Hyderabad: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza says she would do all it takes to maintain her world number one ranking. “I wish I could tell the future. But, I can’t. So, I am going to try and keep it (number one rank) as long as possible and do whatever I can,” she told reporters here late last night after the Indian team, led by her, defeated Philippines in the Fed Cup 2015, Group II, Asia/Oceania tournament and moved to Group I.
Sania played a doubles match in the event last night and helped her side beat Philippines 2-1. She expressed happiness over her team winning the matches in the Fed Cup, her first assignment after reaching the top rank in women’s doubles. “It was really great for me to come and play in Hyderabad being number one. This is my first tournament after being number one. It is pretty amazing for me. Secondly, it was definitely not easy. Because, we are playing at home and the pressure was on us and I have been playing clay court. I have
come out and playing under lights and hard. It’s a completely different set up. You have to get used to everything again and again,” said Sania. The tennis complex at the L B Stadium here was the venue where she had won her first major title in tennis about a decade ago. Sania complemented the other young Indian women tennis players Prarthana G Thombare and Ankita Raina who ensured that India did not lose any contest against the rivals. A defeat for Raina in a singles match yesterday against her Philippines rival Katharina Lehnert was the sole match India lost in the tournament.
“It’s great to be with these younger girls. They are all playing very good tennis. The only way is forward and up. They are improving every year. In a couple of years, we hope to get through the world group (of Fed Cup)…,” she said. Noting that she has been playing with the Indian girls team comprising younger players like Thombare and Raina for about two years now , she said she would continue to work with them in whatever capacity she can.
“She (Ankita Raina) is a talented girl. She is very hard working. Like you saw today, she gave her everything. That’s what you can ask from her. She is going to try and get into slams now,” she said. Replying to a query on her expectations at the Stuttgart WTA event for which she would be leaving tonight, Sania said: “I am not really thinking about Stuttgart right now. I am thinking about Fed Cup. We are really happy.” Asked about her playing in the Group I event of Fed Cup to be played next year, she said: “If I don’t retire by next year, I will play, there is no reason I won’t.”