India's best women's tennis player Sania Mirza is determined to get her career back on track by breaking into the top 40 in the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) rankings.
The 25-year-old starlet who has a new travelling coach in Roger Anderson of South Africa, has made a successful comeback from injury and since her brief hiatus from the sport after her marriage to Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik.
Mirza feels that the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medal as the defining moment when she looks back at the last six months of a “highly satisfying European circuit”.
Still India’s best women’s tennis player though her rankings has slipped to 63, Sania says that the Commonwealth Games performance was the real turn-around for it gave her lot of confidence as she was on a comeback trail.
“I was just happy playing tennis again before the last six months. I know how bad my wrist was a few months ago when I could not even hold a coffee cup. Then, playing tennis again was a distant thought,” Sania told 'The Hindu' in an interview during a brief break in Hyderabad.
“Definitely, if I had won the gold in Delhi then it would have been even better but I lost the final after a really tiring schedule preceding that,” she said pointing to the fact that she had to compete in singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
“I tell you the only time I cried in my career after losing a match was when I lost this final,” she revealed.
“Truly, it has been a great six-month phase that has just ended. For the first time since 2005, everything was falling in place, feeling lot fitter and getting my forehand back,” explained Sania who rose to 27 in the WTA rankings in 2007.
“It is time to plan better. This will be tough especially when it comes to selection of events,” the Hyderabadi said.
“Well, my first target now ahead of the US Hard-court season is to break into the top 40 in women’s singles and then keep improving,” says India’s only woman tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam (Australian Open mixed doubles title in the company of Mahesh Bhupathi).
“Definitely, the French Open final appearance was a memorable one considering that we (with Elena Vesnina) started playing only recently,” Sania observed.
“Essentially, we both enjoy the game and I have nothing to prove as I am already a Grand Slam champion. But, Elena keeps reminding that she is yet to win and perhaps is more keen to fill in that gap (she lost in four Grand Slam finals in different categories),” the ace Indian tennis star pointed out.
On reasons for the success story with Elena, Sania reminds that it is because of their great friendship. “We are a settled pair, complementing each other on the court,” she added.
For his part, Sania’s husband and Pakistan cricketer, Shoaib Malik, too feels that it is not all over as far his cricketing career is over. “I will come back,” he said.