All set for the U.S. hardcourt season

Sania Mirza still means business. “Any talk of me quitting the sport just because of my recent engagement with Sohrab is wild speculation. There is still a lot of tennis left in me,” she says in a chat with V. V. Subrahmanyam.

For Sania Mirza life hasn’t changed much after her engagement (she got engaged to Sohrab Mirza, son of a Hyderabad-based businessman, on July 10). Within a week after the function — which was largely attended by relatives and friends of both the families, and only Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were the biggest sports personalities present there — the tennis star was back where she simply loves to be — on the court at the SAAP Tennis Complex.

Under normal circumstances, this is a routine schedule for Sania, who arguably is India’s best-ever woman tennis player given the fact that she happens to be the only Indian to win a Grand Slam title (mixed doubles), partnering Mahesh Bhupathi in the 2009 Australian Open. Her commitment to the sport may have surprised the average fan, but not those who regularly follow her.

Given her unbridled passion for tennis despite suffering so many injuries — one of which forced her out of the game for six months — Sania has in a way, with her extended training schedule, and this time under the watchful eyes of her new companion, Sohrab (in the past it used to be either of her parents), she sent a message loud and clear that she still means business in the world of tennis.

“Any talk of me quitting the sport just because of my recent engagement with Sohrab is wild speculation. There is still a lot of tennis left in me. Let me enjoy the game as I have been doing over the years,” remarked Sania after one of her training sessions.

Importantly, the ace woman tennis player from Hyderabad is feeling good about her game. “I am definitely hitting the ball really well, and I got that wonderful feel back despite the recent hectic schedule,” Sania pointed out.

“Well, it is always a great feeling if you have someone like Sohrab, other than my father and mother, whom I can always bank on for any sort of support. I am enjoying life and I will keep doing so,” she said.

“Marriage is not on my agenda right now. There is still a lot of time to discus that. Let me focus on my game right now,” she reiterated.

Significantly, the World No. 86 is not overtly bothered about her current WTA ranking. “Honestly, I feel very satisfied that I am still managing to hold onto the valuable points. No doubt in some of the big events I have to go through the qualifying rounds. But that is part of the sport,” Sania said philosophically.

For someone who enjoys her game better on the hard courts, Sania is all geared up for the major challenges in the US circuit before taking part in the US Open. “I am optimistic of a direct entry into the US Open. I am feeling good but obviously it all depends on how well I shape up in the run-up to the Grand Slam event,” she said.

“Winning and losing is something that even some of the greatest athletes have to experience. And I am no different. I definitely take pride in whatever little I could achieve till now,” Sania said.

“It is not always easy for an Indian player to compete with the best and make a mark. But thanks to the unflinching commitment and support of my parents, I was able to embark on a journey in the tennis circuit with a fair degree of success,” she added.

“Well, I sincerely believe that I keep finding the winning touch in the days to come which should naturally make me enjoy the game more,” said Sania before leaving for the US hardcourt season.