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'Sania will benefit by pairing with Paes'

Renowned coach Bob Brett says playing with Paes in mixed doubles at Asian Games will bring the best out of her and lift her ranking.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 12:21 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Sania Mirza's decision to pair with Leander Paes in mixed doubles at December's Asian Games will bring the best out of her and lift her ranking, says renowned tennis coach Bob Brett.

"Leander is not only a great doubles player but a great mixed doubles player as well. The best thing about him is that he is always able to bring the best out of his partner," Brett told IANS in an interview.

Brett, who was here in connection with a tennis workshop, should know a thing or two about Sania's game as she had a stint with him at his academy in San Remo, Italy, in 2003.

Sania, currently playing in the Sunfeast Open in Kolkata, has slipped from a career-high world ranking of 31 in October last year, when she reached the fourth round of the US Open, to the current 70.

A spate of injuries and poor form has contributed to this downfall in rankings of one of India's best tennis players.

But Brett believes that a stint with Paes at the Asian Games in Doha will be the ideal tonic that she needs to lift her game.

"I believe that Leander is the one who helped Mahesh (Bhupathi) to bring the best out him. And now Mahesh has superseded Leander in terms of Grand Slam titles," said Brett in support of his argument.

Paes, who won the US Open doubles title with Martin Damm of Czech Republic recently, is known to lift his game in adversity, especially in the Davis Cup.

"Similarly, his association with Sania will also help her to improve rankings and regain form. In fact, India's medal prospects at the Doha Asian Games will also become bright," said the 53-year-old coach who has trained greats like Boris Becker, Goran Ivanesic and Mario Ancic.

Brett also had a word of caution for 19-year-old Sania, saying that she should be selective while choosing tournaments.

"Now she is only concentrating to improve her rankings and to do so she is playing lot of tournaments despite injuries. This can prove detrimental for her career," he opined.

"Good players know which tournaments they should play and which they should skip. This is the trick of the trade that Sania should learn by now."

Brett also accepted the fact that Sania, one of the biggest female sporting icons India has ever produced, is carrying a lot of expectations. He said that with time she would learn to strike a perfect balance between pressure and performance.

The coach also expressed his disappointment that India is not producing good players.

"India has all the ingredients to produce talents but somehow the country is not able to get Mahesh and Paes' successors," he lamented.

"You cannot give excuses that there are not enough role models in the country. Paes and Mahesh are too good by Indian standards and are ideal role models for the youngsters in the country."

Brett said that India's problem lies at the grass root level. And he went on to suggest the solution too: by coaching the coaches.

First Published: Sep 18, 2006 12:21 IST