupathi had clinched the mixed doubles title.
Sania, who was in the city for a short break, said it was a huge honour to be the world’s number one player, but it would be a different story once the tournament begins.
“Being World No 1 at any point of time is a huge honour, no doubt, but once you enter the court, rankings don’t really matter, as it is a question of performing on each day that helps you to win matches,” she remarked.
The 28-year-old says there is no pressure on her, but she would strive her best to stay at the top as long as possible.
“I’ve been number one in the world for six weeks already and would like to stay up there for as long as possible. I know that nothing lasts forever. So, there is no real pressure considering that I will now always remain a ‘former world number one’ for the rest of my life, no matter what happens!,” she said with a giggle.
She pointed out that her chemistry with the 35-year-old Hingis is extremely good. “Martina Hingis is a legendary champion and was a superstar while I was still coming up the junior ranks. We get along extremely well on and off the court.”
The Indian super star also feels that the French Open will be a different challenge. “Clay is not our favorite surface. But, I have won a title at the French Open, and Martina is capable of lifting her game when it matters. So, we will be hoping to go deep in the tournament.”
Sania confirmed that she would partner Brazilan partner Mario Soares in the mixed doubles event at Paris. The Indo-Brazilian pair had clinched the US Open title last year.
Referring to to the fact that two Hyderabadis (herself and Saina Nehwal) held the numero-uno spot in their respective sporting fraternities, Sania was hopeful that it would give a boost to this sporting city.