Asian Games dilemma for US Open champion Sania
Grand slam winner has left decision on All India Tennis Federation
Hyderabad: To play professional tennis or to represent her country at the Asian Games? This is the dilemma for newly-crowned US Open mixed doubles champion Sania Mirza. Facing a tough choice between the sporting extravaganza and two of Asia’s biggest tennis tournaments, Sania who returned to Hyderabad to a hero’s welcome on Sunday has left it to the All India Tennis Federation to take a decision on her participation at the Asiad, to be played at Incheon in South Korea from September 19.
“The Asian Games are clashing with China Open (September 27 to October 6 in Beijing) and Pan Pacific Open (September 15 to 21 in Tokyo). I have lots of points to defend at the tournaments. It is a very difficult decision to take for me,” Sania said upon her arrival in Hyderabad. “But I leave it to the Association to make that decision for me. If my country needs me, I will go out there and play.”
Sania along with Cara Black is the defending doubles champion at both the WTA events, and has 1,900 points to defend. Sania and Cara are currently fourth in the race for the season-ending WTA Championships, to be played in Singapore from October 20. If Sania qualifies, she stands to become the first Indian to take part in the Finale.
“I think we have a good chance of getting into the WTA Championships. But if I don’t play these two tournaments, the chances of that happening are very slim,” the fifth-ranked women’s doubles player added.Sania’s conundrum comes on the heels of Somdev Devvarman pulling out of the Asian Games, reducing India’s chances of a medal. At the previous edition, held at Guangzhou in China, the Indians had won two gold medals, one silver and two bronzes. Sania had made a healthy contribution, winning the women’s singles bronze and the mixed doubles silver with Vishnu Vardhan.
Sania has stopped playing singles and the chance of her medal in women’s doubles with an Indian partner is highly unlikely. “With all the big stars pulling out, I don’t know how good the chances are anyway, (even) with me playing. But wherever I play, I’ll be representing India.” she said. On her US Open victory, Sania said, “It’s been a fantastic two weeks. It’s been great playing with Bruno (Soares) for the first time. We played really well.”
( Source : dc correspondent )