Sania's presence missed at Bangalore Open

The Williams sisters and Jelena Jankovic say the Indian would be missed at the WTA event. They say Sania is good company off the court.

updated: March 03, 2008 15:29 IST
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Sania Mirza, who had decided not to participate in the Bangalore Open, is being missed by her competitors. They are disappointed to not have the Indian amidst them.

World number four Jelena Jankovic of Serbia is disappointed that the home challenger is not playing and said she is a nice person off the court.

"I am disappointed with Sania Mirza's pull out from this event. She is a nice person off the court. She has been doing well on the tour and I hope she will keep improving," Jankovic said at a press conference here on Monday.

The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, hailed Sania Mirza as an exciting player, for whom they have great respect.

"We have big respect for Sania. She plays powerful tennis and super exciting to watch," the Williams sisters, who are here to participate in the WTA Bangalore Open, said at press conference here.

Venus and Serena, ranked 7th and 11th respectively on WTA ranking, said they were keen to win the event in India.

"We really want to do well here and I feel people here want one of us to win so we want to do it for them."

Former India great Vijay Amritraj called Sania's absence unfortunate adding that players must be always supported.

"I think it is unfortunate, it's disappointing," Amritraj said. "I think Sania is such a marvelous player, and my feeling is always supporting the players, everyone else comes second because they are the ones on the field.

"Sania has done a remarkable job in maintaining her ranking at such a high level. And I always feel that when she plays against better players she plays better tennis.

"She had a wonderful match against Jelena last week a match that she could have won," Amritraj said. "Jankovic is ranked fourth in the world. So when you play those kind of matches on home turf, I think you have a better chance to win because you get the support from the crowd as well."

On their being drawn in the bottom half of the singles event, which would deny them to meet each other in the final, Venus said, "I just have to do my best to make it to the final and two Williams playing in the semifinals will be good. In the doubles, there are decent chances of winning the title."
Would love to win Olympic gold: Jankovic

On her personal ambition, Jankovic said she would love to win an Olympic medal for her country.

"Olympic is always special and emotional one because you represent your country and you will be surrounded by best athletes. I hope I can bag a medal this year. I want to give my country something," she said.

However, becoming No.1 in the world is the Serbian's ultimate dream.

Jankovic, who won five singles titles last season besides the mixed doubles one in Wimbledon, said "achieving the number one rank is my dream. I grew up thinking about that. I am working hard to achieve it. If I win a Grand Slam it will take me closer to that top spot."

The 22-year-old Belgrade-born player hopes for much better results this year.

"I had a great season last year. It was a learning experience. I am working a lot this year and I hope to continue it this is year as well.

"I am hoping for much better results this year. I played lot of tournaments last year and won a lot, but this season I am going to concentrate only on bigger tournaments. I am going to try and prove out there."