Hingis: Paes and Mirza a great inspiration for Indians

The Hyderabad Aces will play two matches at LB Stadium here on November 29 and 30. The final of CTL is also scheduled to be played at the city on December 6th.

Hyderabad Aces team members comprising Switzerland's Martina Hingis, Croatian Ívo Karlovic, Swedish Thomas Johannon and India' Sathwika Sama at the press conference for second edition of the Champions Tennis League 2015.   -  Mohammed Yousuf

Swiss great Martina Hingis hopes Hyderabad Aces will continue the good work in the coming matches of the second edition of Champions Tennis League.

The Aces will play two matches at LB Stadium here on November 29 and 30. The final of CTL is also scheduled to be played at Hyderabad on December 6th.

Speaking at a promotional event here on Friday, the former World No. 1 reminded that she has a special affinity to Hyderabad and would love to perform well in front of the very passionate crowds. “I hope to see the big crowds again to cheer for the home team,” she said with a big smile.

Reflecting on her association with leading lights of Indian tennis including Leander Paes and Sania Mirza, Hingis felt that it was always great for any country to have such outstanding players. “They are obviously a great inspiration for anyone because of their achievements,” she pointed out. “Well, with Sania, I have had an incredible last six months on the circuit and it was great to finish off as the No. 1 in women’s doubles in the world tennis. And I just hope we continue the same next year also,” said Hingis.

On the likelihood of partnering another Swiss great, Roger Federer, in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Hingis quipped this was the most asked query in the last few weeks. “But on a more serious note, it is not yet decided with whom I will be playing. Maybe, I will break the news here in India,” she said. “It is definitely going to be great to play with someone like Roger.”

“Well, it is always nice to have a three-week break (after she and Sania won the WTA Tour doubles final in Singapore) and be back on the court. We are ready for the challenges,” she added.

For his part, Thomas Johansson, the former Swedish Davis Cupper, felt that the competition in the CTL was very tough. “But, I loved the format. I am proud of my teammates. We are ready to win this CTL,” he remarked.

Commenting on the contemporary tennis in general, Johansson said that the game had changed drastically in the last few years, becoming more physical forcing the players to be very careful about their training schedules also.

The former Swedish star felt that with the best coaches of his country preferring coaching assignments abroad, there was a dearth of quality coaches within the country, which in a way was also responsible in Sweden not producing quality players as in the past like Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg, Mats Wilander. “You need a big name to look up to,” he insisted.

Adil Kalyanpur and Sama Sathwika, the juniors in the Hyderabad Aces squad, expressed their desire to learn from the legends by watching them train and play in the Champions Tennis League.