Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sania eyes French open

Sania Mirza during a press conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday

The Australian Open mixed doubles title has only whetted her appetite and tennis ace Sania Mirza said she is now eyeing success at the French Open.

Basking in the glory of being country’s first woman Grand Slam winner, Sania said it was a dream-come-true for her but she was looking for an encore in the second Grand Slam of the year at Rolland Garros.

“Winning a Grand Slam title is a dream come true for me. I am very excited. Now I am looking forward to the French Open,” she told reporters here Tuesday.

Cherishing the Australian Open title that she won partnering Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania said 

the feeling had taken time to sink in.

“At the end of the day, it’s a Grand Slam. It is with a fellow Indian. It is with someone whom I know very well. It is with someone I have been associated for a long time,” Sania said.

“After having (wrist) surgery, it was like you are not able to lift a tennis racquet, not being able to eat food yourself. And now coming back home with a Grand Slam. It has to be very special,” she said.

Sania decided to skip India’s Fed Cup campaign this week and the tennis ace blamed it on her abdominal pain, apart from the fatigue following the Australian Open.

Asked about her decision not to play in India to steer clear of controversies, Sania said, “I never said I am going to boycott (events in India). As usual, it was blown out of proportion. Who does not want to play in India? I love to play in the country. But not many tournaments are happening now.”

Sania was effusive in her praise for Yuki Bhambri who won the boys’ singles title at the Australian Open.

“He is the biggest potential we have today. I wish him all the best. I have seen him as a child. It is important to manage the transition from junior to senior. That is where the main problem starts,” she said.

Sania said with shooter Abhinav Bindra, shuttler Saina Nehwal, Yuki and the cricket team doing well abroad, sport in the country was looking up.

The girl from Hyderabad said the reception she received after returning to India reminded her of the time when she came back home after winning the junior Wimbledon doubles title partnering Alisa Kleybanova of Russia in 2003.

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