Sania Mirza was handed a tough draw at the French Open. She runs into former champion and world number 12 Anastasia Myskina in the first round of the women's singles at the clay court Grand Slam, starting Sunday.
The minor dip in rankings, currently 38 on the WTA Tour, seems to have played a crucial role in the Indian ace not being seeded at Roland Garros.
The 19-year-old returned to the courts this week at Istanbul after a three-week rest to recover from a wrist and lower-back injury.
She bowed out of the US $200,000 event in Turkey in the singles second round but reached the doubles semi-finals along with Alicia Molik of Australia.
"I would say that physically I am at around 70 per cent. The pain in my wrist and back is much better but the wrist is still swelling up after playing a session," Sania said from Istanbul.
"But I have just had about four days of training after my injury before the Istanbul tournament, so I guess it will take me some time to get match fit."
The brief lay-off she took coincided with the break she had taken around the same time last year, because of which not many points have fallen off, thereby softening the impact on her rankings.
"Whether you are defending points or not, health must always come first," she said.
Sania said although she enjoyed the time away from the game, she had to be careful of her mind and body not becoming too weak to take on the load of playing top level tennis when she returned to action.
"Initially, one enjoys the break away from the daily grind of workouts but soon one begins to miss the action," she said.
"When you take a break from tournaments due to an injury, automatically some of the other body parts also tend to slow down and may become weaker.
"One has to be careful when making a comeback as it is possible to injure oneself easily since the body has not been used to the gruelling workload that it has to be subjected to."
Helping her in preparing for the French Open would be former player Asif Ismail.
Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna and Shikha Uberoi failed to qualify for the main draw in the men's and women's singles respectively.
Bopanna went down to Michael Lammer of Switzerland 4-6, 6-7(0) in the first round of the qualifiers.
Uberoi defeated Argentine Maria Jose Argeri 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the first round before going down to Galina Voskoboeva 5-7, 2-6 in the second.