Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sania signs up with Aussie physical trainer

Sania Mirza, the injured Indian tennis star, whose painful wrist condition consigned her to the sidelines for the better of the summer of 2008, has tied up with reputed trainer Amir Takla in a bid to bounce back into competitive mode.

The Hyderabadi will initially work with the heavyweight Aussie for a six-week period, starting September 2. Sania injured her right wrist during the Indian Wells tournament in late March, necessitating surgery in Miami in April.

The 21-year-old, who reached a career-high ranking of 27 in August 2007, missed the French Open and though she played the grasscourt season, struggled with her game for most part.

Sania then went on to play tournaments in Stanford, Los Angeles and Stockholm before her painful wrist condition forced her out of the first round singles match at the Beijing Olympics. She later pulled out of the US Open. She has since been advised three weeks of rest.

"I am determined to sort out this niggling problem once and for all," Sania told TOI. "I'm a positive person and I feel confident of a speedy recovery under the guidance of Amir, whose knowledge and experience is unquestionable."

Takla, a musculoskeletal and sport physiotherapist, is consultant to Tennis Australia and the Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific - the Australian Open. He specialises in strength training and injury prevention and management.

Sania first ran into the Aussie at the Australian Open earlier in the year, when he treated her after she tore her adductor muscle en route to the mixed doubles final. He was largely responsible in getting her back on her feet to play the final.

Sania's father Imran, said: "The main aim is to strengthen the wrist, and bring it to its earlier condition and level of performance. The rest of her body also needs to be strengthened. We are looking at Sania playing a few tournaments later in the year to prepare for the Australian Open."

The break from competition should give the Indian a chance to work on her overall fitness. Should she regain the control and strength on her forehand, which was the reason she went under the knife earlier in the year, she will forge a new threat in the coming season.

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