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Old Mar 29th, 2006, 02:07 PM   #16
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okay so these channels show live matches??or also recorded matches???..Sorry for being such a bum..
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Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 01:47 AM   #17
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have to overcome my inadequacies in public glare: Sania
Sunday April 2 2006 00:00 IST
A lot has been said in recent times about the need to cut down on my unforced errors.

I have to agree with this point of view. However, the problem needs to be understood in proper perspective and is best left to my team, which obviously is in a better position to analyse, deduce and to come up with a solution.

First, let me assure you in most cases, the figures for unforced errors that appear on tournament sites and hence lapped up by most enthusiasts and writers rarely match with the far more detailed point-by-point figures recorded by my coach sitting by the courtside.

The reason is simple. The tournament official mechanically adds on to the figure of unforced errors for every shot that a player hits out of court or into the net as long as he has got his racquet onto the ball.

He just does not take into account that the error may have occurred after the player was made to move around the court by the opponent from one corner to the other or tricked into misreading the length, speed or trajectory of the shot, forcing him to mis-hit the ball.

This goes down in my coach's book as a forced error. There was one match where the official site said I had 85 unforced errors and my coach had that figure at 43 in his notes (which, incidentally, is still way too high!!).

One must also understand that having a minimum number of unforced errors does not guarantee you a win, at least in professional tennis.

If you were to decide not to make any errors and just push the ball back, the opponent may hit a winner off every one of those balls and the points may not go down as unforced errors on your part, but you would still lose the match 6-0, 6-0!

What happens on a lot of occasions at the professional level is a player uses different methods to try to make the opponent ‘go for more’ on his shots and induces errors from him by forcing him to take a lot more chances.

If I hit a dozen shots in the safe mode, say 5 ft inside the line and with plenty of topspin for safety and find that the opponent is hitting a lot more deeper, flatter and harder to take control of the points, I would be forced to go nearer to the lines and with a lesser safety margin over the net.

If in so doing I miss the ball, to the casual bystander, it may appear as if I made another unforced error, but the more informed spectator would see that the opponent had `forced' me to go for more and hence, the error.

I also believe that in analysing the negativity of unforced errors, one needs to take this figure in conjunction not only with the higher number of winners that the player hits but also with the number of unforced errors the opponent makes, because the latter may well be a result of the pressure the player exerts on his opponent by threatening to go for the more risky strokes.

Having said this, I would be the first to reiterate that my own number of unforced errors needs to come down substantially, but the solution is not as simple as some would like to believe.

In my case, one must also consider that my biggest strength is the power in my groundstrokes and this comes from hitting a lot flatter than normal.

In order to generate this kind of power, I need to take a few more risks and clear the net with a lesser margin than someone who plays more defensively.

It is also a fact that I use a lot more wrist in my strokes and it is always more difficult to maintain consistency in movement of the wrist than it is to be consistent with the upper arm.

This is a style that has brought me to a career-high of 31 in the world. To believe that by merely becoming a lot more safer in my approach and by changing the way I hit the ball (at this stage of my career) I could get to top-10 would be very naiive.

The more practical solution is to reduce errors by improving my physical fitness to reach more balls in a better position, a better choice of strokes at critical junctures and by technically trying to improve shots that cause the maximum number of errors (including my serve). All these can take months and years to perfect and there are no short-cuts in the brutally competitive world of international tennis.

This is where the Sharapovas of the world have an edge over players like me. While they have been trained for a decade on these aspects and fine-tuned with the best technical guidance and methods in the quiet and safe pastures of their training grounds at a time when they were still developing in their formative years, I have to quickly overcome all my inadequacies under the blinding glare of the whole world if I am to survive at the highest level!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 08:39 PM   #18
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Source: http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/news...5-15_B112216:1

India's Mirza hopes to partner Israeli Peer again

NDIAN WELLS, March 7 (Reuters) - India's Sania Mirza is hoping to renew her doubles partnership with Israel's Shahar Peer despite protests from some Muslim and Jewish groups.

Mirza, whose poor recent form has seen her slip from a career-high ranking of 31 at the end of 2005 to 45th, said she would have played with Peer at this week's Pacific Life Open, but the Israeli player had already booked a partner.

"You shouldn't mix up sports with anything else," the 19-year-old told Reuters at the March 8-19 tournament in Indian Wells.

"If I had to follow the stereotype of what a woman athlete should be in India, then I wouldn't be playing tennis because there aren't many girls who pick up rackets when they are six. If you believe it's right, if your loved ones believe it's right, then it's right."

Mirza and Peer united for the first time when they reached the quarter-finals of the event in Bangkok last October, but their partnership was met with anger by some religious groups.

"We are playing sports," Peer said at the time in Thailand. "We don't think about politics. It's a good idea to bring (cultures) together, but we will play together because we want to and will have good results."

VERY EMOTIONAL

Mirza enjoyed a breakout season in 2005, capturing her first WTA title in Hyderabad and reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open before succumbing to Russia's Maria Sharapova.

But her results in 2006 have been poor. She has won just three singles matches in five events since the turn of the year.

"You should never be satisfied. People come up with that I'm the first Indian woman to accomplish blah, blah, blah, and that's the hardest part for me," said the 28th seed for Indian Wells.

"I would like to believe I'm tough enough to cope with all this pressure, but everyone has their moments," she said. "We're not machines, we're human. We have our breakdowns and feel lonely.

"I know the pressure is getting harder by the day," she said. "People in India get very emotional about their heroes, but I'm going to try to block out as much as I can."

Under the tutelage of Roger Federer's coach Tony Roche, Mirza has changed her service action and believes she's making progress.

"The second year is tougher," she said. "People know your weaknesses more. That's why I'm changing my serve now because people were taking advantage of it. It couldn't get worse, so it had to get better."
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 03:12 AM   #19
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Indian star's goal: Be a player, not a symbol
With Muslims at home alternately idolizing and attacking her, Sania Mirza tries to have fun and improve her game.
By DAVE SCHEIBER, Times Staff Writer
Published April 12, 2006

Sania Mirza has drawn attention for her dress, not always favorable: Her tennis attire provoked a Muslim group to declare a fatwa.

KEY BISCAYNE - The Newcomer of the Year in women's tennis - her long black hair bobbing from the back of a visor and a diamond-studded nose ring sparkling - is busy blasting forehands on a remote practice court beneath the hot South Florida sun.

She is virtually hidden from view, rare for someone with a fan club of half a billion.

Gradually, a handful of spectators roaming the jammed Tennis Center grounds at Crandon Park, home of the recent Nasdaq-100 Open, wander over.

They recognize the 19-year-old with the bionic groundstrokes and exotic good looks.

"That's the girl from India; she's so cute," whispers an older woman to her friends.

It's hardly the kind of reception Sania Mirza receives back home, where she no longer even attempts to take a walk in public. Mobs of adoring fans have made that impossible, clamoring for the autograph of the athlete whose posters are said to be as popular as any of India's marquee Bollywood stars.

In some ways, she's a typical teenage girl with an eye for fashion and - at least until she grew weary of answering questions about them last year - a penchant for those trendy attitude T-shirts with the bold, sometimes in-your-face sayings.

Yet while countless kids her age move in a world of MySpace, her space requires 24-hour bodyguard protection in India as a precaution.

Many female teens have to deal with a parent's disapproval over what they wear, not a fatwa from a fringe Muslim group.

The religious order was issued against Mirza by a cleric from her hometown of Hyderabad in southeastern India. The edict deemed her tennis miniskirts and attire too revealing and "un-Islamic" and demanded that Mirza, a devout Muslim, cover up.

Still, the vast majority of India is swept up in the phenomenon dubbed "Sania Mania." Indian women hail her as a pioneer for pushing gender barriers. Young girls flock to tennis courts to follow in her footsteps. And the Indian media, with more than 100 newspapers and dozens of 24-hour news channels, provide endless coverage of her.

She is a young woman caught between being a symbol of modern India and an object of ire from less progressive segments of the society; the best Indian female tennis player ever in a balancing act as a national treasure and a teen.

Somehow Mirza, who answers questions confidently and often bluntly, maintains her concentration with an entire nation hanging on her every move.

"Expectations and pressure are always going to be there," she says. "It increases by the day, and you need to learn to cope with it."

Growing pains
In 2005, she coped quite well indeed.

Mirza became the first Indian to win a Women's Tennis Association singles title, accomplished in her hometown at the Hyderabad Open with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in attendance.

With an aggressive, go-for-broke style, Mirza raced up the rankings from the obscurity of No. 163 (No. 326 in '04) to a career-best 31 last season. And she was featured on the cover of Time magazine's Asian edition in a story titled "Asia's Heroes."

But 2006 has taken a different turn. Mirza has struggled, dropping to 37. Maybe it's a nagging elbow and wrist injury that requires a cumbersome brace on her forearm, hampering her power game. It could be opponents are starting to figure out how to play her.

Or perhaps it's the weight of carrying a country's hopes and dreams each time she steps onto a court.

"I'm just here to play tennis," she insists. "I'll do whatever I can to do the best I can. I just have to focus on my game and block out as much as possible."

One measure of how big Mirza has gotten in India is that she rivals the country's vaunted male cricket players in popularity and endorsements.

In a recent national poll rating the country's young icons, Mirza finished second only to cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar. Earning one of India's most prestigious sports awards in 2005 made headlines there, but being named the WTA's Newcomer of the Year on March 21 created a media frenzy.

"That's really big news for India, because Indians are not very prominent on the international circuit, particularly women," veteran Indian sports journalist and author Gulu Ezekiel says by phone from New Delhi. "Her photo was splashed all over the papers. She's been on TV. Even with her disappointing start this season, she is still very big."

Yet in the United States, Mirza can walk through the bustling Nasdaq grounds and, except for stopping to pose for a snapshot with an excited Indian woman, barely draw a glance.

As she heads for the locker room, her father, Imran Mirza, a former club cricket player who serves as her coach, lingers briefly to talk.

He is proud of his daughter, but he worries about the pressure and expectations.

"Yeah, it is beginning to get to her, because it's not like a million people are rooting for her; it's like a half-billion people are," he says. "Everybody is following her so closely. So it is getting to her."

Imran, a builder, and Naseema, who runs a printing press, raised their two daughters in a Westernized Muslim household. But he has grown concerned about the attire worn by players on the WTA tour and reactions from more conservative Muslims.

It is a conflict not entirely resolved.

"The thing is, she's never tried to justify what she's doing from the Islamic point of view," he says. "Because she's as much a Muslim as any other Muslim as far as the beliefs go. And we never tried to justify what she's doing.

"In Islam, the best thing that you have is that there's forgiveness for everything. Sania has never said, "I'm doing the right thing.' She says, "I'm doing it and God will forgive me for it.' So that's the attitude we have, and then we have to face what comes."

For what it's worth, Mirza has not been playing in miniskirts this season. She has switched to shorts.

Case clothes
For all the unwanted attention over her attire, Mirza aimed the spotlight directly at her T-shirts last year and wound up with another distraction.

At a postmatch Wimbledon news conference, she wore a shirt bearing a slogan that has made the rounds on bumper stickers: "Well-behaved women rarely make history."

She wore a playful one that read: "I'm old enough to know better but still too young to care," and an edgy one with the words, "Don't Get in My Way."

In August at the U.S. Open, where she became the first Indian woman to reach the tournament's fourth round, she wore this one to a news conference: "You can either agree with me, or be wrong."

But she turned some heads in another Open news conference a few days later wearing a T-shirt with the message, "I'm Cute? No s---."

Some, like veteran tennis writer and NBC analyst Bud Collins, have been turned off by the displays.

"I've only met her once and she seems like a very good kid," he says. "Obviously, she's lively and under a lot of pressure. But I think she could help herself. She wears atrocious clothing sometimes. T-shirts that are profane sometimes. That's starting behind. She's charming enough. She's a good player. She has a big forehand, huge at times. So I don't think she needs to do that. But she's growing."

Mirza, meanwhile, has grown exasperated by all the questions about her T-shirts.

"I think I've said this enough, a number of times," she said with a laugh to a reporter's question at the U.S. Open, "but oh, my God, this is the last time I'm going to wear a T-shirt in a press conference that says something. It's no big deal. I'm 18 years old. Give me a break. I'm just trying to have some fun here. I'm bored of the stripes or checks or lines."

In fact, other WTA players talk highly of her.

"She's a very relaxed girl and a great player," says Kim Clijsters, one of the tour's top players who competed with Mirza in an exhibition. "I'm sure she'll let her tennis do the talking. I like that she keeps going for her shots. She's gutsy. I see her around the courts; she's professional, and a nice girl, too."

One other tour star can relate to the glare of publicity faced by Mirza. Maria Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004 at 17 and has become an international celebrity, defeated Mirza in straight sets in the U.S. Open quarterfinals but was impressed.

"I don't know her personally too well, but she's a great young talent and there's a lot of potential," she says. "I still think she needs experience, just like I did and still do. She has pressure on her. But in a way, I think it's wonderful to have a whole country supporting you. It's an honor."

Oh, yes. She hasn't worn any messages in months.

International appeal
A long rain delay has pushed Mirza's showcased Stadium Court match with little-known Anna Tatishvili to past 10 p.m. But the crowd has remained.

Loud applause greets the announcer's booming introduction - "SANIAAA, MIRZAAA" to the blaring soundtrack of K.C. and the Sunshine Band's That's the Way I Like It.

Mirza sports a white hat, white shorts, a pink shirt, her trademark black socks and the brace on her right arm and wrist.

High up in the stands, two women watch intently. Belinda Padmini and Dsoula Harigopal, 35-year-olds from India and now Miami residents, have been waiting for a chance to watch Mirza play.

"She's from my hometown in India and it's a big thing that she has done so well," Harigopal says.

"And for a Muslim woman," Padmini adds. "But it shouldn't matter what she is. I'm Catholic and she (Harigopal) is Hindu. We're just proud she's Indian."

Mirza has beaten two top-10 players, but she loses a tense, three-set match this night with an array of unforced errors. It's clear she still has a way to go to join the WTA's elite.

But she has come far, much further than India's first female tennis player of note, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, whose top rank was No. 134 in 1997.

Though Mirza's main sport as a young child was swimming, her mother began taking her to local tennis courts on the way to swim lessons. Mirza enjoyed herself. So her parents thought she might like to give the sport a try, signing her up for lessons at age 6 with no particular expectations.

The instructor at first declined to coach the little girl, insisting she was too small. Within a month, however, she had changed his mind, displaying a natural ability and determination. By 7, she was playing tournaments and progressing rapidly on the pock-marked clay courts, later joking that "I twisted my ankle about a dozen times a day."

Today, the 5-7, 130-pound sensation has numerous Internet fan sites in India, where her off-court dress includes the traditional salwar kameez (loose pants and long tunic) and black-rimmed glasses.

She rides in cars with dark-tinted windows back home to protect her privacy. She has also had to change her cell phone number because of endless calls from Indian reporters.

And the clash of cultures continues to be part of her life. When Indian actor Khushboo spoke out to promote safe sex and condom use, she sparked a fierce backlash among some conservative groups. Mirza came out in support of Khushboo's message and was harshly criticized. Mobs burned both women in effigy, and they eventually issued apologies.

Mirza and Israel's top female player, Shahara Peer, drew protests from some Muslim and Jewish groups when they partnered in doubles in October at Bangkok. Despite the flap, they have stated they intend to join forces again.

Meanwhile, Mirza has to keep her mind on the game. Tony Roche, coach of top-ranked Roger Federer, has been working with her on serves, and she's hoping to get healthy and back on track. In her free time, she tries to relax. "I'm not a party person," she says. "I'm a stay-at-home person. If I have a day off, I probably wake up at 12 and have some friends over."

She would love one day to become No. 1. But another reward sustains her.

"It feels nice that people are inspired by you," she says. "Just the fact that there are so many girls picking up tennis rackets now is amazing in India. Hopefully I can keep up with their expectations."
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 04:22 AM   #20
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a really nice article...
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 04:48 AM   #21
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abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice abdullah is just really nice
thanx for sharing the article
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 04:37 PM   #22
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nice article! thanks for sharing.
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 11:35 PM   #23
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really long

i will take my time to read it
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 04:07 AM   #24
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OF RARE FRIENDSHIPS (Sania's column)

April 07, 2006:The professional tennis circuit can be a lonely place at times and the cell phone or the internet tend to become a player's favourite allies to stay in tune with the rest of the world. Sport at the highest level is an extremely competitive and serious business and while there is some amount of camaraderie one enjoys with a few of the players, true friendships are rare.

It was refreshing to spend some time with my Fed Cup teammate, Shikha Uberoi and her family at Amelia Island during the tournament this week. Shikha's family originally belonged to Hyderabad and moved to the States a few decades ago. Incidentally, our families go back a long way as her uncle and mine went to school together in Hyderabad. Though I met Shikha and her sister, Neha only a few years ago, we always have a lot in common to talk about! Of course, our dads get along famously as well, catching up with news about common friends and associates and its wonderful that tennis has brought us together after living most of our lives on the opposite sides of the world.

Last year, in January I had set a goal for myself to be in the top 100 players of the world before the end of 2005. After a good start in the Australian Open, I revised this goal to top 50 and I was fortunate to achieve this by August. People have hounded me ever since to predict my ranking during the current year and I have resisted because it is not a question of making frivolous or bold predictions but more about coming up with realistic assessments of where you stand in relation to the other top players of the world. Frankly, I felt I needed time to gauge myself while playing day after day against the best talent of my era.

The second full year on the WTA circuit is always considered to be the most difficult and trying. This is the time when the other pros and coaches have had a good look at you and the element of surprise disappears from your game. One needs to quickly adapt to the higher level and make the adjustments in technique and temperament to consolidate one's position in the elite group. This is also the period when one has to start defending points from the previous year and the pressure can mount with each successive tournament. It is very slippery at the top and the ranking can slide in no time.

I haven't had a great start to the year in singles but have done enough to recover some of my last year's points from the Australian Open, the Hyderabad Open title win and the Dubai Open, while still comfortably hanging on in the top 50 for over 6 months. Of course, the daggers are already out now.

Yes, in an emotionally-charged country like India, expectations run high and this can put a lot of pressure on an individual sportsman. But I respect and understand the feelings of the genuine lovers of the game with whom I share this great passion for sport. I will continue to strive hard to make them feel proud and to give them joy that they so richly deserve. I would like to think that pressure is a privilege that I have earned with my successes over the years and hope that it will inspire me to perform to my optimum capacity before I'm through with my tennis career!

-Professional Management Group/Globosport

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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #25
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thats an excellent piece by sania...Just keep your head right..and never lose confidence... anyways heres another one about her fitness...Nothing new..Juts paes and bhupathi talking abt it..

Sania Mirza 'not fit enough'

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NEW DELHI, Apr 14: Life for an athlete is never easy. There are no easy choices, only hard decisions. For Sania Mirza, it's no different.

Over the past one year, Sania has scaled unbelievable heights and conquered unchartered territories. She found fame and her place under the sun but success is unforgiving. She's had to fight the demons of injury and fatigue as much as the top pros in the world. The injuries were several as were the opponents, but the pain remained constant. Behind each triumph was pain, only lulled by her ambition and hunger. She won accolades and tore through the rankings like a Shinkansen but the injuries never left her alone. First it was the ankle, then an abdominal strain, then the back gave way and now the elbow that hurts every time she serves.

Carrying an injury into a tournament is no big deal for tennis players but the frequency with which it's happening to Sania is worrying. Many have labelled her "injury prone" but that assessment is about as deep as a dry riverbed. At home, now after a disappointing month on the US hardcourts, Sania has the Fed Cup and the clay season coming up. But she still isn't injury free.

Experts like CGK Bhupathi and Dr Vece Paes believe that her succumbing to injury is all because of physical fitness — or the lack of it. They are not saying that she isn't fit, just not fit enough.

"Fourteen months ago, she was ranked in the 200s. Now she's No. 37 but her fitness level is still that of a 200-ranked player. She got there too quickly for her body to adapt to playing tougher opposition," opined Bhupathi, a former coach who has seen Sania transform into a champion player. Dr Paes agrees. with Bhupathi. "Last year it was expected that Sania would gradually rise up the ranks but we witnessed a phenomenal jump. When you make that jump, you're playing opponents who hit harder and faster. You're playing more tournaments and at a higher level. What results then are over-use injuries and compensatory injuries. She's playing at a level her body is not used to," Paes stated.

Athleticism has never been Sania's forte but physical fitness is one area she can't afford to be lax about. In today's world, a fitter body can often over-run and out-play a more talented player. It's a fact that Sania and her parents, coach and physiotherapist are well aware of. A month-long stint of rigorous physical training with Tony Roche last December was just the beginning of a series of steps that will equip Sania better for the rigours of the circuit.

The two agreed that she needs to toughen up and focus on her physical training but differed in opinion on whether she should continue playing with an injury. "The problem lies in her fitness level. It has to be brought up and it takes two-to-three years to develop your fitness for that level of professional tennis," was Dr Paes' response.

Bhupathi has seen his son Mahesh, a multiple Grand Slam champion, play in tournaments despite injuries and knows that it's a way of life. "She has to increase her fitness but she shouldn't allow her tennis to fall. She should continue to play as long as the injury doesn't warrant rest. Right now, she has a good game that can occasionally beat a Top 10 player. To improve she doesn't require working on her tennis, only her physical fitness and that could take even two years," said Bhupathi.

Dr Paes, who has seen the good, bad and ugly of injuries, considers taking a break to be a more prudent approach. "Once you get injured, the body compensates. First the ankle, then the other ankle, the shoulder, then the elbow. It's the body's way of telling you that it needs a rest. She should be courageous enough to back off. Let the points drop. Take a break. Come back to compete at maybe the 50-60 range," he reasoned.

"Sania has a lot riding on her. It's tough to take a decision like this. The pressure of points slipping off is immense but not many have the luxury of taking a break. She does," he added. According to Dr Paes, Sania should leave her racquet alone for 2-3 weeks and follow that with 3-4 weeks of strengthening.
Sania has successfully balanced her professional with her personal life but this is one balancing act that she may struggle to get right.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #26
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I am playing Fed Cup against doc's advice: Sania

PTI
Sunday, April 16, 2006 19:20 IST



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NEW DELHI: Having missed out on last year's action, Sania Mirza is braving multiple injuries to spearhead India's campaign in the Fed Cup women's team tennis competition.

Sania said that despite some serious injury concerns and doctor's advice to not play, she was keen to represent India in the Asia-Oceania zonal qualifying tie to be held in Seoul, Korea, from April 19 to 22.

"As an athlete, I am always taking risk. Sometimes you do have to take risk, and this is going to be a bigger risk," the 19-year old said after a practice session with her teammates Ankita Bhambri and Isha Lakhani at the R K Khanna stadium.

Sania has injuries to her wrist and elbow, both of the serving right arm, and hyper-extension of the lower back.

She was part of the team but did not play due to an ankle injury when the tie was held in Delhi last year.

"I am going to stop for three to four weeks after this. In fact, the doctor told me not to play even this week. But then I did not play last year, so I want to play this time," the
Hyderabadi girl said.

"There are three injuries. Each one is worse than the other. The wrist (injury) is the most serious," she said.

"The back is a muscle spasm. It is not a long term problem, not an injury that needs an operation, but is very painful at the moment.

"It catches me occasionally, hopefully I can stay free of it the coming week."

Asked how far she would go to play in the event despite the risk, Sania said she would not play "only if the pain was
unbearable."

"Not feeling much pain (at the moment). We will see how I feel when I get there," she said.

The trio was put through an intense practice session on the centre court by captain and coach Enrico Piperno.

Shikha Uberoi, the other member of the team has been practising for a week.

Australia, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Philippines, Uzbekistan and hosts Korea are the other six teams in the fray.

The teams will be divided into two pools of three and four, with the top teams from either pool playing the final on Saturday. The winner qualify for a World Group 2 play-off in July.

Piperno said Sania's presence has boosted India's chances of winning the zonal competition.

"I wish last year was this year," Piperno said.

"I would have loved to play in India with this team, but you can't have it both ways.

"Without China, we have a great chance. With Sania in, we are better than the rest."

Piperno hoped India are placed in the smaller group, "so that Sania has less load to carry," but was confident about the Indian star's form.

"I haven't seen her hit the ball so well before. I am surprised she has not won a tournament in the US (on the WTA Tour)," he said.

Sania said, "doubles is decisive in team tennis, but hopefully it doesn't get that far. I hope we can finish off the games with the singles.

"If we go by rankings, we are the second seeds but it is going to be tough."

Sania, the first Indian to win a WTA Tour title pulled out of the event in Charleston, USA, for some much needed rest.

"I had four days of rest but everyone knows four days or two weeks is not going to help. For proper rest, you need three and a half or four weeks. I have pulled six weeks, one more to go," she said.

Asked how big a risk she was taking, "it is not that a bone is going to break. Hopefully that doesn't happen."

She also denied that her singles performance this season has not been satisfactory in comparison to her doubles show.

"Singles is not going into the quarters and semis but I have maintained my ranking, so it is not that bad," she said.

"Of course, doubles has seen a huge jump (upto 40th in world rankings) and that gives a lot of confidence. And that is why I am playing doubles.

"But I am still playing well in singles. It is a matter of getting a few wins together. I don't want to sit and be depressed about it. I am very optimistic."
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #27
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Looks like Sania is going to change her coach at least for some time.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1676648,0035.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Asif Ismail to help out Sania Mirza

S Kannan

New Delhi, April 17, 2006


Injuries are part and parcel of tennis pro's career. And Sania Mirza is fully aware that cent per cent fitness is almost unachievable on the WTA Tour where one is playing so many weeks, jet-setting to different parts of the globe.

Sania was in the Capital on Sunday for just a day and then left with the Fed Cup squad for Seoul, where India compete next week in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group I. It was Sania who lifted India four years back from Group II into Group I, so she knows what is expected of her.

The 19-year-old Hyderabad girl looks athletic and fit, all a result of the Australian trainer who was with her for over four months. "Yes, Jade Hottes helped me out and it's been good," said Sania. Jade was a football trainer in Australia and knew the regimen for Sania had to be a bit different. For someone who has been through injuries, keeping her fit was the main task.

One look at Sania and you can be sure there's no flab. Maybe, if the injuries go away once and for all, she will be a stronger player. But the improvement is already there to be seen.

Her serve, considered the weakest part, has got better. Match stats in tournaments say her first serve percentage has gone up and there can be further improvement.

And at the fore court as well, Sania has shown she is no bunny. "It's not as if I have a regular doubles partner now. I have played with different partners since most of them sign up at the start of the year," said Sania. Nevertheless, her doubles ranking has improved drastically (40 as of this week) which means she can now hope for some solid players to be pairing with her in Grand Slams.

Fed Cup apart, the bigger challenges lie ahead in the WTA Tour for Sania. "I am taking a two-week break after the Fed Cup. After that, I will go into the clay court season," says Sania. The plan is to be in two clay events in Rome and Turkey before the French Open.

But considering that clay is not her favourite surface, one must wait for perhaps the grass-court season.

Starting from the French Open till the end of Wimbledon - six weeks - Sania will have former National champion and Davis Cupper Asif Ismail helping her out. In effect, that means there will be no John Farrington, a coach who has worked with her in recent months.

When Sania played in Hong Kong recently, she had taken some help from Asif Ismail. And for a man who had a big serve in his playing days, more than tinkering with her technique, Asif would be a good hitting partner.

Certainly, at a time when we are obsessed with foreign coaches in almost any sport, Sania's decision to take help from an Indian does come as a pleasant surprise.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 11:50 PM   #28
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this is a bit old article..At time of wimby last yr..

Cowan's expert eye: Mirza's forehand grip

Unorthodox technique key to Indian sensation's power

Thursday June 23, 2005
The Guardian

Sania Mirza has an extreme grip on her forehand. It is Nadal-like but she hits it flat, which is unusual. She holds the racket the long way round, which is unorthodox but effective.

Mirza's forehand is particularly unorthodox. It means that she gets lots of power both off her forehand and her backhand. Kuznetsova hits very hard, but so does Mirza.

If she had a serve, or at least a better serve, she would have won yesterday. Tactically that was the biggest difference.

Article continues
Mirza's grip can be a disadvantage. It means that when the ball is short and low she does not commit to the shot because at the back of her mind she is thinking about getting back to the baseline .

Mirza needs to improve her net play because sometimes when the ball is short, she is retreating back to the baseline.

Her grip is totally settled, though. As a coach, I would be very reluctant to change it.

Barry Cowan is a pundit for the BBC and Sky Sports
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Old Apr 20th, 2006, 04:20 AM   #29
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'I love playing for India'
April 19, 2006

For months, Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza has been consciously avoiding the desi media. The fear of being misquoted has perhaps been weighing on her mind more than the forehands and backhands that she faces on the court.

The Hyderabad star was in the Capital for a day enroute Seoul, where she will be playing for the country in the Fed Cup.

Q. Injuries have been haunting you for sometime now. What is the problem?

If you go to any big tournament, there's a long waiting list to meet the physio. Injuries are part and parcel of a player's career, and one has to learn how best to deal with it.

Q. Do you think all the hard work you have put in on fitness is helping you?

For almost four months I had Jade Hottes from Australia helping me out with my workout, fitness and gym regime. It has helped a lot. Right now, I am coping with a wrist and elbow injury. I also have a hyperextension in my back. So, after the Fed Cup, I will take a break.

Q. Are you worried about the fall in ranking? Of late, you have improved a lot in doubles, though…

I am not at all worried. I've always believed in doing my best. My doubles performances of late have come along well, even though I still don't have a regular partner. The doubles game had helped me improve my singles game as well.

Q. What kind of a motivation is it when you play for the country?

I am proud of being an Indian and I love playing for India. I am injured, but I'm still willing to take the risk and play this week for the country.

Q. Life must be hectic. You're travelling from one country to another...

It's part of my career, and I cannot complain. At any given point of time my father or mother is travelling with me.

Q. How is it to be working with different coaches?

It's something I have been through since my younger days. Asif Ismail will be helping me for six week. Let's see how it comes along.

Q. Any specific goals for 2006?

I want to play consistent tennis and improve steadily.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2006, 04:07 AM   #30
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Sania's injuries not that serious

M RATNAKAR

TIMES NEWS NETWORK


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HYDERABAD, Apr 21: The elbow and wrist injuries that Sania Mirza is nursing even as she turns out for India in the Fed Cup in Seoul, are not of a serious nature, feels her doctor, though even the slightest aggravation of the injuries could delay her rehabilitation process.

Dr KJ Reddy, the senior orthopaedic consultant with Apollo Hospital here, whose primary task was to see that Sania recovers in time for the French Open that begins in Paris on May 28, had advised Sania a three-week rest, but had to "give in" after the player impressed upon him how important she was for the Indian team.

"In view of the short time she has for recovery and preparation before the French Open, I had advised her to stay away from the game for three weeks. Both the injuries required immediate attention. But she convinced me saying that she will need to play just one match per tie," Dr Reddy said.

Presuming that Sania would be back soon and undergoes a three-week treatment, she will have just about a week to get herself back into match fitness. That would appear a bit difficult, but not for Dr Reddy. "We have designed a specific recovery programme for her which should see her back in action in maybe less than three weeks. And as for her fitness, I think she is a fine athlete and a hard working girl."

Notwithstanding the doctor's confidence, the fact is most players come into Grand Slam events in peak fitness, and Sania may not be ready to extend herself against top ranked players. And in case she does, is there any risk?

"There is no need to worry about the recurrence of these injuries. She only needs proper treatment and enough rest. In fact, every tennis player goes through this phase. I can assure you her game will be never affected by these sort of injuries," said Dr Reddy.

The doctor, however, had a word of caution. "She should never neglect these sort of injuries. That is why I told her not to play till she attains complete recovery. It is a bit unfortunate to sustain so many injuries at such a young age," he said.
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