We’re playing tennis, not making statements: Sania Mirza

Nandia Petrova defeated Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-2 in the Wimbledon. Post-match Interview. [Courtsey: Wimbledon]

Q. How much was her serve a factor in the match today?

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SANIA MIRZA: I think her serve was a factor and my serve was a factor in that match. Every time I think I had a lot of break points, which I could have converted a lot of times, but she either she came up with a big serve, or I was putting too much pressure on myself because I knew that she was going to hit a big serve the next time around and I really wanted to finish the point. So I was forcing the issue of it. I think she served really well today, and I knew that, though, she’s one of the bigger servers on the circuit.

Q. Do you feel perhaps you could have done a little bit better, in a sense, that you didn’t do enough on your second serves, you could have attacked more?

SANIA MIRZA: I agree. I think on the whole I didn’t attack more. I felt like I was on the defensive all the time. I felt like because every time I did attack, you know, I won the point. But I don’t know I felt that I was always three feet behind the baseline when I should have been on the baseline. She got me moving better than I got her moving, I feel, today. So yeah, you know, I know that she likes her backhand more than her forehand, but it was a bit of a I don’t know, it was a match where you still feel even though after losing 2 and 2, you still feel you could have won that match because you have had so many chances.

I started off really well, Love 30 on someone serving so big. You know, you have to get those games. I just feel I didn’t convert the points that I should have, which I did better in the first match that I played because every time I got a break point I converted it. But I couldn’t do that today for whatever reason.

Q. I know two years is a long time from the last time you met her and you’ve come a long way since then and she’s come a long way herself, but what’s the biggest difference between the first time you met her in 2005 and now?

SANIA MIRZA: First of all, it was on a different surface. Secondly, at that point, I mean, like you said, two years is a long time to really judge someone by how they play. I mean, for that matter, you know, I beat Shvedova Love and 3, but she beat me three months ago, so it really does not reflect anything. I feel her serve has gotten a lot better than it was two years ago. I feel she felt a lot more confident on her serve than she was two years ago, and I think I was more of a surprise for her. Two years ago she didn’t really know I was just coming up and she didn’t really know who I was and how I played and stuff. And obviously I’ve been around for a while now.

Q. Obviously you’re forehand is the core of your game, but what do you hope to improve just to get to the next level?

SANIA MIRZA: Well, my serve has never been my weapon, and that’s something that I’ll always want to improve more and more. I know that it can probably not be a strength, but I don’t want it to be a weakness anymore. I didn’t serve that well today. I just feel I think when you play against players who are serving really well, you need to hold your own serving, and that’s something I didn’t do well today. You know, I was down 5 2. When you’re down 5 2, you’re still thinking it’s only one break, though. So it’s actually only one break when you’re 5 2 down or even when you’re 4 1 down. Yeah, those are the times that I needed to hold my serve.

Q. Can I ask you about doubles? You are going to play with Shahar Peer, and that’s something in the past that has caused a lot of controversy. Did you hesitate about re forming the partnership at all?

SANIA MIRZA: No. Everyone was fixed for doubles at this point. I mean,

we’ve grown up together. We’re great friends. So we said, why not? It didn’t cause controversy, the controversy was caused by you guys, so let’s not even go there now. We’re playing, and it’s very hard she didn’t have a partner, I didn’t have a partner. I played with six different partners in six different tournaments the last six weeks. So we’ll see.

Q. Obviously you’ve got a big forehand, she’s got a big backhand, so that’s a big plus.

SANIA MIRZA: Yes, I think we were both very lucky to find each other because it’s someone who suits each other’s game. I have a big forehand, she has a big backhand. We’ve done well in the past. So yeah, I think we’re seeded and we have a pretty good draw for the first round, and she’s still in singles.

Q. And also, to be straightforward, I know you hate to talk about politics, but still, people have been saying just that you would be willing to play with her and that the world will see this, so to speak, is a statement, and it says something that tennis can do something that maybe isn’t able to be done

SANIA MIRZA: We’re playing tennis, we’re not making statements. We’re just here to play tennis and we’re here to perform and be the best we can be. I mean, everything we do or everything we say, we’re normal human beings, and we’re not here to make statements with every move that we make. Me and Shahar are playing just like the way me and Birnerova played the French Open, just like the way I played with anyone else the last six weeks. It doesn’t make any statement.

Q. With all due respect, others would say in other domains that two people that want to do things together, sometimes they’re stopped by culture or politics. So is that a plus for tennis, that there’s no such restriction?

SANIA MIRZA: I mean, I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at here because if you’re trying to get things out of my mouth, I don’t know. You know, we are playing together. We are playing doubles together, period. It has nothing more to do. I have a good forehand, she has a good backhand. That’s all we care about at this point. We really don’t care whether she’s from Israel or I’m from Pakistan. At the end of the day it matters whether we win a match or not.

Q. Do you feel quite strongly then that all the other stuff just shouldn’t come into it?

SANIA MIRZA: Well, you guys bring it because that’s what you’re trying to do right now. I mean, I have to keep saying this. I’m repeating myself. I’m here to play tennis and so is she. That’s the end of that. It has nothing to do with anything else. We’ve grown up together and we’re friends and we’re playing doubles together. I don’t know why there needs to be any other questions.

Q. You’re next scheduled, I think, to come to the Bay Area in California in Stanford. I believe you’ve been there last year. But what do you like about that part of the world?

SANIA MIRZA: First of all, I have a lot of family in America, in San Diego. My aunt lives in San Diego. It’s one of my favorite tournaments because it’s very like home, and my aunt stays there. I get a chance to see them, and it’s obviously a beautiful place to play tennis. I’ve always played well in San Diego. Right now, I think my focus is still Wimbledon. I still have doubles and mixed to go. Now maybe I’ll work on my schedule again a little bit. But as of now, yes, I am playing that.