Mirza finds mixed the Olympic ideal
Originally published on: 21/02/12 15:30
Sania Mirza seems to have spent as much time on the physiotherapist’s couch as she has on the tennis court in recent years, but India’s most famous sportswoman remains as ambitious as ever. Having just returned to action following knee surgery in November – her third operation in the last four years – Mirza has set her eyes on Olympic glory at Wimbledon this summer.
Although the 25-year-old has dropped to No.113 in the singles world rankings, she is No.7 in doubles, having formed a winning partnership with Elena Vesnina. Given that India’s three leading male doubles players – Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi – are all ranked in the world’s top 15, India should have an outstanding chance of winning a medal in mixed doubles at the Olympics.
Mirza is currently playing at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, where she fell in singles qualifying to Aleksandra Wozniak but is through to the second round of the doubles with Vesnina after a 6-1, 6-3 victory today over Fatma Al Nabhani and Andreja Klepac.
“I think that right now my body is not in a condition to really handle singles and doubles week in and week out,” Mirza said. “Because it’s an Olympic year, I think I want to focus more on doubles this year, at least until the Olympics.”
Bhupathi and Mirza enjoyed success in the mixed doubles at the Australian Open, but the choice of a pairing for the Olympics will be down to the Indian tennis authorities. “I don’t make that call, unfortunately,” Mirza said. “Mahesh and I made the semis of Melbourne, so we are playing well. Having said that, I’ve done well with both Leander and Rohan, so I think I am in a great position obviously to choose from three people who are so good.”
Mirza and Vesnina reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open, where they beat the current top team of Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva. Earlier this month Mirza teamed up with Anastasia Rodionova to win the doubles title in Pattaya.