Now, Sania Mirza wants to be No 1 and win a women's Grand Slam
Having won five prestigious doubles titles in the 2013 season, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza has ended her season in style.
The star player has termed the year as one of the best of career and hoped to win more Grand Slams and be World No 1 in the years to come.
"People win one tournament and say they had a good year. So, I am very happy. One of the main targets is to try and win a slam. I am going to try and win more slams and try and win a women's grand slam as well. That's what we really play for. May be, that's the only target I can set," she said.
Image: Sania Mirza of India
Photographs: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
'I think I push my body too much'
Sania's latest triumph came in the China Open where she teamed up with Cara Black in women's doubles.
"I always used to say when I was playing, whenever I used to give myself a target, I used to get injured. So, I stopped giving myself a target. Because, I would achieve it and I would get hurt. Sometimes, I think I push my body too much.
"If someone told me at the beginning of the year, I am going to win five tournaments by the end of year, I would have taken it with both hands.
Image: Sania Mirza of India serves
Photographs: Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters
Sania hopes to be World No 1
She said, like any other sportsperson, she hopes to be World No 1 in the near future.
"God willing, one day, the goal is to try and to be No 1 in the world. That is what we are playing for. I hope I will be able to do that in the near future," she said.
She acknowledged that the year has been good for her with five victories coming her way.
"It is one of the best years I have had. I cannot say it was the best. Five tournaments in a year, very few people win.
It was great to especially finish the last two tournaments winning, they are just below the Grand Slam levels. So, it was great to win those two tournaments and finish the year on a high," she said.
Image: Sani Mirza
Photographs: Mark Blinch/Reuters
'Cara has been an amazing player'
Sania called her partner Black an amazing player and from whom she got to learn a lot.
"We are playing next year. She has been an amazing player. She took a couple of years off, to have a baby. She has come back. She is playing some of the best tennis of her life. It is great to play with her. I get to learn so much from someone who has been No 1 in the world before.
"She has won, I think, 10 Grand Slams. So, it is great to play with her. I am excited and looking forward to it," she said.
Image: Cara Black of Zimbabwe, holding her son Lachlan, and Sania Mirza
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
'Bethanie is my best friend on the tour'
Asked about her different partners, Sania said everyone had their strengths.
"I think everyone have their own pluses. We complement each other in different ways. So, obviously, Bethanie (Mattek-Sands) is my best friend on the tour. It was a tough decision for us to split in the middle of the year because of health issues.
"Clara and I are going to play next year. One of the main reasons is because she also focuses just on doubles. It is different when you focus on only one thing. You can practice differently. Do certain things differently.
"She is going to come here in December, to try and train for two weeks in Hyderabad, so that we are ready for the next beginning of the season," she said.
Image: Bethanie Mattek-Sands of USA (right) celebrates with Sania Mirza
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images
'You can always keep improving till the day you stop playing'
This Hyderabadi beauty is at her best when it comes to fitness and admits that she has matured as a player.
"I did not have a major injury for the last couple of years. That is definitely been one of the reasons why I have been able to put in all that hard work. I think I am matured as a player. You can always keep improving till the day you stop playing.
"I have improved myself. I have improved at the net. I understand the doubles game better. On the whole, I feel I am a better player than I was last year."
Sania is trying to help under-privileged young players and had recently taken a young player with disability for training in the academy.
Image: Sania Mirza (right) and Cara Black
Photographs: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images