Sania's game plan

The Thanksgiving season is here and Sania Mirza has a lot to be grateful for -- a fantastic career that's taken her places and a super husband who's been very supportive of her. But it's payback time for this tennis star now as she trains some kids in the city. Happy to be back in Mumbai, Sania talks to CS about the sport:

Who: Sania Mirza
What: Talking about the scope of tennis in India
Where: At a suburban hotel

Game fame
Tennis has given me everything in life and now it is my time to re-pay in whatever way I can. In India, very interestingly, a lot of youngsters and kids have started playing tennis seriously. Ten years back, we didn't even have proper tennis courts and trainers. Of late, I have come across many youngsters who want to take up tennis as a career. The fact that the number of tennis courts have risen in a cricket crazy country like ours, shows that tennis is now gaining popularity. It is in the league of cricket and football. Also, Wimbledon and French Open are now reported and followed more than ever. So, it feels great to see kids picking up rackets.

A different stroke
As a kid, I was very much into sports. I used to swim, roller skate, play tennis and many other sports. But since I was more passionate about tennis than any other sport, I decided to make a career out of it. Coming from a country where tennis was considered a foreign sport was the first barrier that I had to cross. But luckily, my family was supportive of my decision.  Today, after fulfilling my biggest dream of playing at centre court in Wimbledon, I think I have achieved what I had aimed for. What is all the more satisfying is to hear that many girls and kids look up to me as a role model.

In search of aces
A lack of infrastructure, coaching and financial help, among other factors, have kept India from making it big in tennis, inspite of having some of the finest talent. Sports as a career in India, has always gotten a step-motherly treatment. Even today, one has to be great at academics, even if they want to take up a certain sport. It is not a very respected profession to choose. Youngsters are expected to become doctors, engineers, architects, but not sportspersons. However, the renewed interest in tennis it quite heartening. After all, miracles don't happen overnight, but may be few years down the line we will see a young crop of players who will be as successful, if not more, than the existing league of players.      

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