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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 03:38 AM   #31
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I know this has lil to do with sania but

Very Indian, so uber cool

Bikash Mohapatra
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 23:35 IST



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After her exploits at the Fed Cup in Korea, DNA caught up with the 23-year-old Shikha Uberoi and quizzed her about tennis, Sania Mirza and of course her celeb brother Viveik.

An Indian first
I was born here and India is very much a part of my life. Maybe for Neha it is different (coz she was born in the States) but for me, it is the way I am. I wanted to be in the heart of India and I feel I’m slowly getting there. The people here are very emotional as compared to the Americans, and every time I disappoint them I feel like saying ‘sorry.’

The player
I feel I’m improving every year, though I’m not setting any goals.I enjoy playing both singles and doubles but because of my ranking I don’t get many opportunities to play the doubles. I would say if I’m a teenager in singles, in doubles I’m just a six-year-old.

My brother Viveik
When he was studying in the US, we had great fun. But I have still not managed to go for any of his shoots and neither has he been able to come to watch me play (though I did invite him to the Sunfeast Open).
I love watching his movies, Company and Masti, in particular. I am also looking forward to Pyare Mohan.

Sania, no problem
Sania is a fantastic person. As a player, she’s great and the results she has achieved so far show her tremendous potential. It was a pity we couldn’t play in the Fed Cup last year but we hit it off this year.

I’m happy with the way my career has progressed so far. Whatever she has achieved is only on the basis of her performances. Even if the others had got similar opportunities, maybe they couldn’t have achieved the same results.

Venus, the good Samaritan
It was on September 11, 2001 (during the terror attacks on World Trade Centre), that Venus (Williams) gave me and Neha a lift after both of us were on our way back after losing in Challenger events. She had just been crowned the US Open champion and we were nothing then. But we were amazed by her humility and patience, as we got to know her more during the trip. It was ironical that I played Venus at the US Open three years later and had a chance to win (Shikha was 4-1 up in the first set before losing 5-7 1-6). That continues to be my most memorable moment.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 01:11 PM   #32
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Staying in top-40 tough enough: Sania Mirza

Press Trust of India
Posted online: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 1532 hours IST
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 1547 hours IST

New Delhi, April 26: Feeling the heat of playing top flight tennis this year, Sania Mirza on Wednesday said her fans should not expect her to shoot up in world rankings as she did on her debut season on the professional circuit.




“I have always said that the second year was going to be tougher than the first. You cannot jump from top-40 to top-20 in two months,” Sania said.

“Staying in top-40 is tough enough. When you are at that level, you play the top girls day in and day out. There has not been a lot of semi-finals (appearances) because the competition is deep. Every week you will be playing five-six top-10 players,” the 19-year-old from Hyderabad said on the sidelines of a promotional event.

Sania has had a tough few weeks on the pro circuit this year.

After the breakthrough season last year when she became the first Indian woman to win a tour title and break into the top-50 in world rankings, the teenager has yet to reach a quarterfinal after 23 weeks of playing on the women’ tour.

But a closer look at the scores would show that her matches have been close.

And while she has failed to string together a few wins in the singles, her performance in the doubles has been more than satisfying.

The title triumph at Bangalore and a final appearance at Amelia Island, on both the occasions with Liezel Huber of South Africa, has seen her jump to 39 in doubles rankings.

That has given rise to more expectations from her at the grand slams.

“There are three more grand slams in the year but I have never had a stable partner, not more than two tournaments, except perhaps in the junior days. Liezel has been doing well and she hadn’t had a fixed partner either,” she said.

In between, Sania dumped John Farrington as coach and tied up with former player Asif Ismail as hitting partner.

“I did practice with Asif in Hong Kong (at the start of the season). He was not coaching really, I just had a hit with him. And that’s what I want now. John was an excellent coach but was not a hitter. At this point of time, I need a hitter,” Sania explained.

She said the stint with renowned former player and coach Tony Roche of Australia before the start of the season had proved to be useful.

“My serve has become much better. The other day I was speaking to Rico (Enrico Piperno, Fed Cup captain) and he was telling me how my serving has become smoother and effective. So it has been fruitful because that has been the are awe had worked on,” she said.

Sania was satisfied with India's performance in the Fed Cup last week, where they lost in the Asia-Oceania zonal final to Australia in Seoul, Korea.

A win in the final would have put them through to world group 2 play-offs.

“It was great to reach the final. Obviously we are disappointed that we did not make it to the play-off. At one-all (after sharing the singles points) it was always going to be tough to beat them (Australia). They are the number one team (Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs in doubles). We will try harder next time,” she said.

Sania said she loved playing for the Indian team and was eager to don the tri-colour at the asian games at doha later this year.

“I love playing in the Fed Cup and the team spirit that goes with it. I love playing for the country and am looking forward to Doha,” said the girl who won the mixed doubles bronze with Leander Paes at Busan in 2002.

“Hopefully we can win a lot of medals. We have strong teams in the men’s as well as women’s play,” she added.
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Martina Hingis Ana Ivanovic Myskina Safarova

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Old May 7th, 2006, 07:31 AM   #33
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Hoping to return on May 15


The last time I took a break from tennis was some time back and it sure feels different to get up in the morning and not have to punish an already battered body! After a couple of commitments in Delhi and Mumbai, I got back to Hyderabad to rest and for medical treatment for my injuries.

My doctor has advised a minimum of three to four weeks of rest and I’m hoping to resume practice on May 9. I intend to get back on the circuit from the Rome event on May 15 but if the pain in my wrist, elbow or lower back persists, I will probably have to skip the tournament in Italy and resume from Istanbul on May 22. Ideally, I admit, not enough matches for a run-up to the Grand Slam in Roland Garros but there are things beyond one’s control.

Of course, I’m enjoying the time spent with my family and friends but it does not take long to start missing the daily grind on the tennis courts, when one has been used to it for years.

The red clay court has never been my favourite surface even in my junior days and there are definite reasons for this. But I always love a challenge and I am determined to prove a point to myself in the French Open this year. Of course, I am aware that coming into the Grand Slam after a break for multiple injuries may prove a difficult obstacle to handle, particularly on clay, where fitness plays such an important role.

The problem with injury is that one has to wait it out until it has healed almost completely before one can work on strengthening a weak part of the body. This can take weeks and sometimes months with the result that one’s over-enthusiasm and anxiety to get back into the thick of action before total recovery can be detrimental to one’s own interests.

Tennis is a physically demanding game and every single one of the top 100 players on the circuit is struggling with some injury or the other but I cannot help feeling that I could have achieved a lot more if I had strengthened my body through proper conditioning at the time when I was still a developing junior. Lack of first-hand experience and knowledge amongst the physical trainers on international level tennis-specific conditioning at the time when I was growing up in India did not help the players of my generation. The young upcoming players of the future need to be properly guided on this front.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #34
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Tennis is not a rich man's game

April 28, 2006:A fair amount of finance is required in the development of a professional tennis player. But it angers me when people try to project tennis as just a rich man’s game because it is not. Misconceptions and misinformation can draw people away from pursuing the game and a lot of talent may just get nipped in the bud.

If an individual loves tennis and wants to play only for the love of the game, it would probably cost that person no more than a couple of thousand a month in India to play a session of tennis each day. I think it is an affordable sum for any middle-class family, particularly if tennis is a priority in their lives.

When a player shows special talent and wants to take up the game seriously, the expenses begin to mount but it is my contention that if you are genuinely good at the game, you do not need to be rich and sponsors will step forward in due course. However, one needs to impress the potential sponsors with outstanding performances and be relentless in consistently achieving results that make them sit up and take notice. Tennis is a very competitive sport and huge sums spent on less than the exceptionally talented players will neither help their cause nor the game in our country.

A lot is being made today in some quarters about the lack of funding from sponsors or absence of financial support from the Tennis Association by players, who claim to have done enough to warrant it. The young players are beginning to take refuge behind the garb of inadequate funding in our country and citing this as the one and only reason for not making it to the elite group of professionals. I think that they are harming not only themselves by living in their own fantasy world but also doing a great disservice to the game that has given them a reasonable amount of fame.

I feel there is a need for introspection on our part. A few players have continued to make unnecessary snide remarks about how I have been purely "lucky" to get sponsors and that the only reason they haven’t made it to the top is because of lack of funding. I will be the first to acknowledge that sponsorship has helped my cause, but to think that the sponsors will fall head over heals to provide funds without adequate performance is carrying expectations too far!

Performance is the key and these players would do well to concentrate on achieving better results for themselves. Contrary to popular belief, initially when the sponsors funded me, it was for a very modest amount but I always thought it was my duty to publicise their efforts to the maximum and give them value for their money.

The amounts that I got, of course, increased gradually as my rankings improved and the expenses went up manifold. A sizeable portion of my tennis funding in the early days came from monetary rewards from the Government for winning a handful of gold medals in the Nationals, Afro-Asian Games, bronze in the Asian Games and for being the first Indian female to win titles in the Asian Juniors and the Wimbledon Doubles. Many of these cash awards had been announced by the Government months before the tournaments and whoever won could have pocketed the money. Its not my fault that I won and others did not.

A lot of people still seem to be under the misconception that sponsorship is a donation when it definitely is not. It is a business investment and as a sportsman one has to be commercially viable to give enough mileage to the investor and make the partnership endure. Some years ago when I did not win a tournament for a few months after a break from tennis for my School Board Examinations, there were no takers for my bills. Things changed, however, once I won five singles and doubles titles in four weeks of tournament play. The price earned will always be commensurate to performance and there are no short cuts in this.

The All India Tennis Association and the A.P. State and Central Governments deserve credit for having financially encouraged not only me but several other players as well. When they were funding my expenses at the junior level, the AITA also paid for half a dozen other juniors, whose advisers probably never thought it necessary to publicise this fact. Continuing to publicly harp on my being the only "lucky" one and looking for sympathy for themselves on that basis leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

-Professional Management Group/Globosport
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Old May 18th, 2006, 07:49 PM   #35
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finally some news on sani baby...

Sania happy with her fitness


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HYDERABAD, MAY 18: The spring is back in Sania Mirza's stride. Returning from a three-week rehabilitation programme, the world’s No. 35th ranked player started her preparation for the French Open starting later this month in real earnest.

And Sania looked quite convinced with her fitness during a practice session at the faraway GVK Tennis Foundation courts here on Thursday.

There was no trace of pain as she sparred with former National hardcourt champion S Narendranath. If her serve, groundstrokes and movements appeared a wee bit rusty, it was mainly because she did not really exert herself.

She appeared to be just giving herself a test whether she would be able to get herself into perfect shape in time for the Paris Grand Slam.

Sania made quite a speedy recovery, considering that her physician, Dr KJ Reddy, had given her just about a week's preparation before the Paris event. "Three weeks is the maximum I would give her to regain her fitness," the doctor had said late last month but they did it well within that period.

It is likely that Sania would have some more practice with Mahesh Bhupathi in Bangalore before leaving for Paris. Her new sparring coach, Asif Ismail, is also likely to be there.
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #36
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Sania strives to get even with Dementieva

London, June 27: Sania Mirza is undaunted by the tough draw handed out to her at the Wimbledon grand slam and hopes to do one-set better than last time when she takes on seventh seed Elena Dementieva in the singles opening round.

"Obviously, this is a very tough first round and the problem with playing a top-10 player is that unless you play at your best, they have the capacity to humiliate you on court," Sania told reporters.

The Russian beat the 19-year old Indian 5-7 6-4 6-4 the last and only time they met at Indian Wells earlier this year.

The Hyderabadi lass is keen to set that 0-1 head-to-head record straight against Dementieva.

"She is one of the hardest strikers of the ball that I have ever played against. I played a very tight three-setter againt her last time and I hope to give a good account myself this time," Sania said.

The teenager caused ripples on her maiden appearance at Wimbledon last year when she gave Svetlana Kuznetsova a run for her money before going down in the second round.

"I hope to make it as memorable as my last year," she said.

The preparations have not gone exactly according to plans, though. Although she reached the third round at the DFS Classic - her best performance of the season - a fortnight back, a lack of communication saw her land in Don Bosch, Holland, last week instead of slugging it out against the cream of women's tennis at Eastbourne in London.

Sania travelled to the Netherlands with the intention of gaining some match practice playing alongside local lass Michaela Krajicek with whom she will be pairing in doubles at Wimbledon.

A less weighty draw there also meant that she had a better chance of playing more singles matches.

Unfortunately for her, Krajicek was not aware of her plans and had committed to another player. And Sania's singles programme also took a knock as she went out in the first round.

The Indian ace, however, said she was confident of her form.

"The tune-up matches have not gone as well as I would have liked but I am feeling the ball good and with a little bit of luck, I look forward to some exciting matches in singles and doubles," Sania said.

She has been sparring with a lot of different players including Krajicek, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Elena Kostanic.

Sania said her game has come up a long way this year and Asif Ismail as coach-cum-hitting partner also has had a positive impact.

"I definitely feel I have improved over the last six months and matured, too.

"But in professional tennis, one has to go on working hard, keep on doing the right things and wait for the right breaks, which will eventually come if you are good enough.

"My coach Asif Ismail is someone I enjoy working with and he is adding new dimensions to the way I play."

Bureau Report
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Old Jul 26th, 2006, 01:42 PM   #37
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Tennis is not a rich man's game


April 28, 2006:A fair amount of finance is required in the development of a professional tennis player. But it angers me when people try to project tennis as just a rich man’s game because it is not. Misconceptions and misinformation can draw people away from pursuing the game and a lot of talent may just get nipped in the bud.

If an individual loves tennis and wants to play only for the love of the game, it would probably cost that person no more than a couple of thousand a month in India to play a session of tennis each day. I think it is an affordable sum for any middle-class family, particularly if tennis is a priority in their lives.

When a player shows special talent and wants to take up the game seriously, the expenses begin to mount but it is my contention that if you are genuinely good at the game, you do not need to be rich and sponsors will step forward in due course. However, one needs to impress the potential sponsors with outstanding performances and be relentless in consistently achieving results that make them sit up and take notice. Tennis is a very competitive sport and huge sums spent on less than the exceptionally talented players will neither help their cause nor the game in our country.

A lot is being made today in some quarters about the lack of funding from sponsors or absence of financial support from the Tennis Association by players, who claim to have done enough to warrant it. The young players are beginning to take refuge behind the garb of inadequate funding in our country and citing this as the one and only reason for not making it to the elite group of professionals. I think that they are harming not only themselves by living in their own fantasy world but also doing a great disservice to the game that has given them a reasonable amount of fame.

I feel there is a need for introspection on our part. A few players have continued to make unnecessary snide remarks about how I have been purely "lucky" to get sponsors and that the only reason they haven’t made it to the top is because of lack of funding. I will be the first to acknowledge that sponsorship has helped my cause, but to think that the sponsors will fall head over heals to provide funds without adequate performance is carrying expectations too far!

Performance is the key and these players would do well to concentrate on achieving better results for themselves. Contrary to popular belief, initially when the sponsors funded me, it was for a very modest amount but I always thought it was my duty to publicise their efforts to the maximum and give them value for their money.

The amounts that I got, of course, increased gradually as my rankings improved and the expenses went up manifold. A sizeable portion of my tennis funding in the early days came from monetary rewards from the Government for winning a handful of gold medals in the Nationals, Afro-Asian Games, bronze in the Asian Games and for being the first Indian female to win titles in the Asian Juniors and the Wimbledon Doubles. Many of these cash awards had been announced by the Government months before the tournaments and whoever won could have pocketed the money. Its not my fault that I won and others did not.

A lot of people still seem to be under the misconception that sponsorship is a donation when it definitely is not. It is a business investment and as a sportsman one has to be commercially viable to give enough mileage to the investor and make the partnership endure. Some years ago when I did not win a tournament for a few months after a break from tennis for my School Board Examinations, there were no takers for my bills. Things changed, however, once I won five singles and doubles titles in four weeks of tournament play. The price earned will always be commensurate to performance and there are no short cuts in this.

The All India Tennis Association and the A.P. State and Central Governments deserve credit for having financially encouraged not only me but several other players as well. When they were funding my expenses at the junior level, the AITA also paid for half a dozen other juniors, whose advisers probably never thought it necessary to publicise this fact. Continuing to publicly harp on my being the only "lucky" one and looking for sympathy for themselves on that basis leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

-Professional Management Group/Globosport

More Sania Mirza Columns

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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 12:17 AM   #38
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Sania says she’s okay

Uttara Choudhury
Wednesday, August 02, 2006 23:50 IST



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NEW YORK: India’s Sania Mirza was all business as she rolled past her opponent, former world No. 11 Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States, 6-3 6-1 on Tuesday to cruise into the second round of the 1.3 million-dollar Acura Classic in San Diego.

A volley of uninhibited powerful groundstrokes helped Mirza to score a Grandstand victory over tour veteran Shaughnessy, to set up a clash on Wednesday with much-fancied Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia who is ranked 22 in the WTA singles rankings.

“I think tomorrow’s match is going to be interesting because we both like to hit the ball very hard and pretty flat,” Mirza told DNA over the phone from the spectacular Californian tennis resort of La Costa after her commanding first round victory.

Despite the crushing heat and humidity, it looked like the Mirza of old as she mixed long groundstrokes with ambushing net attacks to establish an early lead in the second set from a struggling Shaunesessy who double-faulted four times to practically gift the game to Mirza.

Mirza shrugged off nagging concerns about her waxing and waning performance this year which has seen her WTA rankings slip two notches to 44.

“I have been playing okay all round the year. It is just about getting the wind. I like hardcourts so I have been playing okay these last couple of weeks. It is not about ‘coming back’ — it is about getting those winds.”

“I played pretty well today and I am happy with the way things are going,” added Mirza, who wrapped up Tuesday’s straight match against Shaughnessy in one hour 16 minutes by winning quick points off her first serve despite struggling with wrist and elbow soreness which has dogged her the past year.

“I have little pains here and there which are always going to be there. A year and half ago it was my ankle which was giving me trouble — it is my wrist and elbow right now. I have been working on my serve in the last few months so I am happy to have been able to execute it in today’s match. I think it was the strong point in my game today.”

Mirza, who has her eyes on the US Open starting on August 28, is very aware that fitness holds the key to winning on American hardcourts and is sticking to all those agility drills which her former coach John Farrington had taught her.

“I have been working on my game and a lot of areas I thought I needed to work on. I have been working on my foot speed. I have been trying to get physically very fit,” said Mirza.

“My mental approach is still very aggressive and that is how it is always going to be,” added Mirza.
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Old Dec 6th, 2006, 10:57 AM   #39
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Sania upstages the tennis greats in hysteria stakesPublished: Wednesday, 6 December, 2006, 08:46 AM Doha Time


Sania Mirza jubilates after defeating Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn yesterday. Pic by Jayan Orma
By Rohit William Wadhwaney

Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova...

Almost every modern tennis legend has entertained fans at the Khalifa Tennis Complex, but probably none of them managed to create the kind of hysteria a 21-year-old Indian girl, ranked 66th in the world, did yesterday when she stepped on to the cente court to represent her country in the Asian Games.




Shikha Uberoi ... winning fans of her own
The 5 feet 7 inches tall Hyderabadi, who the Chinese media recently referred to as one of the top 10 tennis beauties of all time, answers to the name Sania Mirza.

News of Mirza taking centre stage yesterday afternoon had spread like wildfire among the Indian expatriates living in Qatar. The time was unknown. What would later turn out to be a crowd of almost 3,000 fans - from waiters to high level executives - started pouring in at 2pm to see the star in action.

At that time, the men’s doubles quarterfinal - Thailand vs Uzbekistan - was on. The restless Indian crowd, who had by then filled up almost half the stadium, couldn’t care less who’d win this as they cheered for whichever team that took the lead in the match that ended with the Thais winning 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.

It was time for the Indian women, playing Thailand in the Asiad quarterfinal, to walk out. The name ‘Sania’ was echoing in the Khalifa Tennis Complex.

In walked lesser known Shikha Uberoi to play the first team singles with Thai Suchanun Viratprasert. It wasn’t until the commentator announced Uberoi’s name that the Mirza-crazy crowd stopped shouting Sania’s name.



But 23-year-old Uberoi held her own and won many admirers as she thrashed her Thai rival 6-3, 6-4 in straight sets. By the end of the 1 hour 40 minute-long match, everyone knew who Shikha Uberoi was.

When Mirza walked on to the court to play India’s second singles, sporting her trademark nose-ring, her hair, coloured brown, pushed back in a pony-tail with a black head band, the crowd went berserk. They waved the Indian flag screaming out her name and holding up placards reading: "Desh Ki Izzat Sania Ke Haath (India’s pride in Sania’s hands)."

It was quite clearly visible, a number of those sitting in the stands, didn’t know much about tennis as a sport. They were there for one reason and one reason only - Sania. It was no wonder the referee had to keep reminding the crowd to not cheer during a rally.

The one who seemed most upset with the Sania-mania was the Indian star’s Thai rival Tamarine Tanasugarn. She blamed her 6-3, 6-3 deafeat to Mirza on the "really rowdy crowd," as she put it after the match.

"I was expecting a huge turn out, but so many screaming and shouting Indians, with their phones ringing every two minutes... No," said Tamarine, who alongwith her coach and a two-member news channel crew were perhaps the only Thais in the 5000-seater stadium.

Tamarine, after this sole brief interview, walked away, almost unnoticed. Mediapersons surrounded Mirza. The fans on the other side of the court were still screaming and applauding in joy.

And somewhere in the middle of the stands was Shikha Uberoi, surrounded by a crowd of people holding out pens and papers, signing autographs.


lol. This sounds like another case of the kournikova syndrome.
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Old Dec 6th, 2006, 12:02 PM   #40
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Re: **News, articles and Interviews thread**

hi gaurav nice stuff that u posted right at the beginning of SANIA'S INTERVIEW ON WALK THE TALK ....gr8...work done by u..

hey gaurav1 can u also post the excerpts of sania's talks when she went to JUST POOJA,,,,nice

THE VIDEOS OF BOTH THESE TALK SHOWS OR EITHER OF THEM WOULD BE AN ICING ON THE CAKE...

THANKXX IN ADVANCE
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Old Dec 6th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #41
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Siddharth Loves SANIA MIRZA

06/12/2006
NZPA
ASB Classic organisers are upset with the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) after India's Sania Mirza withdrew from next month's tournament in Auckland because of a scheduling conflict. 2_121084_1_248.jpg
Mirza will instead play for her country in the Hopman Cup teams events in Perth.

The WTA Tour has an arrangement with the Hopman Cup which ASB Classic organisers were not informed of.

"As tournament organisers we're extremely disappointed by the decision and have received an apology from the WTA for the miscommunication and the late notice," tournament director Richard Palmer said on Wednesday.

"The fact this has happened highlights an area which the WTA needs to take a serious look at.

"Players taking part in exhibitions or non-tour events in the same week as WTA-sanctioned events is an issue which all tournaments are concerned about. Tournaments should take priority.

"It's obviously a shame to miss out on Sania. There has been a lot of interest, particularly from the Indian community in Auckland."

The tournament on January 1-6 has attracted a top field, including four players from the world's top 20.

Serbia's Jelena Jankovic, ranked at No 12, will be No 1 seed, while second seed and world No 16 Russian Anastasia Myskina won the 2005 the French Open.

As well, defending champion Marion Bartoli, of France, and Daniela Hantuchova, of Slovakia, will command plenty of interest.

Organisers are continuing to announce entries, the latest of them including American veteran Jill Craybas, Camile Pin, of France, Emma Laine, of Finland, Czech player Eva Birnerova, and 2004 Olympic Games doubles gold medallist Sun Tiantian Sun, of China.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 07:56 PM   #42
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Re: **News, articles and Interviews thread**

Here is another nice interview by Hidustan Times.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/1...2,00070002.htm
When do I endorse products if not now!’

Akshay Sawai

January 1, 2007

Her groundstrokes are sharp and her manner blunt. Being Miss Congeniality isn’t Sania Mirza’s mission. Winning tennis matches is.

The way the Indian has started the new year, she is doing her job. On Sunday, Sania played a key role in India’s stirring upset of the Czech Republic in the Hopman Cup in Australia. The 20-year-old started the tie by defeating the world No. 42, Lucie Safarova, ranked 23 places above her in the rankings. Then she teamed up with Rohan Bopanna to defeat Safarova and Tomas Berdych in the decisive mixed doubles.

The Czechs chased off, Sania answered HT’s questions in characteristically pithy style.

Excerpts.

Wish you a happy new year. You are in Australia right now. Could you tell us in some detail how you are preparing for 2007?

Playing in the Asian Hopman Cup in India, the Asian Games and now the Hyundai Hopman Cup in Perth has meant that my off-season this year was considerably reduced and the training period had to be short. However, I’ve tried to use this as best as I can, working on my physical fitness and adding a few things to my game.

How much has life changed since appointing a trainer (Heath Mathew)? Are you, for instance, more careful about your regimen, your diet?

I now have a professional who knows what international sport is... he is telling me what to do. That is a great plus.

You must be relatively anonymous in Australia. Do you enjoy it?

Yes.

What are your views on your fame and endorsements? You have achieved these quite early. Too early, according to some people.

Fame and endorsements are not what I play for. I play because I have a passion for tennis and for earning laurels and respect for my country. However, I’d like to know from “some people” how it is possible to earn “fame and endorsements” at a later stage instead of at 20 when the average retiring age in international women’s tennis is close to 25 years.

It has been said that you are leaving Globosport and are appointing another firm, ICONIX, as your managers. Is this accurate?

That is inaccurate.

Mahesh Bhupathi and his father played a guiding role in your developmental years. But it was Leander Paes with whom you played in Doha. How did you handle the situation?

I’m a professional and when you are playing for your country these things are irrelevant.

You have played mixed doubles with both. How are your equations with either and what were the highlights of either experience?

Mahesh is one of the great backhand court doubles players the world has seen just as Leander’s reflexes at the net and forehand court play is stupendous. I get along wonderfully with both of them — on and off court.

You have spent two years on the circuit now. How would you compare the Sania Mirza of 2005 with the Sania Mirza of 2007?

I’m a more mature and complete player than I was two years ago, although I realise that I still have a long way to go.

What were your best moments of 2006? What were your disappointments?

Beating Martina Hingis in Korea is something I will treasure all my life, especially after having lost 1-6, 0-6 to her only a few days before in Kolkata. Winning the gold and two silver medals in the Asian Games for India and helping India win the Asian Hopman Cup were some of my best moments. Missing out on the team event gold at the Asian Games was a bit of a disappointment.

What did 2006 teach you?

Hopefully, what it taught me will be there for all to see on the tennis courts in 2007.
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 08:38 PM   #43
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Re: **News, articles and Interviews thread**

A new article on Sania on the latest issue of `The Sportstar", with some quotes of her, her physio, as well of her opponents:
http://www.hinduonnet.com/tss/storie...0010600400.htm
A good beginning, it is

For Sania Mirza, the Asian Games has been the turning point. She did not lose a set in the singles till the final. Her good showing against the Czech Republic and Croatia in the Hopman Cup and the semi-final appearance in Hobart have set her up for a good 2007, writes Nandita Sridhar.

PTI


In the two years that she's been under the spotlight so far, Sania Mirza has been viewed and judged in extremes. We winced at a potential forehand thunderbolt that turned into an ugly error, as much as we applauded a squeaky clean winner. We admired her confidence, the new-age Indian woman pluck that took her past gender and cultural barriers, but were equally quick in labelling her arrogant and brash. Sania was hailed as Indian women's tennis's lone torchbearer as quickly as she was later dismissed as a one-season wonder. Our gleeful prophetic reminders that the second year in professional sport was one of the toughest were not without a s****** at her every loss.

Successful Indian sportsmen and sportswomen are victims of their own success. With success come great expectations, a lack of balance and perspective in the way they are judged, and glib generalisations on expected behaviour (specially for the women). It's even more difficult for successful sportswomen with good looks, having to repeatedly prove their commitment to the sport after every fleeting appearance in advertisements. To Sania's credit, despite the frenzied reactions to her climb up in 2005 and accusations of a fuzzed sense of priorities in 2006, when her game plunged, she has shown improvement after the 2006 WTA season.

In hindsight, her lack of substantial success last year might have been a blessing in disguise. The draws did well to frown on her in the Slams. Losing to the likes of Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva and Francesca Schiavone on the big stage threw up a lot more lessons than any win against someone ranked in the 100s.

Her weaknesses were exposed, with opponents realising that as much as her aggression accentuated her powerful forehand, it failed to do the same to her backhand. As much as her arms generated the forehand power, her legs lacked the speed and suppleness to survive long matches. Big defeats teach you things that no easy wins can. "I'm getting to play a lot more balls now, and not leaving the court open," she said after the 2007 Hopman Cup. An interesting revelation, which means that she doesn't mind an occasional grind as opposed to her routine bang-fest, and that her improved fitness is allowing her to reach more balls.

Fitness has never been the strongpoint of Indian sportswomen, with most of them being prone to excessive bulk. Sania's admiration for Martina Hingis's fitness (the Swiss Miss was never known for her fitness) after being knocked out of the Sunfeast Open must be brushed off as overestimation that comes when one is whomped. "I'm never going to be a great athlete," she said after the loss, but added that she would work on her fitness.

Sania's stint with South African Heath Mathews, who is doubling up as trainer and physio, has worked well so far. And the understanding that she needs an improved all-round game is a step in the right direction. "She has got the right speed and the explosive power now. The focus now is on the upper body and adding muscle strength to make her a better player," Mathews said. He was also working on her flexibility, the trainer added.



AP


Sania's win-loss record in WTA and Grand Slam events in 2006 was 20-24, with 14 straight-set wins, six three-set wins, 11 straight-set losses and 13 three-set losses. Only twice did she manage to win after losing the first set.

Figures might sometimes make for superficial assessment, but these numbers suggest that Sania is someone who thrives on early rhythm and momentum, a fly-high-or-fall-flat sort who can feed off a good start, even when things get shaky in between. "I need to learn to win from such (losing the first set) situations," she said. Both of Sania's victories after being a set down have come in the latter part of 2006, which shows that she's learning.

For Sania, the Asian Games has been the turning point. She did not let slip a set in the singles event till she lost in the final in Doha. Her good performances against the Czech Republic and Croatia in the Hopman Cup, and the semi-final appearance in Hobart have set her up for a good 2007. Whatever happened last year must be brushed off as history. She must forget the failures, but remember the lessons. The off-court controversies in 2006, mediocre performances and troubles with finding the right coach might have been too much for her young mind to handle. The attention might have been a distraction, but worse things have happened in sport than a teenager's head clouded by sudden fame. A few good results in 2007, and all will be forgotten.

Having dispensed with some of the bulk, and working on her backhand, it would take some time for the 20-year-old to show results. In this context, appointing a full-time travelling coach will be something worth considering.

Sania needs to keep an eye on her opponents forever looking to exploit the chinks in her armour. Hingis hit the ball to her backhand, while little-known Camille Pin lobbed to victory against Sania in Bangalore last year. Sania's Australian Open doubles partner, Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, exploited the Indian's fatigue in Perth. "I think that she was a little tired. I just had to hit my balls higher. She is always playing with the backhand. I don't think she likes to play rallies and she would prefer to play three- or four-shot rallies. I was focusing on that and hitting more than three out of four balls. I think this is why I won," she said.

What will be most important for her success in 2007 is confidence. Two years after it all began in the coming-of-age 2005 Australian Open campaign, Sania is now high on confidence again. "Obviously I've had a tough year, it's been a very average year, but at the time when I had to peak, I did. I think I am playing the best tennis I ever did and I think my fitness levels have gone up quite a few notches and that has helped my performance a lot and I think I worked hard in the last one, one-and-a-half months and I'm happy that it's paying off now," Sania said after the Asian Games in December last year.

Under no pressure to defend WTA points, she needs the encouragement to experiment on court, to make improvements, and the freedom to fail. She's going to lose matches, but most importantly, she's got to learn from every loss. It would do well for her if expectations don't rise after each win, and the obits don't come out after each loss.

CAREE HIGHLIGHTS

SINGLES:
Winner: 2005 Hyderabad
Finalist: 2005 Forest Hills
Semi-finalist: 2007 Hobart; 2006 Kolkata; 2005 Tokyo (Japan Open).
Quarter-finalist: 2006 Cincinnati, Forest Hills, Seoul, Tashkent; 2005 Dubai, Cincinnati.
DOUBLES:
Winner: 2006 Bangalore, Kolkata (with Huber); 2004 Hyderabad (with Huber).
Finalist: 2006 Amelia Island (with Huber), Istanbul (with Molik), Cincinnati (with Domachowska).
Semi-finalist: 2006 Stanford (with Mattek); 2005 Cincinnati (with Fedak), Kolkata (with Ruano Pascual), Japan Open (with Peer).
RANKING:
Season-ending singles
2006: 66; 2005: 31; 2004: 206; 2003: 399; 2002: 837; 2001: 987.
Career-high singles: No. 31 (October 10, 2005)
Career-high doubles: No. 24 (November 13, 2006).

Last edited by saniamania : Jan 17th, 2007 at 08:45 PM.
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Old Feb 9th, 2007, 03:18 AM   #44
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Re: **News, articles and Interviews thread**

Sania Mirza takes fame in her stride
Martin Petty in Pattaya |

Sania MirzaWith sellout crowds and a fanatical following, it seems like Sania Mirza has already cracked the big time in women's tennis.

However, ranked just 49 in the world, fifth in Asia, and with a sole WTA title to her name, India's favourite sporting pin-up is eager to climb the rankings and give her fervent supporters even more to cheer about.

"My goal is top 15 or even top 10 in the next two years, and I certainly have enough people pushing me towards that," said Mirza, who was elevated to a fashion icon and sporting heroine in cricket-mad India after becoming the country's first female tennis tour champion in 2005.

Even outside India, Mirza has won the hearts of expatriates, and almost caused a stampede when Qatar-based Indians flocked to see her win a silver medal at the Asian Games in Doha recently.

"People from India are very emotional about their heroes," Mirza told Reuters in an interview in the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya.

"If you're good at sport, you're idolised on and off the court, and when Indian fans get the opportunity to watch me, they seem to get very excited.

"I remember the days when I was lucky if I got three people turn up to watch me. It's great to have this kind of support," she added.

Mirza will be under the intense spotlight next week when she competes in the Bangalore Open, for which organisers have received an avalanche of accreditation applications from local reporters and photographers.

"BRAVE PLAYER"

Her fourth round finish at the U.S. Open in 2005, the best by an Indian woman in a grand slam event, served to boost her celebrity status, but cranked up the pressure.

The Mumbai-born player insists pressure and expectation are part and parcel of the game, however.

"I've seen so many players struggle, but I've got used to it, I'm coping well," she said.

"It was intense playing at the Asian Games, but I handled all that, because I can shut most of it out, and that's important."

Hailed recently as "a brave player and a fighter" by Australian Open champion Serena Williams, Mirza says she fears no player, and puts her bullish on-court demeanour down to years spent as an underdog written-off for being too small.

She tasted her first success as a pint-sized eight-year-old, dismissing girls twice her age on the way to the semi-finals of a regional tennis tournament.

Mirza says she has her assertive mother to thank for introducing her to tennis.

"When I was six, I wasn't allowed to play because I was tiny," she said. "I came from a sports-mad family, and my mum complained to the local club to make them let me join.

"The coach phoned four weeks later and said he'd never seen a girl hit a ball like that before. Things just took off from there."

Although a little tricky, Mirza tries to keep a low profile these days while at home in Hyderabad, where she attracts the kind of attention from media and advertisers normally reserved for glamorous Bollywood film stars and iconic Test cricketers.

"People are following me in that kind of way, it's fine," she said.

"It's been like that for the last few years now. It seems I just have to get used to it."

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. Click for Restrictions
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 01:29 AM   #45
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Re: **News, articles and Interviews thread**

Injured Sania Mirza pulls out
Web posted at: 3/1/2007 3:48:24
Source ::: The Peninsula
India�s Sania Mirza in action during her first round match against Romina Oprandi.

doha � India�s Sania Mirza, troubled by a right knee injury, pulled out of the singles event of the $1.34m Qatar Total Open yesterday.

�I am very disappointed that I have to pull out this way when I am playing so well. But it is a part of athlete�s life and nothing much you can do about it,� Sania said.

The Indian ace had on Tuesday withdrawn from the doubles event due to the same injury.

�I have to get an MRI scan tomorrow. But when we did it on the first day, we did not think it was that bad. It is something I don�t want to risk. It hurts when I walk and stand up. We�ll see how it feels after an MRI in Hyderabad. I�m leaving today,� the 20-year-old, who was to play Ukraine�s qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex, added.

On Monday, Sania had received on-court medical attention couple of times during her first round victory over Italian Romina Oprandi. She said that only the MRI scan would reveal how serious the injury was.

�It is painful. But I don�t know how serious it is. It could be a simple muscle pull or something more serious. I really don�t know. Only the MRI will tell. I�m just waiting to get back home.�

A hit among the crowds here, Sania admitted that it was not an easy decision not to play.

�At this point, probably I could load myself with painkillers and get onto the court. But I don�t want to do this and risk the injury further. It was not an easy decision to pull out. I was thinking about this for the last couple of days. Every time you have to pull out of a tournament it is not easy and especially you know people are coming to watch you. It is unfortunate. It is a freak accident what I did to my knee. It could have happened next week or after that or whenever. Unfortunately it happened here. And you just have to accept it and move on. I hope that it is not serious,� Sania said.

The injury has thrown Sania�s Tour schedule out of gear. She was to participate in the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells (March 5 to 18), Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (March 21 to April 1) and Baush and Lomb Championship in Amelia Island (April 2 to 11).

�Because of this injury I have to reschedule everything.

�The original plan was to go to Indian Wells, Miami and Amelia Island. Now may be I will take off from Indian Wells. It is a two-week tournament and may be I can participate in Miami, Amelia Island and Charleston (April 9 to 15). It depends on the reports I get now,� she said.
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