Sania Mirza gearing up for second coming

After the birth of her child, Indian tennis star is looking forward to relaunching her career with the Australian Open in January next year.

Sania Mirza interacts with the media after the prize presentation of the National tennis championship.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Sania Mirza is an enchanting inspiration for Indian sports, tennis in particular.

"I have been coming to this tournament for nearly 20 years. It is nostalgic for me", said Sania as she addressed the gathering at the prize presentation function of the Fenesta National tennis
championship at the DLTA Complex.

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"The national championship is very special to win. We used to prepare through the year for this. People need to understand its importance. Sunil Kumar won it as a 16 year old, and it was a great stepping stone for his career", recalled Sania.

Stressing that it was her favourite tournament that launched her career, Sania said that she was happy to be at the event, when she was attempting to relaunch her career after child birth, with the Australian Open in January.

"I started my career here, and I am looking forward to launch Sania 2.0 now", said Sania, who brought her son Izhaan Mirza Malik, and was accompanied by her dad Imran Mirza.

The questions came in quick fire on the day, and Sania was quite sharp with her response.

Sania said that she was spending about four to five hours every day to regain her fitness by training for her return to the professional circuit.

She was obviously pleased with the progress made by Sumit Nagal, who reached a career-best rank of 135, and complimented Mahesh Bhupathi for backing the youngster for quite some time, to help him realise his potential.

Even as she praised Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi for projecting a positive image of Indian women’s tennis, she hoped that they would make it to the next level soon, as they were not growing any young.

Sania countered nicely, when queried about her advice for the young girls, who are aspiring to follow her foot steps to the Grand Slam stage.

"First of all, they should listen to advice’’, said Sania cryptically.

"On a more serious note, they need to have a good team. I know that Karman has a good team. She has been injured for about five months. I really feel that she has it in her", said Sania.

The life president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Anil Khanna, felicitated Ajay Shiram, the chairman and managing director of the DCM Shriram Group, for the 25-year bond in running the "most loved tournament", and stated that he was looking forward to seeing
two mothers in action, in the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, Serena Williams and Sania Mirza.

"I remember Sania’s match against Serena at the Australian Open in 2005", said Anil Khanna, as he connected the lines to the present.

When her view was sought, about India playing Pakistan in Davis Cup in Islamabad, Sania kept a straight face and said that she had nothing to say.