Sania launches academy for kids

Sania Mirza's new tennis academy -- SMTA Grassroot Level Academy -- will help train kids aged between three and eight.

Sania Mirza at the inauguration of the SMTA Grassroot Level Academy at Film Nagar in Hyderabad.   -  PTI

Sania Mirza on Monday launched SMTA Grassroot Level Academy, for kids aged between three and eight.

It is Sania's second such project after the launch of Sania Mirza Tennis Academy (SMTA) in 2013.

"As a tennis player I had a lot of difficulties coming up to know what to do and where to go as a child and knowing how much to practice. Our goal as a family has always been to try and help in whatever way possible and that's what we have tried to do whether it's with Sania Mirza Tennis Academy," Sania told reporters here.

"It (SMTA Grassroot Level Academy) is actually my mother's and her friend's idea and obviously we support it. This is for the grassroot level of kids because in tennis today, it is too competitive to start when you are eight or nine years old, it's already too late. You have to start when you are three or four years old," Sania explained.

"The professionals, the biggest of champions, have always started at the age of four, five and six. This academy has been started just for those kids from the age of two-and-half to about seven or eight year-olds to give them a stepping stone because we understand as kids it will be difficult for them to go outside the city to a full-fledged academy. This is inside the city."

"The Mirza family has always tried to pass on whatever experience we had in tennis. We are still waiting for the next Sania, the next Mahesh and Leanders to come and this is just a small way of contributing to it," she said, "It is right next to my house and I will obviously give some time as well."

"The whole concept is to get as many kids as possible to the academy. Here we are going to play with softballs which is easier for kids to play. It will be with colourful balls which will make it more attractive for the kids to play.

"As a four-year-old I don't think if they understand the concept of forehand or backhand. It is more about fun and it is about coming and enjoying. You have to get them to try and love the game first before they want to actually make it their profession," Sania added.

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