New Delhi (AFP) – Indian tennis star Sania Mirza is confident of continuing her Asian Games record with another medal in this year’s event — if she recovers from injury in time.
Mirza, regarded as India’s best ever women’s tennis player, has achieved at least one medal at every Asiad meet since 2006 and hopes this year’s games in Indonesia will be no different.
But the 31-year-old has been sidelined since October with a knee injury, and her former number one doubles ranking — the first ever for an Indian in the women’s event — has slipped to 14.
Mirza said she has every intention of competing in the Games starting August, if her knee had recovered.
“I am hoping to be back within a couple of months,” she told AFP in an interview in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“I have always come back with a medal so if I go, then hopefully I will come back with one again.”
Her last Asiad appearance in South Korea in 2014 resulted in a gold in the mixed doubles and bronze in the doubles event.
Mirza made waves in 2005 as the first Indian to win a WTA singles title. She reached the fourth round of the US Open in the same year, and by 2007 was among the best 30 women’s players in the world.
But a wrist injury ended her singles dream and focused her energies into doubles tennis, where a partnership with Swiss great Martina Hingis earned them three Grand Slam titles.
They later split in 2016.
The Indian star rated Serena Williams the “greatest player” of the open era, and predicted she would return top of her game after giving birth to a girl in September last year.
There was “unbelievable depth” in the women’s game, she added.
“A person who is five in the world may win a slam, or a person you have never heard of may win,” Mirza said.