Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I had got into a depression: Sania Mirza


Sania Mirza admits that it has been quite a low for her since the Olympics.

You would remember this image — an overwrought Sania Mirza wincing in pain as she retired hurt from the first round of the Beijing Olympics in August, the wrist injury thereafter keeping her out of action. This was followed by a fall to world No.101 from the exhilaration of top-30 (world No.27). Depression was inevitable. “It’s definitely been a low for me, especially after the Olympics. I had got into a depression,” a refreshingly cheerful Sania told DNA on Monday. 

She arrived in Bangalore for a three-week tennis camp, as a run-up to her exhibition match in Hong Kong (JB group Classic tennis tournament) in January 2009, followed by the WTA event at Hobart and the Australian Open, where she will play mixed doubles alongside Bhupathi.

She was forthright about feeling despondent. “I didn’t want to watch the US Open because I couldn’t play. I didn’t get out of the house for two three weeks. I did not want to meet people. I think that’s when my friends and family counted,” she said. “They have been there and supported me - whether it was Mahesh (Bhupathi) or my dad or my friend Megha, who is also my manager. It’s a part and parcel of our career and we need to deal with it.”

Happily, the injury and the pain both seemed to be a thing of the past on Monday, as the tennis player went through a two-and-a-half-hour long training session with Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna at the Tennis Village. “I am feeling great right now. I don’t regret anything that has happened in the past. I am a positive person and I am just looking forward to a good new year, and trying to stay healthy,” she said. 

She said her struggle had been educational. “I have learnt a lot in the past few days. It’s taught me to be patient; it’s taught me to accept things. Tennis is a part of my life and not my life,” she said. 

It was a bright and sunny Monday morning when Sania, along with Mahesh Bhupathi and Bopanna, set foot on the synthetic courts at the Tennis Village, for yet another training session as part of their three-week camp here in Bangalore. 

Sania, who has been in the city for three weeks and is staying at the KSCA club house, is being trained by American coach Scott Davidoff. “It’s been a tough year professionally but personally it has been great. I got so much time to spend at home, see my parents both together for a span of two months which rarely used to happen because of my tours. I have become much closer to a lot of my friends and did normal teenage stuff like going for coffee which I don’t get do very often,” Sania said.

It was interesting to notice that in between the serves and shots, Sania kept asking for the score. And no, it was not 6-3 or 6-4 that she wanted to hear but an update on the India-England Test. Her love for cricket is well-documented, and she has been spotted at many games. And not just the international variety - she was at the Chinnaswamy stadium to watch the Ranji match between Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka for two consecutive days. “I am like one of the boys. I have always loved cricket. I have always watched cricket although I am pathetic at playing it. If I was a guy I would definitely be playing cricket,” said the 22-year-old. “I am in fact going to go and catch up with the 
match now.”

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