Friday, July 15, 2005

Sania can be among top 25: Nandan Bal

New Delhi: Sania Mirza has the potential to break into the top 25 provided she improves her serve and brings more consistency in her game, opined Davis Cup coach Nandal Bal.

Talking to UNI on the sidelines of a tennis tournament here early this week, the former national champion said, ''Sania definitely has the game that can take her to the top 25. But mere flashes in the pan won't do that, Sania would have to be more consistent to reach there.''

''A good week can't assure you success in tennis. For that you have to maintain the same consistency throughout all the 52 weeks,'' he opined.

Analysing the 18-year-old Hyderabad girl's game, Bal suggested Sania should improve her serve.

''Sania's first serve success rate is far from satisfying and the second is weak as well. She would have to work on it. Double fault at crucial points is another aspect that she should take care of,'' he said.

Reiterating Sania was good enough to establish herself as a force to reckon with in women's tennis, Bal was impressed with the way she hits the ball.

''She is a good baseline player and her forehand is quite awesome,'' he said.

Sania, the only Indian girl with a WTA title, would have to work on her fitness as well, Bal said.

He, however, was not in favour of Sania partnering Mahesh Bhupathi in the mixed doubles events, which according to him was not a good idea.

''See, I know some people are advocating this but I feel that won't augur well for Bhupathi. He is a top-notch doubles player and ideally he should team up with someone who is equally good,'' he said.

Former player Jaideep Mukherjea had recently suggested that Sania and Bhupathi should team up for international mixed doubles event.

Pointing to Bhupathi's recent mixed doubles triumph at Wimbledon, Bal said, 'He he partnerered someone like Mary Pierce and went on to win the title. Of course Sania will benefit if she plays with Bhupathi, but he needs a player of same stature.''

Bal also advised the media not to speculate on the reunion of Bhupathi with his estranged partner Leander Paes.

''I don't know why the media comes up with such possibilities.

We should come to terms with the fact they have parted their ways. Still for the sake of the country, they play together in events like Olympics and Davis Cup. We should leave the decision to them,'' he said.

Showering praises on Paes, Bal said the Indian Davis Cup captain was undoubtedly the best tennis player of the country and he still had one or two years' game left in him.

Efforts were on to find players who could replace the ageing pair of Paes and Bhupathi but ''It's not an easy job to find'', admitted Bal.

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