Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri might have refused to take Indian Sania Mirza under his wings, saying she was not fit enough to play at the highest level, but his disciple and world No 4 Jelena Jankovic feels that the Indian has improved her game and fitness by leaps and bounds and is among the world's best.
Serbian Jankovic, top seed here at the WTA Bangalore Open, had a tough outing against Sania last week at the Barclays Dubai Open. She needed three sets to prevail over the 21-year-old Hyderabadi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
The Serb said she had no clue why Bollettieri refused to coach Sania, but she feels the Indian tennis diva, ranked 32nd in the world, has definitely improved her fitness level.
"Everyone has to fight fitness problems. It (fitness) is one thing you can't build in a day or two. It takes months and a lot of hard work," Jankovic told reporters on Monday in Bangalore at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA).
"I don't know why Nick refused to coach Sania. May be she was not in the right shape at that time as I am going through now. But Sania has improved her game and fitness a lot," she added.
Jankovic, of late, has suffered from a back problem that has considerably affected her game. However, she says she is feeling better now.
She expressed her disappointment over Sania's non-participation at the Tier II home event, the biggest prize money tournament in this part of the world.
"It is really a very big disappointment that Sania is not playing, but her fans would be most disappointed," said Jankovic.
Jankovic, along with Williams' sisters and Swiss Patty Schnyder, has been given a bye in the opening round.