Sania Mirza stumps Purav Raja in fun Instagram chat

Having known Purav from the age of eight, by her own admission, Sania showed a lot of warmth and camaraderie in making it an enjoyable fun show for the tennis enthusiasts, who had tuned in thousands.

Sania Mirza said she would love to help the the national tennis federation not just with sponsorship and marketing, but with “everything”.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Purav Raja made Sania Mirza go through five strokes, with real racquet in hand, during his popular Instagram show, Chai with Raja.

Quite sporting, the 33-year-old Sania obliged, but showed with her razor sharp response to a variety of questions that she could win any contest, with or without a racquet.

Having known Purav from the age of eight, by her own admission, Sania showed a lot of warmth and camaraderie in making it an enjoyable fun show for the tennis enthusiasts, who had tuned in thousands.

Mocking that she was honoured to be the first lady on the show, Sania said that she felt offended when Mahesh Bhupathi was the first guest on the show, till she saw how “underprepared” he was!

READ: The origin of tennis: History, mystery and myths

“You know me too well. So, I am nervous,” said Sania, the six-time Grand Slam champion, before opening up for a lively chat.

Friendship did not matter, when Sania pounced to stress that Jelena Jankovic had not won a Grand Slam despite being world No.1, while Purav’s notes had only Dinara Safina’s name. She did get both names.

She recalled five players who had trained with her in December, and named the IPL captains of the Hyderabad team with ease. She stumped Purav by recalling the names of seven Davis Cup team captains — Leander Paes, SP Misra, Vijay Amritraj, Anand Amritraj, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohit Rajpal and Jaidip Mukerjea. She was candid in saying that a lot of people would get that right.

When queried as to who was more competitive, Sania asserted that both Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were incredible competitors and it was impossible for her to pick one over the other, as she had won with both.

Naming Steffi Graf as her favourite player, Sania said that being world No.1 in doubles was more satisfying for her, as compared to being 27 in singles. “If you are No.1 in the world in anything, it is special”.

Read: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the art of saccading

Sania said that losing the semifinals of the mixed doubles in the Rio Olympics with Rohan Bopanna, and subsequently the bronze medal match as her “biggest regret” .

She named Tony Roche and Bob Brett, and chose the former as the best coach she has had in her career. She also said that she would have become an “interior designer”, if not a tennis player.

She picked Rutuja Bhosale as the FedCup team-mate for a fun holiday, and said that Hyderabad was the best city because of its “best biriyani”.

Sania said she would love to help the the national tennis federation not just with sponsorship and marketing, but with “everything”.

READ | Andy Murray encourages ATP-WTA merger discussions

Sania was honest to say that her forehand motion was natural, as it had remained the same since the age of eight.

She attributed the lack of Indian women players in the Grand Slams, to the “guidance in coaching they have received”, and pointed out that they “started very late”. She picked Sumit Nagal ahead of Karman Kaur, as the player for future, stating that the latter was injured in recent months.

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