New Delhi:Ever since her breakthrough year in 2005, adulation and criticism have been heaped on Sania Mirza in equal measure but the tennis ace has learnt to take both in her stride and move forward.
Sania has single handedly put India on the map of women's tennis world. And once again she would be India's lone challenge in the singles when the Australian Open begins from Monday.
Yet, when her performance at Grand Slams is discussed, it becomes a matter of debate.
The gritty Hyderabadi says she has always given it her all whenever she has stepped on the court and instead of lamenting on the not so good results, she prefers to move ahead.
"The fact that I have already competed in 18 Grand Slams since my debut is proof enough for me, personally, that I am not a one season wonder. I have already won 20 singles matches in Grand Slams at the professional level and wins are not easy to come by at that level. A sportsman has to keep moving on. We cannot afford to reminisce and feel dejected," she said in an interview.
Sania also her hunger for success is far from satiated but surviving in the top-100 is no mean achievement.
"One always aspires for more than what one achieves. But any professional tennis player, who has survived in the top-100 of the world for five consecutive years will agree that one needs a fair amount of consistency to achieve that," she said.
Sania has shown that on her day she can beat any player, yet victories against top ranked players have been only a few.
Recently Sania was quoted as saying in a report that inclusion of the mixed doubles event for the 2012 Olympics has put to halt her retirement plans. On being asked about that, she clarified that she has no immediate plans to quit game.
"I said that in jest more than anything else! I haven't thought of retirement yet but when I stop enjoying the game or when injuries force me, I will quit," she said.
Talking about her results against top players like Russia's Ana Chakvetadze and Italian Flavia Pennetta, she comes up with an interesting explanation.
"As a matter of fact, my head-to-head record with Flavia Pennetta is 2 wins out of 6 matches that we've played against each other and that isn't too bad against someone who has consistently been in the top-15 of the world."
"As for Anna Chakvetadze, who has been ranked as high as number six in the world, I know I've lost four matches against her in my career. However, the fact is that despite beating me consistently, she is still ranked below me today!" Sania said.
"Tennis is a funny game and it takes a life-time of keeping one's eyes open on the circuit to have any chance of understanding the strange phenomenon that exist in our exciting sport!" she added.
Taking a dig at the critics, who often say she could have done better, Sania said she has actually exceeded the expectations of the experts.
"I wonder what the credentials of these people are, who you say, have made such sweeping statements but I am grateful to them for having so much faith in my talent!
"One of the most respected coaches of the world, Bob Brett, who worked with me in my junior days told my dad way back in 2004 that I had some talent but there were a whole lot of weaknesses in my game.
"According to him, if I worked very hard to overcome those weaknesses, it was possible that, at best, I could achieve a ranking of 30 among the pros. I have managed to go past that already and achieved a career best singles ranking of 27 in the world," she said.