Pumped-up Sania ready for Fed Cup challenge
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Pumped-up Sania ready for Fed Cup challenge

Singles apart, where Mirza is ranked 37th, tennis sensation now also has a doubles rank of 40, writes S Kannan.Her success story | Click to find out more...

india Updated: Apr 16, 2006 12:06 IST
S Kannan
S Kannan

These are trying times for Indian tennis. After the men's team barely scraped past Pakistan to stay in the Asia-Oceania Group I in the Davis Cup, the women will aim to do the same in the Fed Cup to be played at Seoul from April 19 to 22.

But the biggest positive is that Sania Mirza will be available for duty despite not being in peak shape. For all those who have been doubting her commitment to National duty, the Hyderabad-girl missed the prestigious $1.34 million USTA clay court championship in Charleston this week so that she could be ready for the Fed Cup.

In the process, she also got fined $1,000 for a late withdrawal.

Singles apart, where Sania has a ranking of 37, the Indian sensation now has a creditable doubles ranking of 40.

Quite often, in Cup ties, the doubles be comes vital. So, depending on how ‘good’ Sania feels, she will be ready to spearhead the challenge on hard courts, where there will be stiff competition from Australia and South Korea.

Sania has been in Hyderabad for a few days and attending to her injuries - hyperextension of back, wrist pain to name a few. To be sure, when Sania missed the Fed Cup last year in the Capital due to an irksome ankle, people had said she was shirking playing for the country.

But on Saturday, non-playing captain Enrico Piperno said: “I spoke to Sania and she said she had practiced today. Shikha Uberoi is already in Seoul. We (Sania, Ankita Bhambri and Isha Lakhani) will be in Seoul by Monday.”

After the highs and lows, Fed Cup is special and the Indians will again look to Sania Mirza for inspiration.

Teams competing in Asia-Oceania Group I: Australia, Chinese Taipei, India, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Uzbekistan.

First Published: Apr 16, 2006 11:54 IST