Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza feels the five medals that the team has managed to grab at the ongoing Asian Games is a pretty good performance given that the country did not come with the best unit possible for the event.
“It has been a pretty good week. We (she and Prarthana Thombare) got a medal (bronze) in women’s doubles which is huge because it’s something that we never did. I had to be the leader. It’s a young team we came here with, didn’t come with the best team possible, especially with the guys. Five medals (including today’s) is pretty good,” she said ahead of the mixed doubles semifinals with Saket Myneni at the Yeorumul Tennis Centre.
Hyderabad and Dubai-based Sania spoke to reporters as the matches for the day had been put off due to continuous rains at Incheon since last night.
The 27-year-old Indian tennis star, who was initially inclined towards skipping the Games to gain doubles points on the WTA tour before changing her mind, said the reason was to provide the country with its best shot at picking up more medals in these Games, her fourth on the trot.
“The minute I made the decision to come here, I knew it was the right decision. For me the most important thing was to give India the best chance of winning as many medals as possible. I did what I could and I got two in the two events I played (women’s doubles and mixed doubles where she and Myneni will fight for the gold).
“I am happy that there was my contribution. Personally it’s my fourth Asian Games in a row and I have got medals in every single Asian Games I have been to. For me to get eight medals in the last four editions is pretty good,” she remarked.
Before the current Games she had won a gold (in mixed doubles in 2006 in Doha), three silver medals (women’s singles and team in 2006 and in mixed doubles in 2010 at Guangzhou)and two bronze medals (women’s singles and doubles in Guangzhou). Besides, she also won silver (singles) and bronze (doubles) in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Sania said she has played her part as a mentor to her women teammates here who are of the same age as her younger sister and is hoping they win medals on their own in the next Games which are scheduled at Jakarta in 2018.
“I have a good rapport with these girls and I am always there to help if they ask. They are all of my sister’s age, like babies for me. They are 7-8 years younger than me. I am sharing a room with one of them.”
“Most definitely these are the best youngsters we have had in a while. My doubles partner (Prarthana) has some potential and is still pretty young. We need to build on this. I hope this gives them a lot of confidence that they can achieve certain things,” Sania said.