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Sania keen to inspire youngsters

Source: PTI
January 23, 2005 20:18 IST
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Indian sports' new pin-up girl Sania Mirza said she is keen to inspire a whole new generation of Indian players whom she wanted to take the tennis world by storm.

"There are lot of talented youngsters coming up in our country and I would like to inspire them to do well on the international scene," Sania said on her arrival from the Australian Open in Melbourne.

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Barring a handful of media personnel, there was less of the throng that normally greets the senior cricket team at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Terminal in Mumbai on Sunday.

The 18-year old, who became the first Indian woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam, was received by her close relatives as her parents are yet to return from their pilgrimage to Mecca.

Thanking her family members, coaches and the fans for their support, Sania said she is revising her targets for the year.

"Before the Australian Open, my goal was to break into the top 100 in world rankings. But this performance has given me confidence and my aim would be to break into the top 50 before the end of the year," Sania said.

The Hyderabadi girl put up a gutsy performance in her third round match against former world number one Serena Williams. Although she lost 6-1, 6-4, she captured the Australian public's imagination with her fighting spirit in the second set.

Asked how she felt about the American superstar's pre-match comments that she was an unknown quantity, Sania said, "I did not expect her to know me and I did not think much about her comments as my mind was on the match all the time."

"However, I wanted to play well against her and give a proper reply by displaying my talent on the court and I think I performed quite well against her," she said.

On the match itself, she said, "I was very nervous in the first set and was not at all hitting the ball well.

"However, in the second set I realised I could match her when I won the first game and started gaining in confidence. It was a fine feeling for me to hear Serena say a few good words after the match."

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