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Sania wants to hang in top 50 this year

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 26 (UNI) After her meteoric rise last year, expectations maybe skyrocketing back home but Sania Mirza knows maintaining the position at the top is tougher than reaching it and she will be happy if she manages to hang on to the top 50 this year.

Addressing a press conference here today, Sania said for a pro, the second season is always the toughest time and defending points is not a stroll in the park.

''Hanging in the top 50 in the second season is a tough job and that will be my main target this year. The second year is always tougher than the first and I'll be trying to hang in there in the top 50,'' she said.

''It's a tough life out there. If you are in the top 30, you play those top players day in and day out and it's quite tough.

The competition level is so high that you don't see a player in so many semifinals. It's very competitive at that level.'' ''And there is hardly any difference in WTA Tier I and II tournaments because you see five of six of the top 10 players competing in both.'' Sania, who ignored doctor's advice and played the Fed Cup in Korea, said she would stay away from the court for another two-three weeks.

Asked if she would play in any tournament before the French Open, the World No. 40 said, ''I'm not very sure. I'm taking 2-3 weeks off from tennis and would be back only after I'm fit.'' ''I was keen to play Fed Cup this time because I missed it last year. It was great to reach the (Asian/Oceania Zone Group I) final even though we lost to Australia. Shikha (Uberoi) played great tennis there and we hope to do better in future.'' Sania also said she was looking forward to represent India in Doha Asian Games.

''It's a great feeling to represent the country and I'm looking forward to Asian Games. We will have strong men and women teams there and we are expecting a lot of medals there,'' said the teenager who won a bronze medal in the 2002 edition of the Games.

On roping in Asif Ismail in place of John Farrington as her traveling coach, Sania said, ''John is a great coach but he was not hitting partner as such. At this level, I felt I needed someone I can hit with and I have a good rapport with Asif, with whom I was hitting in Hong Kong.'' Sania also felt her stint with legendary coach Tony Roche, who also coaches Roger Federer, did her a world of good.

''It was great to work under Roche and he worked on my serve. He did not have a look at me since the Bangalore Open but I think my serve looks a little different now and is much smoother,'' she said.

Sania also refused to subscribe to the view that playing doubles was affecting her game in singles and added lack of permanent doubles partner did not bother her.

''I don't think I have played with someone for two tournaments in a row but then I never had stable doubles partners. I think I have got used to it and adopt quickly to the style of my team mate,'' she added.

UNI AY PM PM1351

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