When Sania Mirza took to Twitter to celebrate her accomplishment of being the world No 1 doubles player for the 80th week, the Indian tennis ace ended up getting involved in a bit of banter with former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar when he pointed out that the achievement was in the ‘doubles’ category.
After ending the year at No. 1 for the second time in succession, Mirza would hope her performances in the New Year would keep her sceptics at bay.
“It will be silly to say after being 85-odd weeks as No 1, I am going to feel the pressure. Nobody remains No. 1 forever. So, that’s not something that bothers me. Everybody wants to be No. 1. That’s what we play tennis for and very few people get there. If someone told me on April 12, which was my wedding anniversary, that I was going to remain No. 1 two years down the line, I would have probably laughed at them. It is too competitive and to get there is much harder,” Mirza said on the sidelines of a promotional event.
Mirza couldn’t have asked for a better year after winning eight tournaments, which included the Australian Open. “I had to work harder this year than last year and it’s just so much harder because everybody is gunning for you, every tournament you go to, if you don’t win it, it’s a failure. It’s how Novak (Djokovic) has (felt) all the time, it’s how Serena (Williams) has (felt) all the time. Every time you lose in the finals, it is treated as if you have not succeeded at that tournament which is fair enough and that’s why you are the No. 1,” said Mirza.
Mirza had a superb run with Martina Hingis as the duo clinched 14 titles in 16 months, which included a winning streak of 41 matches. They fell short of the record by just three matches. A few below-par performances later they split in August.
“It was an incredible partnership and relationship we had on and off the court, but once we moved on, I did learn from her because she is (more) experienced in terms of she is older than me and she has been around much longer,” she said.
Mirza, who has found instant success with new partner Barbora Strycova, is hoping to win at least one Grand Slam in the New Year. “In 2017, I would love to win a Grand Slam. If that (winning the French Open) does happen, it would be amazing. I won’t kill myself, if I don’t (win the French Open). And it’s the Wimbledon mix (mixed doubles) that I am missing. It would be amazing for me to have three back-to-back years with at least one Grand Slam. So, that would be my goal really and everything else follows,” she said.