India captain wants Sania to support Paes from ad court
Leander Paes should stick to the deuce court and Sania Mirza should support him from the left side with her "solid ground strokes" when they compete in the mixed doubles event of the London Olympics, Indian team captain S P Misra has suggested.
Sania's preferred court-side, like Paes, is the deuce (right side) and she is keen that she plays in Olympics from that side of the court.
The two players are yet to decide on the choice of the court side and work out a strategy for the big event.
The seven-member Indian tennis contingent will assemble in London on July 23.
Sania had played from the left side (advantage court) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the duo had crashed out in the quarter-finals after losing to Scotland's Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae.
But they were gold-medallists at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
Misra, who is also the tennis team's leader at the Olympics, feels that Paes should continue to play from the right side.
"Sania has solid ground strokes. I feel she should play from the ad court. Sania returns well also, so she should support Leander from that side. Leander has always played from the deuce court and that is his strength," Misra said.
"I have never seen Leander playing from the ad court. He has played with different partners in his career from Martina Navratilova to Lisa Raymond to Elena Vesnina but he has always played from right side," he added.
Image: Sania Mirza with Leander Paes
Photographs: Julian Finney / Getty Images for DAGOC
'India have good chance of a medal in mixed doubles'
In the doubles competitions, the battle rages around the service return and the serve on most big points goes to the ad court. So, a player who returns well should play the ad side.
Paes and Sania have not played together since the 2010 CWG and when they had played at the Delhi Games, they played in each other's company after four years.
However, Misra said gelling well won't be a problem for the two veterans although they will have only 4-5 days to do so.
"They are not newcomers. They have wealth of experience behind them. Paes has won 13 Grand Slam titles and Sania has been playing doubles for so long. So I don't see a problem in that," Misra said adding that "India have a good chance to win a medal in the mixed doubles."
The Davis Cup non-playing captain also felt that Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna too stand a good chance to win a medal for the country.
"They have done reasonably well on the tour. They have a point to prove but they stand a good chance. They will be playing against players, who are not regular partners on the tour. So, it can work to their advantage," he said."They were in top-10 recently and it's not a joke to be in that league. They are capable of pulling off a medal."
Image: Sania Mirza with Mahesh Bhupathi
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani / Rediff.com