Sania looking for an elusive Olympic medal

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Says she and Ankita will need to punch way beyond their weight to make an impression

For someone who redefined the levels of excellence in the world of women’s tennis, the 34-year-old Sania Mirza is all geared up to chase one more goal — an Olympic medal.

The six-time Grand Slam-winner, making her fourth Olympics appearance, will take part in the women’s doubles competition, along with Ankita Raina at Tokyo.

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“I consider it a great honour and privilege to be representing my country for the fourth time in the Olympics in Tokyo,” she said in a chat with The Hindu.

“Yes, it is quite amazing that when I started out in tennis almost three decades ago, it was all about dreaming of winning a Grand Slam. I had never imagined I would one day jointly hold the record of most appearances (four) in Olympics by an Indian woman. This is another record that I will be personally very proud of!,” Sania said.

“It has been reasonably good under the prevailing pandemic conditions but, ideally, I would have liked to have got a few more matches under my belt before heading into the Olympics,” she said. “The Tokyo Games are obviously going to feel very different without spectators. And, the stringent rules and restrictions are definitely making things more difficult,” she said.

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“Ankita has been ranked in the top-100 in doubles and that is something none of my earlier women partners have managed,” Sania said. “Of course, it is never easy for any player to immediately adjust to playing against the best in the world and we will definitely need to punch way beyond our weight to make an impression at the Tokyo Olympics,” she said.

“After playing on a regular basis in a few more tournaments and with the right partner, I feel I can still compete for a few more years at the highest level,” she said.

“It is the one achievement that has eluded me and I will definitely cherish an Olympic medal. But I’ve always believed in destiny and will give my best shot. So, if I don’t win that medal, it will still not be the end of the world for me,” Sania said.

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The star tennis player said passion and love for tennis have always been her driving force and it still is.

On being a mother and still playing big-time tennis, Sania said Izhaan is now old enough to enjoy watching her play. “I hope he will be proud of his mother when he’s grown up,” she signed off with a big smile.

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