CHENNAI: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza on Saturday said she has had a “solid year already” and hopes to build on it with her new women’s doubles partner — Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
Sania’s partnership with Czech Republic’s Barbara Strycova came to an end a few weeks ago due to a “difference in priorities”.
Her partnership with Strycova lasted 10 tournaments. The Indian had earlier parted ways with Swiss ace Martina Hingis. “I have had a solid, solid start to the year. I have already played a Grand Slam final (mixed doubles at Australian Open), a title (in Brisbane), some finals (Miami, Sydney) and a bunch of semifinals. I am very critical of myself and always feel I can do better, no matter what and possibly win more titles,” Mirza told PTI.
On joining forces with Shvedova, she said, “I have known her forever. She is a great girl, has won Grand Slam titles. I hope it won’t take us long to gel well. She is a very powerful player and plays on the backhand side of the court. We can hopefully enjoy ourselves on the court and also produce good results.”
“We have committed till Wimbledon for sure and probably for the rest of the season,” she said when asked about her plan for the future.
Mirza, who started the year as the No.1 ranked player, has slipped to seventh after having claimed just one title so far in 2017. She will be playing in Madrid with Shvedova and expects a change in fortunes. “I leave for Madrid on May 2 and practice for a few days before the event there. After the good run with (Barbara) Strycova, I hope to have the same success (with Shvedova).”
To a query as to why she ended the partnership with Strycova, Mirza said, “We had different priorities. Barbara is very good in singles and when she has a deep run in both singles and doubles at a tournament it becomes tough.
“She has to play eight-nine matches week after week and was getting very tired. We were not able to win for certain reasons. Priorities were different and we felt it was time for a mutual break.”
Asked if she had, at any point of time, regretted ending her singles career early, Mirza said, “No. Physically I couldn’t do it anymore and that’s why I stopped (playing singles).
“It was the toughest decision at that time. In hindsight, it was the best decision I could have taken. I have enjoyed success in doubles and have been undisputed No.1 for two years.”
The 30-year-old, who was in the city to inaugurate an exhibition, organised by her sister Anam, said she hardly cares for criticism but personal attacks on social media are irksome. “There is a lot of negativity around. That is one downside of social media though there are a lot of upsides. You learn to deal with criticism over a period of time. But, personal abuse should be avoided,” she said.