If there is one word that describes Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis' recent run of form, it has to be 'unstoppable.' For, that is what the duo has been, notching up 22 victories on the trot since August, including last week's WTA finals in Singapore.
Sania Mirza attends a press conference at ITC Grand Central yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate. Inset: Martina Hingis
So what makes the Indo-Swiss duo click? "Everything. Our games complement each other, which is probably the most important thing. Besides that, the fact that we get along on and off the court. We have a lot of moments where we're probably not playing our best, but we still come through those matches because we've become friends, we trust each other off the court.
On the court too, we've learnt to trust each other in those vulnerable and tough moments," Sania told mid-day at the sidelines of an event where she and India football captain Sunil Chhetri were announced as brand ambassadors for Volini. Sania revealed that she and Martina first discussed the idea of pairing up during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February, almost a month before their first tournament (Indian Wells) as a pair, which they won.
"We were both a little unhappy with our partners (Sania was partnering Hsieh Su-wei while Hingis was with Flavia Pennetta) at the beginning of the year. We had a conversation in Dubai and we just thought we would take a decision after Doha (Qatar Open), which was a week after. It was a mutual decision," Sania said.
On being asked whether she wished they had paired up earlier in the season, Sania said, "Sure, I wish that it had started five years ago but that's not how it works. You just have to go with what is presented to you. Everything happens for a reason at the right time and that's what happened with us."
Partnership with Shoaib
While Sania's partnership on the court with Hingis has made her a more successful player, the Hyderabadi's other partnership — her marriage with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik — has also helped her professionally.
Sania Mirza with husband Shoaib Malik
"As an athlete himself, Shoaib understands the pressures that go with life and what I deal with because he's dealing with it himself on a daily basis. After a loss you don't need to make small conversation, you know when to shut up, what to say and what not to say.
"Those kinds of things really help in dealing with matches, losses and victories. It helps to have a partner who understands that and you don't have to explain it to him," Sania said.