Sania Mirza has a plan in place,
writes Martin D'Souza
Imran and Naseema Mirza have a 15-month plan which they have
put into action. A plan that will come into fruition when Sania,
their celebrated daughter, will turn 18 in November 2004. "That's
when we will strike out," says Imran, who now wants his
champ to concentrate on the senior level participation. Imran,
who left for the Canadian and US Open early on Thursday morning
with his daughter reveals there are 13 senior tournaments lined
up. "We have always put her ahead of her age group and
the US Open is the last tournament where she will be participating
in the junior category. We feel she has played enough of junior
tournaments — she has already been in eight Grand Slams."
Elaborating further, Imran says,
"We are focussing on the senior tournaments so that she
can gain in experience and work on her weak points." As
for the junior girls doubles Wimbledon champ, she is totally
in accordance with her parents decision who were the ones responsible
in initiating her into the sport. "My parents have played
a big part in my progress," admits the teenager. "I
don't think it would have been possible without their support
and encouragement. I started at the age of 6 and they have really
been after me."
So was it their choice of sport or yours, we ask. Sania pauses
for a moment before replying. "Initially, it was just a
game. I was just six then..." she trails off. Her dad jumps
in to return the volley. "We wanted her to try her hand
at the game and when she started, she showed so much flair that
she would not give up even though we tried to. She is free to
walk out any moment if she does not enjoy it."
And what about modelling, have the offers started pouring in?
"I don't know yet, but there are talks going on,"
says the Steffi Graf fan.
Life for the Mirzas has changed drastically. "Earlier,
my wife and me would alternate travelling with Sania, who is
out eight months of the year, and the little time we got we
would spend together with our younger daughter. But post Wimbledon,
what little time we had, has gone to the press and events,"
"I can't travel in an auto anymore," says Sania. "It's
tough. People easily recognise me now when I am out. Life has
definitely changed, but it feels nice."
With the Wimbledon win, expectations are high but Sania is not
letting herself get bogged down. "Yes, there is a lot of
expectation from me now. There should be, but I have taken it
in my stride. One has to deal with it. I'll give it my best
matter what the result is."
The countdown has begun, and 15 months from now we will know
how the plan has shaped. Till then, here's wishing Sania, all