Critics Corner.

Opinions. And LOTS of them.

Sania Mirza: Poster Girl, Overhyped media star or more?

Posted by Sports Snob on August 10, 2006


First Indian Sportswoman on Time South Asia’s cover; WTA Newcomer of the Year, 2005; Round 4 of US Open 2004; Winner Girls doubles at Wimbledon 2003; Media darling and THE TRUE MEASURE OF POPULARITY: had a fatwa issued against her.

That was 2005. The world of sport is unforgiving and most fans have the memory spans shorter than a goldfish. Great champions have been seen to come back after breaks, after brilliant seasons and struggle like ordinary mortals. Things change quickly. Borg found out when he took a break, Ferrari found out last season: you need to keep working, keep improving because sooner rather than later, someone is going to figure you out.

Sania Mirza is discovering that this season. She has had a terrible year, especially at the Grand Slams: Round 2, Round 1, Round 1. Yes, she has been plagued by injuries that have been recurring, a major cause for worry.

The Player…

Sania has a very powerful forehand and is a powerful hitter of the ball. Some wonderful forehand crosscourts she hits! Also, she goes for her shots at all times. This has won her matches against some very good players. She has a strong mind and an ability to dig deep and face adverse situations.

But her serve has been weak and not much work seems to have gone into it in the off-season: if I could see this any opponent would have. And as an athlete, she needn’t necessarily be in the class of the Williams Sisters (very few are). But she seems to be struggling for pace on the court and seems to lack stamina, a drawback for Leander in his early years. Agassi, at 30, was training in the heat in the mountains to help him in the Australian Open. Now, that’s the kind of commitment you need to display to be at the top of your sport.

To a certain extent, there seems to be a feeling that beating a top ten player once or twice is a huge achievement. But then, champions don’t think that way. They know they belong and display that through their performances.

She has passion for the game which is essential but not sufficient. Sania is figuring out the hard way that being a media celebrity is one thing (hard as even that may be). But professional sport is a whole new ball game.

…And More

The perfect poster child: young, good looking woman from a minority community? The woman who will aid the growth of tennis popularity in India? Or will she be more: a consistent winner on the world stage, a top ten ranker on a regular basis? The next two years will tell whether Sania means as much business on-court as the business she generates off it.

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26 Responses to “Sania Mirza: Poster Girl, Overhyped media star or more?”

  1. Kesavan said

    Has potential, but a little too arrogant, which would be fine if she actually won something. Top 20 maximum, and maybe semis of the Aussie or US Open and a few titles here and there. But ya, too much hype for sure.

  2. Definitely has potential. I think she will make the top 20 within the next two years. Getting to the top 30 is a lot easier than actually staying there- considering the fact you have to defend all the points you won the previous years and the fact that you don’t get too many points beating another person in the 15-30 rank bracket.

    But I really think she has been great for Indian sport!


  3. @ Kesavan: A little too arrogant is what passes for attitude 🙂 .And agreer on Top 20 at best. I don’t see her beating top 10 players consistently. Wonder what role the doubles will play in the career. And hype, you bet but then we haven’t had a woman with this tennis potential before!

    @Z: Great for Indian sport, totally. She will amke it to the Top 20… but don’t think she’ll go much further. A lot more needs to be done for that.


  4. @ kesavan: Arrogance is what passe for attitude :). Agreer Top 20 at best. Don’tt see her beating top 10 people consistently. And hype you bet… but then first woman tennis player who has shown significant potential!

    @ Z: Been very good for Indian sport … and yes da no more than Top 20 i think.


  5. Panchos said

    Overhyped.. not quite.. She is by far the most successfull womens tennis player from india.. She has got a lot of undue credit for being stunning.. I do beg to differ but I guess thats an individual’s point of view.. Making the top 50 was a start and I dont really know if she has the mental resolve to keep going.. For the sake of India I do hope she will make us all proud.. I will definately be routing for her, overhyped or not..

    @Keloid: NKarthikeyan was not a one season wonder.. He opted out of driving for Jordan to gain driving experience with a better machine.. Thats the only way he could dream about driving for the bigger teams.. He is currently with williams as a test driver and in the next few years dont be surprised if he is driving for one of the top F1 teams.. Ans he is being paid more this season as a test driver than he was with Jordan..

  6. Nandita said

    Over hyped!And the padmashree didnt help things either i guess:P keeping up my promise:)

  7. @Panchos:

    yeah, thats the question the prof was trying to answer. but I guess the jury is still out but anybody who watched her against Kuznetsova at last year’s Wimbledon will know the girl has a lot of talent and yes there is one thing that Sania is blessed with..the ability to play the big points.

    Really hope she keeps this going.. and one thing, I don’t really think Sania bothers about the Indian media anymore.

  8. @ Keloid: We do have the Anand and the Paes but yes, we don’t have a mass star outside cricket. Hope Sania is the one but I don’t think she will be … more time, more time
    And wonder what you have against our cricketers?

    @Panchos: My point really was whether her performance on court merits the kind of attention she has been grabbing. And honestly, I don’t think it has reached those levels yet…. there is hope though


  9. The Sports Snobs finally give into public pressure, post Sania’s pic!!

    I have played tennis with Uzma Khan (those who’ve followed Indian tennis must be aware that she was once a budding star leading the national hardcourt and grasscourt seedings under 16, 18 and 21) and think she was far more dainty than Sania. That said, she faded into the obivion without making too much of a mark in world tennis, so I guess you need to give it to Miss.Mirza for having clambered the heights that she currently finds herself in. I reckon we are yet to see her best.

  10. @handfull of hell!

    LOL! Yeah, it just had to happen.

    Sania deserves a LOT of credit. I remember feeling bloody thrilled when Nirupama Vaidyanathan played in the Australian Open (she lost in the second round) courtesty her being the top Asian that year. And then you look at Sania who takes out top 50 players consistently.

    I just hope that her body holds up for the next 3-4 years. Women’s tennis is seeing girls peaking at 18 and 19 bringing down playing life and also increasing the chances of player burn out. Players like Davenport are rare, playing consistently into the late 20s.

    Anyway, yeah..we will be behind this girl without a doubt! Maybe a Sania section is in store! following her every move 😀

  11. Panchos said

    Wonder why Sania is being overhyped.. Look at the number of comments you are receiving on this post.. I have to agree at this moment she has gained a lot of undue attention but I would like to see the media encourage her to become a better player than to rave about her present performances..

  12. @panchos:

    Do you blog?!

  13. Panchos said

    Hey Sports Snob.. I dont blog.. I havent come across too many sports blogs which objectively critique issues in multiple sports.. You guys are doing a wonderful job of it.. I am a sports editor for a local weekly.. Basketball is my passion and its unfortunate that you guys dont seem to have any posts on that.. And I play for a league team..

  14. @ Panchos: A post on basketball will come sometime hopefully… hopefully coz atleast one of the writers here is only an occasional watcher till the playoffs

  15. cutey said

    ….Even if dont call her a great tennis player, a overhyped media star…she is the first one from India..and a great inspiration to others 🙂

  16. sailesh/sania said

    i am a fan

  17. Sriwatsan said

    @ Panchos
    N Karthikeyan is the biggest loser to hit the Indian motorsport scene, and he didnt turn down the Jordan drive, but was thrown out. Now, I dont want to hear all the shit about him being the first Indian in F1 and all, thats done very easily, if your Government/Sponsors have USD 10 million. Search for a driver called Alex Yoong who to my mind is the only driver more pathetic than N Karthikeyan – the Malaysian Government payed Minardi USD 4 million to make sure he drives for them. And believe me N Karthikeyan (read Tata) is the one doing the paying while he is driving.

  18. arun said

    sania knows more in fashion and others junks than she knows in playing or rather concentrating in tennis

  19. sajid said

    hello i want to marry u

  20. Subbu said

    The most over-Hyped player. Indian Version of Anna Kournikova (not looks but)..Will never reach top 20. Will never last the first week of any slam until she improves her serve and volleying skills. Forehand wouldnt do…

  21. Hi I am your fan

  22. Beaut said

    Ur Awesome , Sania Mirza…U ROCK!!!

  23. zaw said

    i love u somuch !
    if u love me i m so happy.

  24. ali said

    salam azizam

  25. farhad said

    you are very nice, so i love you

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