Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sania Mirza to keep date with Dubai

Despite bowing out with cramps during her Qatar Open match on Tuesday, Sania Mirza is expected to play at the Tier-II tennis tournament in Dubai next week.

The Indian no. 1 had been on her way to victory over Olga Govortsova of Belarus, but could barely keep herself from falling over while serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

At 2-3 in the final set, the 21-year-old Mirza fell down on the baseline and could not continue. She later withdrew from the doubles event as well.

"Thankfully, the injury is not serious. The doctors described it as cramping due to bilateral lower extremity fatigue," her father Imran Mirza told the Indian Tennis Blog.

"She should be playing in Dubai next week."

Sania had been playing her first singles match in nearly four weeks after being sidelined with an adductor muscle tear sustained during the Australian Open. During this period, her only outing on the court was in a Fed Cup doubles rubber where she helped India avoid relegation.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A letter from Sania Mirza's dad

Tennis star Sania Mirza's withdrawal from the WTA Bangalore Open raised a furore this week. Was she, as some alleged, irritated at not being paid enough appearance money? Did being caught up in controversies really affect her? Or was her decision to boycott all Indian tournaments merely a publicity stunt?

Sania's dad Imran Mirza sets the record straight in this heartfelt missive to the Indian Tennis Blog.

"Sania's bypassing the Bangalore Open has nothing to do with injury. The young girl has gone through hell for the last two months and was close to a breakdown. Indian society can be very cruel to a young, good-looking girl, who breaks all barriers in terms of achievements and is not afraid to speak her mind.

"We, in India, seem to feel threatened with a woman like that and do everything to ensure that she is brought down to earth. Just to put the record straight, even if someone offers her a million dollars today to play in India in an INDIVIDUAL TOURNAMENT like the Bangalore Open, she is NOT going to play for at least a few months and maybe more because her mental health and comfort level is more important to us than anything else in the world.

"The unprecedented and mindless furore that we have witnessed in the last few days only justifies Sania's stand in not playing in India at this point of time.

"If we had based our decisions on what people who have no clue about ground realities say, Sania would never have reached the heights where she has. She is right now recuperating (physically and mentally) and we will ensure that she gets back to her fighting best within a short span of time. If at any point she is selected for a team tournament held here to REPRESENT INDIA, she will play in India at all costs.

"She has had to pay a very heavy price for being a pioneer in her chosen profession and for being a very successful woman but God is most definitely on her side and we are confident that despite the hostilities from misguided groups and individuals and certain sections of the media, who have no clue what it takes to succeed in a truly global sport like tennis, she'll end up the winner. Inshallah!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Purav Raja does a double in Great Britain

Former national champion Purav Raja is on a roll having just picked up his second ITF Futures doubles title in two weeks, both triumphs coming on British soil.

The 22-year-old partnered Jiri Krkoska of the Czech Republic to win the Great Britain Futures 2 and 3 tournaments at Sheffield and Tipton last week.

The victories have taken Raja to a career-best 358 in the doubles rankings and he is expected to crack the top 350 when the latest rankings are issued on Monday.

Despite the streak of consecutive wins, the 2006 National Champion said he still considered himself more of a singles player.

"At the moment, I believe doubles is a great stepping stone for singles which is my priority as I could get into the main draw of some challengers and play singles qualifiers," Raja told the Indian Tennis Blog.

"But yeah! I definitely really enjoy doubles."

Raja, currently ranked 839 in singles, is in contention for a main draw place at the India F1 and F2 Futures tournaments in Kolkata and New Delhi later this month.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sania Mirza advised three weeks' rest for adductor injury

Indian number one Sania Mirza has been advised to take three weeks off to help heal a five cm tear in her adductor (upper leg) muscle, her father Imran Mirza said.

"According to the doctor, an adductor muscle tear of 10 cm or more requires surgery but a 5 cm tear should heal on its own with rest," Mirza told the Indian Tennis Blog.

The 21-year-old Hyderabadi player, now also ranked number one in Asia, has been sidelined since last week's Australian Open mixed doubles final which she lost partnering Mahesh Bhupathi.

"She is in intense pain when she bends down on a low ball and needed six pain killers before being able to play in the final," Mirza said.

Hopes of an Indian victory in the ongoing WTA Fed Cup in Bangkok were also dashed after Sania was rendered unfit for the ties.

Mirza said Sania had been keen to play at least the doubles rubbers but it depended on whether non-playing Fed Cup captain Enrico Piperno thought it worth taking a risk of further injury for the sake of the country.
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With Somdev Devvarman (January 13, 2009 and October 4, 2007)

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