Monday, September 05, 2005

Sania no flash in the pan

Prognosticating in sport is a risky business at best; most often it turns out to have been quite foolhardy. When you're an armchair analyst such as myself, you may as well be writing your suicide note. I'll venture recklessly nevertheless - I think Sania Mirza's game has quite a few ingredients to make it to the top ten; more importantly, she has the mind set to become a top player. It is not easy for people from the subcontinent to compete and win at the highest levels even when they have the skills to do so - god knows there aren't many blessed with those skills. It's not just opponents they must overcome, they have to first convince themselves that they belong on the world stage - our tortured colonial history makes that quite an ordeal. Fortunately for Mirza, she has come on at a time when our nation is starting to stand up; on occasion, we even dare to hold our heads up high! To use a favoured expression of the former The Hindu cricket correspondent R Mohan, she is a 'creature of the age'. It is perhaps no coincidence at all that Sania has emerged at this potentially momentous time (may be I'm just gloating too much!). Much is made of Sania being a Muslim girl having to break more glass ceilings than would be otherwise par for course - those who think so do not quite understand the paradox that India is! Who does? Well, to get back to the tennis, it is clear what parts of Sania's game will win her games - her forehand, her pluck and solid ground-strokes from both flanks - and what parts will not - the serve and the unforced errors. As is wont to happen when one goes for broke, the unforced errors keep coming from Sania's racquet as frequently as one liners from Shaquille O'Neal in an NBA season. The errors, however, can be ironed out by putting in more work in practice. The serve is likely to be far trickier to fix. If something is not done about it, she's likely to be blown off by the top players. But it wasn't as if she was blown away by Sharapova last night, far from it. In fact, at times her forehand threatened to do exactly that to the Russian and that is no mean feat. Although she was eventually shown her place in the grand slam scheme of things, she had already made history. Now she has to do the harder yards. - NK


Blogger Rishi Gajria said...

Very well written. I have often wondered why people are surprised when minorities in India do so well. As an ex-president once put it It is easier for a muslim to become the president in India than it is to become a peon.

7:29 PM  
Blogger ze rambler said...

I like this. Sania is good - but she has a mountain to climb now, innit? Will be exciting to track her progress from now, with increased media expectations, tougher opposition and fitness blues.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Sunil said...

good post NK...

After staying glued to the TV set for the 59 minutes of Sania battling thing's clear. Sania's got spunk, attitude, and a whalloping forehand. She does need to work pretty hard on her serve (which has power, but is all over the place) and her court mobility (she seems a little slower than some of the top players, including Sharapova, Kutzanova (how ever you spell it), the Williams sisters, Kim Cljisters (ok...where does that j go in the name?).

But definitely great potential......i hope she stays focused enough to achieve it.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Gameboys said...

Rishi: Thanks. I think this is something that is being blown out of proportion a bit because of the current political climate. We've had Nafisa Ali (who was a swimmer), Zeenat Aman and various others in quite high profile situations.

Rambler: Yes, it is going to be quite tough. My friend Biswabijoy made a good point - Sania's only 18, but so is Sharapova. It's getting an increasingly younger women's game.

Sunil: Thanks. I think the positive attitude is there for all to see. Don't worry about the names, we know you who you're talking about :) It's Kuznetsova btw.

7:05 AM  

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