Dearth of tennis talent among girls in India: Sania

Lucknow, Dec 22: Admitting that tennis is not the sports culture of India like cricket, Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza today regretted that there was dearth of talent among girls in the country.
''There are few players in junior and sub-junior category but it is unfortunate that no player after me is really seen in future, who could challenge in the international arena,'' she said.

''We have to admit that tennis is not the sports culture of India and only cricket finds a place in which every one is interested,'' she insisted.

It could be due to finance, or mere luck or any other reason which prevented girls talent to emerge in tennis, she opined.

Singling out Puja Shri, the tennis sensation further said she was second best after her and a promising talent to watch in the future.

Sania claimed that there was enough talent in the men's category and several players were doing well in the international arena.

''Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Dev Burman have put the country's name high in the game,'' she added.

When asked to comment with whom she likes to pair in the London Olympic doubles, the Hyderabad-turned Dubai tennis star said it was up to the Association to decide as she was comfortable with anyone they pair with.

''I can play with anyone- Bhupati, Paes or Bopanna,'' said the 24-year-old, who was here to announce her association with Sahara India.

Sania also said she will continue to play tennis for India till she is fit.

''I had to face a severe wrist injury in the past but now I am playing tennis for the last 6 months without any injury.'' When asked if she will consider to play for Pakistan, the native place of her cricketer husband Shoaib Malik, Sania outrightly rejected it saying, ''I am from India and will continue to play for my country.'' Sania , who recently won 13th Al Habtoor tennis Challenge at Dubai and also bagged medals in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games for the country, said she has a very hectic schedule ahead.

''Now I have to make several sacrifices and get least time to spend with my husband (Shoaib Malik), sister and parents,'' she said, adding that ''it is a happy time for me when we have dinner together with all the members of the family''.

Sania also lauded the achievement of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar for his 50th Test century and said she was fortunate to have played sports in the era when player like Sachin played.

''It is up to the government whether to award him with Bharat Ratna or not but he is the greatest sports person of the world,'' she asserted on conferring Bharat Ratna on Sachin.

Others prasent at the function, Sahara India's deputy director Kumkum Roy Choudhury said Sania was like a family member and her association will certainly help to promote sports in the country.

Abhijit Sarkar, Director-Corporate Communications of Sahara India, said Sania's success had inspired the entire girl fraternity to incline towards the sports.


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