Friday, August 29, 2008

Sania Mirza vows to return fitter

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza is confident of getting over her current injury crisis and bouncing back into the top 50 soon with the help of a new trainer.

Mirza, 21, slipped from a career high of 27 in August last year to 70 in the latest WTA rankings after an injury-plagued season in 2008.

"It is naturally very frustrating for her to miss tournaments," Mirza's father, Imran Mirza, told AFP from the family base in Hyderabad on Friday.

"But she understands injuries are a tennis player's professional hazard and part and parcel of a sportsman's career.

"She is very positive and looking forward to bouncing back soon," he said.

Mirza injured her right wrist during the Indian Wells tournament in March and had to have surgery a month later.

She pulled out of the French Open in May-June, lost in the second round at Wimbledon and crashed out in the first round at the Beijing Olympics.

Mirza, who also withdrew from the ongoing US Open, has signed up trainer Amir Takla, a consultant with Tennis Australia.

"Takla is scheduled to arrive this weekend and will work with Sania for a period of six weeks," Imran said.

"The goal is to ensure her wrist recovers to its original strength, but at the same time the focus will also be towards optimising her overall physical fitness."

Imran refused to set a date for her return to the circuit, saying it was too early to predict.

"It is difficult to fix a timeframe for being back in competition even before work towards her rehabilitation has begun," he said.

"But we are looking at Sania playing a few tournaments later in the year to prepare for next year's Australian Open."

He also downplayed concerns over Mirza's spiralling rankings.

"When one is forced to skip Grand Slams and other compulsory tournaments... one has to expect that the ranking will come down because these are based on performances in these tournaments.

"But once the injury has been taken care of, the rankings will fall into place in due course of time. Sania is confident that after she finds her rhythm in a few months, she will be back where she belongs."

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