History-making Sania Mirza says that the Wimbledon women’s doubles title partnering Swiss great Martina Hingis last Saturday makes her feel that she is the complete World No. 1 now.
In an interview with The Hindu from London, the 28-year-old tennis ace from Hyderabad shared her thoughts on winning her fourth Grand Slam title (she won three mixed doubles titles earlier in the Australian, French and the US Opens) even while stressing that Wimbledon triumph will be a special for many reasons.
Q: How is the feeling to be the Wimbledon women’s doubles champions?
A: Absolutely sensational!
Q: What was the mood before the final, in terms of confidence?
A: We knew Vesnina and Makarova are a dangerous combination specially on grass but we had the confidence of having beaten them twice earlier this year though on the hard courts of USA.
Q: How do you rate Martina Hingis’s game in the first two sets before you took over the dominant role with those incredible forehands and backhand returns?
A: Martina is a true champion and a big match player and she played some amazing tennis.
Q: How different is this Grand Slam title from the other three you won earlier?
A: In a way, it completes my life time achievements. I had won Wimbledon 12 years ago in the juniors but not as a professional and I had won three Grand Slam titles in the mixed but did not own a women’s doubles Grand Slam trophy. I do now and it makes me feel like a more ‘complete’ World Number One!
Q: You always dreamt of winning a title at the hallowed Centre Court. Were you nervous when you walked through the famed tunnel on the Centre Court?
A: Of course, there are nerves! Playing for the biggest title in world tennis in a revered arena is a daunting experience and it took me a few games to come to terms with that! Having the experienced Martina on my side was a big help but once I got used to the centre court, I truly enjoyed the electric atmosphere and it inspired me to give my best.
Q: What exactly was the decisive moment in the final which saw you fight back from the brink of losing it at 2-5 in the decider?
A: Despite being down, Martina and I were very positive and were thoroughly enjoying the experience of performing on the centre court of Wimbledon. We kept reminding each other that it was just a question of one break and we did manage to get it. That shifted the momentum in our favour.
Q: How was the mood and what exactly did you share with Hingis when the roof was closed and there was a 10-min interruption at 5-all?
A: Having broken back and levelled the score at 5-all, we were in a very positive frame of mind. As is the tradition at such moments, the Wimbledon official escorted my father, as the coach of our team, to the room where Martina and I were getting some quick treatment and a rub from the physio. We chatted, relaxed and discussed the strategy we would adopt when play resumed.
Q: Was it really difficult to find the groove after that break?
A: At that stage we knew we had to play just a few minutes of truly inspired tennis to win Wimbledon and we managed to do just that after that break!
Q: How was it stepping into the Royal Box to receive the winner’s trophy?
A: This is the stuff that dreams are made of and this was another dream coming true!
Q: To whom do you dedicate this win?
A: To the people of my beloved country, my State of Telangana and my entire team that has made this possible.
Q: What are the next big goals you are chasing?
A: I want to keep playing professional tennis till I’m enjoying the game, continue to do well in Grand Slams and major tournaments and to stay at number one in the world for as long as possible.