Consistency, a state of mind: Sania Mirza

  WUHAN: Sania Mirza may have exhaled after putting a difficult summer behind her, but the pressure on the big hitting, tough-talking World No. 1...

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sania-mirzaWUHAN: Sania Mirza may have exhaled after putting a difficult summer behind her, but the pressure on the big hitting, tough-talking World No. 1 hasn’t eased.

The 29-year-old Hyderabadi, who is enjoying her 77th successive week as the No 1 doubles pro, was drawn into a debate on consistency, which fellow players have billed as tough to achieve in the women’s game.

Garbine Muguruza, 22, the world No 3, tipped to rule the singles game, said, she was in pursuit of that elusive streak. “That’s the most difficult part,” the Spaniard, who applauded the consistency of the women’s No 1Angelique Kerber, said. “It’s hard to achieve. For me it’s difficult to always perform at a high level. But I’m working on that, finding a secret recipe to make it work.”

Sania and Czech Barbora Styrcova, the third seeds in the Wuhan Open, are in the quarterfinals and looking to extend their run of five successive wins. The Indian called consistency ‘a state of mind,’ but hastened to add, that it was equally ‘a physical state’. She dismissed talk of it being tougher for female athletes, given the physical inconsistencies, with characteristic impatience. “I understand the physical demands, it can all affect us mentally, but in tennis at least, it’s really rare for us to play more than three weeks at a stretch,” she said. “We can take breaks. There are ways to cope. But yeah it is difficult, playing at a certain level right through, the key is to win even when you’re not playing winning tennis.”

Sania, who along with Swiss Martina Hingis, formed a formidable combine, dubbed Santina, won 13 titles in a 12-month period, their streak of 41 successive wins was snapped in St Petersburg in February. In the next six months, the duo won just one title in Rome on clay, triggering the split in August.
“When Martina and I went six months without a loss, it wasn’t like we were playing great every match, every day,” Sania said. “The challenge is to pull through even when you’re not playing at your best. But winning doesn’t mean consistency, it doesn’t mean you’re playing at your best, but winning takes care of a lot things.” Consistency included.
The Indian, however, has her job cut out for the next few weeks. Looking to qualify for the WTA Tour Finals for a second time in a season, having already made the cut with Hingis, who she may well partner in Singapore. “That’s why I say,” she added, eyes reflecting fatigue, but body alert, that ‘consistency is a state of mind’.

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