Singles is my first preference: Sania
Sunday March 12 2006 00:00 IST
Sania Mirza/ PMG/Globosport
Indian Wells, California, is one of the prettiest resorts in the world and the tennis courts are located in what is probably one of the most picturesque places that I have had the good fortune to visit. This is the first time I will be playing out here and the atmosphere is electric.
My elbow injury has not healed entirely though it is better. Of course, the obvious solution would be to rest it for some more time but it doesnít quite work that way on the professional tennis circuit. Virtually, every player in the top 100 is struggling with some injury or the other and the golden rule is to take a break only if the injury threatens to get worse by continuing to play.
The problem stems from the fact that in order to compete at the highest level today, one has to push oneself to the very limit and this punishment to the body obviously results in injuries. The problems assume greater magnitude for players like me who come from a background, where we have had no professional advice from world class physical trainers during our formative years. Professional tennis is a tough sport and one is expected to bear the pains and aches, which are a part and parcel of a tennis playerís life.
By not playing in Doha, where I was in the main draw last week, Iíve already lost the opportunity to defend my last yearís ranking points, which resulted in a drop in my singles ranking for this week.
I need to earn a few points in the coming few weeks to get back into the top 35 in singles and having reached my best ever rank of 64 in doubles, I also have the opportunity to break into the top 50 of the world in doubles with a couple of good performances. Rest is not really at the top of my list of priorities though I will be monitoring the pain in my elbow and wrist very closely under the supervision of the physiotherapist.
Of course, singles is my priority for sure but the rise in my doubles ranking gives me a special thrill for some very personal reasons. It has been a long grind in doubles right from the junior days, when no decent player wanted to play with me for the simple reason that Indian women had no history of being great doubles players. It was a twist of fate that helped me combine with Alysa Kleybanova to lift the girls doubles title in Wimbledon 2003.
We decided to play together at the very last moment because neither of us could find anyone else to play with and miraculously we won the most prestigious title in the world.
Even on the professional circuit, I have never had any regular doubles partner and it has not been easy to work my way up in the hierarchy of doubles specialists of the world.
Ai Sugiyama, my doubles partner for the week is one of the leading doubles specialists on the circuit and one who is highly respected.
The fact that she agreed to play with me in this major tournament is an honour for me and though we are unseeded, Iím looking forward to learning a lot from this wily exponent of the doubles game.
I guess this was article i was talking abt..