Serena anxious about Sania challenge
Press Trust Of India
Posted Saturday , February 03, 2007 at 18:58
Updated Saturday , February 03, 2007 at 19:00
IN SANIA'S HOME: Serena says Indian tennis seems to be all about Sania Mirza.
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Serena Williams says Sania Mirza is a much improved player now than she was two years ago, and the prospects of taking on the young rival on her home turf is a good enough reason for her to visit India.
"I saw Sania at the Australian Open and she played even better than when she played me in 2005. She is certainly a good player, a strong and solid player," the eight-time Grand Slam winner said in Florida.
The former world number one, who made a robust return from a lengthy injury lay-off by winning the Australian Open last month, will be the main attraction at the $175,000 Sony Ericsson International women's event in Bangalore starting February 12.
Serena said Sania, the first Indian woman to win a singles title, need not be apprehensive about being in the same half of the draw as her.
"She is a strong player and it will be interesting to play her on her turf," she said.
"Indian tennis seems to be all about Sania and I want to see all that. I am really excited about coming to India."
The Australian Open was her first Grand Slam win in two years and it saw the American jump from 85 to 14 in world rankings.
Serena used the break to dabble in acting and fashion designing.
She said Sania must also learn to strike a balance between tennis and other pursuits in life. "She should try not to be distracted but also be happy as well. She must do what she wants in life," Serena said.
The 25-year-old denied there was any lack of motivation to play a lower level tournament after winning a Grand Slam. "The schedule was fixed before I won," she said.
Serena said it was satisfying to beat world number one Maria Sharapova in the final but believed there won't be any advantage from the major win to carry forward in to the Bangalore event.
"It feels good but it was last month. This is going to be a new week, new game. She (Sharapova) too must have gone home now, probably she was furious she lost to me."
Serena was confident that her sister Venus too would make a strong comeback to the game. "Definitely she is capable of it. If anybody can do it, certainly she can."