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Pull Out Of Stars Will Not Affect Tennis' Debut At CWG: Sania

New Delhi, Sep 24: The game of tennis has "enough depth" to negate the absence of star players when the sport makes its debut at the Commonwealth Games, feels India's star player Sania Mirza.  It
PTI September 24, 2010 16:37 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 24: The game of tennis has "enough depth" to negate the absence of star players when the sport makes its debut at the Commonwealth Games, feels India's star player Sania Mirza.

 It would have been a treat for home fans had world No. 4 Andy Murray, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, French Open finalist Smantha Stosur and Cyprus' Marcos Bhagdatis, who recently stunned Rafael Nadal, not pulled out of the Games.

 The Games are clashing with prestigious season-ending ranking events on the two professional Tours, forcing players to decide against playing in the Games.

 Sania, who has been India's face on the WTA circuit in last half-a-decade, feels star-factor or rankings doesn't count much when one is on court.

"As a tennis player, one can only compete with the players who are on the other side of the net! However, I can assure you that at least in a global sport like tennis, the depth is tremendous and stardom or rankings have no bearing once a player enters the court," Sania told PTI.

India's men's squad is packed with legends such as Leander paes and rising stars in Somev Devvarman but the women's squad wears a complete contrast look.

AITA had to recall 33-year-old Nirupama Sanjeev for the Games and apart from Sania and Nirupama, another veteran Rushmi Chakravarthy (513) and youngster Poojashree Venkatesh (444) comprise the four-member women's team.

Sania acknowledged the bleak picture.

"It is a great achievement for Niru to be still good enough to get into the team. However, it is disappointing that the cupboard of upcoming talent in Indian women's tennis looks bare," Sania said.

Sania will not compete in the women's doubles event as Poojashree and Rushmi will take part in the event. She will play in the singles and pair up with Leander Paes in the mixed doubles. Nirupama will pair up with Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles.

Talking about her own expectations at the Games, world's third largest sporting event in terms of particpation of countries, Sania said she just believes in giving her best shot and do not think much beyond that.

"I have always expected myself to give my best and to leave the rest to God. This is what I have done for every tournament that I have ever played in my life and till date my expectations from myself remain the same."

One being asked, if she feels pressure to put up a good show before home crowd since it has been an unimpressive season so far for her, she said, "International sport is all about pressure and handling it to the best of one's abilities. I don't really feel any extra pressure."

She though was quite optimisitc about winning gold in the mixed doubles event along with Leander Paes.

"We had won a bronze medal at the Busan Asian Games in 2002 and the gold medal in the Doha Asian Games in 2006. I'm hoping we can re-create that magic to win another medal for India in New Delhi."

Sania's career graph has dipped in the last two years due to injuries and lack of form, though recently she won her ninth WTA doubles title in Guangzhou.

The free fall of singles ranking forced her to go through the qualifiers at the US Open since 2005.

Considering this, a good show at the Games before the home fans, look a must as a medal winning performance, would give it a massive fillip in order to revive her career .
But the Hyderabadi says one single tournament may not shape or mar a career.

"It takes a lot of patience, determination and will power to make a comeback from a serious injury at the highest level. Every win at the professional level adds to one's confidence. I do not believe that any single tournament can make or break a career," she contended. PTI