Physio Heath Matthews recounts his experiences with Sania mirzaI have been working with Indian athletes since December 2005. It was at that time that I met Mahesh Bhupathi during a tennis preseason training camp in South Africa.
From there I travelled with Mahesh and Wesley Moodie on the ATP tour for 9 months. It was a great experience and I learnt many things interacting with some of the world’s top physios and trainers. Mahesh is a real hero for Indian sport. Not only has he done his country proud in standing at the top of the world ranking with fellow countrymen Leander Paes, but he has actively sort to improve the standing of Indian tennis with his tennis academy in Bangalore and his involvement with Mittal Champions Trust. I have a huge amount of respect for him.
In November 2006 Mahesh asked me to start working with Sania Mirza. Sania was contracted with Globosport which is Mahesh’s sports management company and thus Mahesh thought that it in Sania’s best interests that I work with her on her fitness.
My first experience of India was in November 2006 when I travelled to Hyderabad to work with Sania for 3 weeks on a preseason training program. I travelled and worked with Sania throughout 2007 until The All England Wimbledon Championships in July of that year.
Our partnership got off to a flying start with Sania winning Silver in the Woman’s Singles and a Gold in the Mixed at the Asian in games in Doha. 2007 was a more challenging year with Sania’s knee injury in early March of that year. It was a trying time for her but she dealt with the surgery very well and was very dedicated to her recovery program. She did so well that she came back and won the doubles title in her first tournament back in Morocco.
Sadly my time came to an end with Sania after Wimbledon. I was offered the opportunity to work for the Mittal Champions Trust as Director of Athletic Performance. At the time I was happy that Sania was in good hands with her coach Gaby from Spain. My career was pulling me in a different direction I needed to follow it deeper into India.