‘It’s an unbelievable feeling’

Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis scripted a golden moment on the hallowed Centre Court of Wimbledon on July 11. The Indo-Swiss pair, down by a set and 2-5 in the decider, staged a magnificent comeback to defeat Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, in the women’s doubles final that extended into the early hours of Sunday (IST).

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, to be a Wimbledon champion. This is something I will cherish for long. I must thank Hingis for the way she played right through the championship,” remarked Sania in a telephonic conversation from Wimbledon.

“The best part is, we don’t feel the pressure and actually thrived on such moments by keeping ourselves cool, for we were always aware that if we play to our potential, we can be in the game,” she said referring to the 2-5 deficit in the deciding set and then the magnificent fight-back.

“Winning Wimbledon is something special, and more so when it happens to be my first final appearance here. So different from the other Grand Slams. I am elated and feel like I am on top of the world,” said the World No. 1 in women’s doubles, who has figured in seven finals in Grand Slams and won four of them (three mixed doubles and one women’s doubles).

It was a truly memorable performance from the champion player from Hyderabad. Sania, 28, also reasserted her stature as the World No. 1 women’s doubles player, and in the process realised her dream of attaining glory at a venue she always regards as “a very, very special place”.

“What more can we ask of Sania! It’s a truly remarkable achievement, a fulfilment of my own dream,” remarked Sania’s mother Nasima Mirza, barely able to conceal her excitement. “Oh my God! This is an unforgettable moment for our entire family. We thank the Almighty, our friends, fans, officials and all our well-wishers,” she added.

Sania’s father Imran was in the stands at the Centre Court, cheering his daughter and Hingis. “Yes, Wimbledon is something different. That aura and class attached to it are so unique. And to be crowned champion on the Centre Court is a dream of any tennis player. Hats off to Sania and Hingis for the way they fought back from the jaws of defeat,” he said.

V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM