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Sania for fitness training abroad
July 19, 2003 16:23 IST
After winning the junior girls' doubles title at Wimbledon, India's teen tennis sensation Sania Mirza has set her eyes on bigger challenges and plans to go abroad to improve her fitness.
"Next year Sania should be going abroad for a physical training programme," her coach Mahesh Bhupathi said in an informal chat with reporters in Hyderabad on Saturday.
"We will be cutting down on her junior level tournaments in the coming days and lay more focus on her physical training programme to strengthen her base," Bhupathi, whose company Globosport has been taking care of Sania's coaching, said.
Asked to elaborate on what type of physical fitness programme he has in mind for the 16-year-old champ, who became the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam, Bhupathi said, "Her base has to be strengthened to match her European counterparts who are very strong and fit."
The programme would help Sania move faster and endure longer games, moreso in singles, he said.
Earlier, Sania said Europeans have strong legs and can endure long rallies but it is difficult for the Indians to stretch the game to the desired extent.
Sania will, however, play in the US Open and a few other important tournaments at the junior level, Bhupathi said.
Asked if there is a dearth of infrastructure in the country, Bhupathi replied in the negative, saying, "With more and more sponsors coming forward it should not be a major problem."
Asked to comment on Sania's Wimbledon game, Bhupathi said, "I watched only the final and Sania performed very well. It's not easy to play the final at Wimbledon, that too under pressure.
"But Sania handled the situation positively and won a well-deserving title," he said, adding Sania was hitting the ball very well and displayed a remarkable fightback.
Admitting that a new trend has set in women's tennis with Sania Mirza, Sunita Rao and Sanaa Bhambri emerging on the scene, Bhupathi said the coming five years would see more of the women's game and the rewards would be equally encouraging.