What started as a quest to ensure an Olympic berth seems to have turned into a career shift for India’s Sania Mirza. The tennis player was, on Wednesday, quoted as saying that surgeries and persistent injuries had eventually taken their toll and that she would be prioritizing doubles from this year on.
“Tennis and the surgeries take a lot out of you,” she told reporters in Karachi. “I realised at the start of the year that it was impossible for me to pursue a singles and doubles career. Ever since I've given up on my singles career, my performance in doubles has improved.
“I even reached a career-best seventh in the world and that's why I've decided to concentrate solely on doubles tennis.”
The 25-year-old, who won the most recent of her 13 WTA doubles titles in Pattaya in February this year, is currently ranked eighth in doubles. Meanwhile, she has slipped to 181 in the singles. Sania has to retain her position in the top-10 in doubles if she is to make the cut for London. According to the Olympic qualification rules, the players ranked in the top-10 at the cutoff date of June 11 will get a direct entry into the doubles draw and will have the right to choose their partner.
Her best shot
Even so, her best shot at winning an Olympic medal will come in the mixed doubles. Since it’s a spot sign event, Sania will have to retain her place in the top-10 and enter the women’s doubles to be eligible.
“The ITF will select doubles teams for direct acceptance from mixed doubles entries comprising players accepted in the singles and/or men’s/women’s doubles events,” the rulebook states.
While the Olympics are a short-term goal at the moment, injuries and a rise in doubles fortunes seem to have decided Sania’s future path for her.