Bengaluru: Having extended her winning streak to a stunning 40 matches playing along Swiss great Martina Hingis, India’s most decorated women’s tennis player Sania Mirza is enjoying the best run of her career leaving a trail of silverware, including three Grand Slam doubles title, in the wake.
Here in the city for the launch of an exclusive women’s running shoes by Adidas, the Hyderabadi spoke at length on her enviable performances and also gave a glimpse into the future.
After reaching 40 straight wins, what is the target ahead?
We want to try and keep the streak going as long as possible. It’s a streak that no one ever thought anyone will ever reach and we are just kind of going along with it. It was not something that we were consciously chasing, we were just trying to win every tournament and that’s still the goal. Hopefully, we can keep the streak alive but if it doesn’t, then it has already been unbelievable for us.
When did it become about beating the streak?
It still hasn’t become that. It’s tough because we try not to think about it but we keep getting asked.
We are aware that the next number is 44 (record set by Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova in 1990) and we are aware that we can achieve that in Doha but having said that it’s a tough tournament and there are no guarantees in sport. We will try our best.
How has the targets changed from 2015 to now?
Between the two of us we have won a lot of tournaments before we got together. Since she came back a few years ago and I moved into doubles, we weren’t able to win a women’s doubles slam. So when we won that Wimbledon a lot of things changed for both of us. She won it after 17 years and I won for the first time.
In the beginning we knew we could play well together but we didn’t know how well. We are surpassing our own expectations here to be honest. We did believe that we could be number one and that was the goal. After that right now, we have won three slams in a row and everyone is talking about Santina Slam. It would be great to win the French Open but if we don’t, we wont kill ourselves. We just try to enter every tournament, we are the hunted team so we just try our best.
How is this partnership different than others?
When Martina and I started playing it was more of a business relationship. We respected each other and we played great matches against each other and finished off our careers at 2-2. We weren’t really friends. Over the year we have gotten to know each other so well. Today she is probably one of the closest persons to me.
More than anything else, the biggest thing — people keep asking what’s the secret— we don’t think we are that much better tennis players, but we play the best under pressure.
On choosing her partner for the Olympics
Like I said, I am going to wait as long as I can. I have a few options. Four months is a long time. Who knows who is going to be healthy who won’t be? The most important thing is that the best team should be put forward and who I believe will be the best team at that point.