'Martina and I excel under pressure'

Last Updated 17 February 2016, 19:07 IST
After setting the tennis circuit on fire in the last year, Sania Mirza and her doubles partner Ma­rtina Hingis will have their sights on clinching another title at the Qatar Total Open at Doha later this month.

Speaking on the sidelines of a promotional event here on Wednesday, the doubles world number one discussed her ongoing match-winning streak that stands at 40 matches after their recent triumph at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy tournament. There is a possibility that the pair could scale new heights in Doha by reaching 44 consecutive victories, which is the longest winning run since 1990 set by Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova.

“We want to keep the stre­ak alive as long as possible. It was something that no one expected. Our goal remains that we just want to win every tournament we participate in.

“We hadn’t given it too much thought till Brisbane last year when it stood at 28 or so. We are aware that the next number is 44 and we know we can achieve that in Doha. But that said, it’s a difficult tournament and there are no guarantees in sport so we’ll just try and keep the pressure off.”

Mirza has previously played doubles with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Russian Elena Vesnina but her partnership with Hingis is the one that has been most successful. After the duo came together at Indian Wells in 2015, their journey has been fantastic and Mirza explained what made them tick.

“When Martina and I started playing, it was more of a business relationship as we shared a mutual respect for each other as tennis players. With time we have shared so many things that we have become really close friends and that shows on court.

“What makes it difficult to beat us is the fact that we work well under pressure. Usually there is one person who plays well under pressure and the other doesn’t but in our case, why we are so successful is because we both do well under pressure.”

With a two month gap between the French Open and the Olympics in Rio, there could be an emphasis laid on the quadrennial event since she will be vying to get a medal for India but the 29 year-old insisted that she represented the nation every time she was on the court.

“I always represent India regardless of the tournament, what will make Rio different is the patriotism factor since we will all be under one flag. That aside, as a tennis player I have about 11 weeks to play before Roland Garros and 14 for the Olympics. So it is difficult for me to tell you what I am focussing on right now. But when I get there, rest assured we will do everything to win a medal.”

There has been no news on who will partner Sania in Rio but the Hyderabad girl belie­ves that, when the time com­es, the best team has to be chosen.

“I am going to wait. Who knows who will be healthy and who won’t? We need to put forward our best team and I don’t think now is the right time to make a decision.”
(Published 17 February 2016, 19:07 IST)

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