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Sania Mirza chat

Junior Wimbledon title at sixteen but a star power big enough to keep shutterbugs busy. Sania Mirza is the latest star to hit the Indian tennis firmament and she knows it. An aggresive 'in your face' attitude, she is here to stay. Read transcript of the chat with Sania where she spoke about her Wimbledon title, her training ahead and power tennis on July 15.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2003 16:32 IST

SANTH_PAULOSE: Hi Sania! We are proud of you. How does it feel to be a grand slammer?
Sania_Mirza: Definitely it feels great! And if it's your first grand slam, it's a really a good feeling.

laughingbuddha: Hi Sania! Experts say you have the right attitude to be a winner. While sceptics feel measuring up to the power-packed tennis at world level is a tough call. Do you agree?
Sania_Mirza: I hit the ball pretty hard though I don't look very strong. I'd like to mention I was serving at 104 miles per hour (mph). Compare this to Serena who serves at 107 mph. I can do it. It's about staying there for three sets.

SANTH_PAULOSE: How important do you think education is for a sportspersons?
Sania_Mirza: At least for me, it's very important. I would definitely like to complete my graduation. When you are 25, one is over with tennis and you want to do something else. So education is extremely important.

nprakashhk: Hi Sania! Congrats. Will you consider saying no ads for Coke or other beverages like Gopichand, the other Hyderabadi, has done?
Sania_Mirza: It really depends. I am with an agency and they will be consulting me. I haven't thought about it. I am not sure.

laughingbuddha: In an interview you mentioned how Europeans have strong legs but insisted Indians are very good with their hands. You cited Leander as an example. How can you translate this into your winning formula?
Sania_Mirza: I think I need to work hard on my feet, fitness and endurance. My hands are pretty strong. Most of Indians have good hands. We have to work much harder on our fitness as compared to say the Europeans and Russians.

SANTH_PAULOSE: What are the main reasons why India is not able to produce quality female tennis players?
Sania_Mirza: I can't point that out. It's like some of them have financial problems, some get married early, while some don't have good coaches. It's different for each player. But I would say it's more of a financial problem.

laughingbuddha: You say you feel bad your family has had to make so many sacrifices. Is it true you thanked your seven-year-old kid sister the most since one of your parent is always touring with you, as you are comfortable that way?
Sania_Mirza: My family has been very supportive. They are making a lot of sacrifices. But we try and spend more time with each other as well. And btw, my sister is nine.

varun_malik2003: How did you feel when you played you first grand slam match?
Sania_Mirza: I was nervous before but then I got the hang of it.

sasi_a2003: Do you think that sportspersons are ambassadors of the country?
Sania_Mirza: Definitely, they play for their country and carry the hopes of their countrymen with them.

rohitwp: By what age do you expect to play the Wimbledon women's singles?
Sania_Mirza: Let's hope, I get there by the time I am 18-19!

niharrath75: Had you been not been a sportsperson, what would be your professional field?
Sania_Mirza: I have never thought about it. But I am interested in Interior Design.

SANTH_PAULOSE: Given a chance would you like to groom yourself as a singles player or a doubles specialist?
Sania_Mirza: Singles, any day!

sajag: Do you favour changing women's match format to five sets?
Sania_Mirza: No. I don't think you can compare the level of men's tennis to women's tennis.

ash: How hard have you worked to achieve this target?
Sania_Mirza: I had to work really hard. I used to get up at 5:30 and practice.

SANTH_PAULOSE: There is a growing criticism that women's tennis is more of a glamour game? Also it is being reduced to a baseline game? Your comments.
Sania_Mirza: Everything is becoming a glamourous. Tennis is going a bit overboard. People should stick to tennis. But I think it depends upon an individual.

karthik175: Hi Sania. Congrats. We're all really proud of you. I would like to know about your hobbies and your favourite tennis player?
Sania_Mirza: I like swimming, music, TV, relaxing at home (because I am never at home!). My favourite tennis player is Steffi Graf.

manishsinghal: When did you start playing tennis?
Sania_Mirza: Since the time I was six.

rashmimukul: You said that Indians are better doubles players than singles? Does this imply Indians do not have stamina or fitness to play and win singles?
Sania_Mirza: No. Definitely they can win singles.

SANTH_PAULOSE: How supportive were your school authorities in your endeavours?
Sania_Mirza: They have been very supportive! They give me leaves. When I come back, they help me with notes and even friends help me. They are really supportive. I am in the 12th standard now.

nippun806: Can sports be taken up as a career?
Sania_Mirza: It's my profession and a career. I think one can take it up as a career.

niharrath75: What should the Indian Government do to encourage sports in the country?
Sania_Mirza: They have really been supporting me. Andhra Pradesh Government is supporting me, at least financially. Government has become sports-minded. I think they are really doing a good job.

jak_110: What is the right age to start playing tennis?
Sania_Mirza: Say, six.

laughingbuddha: You've got the sports gene what with your dad a club cricketer, grandfather also into the game and Asif Iqbal is your dad's uncle. Is it true?
Sania_Mirza: Maybe, yes. My dad used to play cricket. My uncle was the Indian captain while one of my other uncles was a Ranji Trophy player.

dilips: What is your background like? Who is your coach and who inspires you the most?
Sania_Mirza: My coach is CG Krishna Bhupathi - Mahesh' father. My inspiration has always been my family. They have supported me always.

nippun806: What are the most important things to achieve success in any field?
Sania_Mirza: I believe in hard work. It's required for whatever you do in life.

jak_110: Will you encourage your younger sister to play tennis alongside?
Sania_Mirza: She doesn't want to play tennis. She is more interested in arts. If she wants to then she can play.

laughingbuddha: When did you sign your first autograph?
Sania_Mirza: Pooh! I do not remember. I really don't. Maybe 4-5 years ago...

niharrath75: Since you are so good looking and have recently achieved celebrity status, have you got any modelling assignment?
Sania_Mirza: Not as yet!

rohit: It has been observed that Indian players give splendid performances in junior circuit but fail at senior level. What is your opinion?
Sania_Mirza: There are some instances like that but there are players like Leander and Mahesh who are doing well. There are a lot of things that count. It's not that all junior players become good senior players.

nprakashhk: How can we reduce the cost of tennis coaching? All parents have horrible time saving for their kids. What is your opinion?
Sania_Mirza: In some parts of the country it's really high. But in some parts it's not that expensive. It depends upon a person and is different location to location. It also depends on the kind of coaching one takes.

SANTH_PAULOSE: After your tennis career is through, will you consider entering Bollywood?
Sania_Mirza: Nah! (laughs). I wouldn't!

First Published: Sep 03, 2003 16:32 IST