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June 24, 2008

Sania Mirza


S. MIRZA/C. Castano
7-6, 3-6, 6-4

Q. A big struggle but you got through, so that must have felt good, huh?
SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, it's always good to get through matches like that, even when you're not playing your best, you're coming back from an injury. Actually since probably I've played at Wimbledon, which was a very long time ago, since the juniors, I think today was the first time that I actually felt nervous again to go out.
I didn't really sleep well last night, to be honest. But I think that happens when you're coming back from injury. You're probably expecting things from yourself which you're probably not able to do as well as you did before.
But I think getting through matches like this is what's going to help you get better, and I think it was very good for me to get through that.

Q. How is the wrist? Was there any pain there, or was it the shoulder?
SANIA MIRZA: No, it was my pec, not my shoulder. It was like in front.
But my wrist, I can't say that it's perfect. I mean, in terms of medically, yes, it's fine now. But I think whereas pain is concerned, I still have pain when I hit a late forehand because that's something that even the doctors have said, and I've spoken to some of the players who have had wrist surgery, and they've said that the pain stays. I mean, sometimes it goes away in three months, sometimes it takes eight months. So that's something that you kind of have to play through, so it's a new wrist so it's getting used to taking 100 mile-an-hour balls for over two hours.
But my recovery was great. I had a very good rehab. I don't know if anyone else -- and everyone is so surprised to see me here because it's not even -- it's been ten weeks since surgery, and I'm already playing in a Slam. I think these are the positives that I take, and I definitely think it was a great decision for me to do that surgery in the middle of the year, even though missing a Slam.

Q. So how anxious were you to get back on court during the rehab period?
SANIA MIRZA: Well, I mean, I was in a cast for about four weeks, or three and a half, four weeks, and you just -- it's very frustrating because it's my playing arm. A lot of the people have their left hand, but it's my playing hand. It's very frustrating because basically you're handicapped. You can't really do much with your hand.
I mean, I was in the gym, I was doing legs and lower body every single day. I feel like I've improved a lot and I've used that time to get as fit as I could. Once the cast came off, it's very frustrating because I almost felt like I was playing the best -- I was probably playing the best tennis of my life when I had to suddenly stop after Indian Wells. You want -- maybe it's not normal, but you want to do exactly the same thing that you were doing, which is not possible.
But yeah, I wanted to compete again, and I'm just happy to be back, and I'm healthy and I'm feeling like I can compete again, and what the hell, I'm winning a match (laughter).

Q. You're still very young, but you've been coming here now for a few years. How do you now begin to kind of cope with the kind of adulation that you have back at home in India?
SANIA MIRZA: That's something that's been there for a while now, and it's become a part of my life. It's just -- it's not coping anymore. I think it's just I've accepted that that's how it is, and yeah, it was -- if you asked me the question four years ago, maybe I would have still been coping with it. But it's become a part of my life, and I enjoy it. I love living in India and I love going back home and all those things. So yeah.

Q. Do you have any of that similar sort of feeling here with the British Asians?
SANIA MIRZA: There's so many here. I usually play on a show court in London all the time because we're so many Indians and we're everywhere, which is a great thing. There's so much support when I play, and yeah, it does feel very good that you're playing a Slam and you have some supporters behind you.

Q. You went through a similar thing last year where you basically missed the same part of the year, so when you're at the gym working out, trying to get back, are you thinking pretty unlucky here?
SANIA MIRZA: It's been happening for three years now, so yeah, I guess God doesn't want me to play Miami (laughing). I don't know, it's just happened. I mean, you were there at Indian Wells. I played a great match against Shahar, and then it was like almost three hours, or three and a half hours. I came back to go on the bike, and just suddenly it was really windy and I tried to press the button on the bike and I couldn't press the button anymore. I was like, okay, something is really wrong because I just played a match.
These are all freak accidents that have happened. It's not like there's been a very long-term injury and I've kept stretching it and stretching it. It's just suddenly it's gone wrong. But that's life, and you have to accept it. You're an athlete and you're going to get injured, and if you have the will and the courage you're going to make it back.

Q. Striking the ball-wise, obviously your wrist probably isn't as strong as it was, and technique-wise, but striking the ball in practice, do you feel like you're hitting the ball like you were before?
SANIA MIRZA: To be honest, if you saw me hit the ball in Birmingham, I'm probably playing 100 times better than I was playing in Birmingham. In a Slam the situation is very different and you have nerves, but I'm hitting the ball well again. I was not able to hit the ball before because it was hurting me, but the pain is going away because the wrist is adapting.
Yeah, I've lost a lot of bulk on my forearm because of the cast, but it's coming back. It's all a process. I'm still happy, it's been ten weeks and I'm playing at a Slam and I'm winning a match, and I don't think I should get greedy and ask for more. Again, I'd like to say that it's great for me to pull this match out even when I know I'm not playing as well as I want to play because I had troubles finishing it out at the end at 5-2 only because I have not had matches, and it's good that I won.

Q. You've been through your share of controversies for somebody so young already. I guess that just comes with the territory. Have they left any scars, those controversies, or is it just something that, as you've already said, you put down to experience?
SANIA MIRZA: No, I just think they've made me grow up a lot more, but I don't think they've left any scars. I think it's all been an experience, some good, some bad. But at the end of the day, I've come through it and I think that's the most important thing. Today I'm here, and I think there's nothing more I want to ask for, just to be healthy. And yeah, stay out of controversies (laughing), but that's happening.
But I think it's all been an experience, and I enjoyed -- as funny as that sounds, enjoyed everything, because if I stop living my life and stop enjoying it, then I probably would have quit a long time ago.

Q. Is it difficult being on a circuit where women do flaunt themselves with their clothes?
SANIA MIRZA: I don't think I would like to answer any questions about my religion or anything of that sort.

Q. Do you have to lower expectations for yourself in the short-term?
SANIA MIRZA: No, my expectations of myself, when I went into that surgery, was that I want to be fit for Olympics. I had a choice to sit out for four weeks and try and come back to French Open. Probably my wrist would feel better, probably not. That's what the doctor said. He said, you can sit out, and I've done that in the past, but it's not a solution.
I didn't want to feel -- it really scared me, I think, having pressed that -- trying to press a button and you can't press it, and you suddenly get really scared, like what's wrong, have you broken something. I just had to make a decision whether it was important for me to play the Olympics this year, only because this is an Olympic year. Probably if it was not an Olympic year, I would have probably stayed out just four weeks and took my chance and then come back and whatever. But I didn't want to sit during the Olympics and say I should have done the surgery and now it's hurting and I can't play.

Q. On the lighter side, Pat Cash has dared me to ask you a question in Hindi so I'm going to make a brutal attempt at this.
SANIA MIRZA: But I'm not going to answer in Hindi.

Q. (Question in Hindi.)
SANIA MIRZA: I think who would win between me and Pat Cash?

Q. Yes.
SANIA MIRZA: I would like to think me (laughing), only because he's retired now.

End of FastScripts

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