It has been the longest duration that Sania Mirza has been out of action in her four-year career, thanks to a knee injury she sustained at the Qatar Open in Doha this March, and a resultant knee surgery.
Her seven-week absence weakened India at the recent Fed Cup.
Though they defeated Jordan and New Zealand, they lost to Chinese Taipei 3-0 to fall out of reckoning for the World Group playoffs.
Sania is now back on court. The 20-year-old has started practice and aims to return to competition next month. In this email interview with HT, she spoke about her road to recovery after the surgery, keeping in touch with friends from the circuit and her appearance on a cricket show during the World Cup.
It's about a week now since you got back on court. How are you feeling?
I still haven't really started exerting myself on court and am concentrating on getting my feel back. It will take a few more weeks for me to gradually become match-fit.
Will the German Open (May 7) be your first competitive event after the layoff?
Either that or the Morocco WTA event from May 14.
What did you do during the enforced layoff? Did you get a chance to take it easy, lead the life of a regular youngster?
I've been working out extra hard in the gym --- up to four hours a day at times to strengthen my upper body as well as my knee that needed special treatment.
Did you stay in touch with anyone from the Tour? Who are your friends on the circuit?
I did get some get-well messages from Anna Chakvetadze, Medina Garriguez, Marra Santangelo and Martina Hingis, among others.
You appointed Narendranath as your coach last season. Will that arrangement continue or do you plan a change? Will Heath Mathew continue to be your trainer?
Heath Matthews continues as my trainer. My father will travel with me for the time being.
Would you consider resting you knee and thus play as much doubles? Or will you focus on singles? Will Liezel Huber be your partner?
I'll decide about the doubles once I'm on the circuit after judging how much pressure my knee can take. Initially, I may only play singles. Liezel is doing really well with Cara Black and I don't think we will team up as of now.
You recently appeared on a World Cup cricket show on a news channel. What was the experience like?
I love cricket and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Do you feel that fans and media in India do not take your tennis seriously enough and focus more on the glamour aspect of your life?
Since you are part of the media, why don't you answer this question?!