Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza is set to miss next month's Australian Open owing to a knee injury, and could go in for a surgery to treat the condition.
Sania is suffering from a condition called jumper's knee in her right leg. It is defined as a painful condition of the knee caused by inflammation or small tears in the tendon of the patella.
Sania won the 2016 Australian Open women's doubles title with Martina Hingis before announcing their split in August.
The 31-year-old, who was in Kolkata for the final of the Premjit Lall Invitational tournament, said she might have to undergo surgery and is looking for a Roger Federer-like comeback.
"It's kind of serious. Surgery is probably on the cards. I will be out for a few months for sure," Sania said at the JaidipMukerjeaTennisAcademy.
Sania said she is okay while walking with the injured knee but playing is painful.
"I'm okay to walk but it's painful when I've to change directions, when you actually go on to play, that's the biggest problem. I can run straight but not able to do plyometrics stuff.
"My doctors told me to take a couple of months off and then see how it feels before it gets into a process of either surgery or injections. When I saw them (doctors), the pain was not less after two months.
"Now we have to take a call. It's a little bit up in the air. So I will be missing the Australian Open for sure. It won't be before a couple of months at least."
Asked about Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games next year, she said, "Hopefully I will be okay for that. Every time people ask me about plans and I always say as tennis players we don't know about our health, we don't know where we will be at that point. It's one year, it's a long time. Anything can happen. Hopefully ill be healthy again and I'll be able to play."
Sania looked forward to a Federer-like return to the court.
"After 15 years, it's not such a big thing to be out for a few months. It did wonders for Roger -- he went out for six months and he has not lost a match since... Hopefully that can happen to me as well."
Sania further lamented the lack of a proper system in India, which was hampering the progress of tennis.
"There is no system. I've been saying that for last 15 years. I wish them if there was only one problem... But the first step is 'how do I go about it if I want my child to start playing tennis?'
"We can do our part but that's not the way to produce champions year after year. That's why we have one champion in 30 years. There are many issues. We still have to make our own mistakes, learn from it, and in the meantime most of us fizzle out and there are some of us who are fortunate enough to come through despite the system.
"It's the sad part which is why events like this are so important which is why we are here. Even if one child picks up a tennis racket, I would feel we have done justice by coming here.
"We are here to support tennis. It's a sport that is growing over the years in India. We are hoping that more and more kids are inspired by us. It's great to be back in Kolkata, and greater to be for an event that promotes tennis."
Recalling her first memory of picking a racket at the age of six, she said: "The coach actually did not want to take me and told me I was too 'small' to play tennis. My mom had to force him saying ‘take her, I want my child to play’.
"It was a big argument and finally he took me. After a month he called my parents and said you have to watch her play as I've never seen a six year old play like this," she concluded.