Sania set to launch academy in March 2013
With an aim to give back something to the sport that brought her fame and wealth, Sania Mirza is now all set to start her own tennis academy in Hyderabad, where youngsters will get quality training at an affordable price.
The academy is under construction on the outskirts of the city and is expected to be launched in March next year.
"I had been thinking about it for past few years now. I always wanted to give something back to sport and to India in whatever way. Sharing experience and trying to provide players a platform to perform at the highest level is the best way to give something back to the game," Sania said.
"Hopefully, if not in the next 5 years, may be in 10 years, 12 years, we will have players coming out of that academy," she added.
The academy is being constructed on a four acre land and will have nine hard courts to start with. Gradually, there will be nine more hard courts along with three clay courts.
Sania's father Imran Mirza, who is writing a book on the journey of her star daughter, informed that they are planning to rope in a few sponsors for the trainees at the academy.
"We want to make it affordable for them," he said.Sania's former mixed doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi had also opened an academy in Bangalore in the past.
Image: Sania Mirza
Photographs: Mary Chastain / Reuters
'I would like to better my doubles ranking next season'
Talking about the season, nearing end, Sania said she was satisfied with her performance.
"It's been great. As tennis players you are never satisfied. We are greedy as players, always want better results. I played six finals, won a Grand Slam and made the final of China Open which is the biggest tournament after the Slams. So, it's been a great year," she said.
"I achieve my best ranking this year (No 7 in doubles) and next year, I would like to better that." Sania had to change a lot of doubles partners this year due to various reasons. She played with Russian Elena Vesnina, American Bethanie Mattek Sands, Australian Anastasia Rodionova, Yaroslav Shvedova and now with Spanish Nuria Llagostera Vives.
Asked about her choice of doubles partner in 2013 season, Sania said it would depend if she plays singles or not, since she is "tempted" to play singles again.
"It depends whether I play singles or not. Things will be clear when I stop and take some time off. I am talking to a few players. Still a couple months away. At Moscow, we will sit down and with a clear mind take a decision," she said.
The news of her pairing with American doubles great Bob Bryan has been doing the rounds for some time but India's No 1 player refused to comment on the possible pairing.
Sania also denied that she and her cricketer husband Shoaib Malik are participating in any reality dance show.
She will be leaving for Moscow to play in her last WTA event of the season.Earlier, she had decided against participating in this tournament but having received some ranking points ahead of the new season she changed the decision.
Image: Sania Mirza
Photographs: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images