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Romancing the racquet

Romancing the racquet
Highlights

It has been a fairytale season for Sania Mirza, who is on a song and perhaps at her fearsome best. Her devastating world-conquering form in the season that is about to conclude is reason enough to see into the future with a sense of contentment and a positive mindset.

It has been a fairytale season for Sania Mirza, who is on a song and perhaps at her fearsome best. Her devastating world-conquering form in the season that is about to conclude is reason enough to see into the future with a sense of contentment and a positive mindset. Rio could be the starting point for an Olympian turnaround because the one-of-a-kind phenomenon has set the loftiest of standards for women doubles specialists from across the globe.

The most significant change has been the dexterity with which the Hyderabadi has evolved as a near-complete double specialist. For one who has won most of her matches in mixed doubles, she has been a revelation in women doubles. One should give it to Martina Hingis, who has played a major role in Sania’s resurgence and ascendency. That they enjoy wonderful on-court chemistry goes without saying.

The domination has been so ruthlessly mindboggling that they have won all the nine tournaments that they entered since forgoing the alliance, which is quite amazing considering that with neither getting any younger, they have been making mincemeat of youthful opponents. Hingis has had magical India-connect, so to say. If India’s lucky mascot first partnered Mahesh Bhupathi in majors, this year saw her win five Grand Slam titles in the company of Leander Paes (three mixed doubles) and Sania (two women).

Capping the year-off with the coveted WTA Doubles Finals title and the WTA year-end No 1 doubles ranking, which the two accomplished in Singapore on Sunday, heralds a new beginning for the Indian, who has been enjoying a glorious run since being named as the Brand Ambassador of Telangana State. Meanwhile, a fact that has gone unnoticed is that this is the second straight year Sania has won the WTA title after last season’s triumph in the company of Cara Black.

Alas, the tragedy of Indian tennis is that the oft-repeated question ‘after Sania, who?’ remains static. In spite of the advent of some pretenders, there has been no name worth mentioning that could instill confidence. If the country still depends on old warhorses like Sania, Paes and Bhupathi as flag bearers, then that indicates paucity of governmental assistance and a terrible lack of infrastructural support. The AITA administrators would do well if they shed ego clashes and come forward to chart a route for the future hopefuls and go about its implementation in letter and spirit.

The teenager’s brashness has made way for a much mellowed veteran, although, quite thankfully, the aggressive stroke-making and match-winning techniques have stayed with her. In a way, unlike in the past when she would be forthright in her utterances before the media on diverse issues, including on pre-marital sex, Sania has come of age where wiser counsel has put paid to such pretentious postures. Today, Sania Mirza’s racquet is doing all the talking and nothing could be more wonderful for the fans and the sport, as such.

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