Indian tennis star Sania Mirza said that she has had a "solid year already" and hopes to build on it with her new women's doubles partner - Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Sania's partnership with Czech Republic's Barbara Strycova came to an end a few weeks ago due to a "difference in priorities".
“I have had a solid, solid start to the year. I have already played a Grand Slam final (mixed doubles at Australian Open), a title (in Brisbane), some finals (miami, sydney) and a bunch of semifinals. I am very critical of myself and always feel I can do better, no matter what and possibly win more titles,” Mirza said.
On joining hands with Shvedova, she said, “I have known her forever. She is a great girl, has won Grand Slam titles. I hope it won't take us long to gel well. She is a very powerful player and plays on the backhand side of the court. We can hopefully enjoy ourselves on the court and also produce good results. We have committed till Wimbledon for sure and probably for the rest of the season,” she said.
Starting the year as No.1, Sania has slipped to No.7 on the WTA Doubles Chart, having won a single title this year. She will be playing in Madrid with Shvedova and expects a change in fortunes. “I leave for Madrid on May 2 and practice for a few days before the event there. After the good run with Barbara Strycova, I hope to have the same success with Shvedova,” she said.
When asked why she ended the partnership with Strycova, Mirza said, "We had different priorities. Barbara is very good in singles and when she has a deep run in both singles and doubles at a tournament it becomes tough. She has to play eight-nine matches week after week and was getting very tired. We were not able to win for certain reasons. Priorities were different and we felt it was time for a mutual break.”
Asked if she had regretted ending her singles career early, Mirza said, “No. Physically I couldn't do it anymore and that's why I stopped (playing singles). It was the toughest decision at that time. In hindsight it was the best decision I could have taken. I have enjoyed success in doubles and have been undisputed No.1 for two years.”
Mirza inaugurated an exhibition, organised by her sister Anam, said she hardly cares for criticism but personal attacks on social media are not appreciated. “There is a lot of negativity around. That is one downside of social media though there are a lot of upsides. You learn to deal with criticism over a period of time. But, personal abuse should be avoided,” she said.