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Cara Black is like an elder sister to me: Sania Mirza

India tennis ace speaks about her cherished relationship with doubles partner Black, her toddler and new partner Hsieh Su-wei of China

The 'first lady' of Indian tennis, Sania Mirza, could not have asked for a better 2014.

Three to tango: India's Sania Mirza with her doubles partner Cara Black (right) and the Zimbabwean's son Lachlan pose with WTA Tour Finals trophy in Singapore recently. Pic/AFP, Getty Images
Three to tango: India's Sania Mirza with her doubles partner Cara Black (right) and the Zimbabwean's son Lachlan pose with WTA Tour Finals trophy in Singapore recently. Pic/AFP, Getty Images 

She pocketed the mixed doubles title at the year's last Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, then topped that with a mixed doubles gold medal at the Incheon Asian Games and followed it up with the prestigious year-ending WTA Tour Finals doubles title in Singapore.

The good news hasn't stopped coming in for the 27-year-old Hyderabadi, who yesterday spoke of her joy at being included in the same team as one of the game's legends, Roger Federer, at next month's International Premier Tennis League.

All accolades, however, come with the knowledge that her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black won't be by her side next year as she wants a break for family reasons.

In an interview with mid-day, Mirza speaks of her cherished partnership with the 35-year-old and life ahead with new partner Hsieh Su-wei, who she incidentally beat in the WTA Finals.

What were you and Cara thinking going into the final of the WTA Tour Finals?
Given that we had registered comeback wins in our earlier matches, we jokingly told ourselves that our goal should be to not have a match point against us in the final. And it worked because we didn't even have a single game point against us as we ran away with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against the Chinese pair (Hsieh Su-wei & Shuai Peng).

The scoreline of the final suggests it was a lop-sided encounter. Was it so?
Tennis is a funny game. It gives you so many chances to fight back. We lost not once or twice but thrice to this very Chinese pair earlier in the year and emerged victorious after a tough encounter when we last faced off. In this final though, both Cara and myself found ourselves to be at the top of our games and gave no chance.

Tell us about the kind of relationship you share with Cara? You've been seen carrying her son Lachlan along often. What's that bond like?
Cara is a very close friend. In fact, she is like an elder sister to me. Her son is absolutely adorable. The little one is too cute. He's my favourite!

What is it about your partnership with Cara that made it so successful?
We complement each other perfectly on court. I have my ground strokes and Cara is superb at the net. Of course, we have a lot of variations as well. But above all, it is the amazing trust that we have in each other that has seen us through some difficult moments on court throughout this year.

Did you try to convince Cara to stay?
No, I respect her sentiments and support her in whatever she plans for herself. As professional tennis players, we need to take some tough decisions and I have to accept change.

You will be partnering Hsieh Su-wei next year. What attributes in her made you pick her as partner?
Su-wei is an old friend and we've played a lot together during our junior days. Her game is similar to that of Cara. She is a real wizard at the net too. But having said that, every partnership and relationship needs time. You have to believe in it and work on it. Su-wei is a great player.

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