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Sania fit and raring to go

January 14, 2009 14:22 IST

She toppled the world number 25, dished out a tough fight against world number 18 and is moving faster than ever on the courts, yet Sania Mirza -- on a comeback-trail -- does not want to jump the gun in saying that she has got back the touch which once perched her to the top 30.

A matured Sania is treading her path carefully as the first Grand Slam of the year -- Australian Open -- beckons and is not making any tall promises.

Her choice of preferring an exhibition event in Hong Kong to the point-earning WTA Tour event to get back into business after a long injury lay-off also shows her measured approach to her career.

"I'm reasonably happy with my performance so far but it is still going to take me a while before I can win consistently at this level," Sania said on Wednesday.

"I still have some way to go before I feel I'm playing at my best. It's never easy making a comeback but I am a positive person and feel that if I keep working hard I can get my rhythm back in due course of time," she added.

She beat 25th ranked Hungarian Agnes Szavay and gave a difficult time to her old nemesis Russian Ana Chakvetadze -- currently the world number 18 -- while representing the Asia-Pacific team at World Team Challenge tournament last week.

Asked how the injured wrist has responded since returning to top level action, she said, "So far so good."

However, Sania feels the hard work she put in improving her fitness has given her dividends.

"Yes, I have worked hard at my fitness and I do believe I'm moving better on court than ever before."

Speaking about her preparation for the Australian Open, she said, "Well, it's all been about treatment for my wrist injury, physical training and a three-week tennis and fitness camp in Bangalore along with Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and Purav Raja followed by some match practice in Hong Kong and Hobart. Under the circumstances, I couldn't have done much more."

Sania also defended her decision to play in Hong Kong, which was an exhibition tournament rather the Brisbane WTA event to make a comeback.

"In terms of ranking points yes, [by playing in Brisbane] I would have had a chance to earn a few points to ensure that my ranking didn't go down too many places.

"But in Hong Kong, I was assured of a couple of singles and a doubles match against some of the best in the world irrespective of whether I won or lost.

"I decided that if I could maintain my level, I stood a good chance of regaining my ranking in a few months time and getting in more matches against quality players was initially more important for me on my comeback trail.

A "tough and gruelling" season is beckoning Sania but the Hyderabadi is not thinking beyond the Australian Open.

"Sport at this level is always tough and gruelling and I would not like to look that far ahead. I'm taking it one tournament at a time," she said.

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