mid-day editorial: Let's nurture tennis talent, on the double

The tricolour flew high Down Under, as top-seeded women’s doubles pair, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis beat Czech seventh seeds, Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (1), 6-3 to win the Australian Open crown in Melbourne yesterday.

The pair are on an absolute roll — this is the World No.1 doubles team’s 36th consecutive win, and third straight Grand Slam victory after winning the Wimbledon and US Open last year. Last year, they signed off with a final flourish with their Women’s Tour Association (WTA) victory.

While the doubles game does not command the same attention or importance as singles, Indians have made a mark on the doubles circuit with memorable wins. This includes mixed doubles too. Old warhorses, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, have impressive wins on the doubles circuit.

While trawling for tennis talent, of course, needs to focus on getting that elusive singles Grand Slam crown to India, Indian players now need to take off from their solid base of doubles glory. They have proved very well suited to this form of the game and there must be constant effort to keep the doubles juggernaut rolling. Tennis talent spotters can also look out for younger players who would do very well in the doubles format, so that this winning streak is not snapped.

Indians have also chosen wisely when it comes to doubles partners. They are choosing players that complement them, making up for weaknesses they may have. This is what makes a winning combination. It is also good to see players gelling temperamentally with their partners and, together, marking significant success on the world stage.

Cynics and sceptics may scoff and say this is small solace for coming up short in the singles format, but every win on a global stage is significant and every victory needs to be celebrated.

Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig lost in the mixed doubles final though, proving that as in life, so in sport, you win some, you lose some. But, happily for India, it is more of the former than the latter in the doubles.

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