Ivan Dodig: 'Sania and I will win next year'

Former French Open doubles champion, Ivan Dodig says he is gunning for at least two Grand Slam titles partnering Indian star Sania Mirza in the circuit next year.

“We will be playing together next year too. We enjoy a special bonding on the court and I am confident of pulling off some great wins as I am back to fitness,” Dodig remarked.   -  Special Arrangement

Former French Open doubles champion, Ivan Dodig says he is gunning for at least two Grand Slam titles partnering Indian star Sania Mirza in the circuit next year.

“We have had a very good season but for the disappointment of Wimbledon this year. But, we are going to work really hard and come back strongly and pick up a couple of Grand Slam titles,” says the 31-year-old Croatian.

“Sania is an amazing player and has some really powerful strokes which many of the players in the men’s circuit might not match. Especially her forehand, which is incredible. She is different from other girls in the circuit,” admires Dodig. “Obviously, her big strength is she uses all the positives in the right way,” he added.

“We will be playing together next year too and there is no doubt about that. We enjoy a special bonding on the court and I am confident of pulling off some great wins as I am back to normal self after health issues and a back problem,” Dodig remarked.

On visiting Sania Mirza Tennis Academy here, the Croatia Davis Cup winning team member felt it can match with some of the best in the world in terms of facilities and wonderful ambience.

In an exclusive interview with Sportstar after a visit to the Academy on Tuesday, the 31-year-old Dodig, who played for Indian Aces in the recently-concluded edition of the ITPL, says that it was a terrific experience to spend time with some of the young talent there and get to know the synthetic and clay courts available there. “Definitely, I would love to visit it again whenever time permits,” says the six-footer from Croatia.

For someone who rates his win against Rafael Nadal, incidentally his favourite player for he believes his own game resembles the great Spaniard in many ways, Dodig says he is focused to be at his best in all three categories – singles, men’s and mixed doubles. “I still believe that I can deliver a lot in the big league as I think I have the game to,” he insisted.

On playing in the ITPL, Dodig says it is a very interesting format and that it is a learning experience as one can share thoughts with some of the best in the world. “It is an amazing tournament and I really enjoyed playing for the second time,” he pointed out.

Dodig says he should thank all the Indian fans who are now closely following his fortunes in the circuit thanks to his partnership with Sania. “Yes, thanks to our mixed doubles team, I am getting lot of fan following in this part of the world and I would love to keep visiting this wonderful country which is so passionate about sports,” he signed off.

For her part, Sania too felt it was a great experience for the kids at the SMTA to see Dodig spend time with them. “Given the fact that some of them were ball boys at the ITPL final-leg here, it was a different feeling for them when they shared a few thoughts on the game for these are the kind of players with whom spending some time makes so much of difference,” the six-time Grand Slam winner said.