Cosmic’s tennis tournament
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, Dec 21: It was a day that brought beautiful smile on the faces of proud children and equally proud parents. The reason was that all the young players of the Cosmic Sports Centre received certificates and trophies of having participated in the one month long “in-house” tournament.
The trophies were given away by Wing Cdr (Retd) Karan Rai, Director of the Cosmic Tennis Academy.
Cosmic Sports Centre conducted “in-house” tennis tournament every year. This year over 60 children participated in the tournament that was conducted over a period of one month from November 15 to December 15, 2006.
Wing Cdr Rai informed that the players were paired into separate groups according to their standard of play. The tournament was based on “Round Robin” pattern, where everyone played everyone else.
The tournament saw some spectacular tennis with “tops seeds” being toppled at early stages. All the participants were awarded certificates and trophies, said M J Charan, Director (Coaching).
Charan is one of the finest coaches of the country having International Tennis Federation Level-2 rating and being part of Professional Tennis Registry of the US.
Thursday evening was also a proud movement for coaches Amar Singh, Mumtaz, Umesh, Devinder, Bhagchand, Navin and Sunny as the young players achieved the next level of professional excellence.
Tennis tournament Pix
S Africa wins 2nd test match; level 3 match series 1:1
Dec 30: Unable to chase the score of 354 for a win, India was all out at 179 in their second innings on the fifth and final day of the second cricket Test against South Africa at Kingsmead ground in Durban.
South Africa: 328 and 265 for 8 decl.
India: 240 and 179 all out
register historic Test triumph
Dec 18: India recorded their maiden Test victory on
South African soil by winning the first cricket Test
by a comprehensive 123-run margin with more than a
day and a half to spare at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Indians sliced through South Africa's lower order
with ease this morning to complete a rare overseas
triumph which also marked a remarkable turnaround
from a disastrous one-day series earlier on the tour.
at 163 for five and needing another 239 for a win,
the South African innings lasted only 28.5 more overs
before they were all out for 278.
Zaheer Khan (3-79) dismissed wicketkeeper-batsman
Mark Boucher (23) in the fourth over of the day, leg-spinner
Anil Kumble ransacked the tail to end up with figures
S Sreesanth had done the early damage by claiming
3 for 59 yesterday to lay the foundation for the win.
Shaun Pollock made a defiant 40 off 41 balls and added
67 runs with the other overnight batsman Ashwell Prince
with two days left, it was never going to be enough
to resist India who have now taken a 1-0 lead in the
three-Test rubber. Pollock's rearguard action eventually
proved to be flickers of a dying lamp and his innings,
that consisted six fours and a six, came to an end
when he was bowled by Kumble.
35-year-old Bangalorean then trapped Andre Nel lbw,
before he broke the resistance of Prince who faced
223 balls and struck 11 boundaries. India have lost
four and drawn five of the nine Tests on their three
previous visits to South Africa. This is also only
their 27th win from 194 matches abroad, a measly 13.47
wins US Open
YORK, Sept 11: Switzerland's Roger Federer has won
the US Open men's singles title for the third consecutive
year on Sunday defeating American Andy Roddick 6-2,
4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the final. Federer also became the
first player to win back-to-back Wimbledon and US
Open titles for three years in a row.
25-year-old Swiss captured his ninth Grand Slam and
third major title of 2006 and he did it in superb
fashion by dropping only two sets in the tournament.
"I am happy it all worked out," Federer
said. "It was difficult against Andy. I am happy
to see him back at the top."
latest major title follows earlier victories at this
year's Australian Open and at Wimbledon.
had his full arsenal of weapons on display Sunday
serving brilliantly against Roddick and barely breaking
a sweat in getting three breaks in the first set in
front of a crowd of 23,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Roddick took the second set in 37 minutes, Federer
won the third set 7-5 with the only break coming in
the final game. Federer got two more early breaks
in the fourth set against a deflated-looking Roddick,
taking the final eight of nine games of the 2hr, 27mins
picking up his ninth Grand Slam title Federer takes
sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list
passing Andre Agassi, who is retiring and played his
final match in New York last Sunday.
ends title drought, wins US Open with Damm
YORK, Sept 10: Leander Paes won his first Men's doubles
title at a grand slam in five years by wresting the
US Open crown with Martin Damm of the Czech republic
here on Saturday.
and Damm scored a shock 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-3 victory
over second seeds Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Max
Mirnyi of Belarus in the final at the Flushing Meadows.
Paes, 33, last registered a grand slam triumph in
2001 at the French Open with Mahesh Bhupathi, with
whom he also won the French Open and the Wimbledon
is also Damm's first ever major title. Paes has also
won three mixed doubles titles in grand slams. Paes
and Damm pocketed $400,000 as winner's prize money.
The lengthy opening set was a power struggle that
stayed on serve to force a tiebreak.
then, Bjorkman and Mirnyi just barely slid by. The
6'5" Mirnyi, nicknamed "the beast,"
used his enormous reach to take care of some high
overhead shots. While across the net, Paes clinched
numerous points by poaching. Both teams were equally
fierce on their serves, but Bjorkman and Mirnyi's
15 unforced errors and 9 double faults cost them the
match. In the second set, the gap started to widen.
expressive Paes, who was slamming down his racket
in frustration in the first set, now pumped his fist,
initiated chest pumps with Damm, and performed erratic
dance moves as the two nudged their way ahead in the
second set. In the third set, both teams fought it
out until Paes and Damm, up 4-3, managed to snatch
a break to serve for the match. When Damm pounded
back an overhead for a sideline winner to secure the
title, a jubilant Paes bounded into his arms.
'sorry' for World Cup final headbutt
French football icon Zinedine Zidane has said that
he was sorry for headbutting Italian opponent, Marco
Materazzi, during the World Cup final against Italy
on Sunday. But he said in a French television interview
that defender Marco Materazzi had deserved it for
insulting him with some "very hard words"
aimed at sullying his mother and sister.
want to ask for forgiveness from all the children who
watched that. There was no excuse for it," he said.
want to be open and honest about it because it was seen
by two or three billion people watching on television
and millions and millions of children were watching.
what exactly Materazzi had said, Zidane would only offer
that it was "very personal and concerned his mother
and his sister. You
hear those things once and you try to walk away. That's
what I wanted to do because I am retiring. You hear
it a second time and then a third time ..."
was not asked in the interview whether there was a racist
tone to the insults. The French skipper was sent-off
for the head-butt to Materazzi's chest in the second
period of extra-time in Sunday's final in Berlin. Italy
went on to win the World Cup on penalties after the
match had finished tied at 1-1 after extra-time.
Italians celebrated their fourth World Cup crown, France
and the rest of the world wondered just what had made
the 34-year-old skipper and footballing genius act in
the violent way he did in what was the final game of
are world champs
July 10: Italy defeated France 5-3 on penalties in the
World Cup final after the the two teams finished level
at 1-1 after extra-time in a dramatic encounter in which
French playmaker Zinedine Zidane was sent off.
Trezeguet hit the bar with his spot kick and the decisive
penalty was scored by Fabio Grosso. Zidane had given France
the lead from the penalty spot as early as the seventh
minute but Italian defender Marco Materazzi equalised
with a header just 12 minutes later.
was shown the red card in the 111th minute after he head-butted
Materazzi in the chest in an off-the-ball incident not
seen by the referee. After fierce protests by the Italians,
the referee consulted his linesman and sent Zidane off.
storms back to win Wimbledon title, Bryans complete career
slam in doubles
July 8: Amelie Mauresmo won her first Wimbledon singles
title, recovering from a woeful start to beat third seed
Justine Henin-Hardenne 2-6 6-3 6-4,while Americans Bob and
Mike Bryan completed a career doubles grand slam.
world number one, who also took this year's Australian Open
when a sick Henin-Hardenne retired, is the first Frenchwoman
to win here since Suzanne Lenglen in 1925.French Open champion
Henin-Hardenne won the opening set in 31 minutes but Mauresmo
shook off the nerves to win the second set with some eyecatching
got the early break in the decider and held herself together,
completing an emotional victory when Henin-Hardenne thrashed
a forehand into the net on her first match point.
Americans Bob and Mike Bryan completed a career doubles
grand slam when they beat Frenchman Fabrice Santoro and
Serb partner Nenad Zimonjic to win their first Wimbledon
title. The twins' 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory means they are
only the third doubles team to win all four grand slam titles
in the professional era. They join Dutch duo Jacco Eltingh
and Paul Haarhuis and Australian pair Mark Woodforde and
was the last one to get and the one we've dreamed about,''
said Mike Bryan. ''There's some legends on that board. Until
now we could only say we lost in the final so it's gonna
be sweet to say we're Wimbledon champions.''
Bryans were surprisingly beaten in last year's final by
qualifiers Wesley Moodie and Stephen Huss. They were also
competing in their seventh successive grand slam final,
having become the first men's doubles team in the professional
era to reach six at this year's French Open.
beats Portugal 1-0, to meet Italy in final
lone goal via a penalty shot saw France setting up final
showdown against Italy on Sunday in the FIFA World Cup beating
Portugal 1-0 in the second semifinal. France was awarded
a penalty kick in the 35th minute for a foul on Henry inside
the French box.
Zidane took the shot and made no mistake as the ball landed
safely on the net much to the frustration of the Portuguese
on Tuesday, Italy advanced to the final of the FIFA World
Cup in style after two late goals in the dying minutes of
extra-time saw hosts Germany going out the tournament. The
first goal was scored by Fabio Grosso in the 119th minute
while Alessandro Del Piero finished the match in style scoring
the second goal.
Cup turns into all-European affair
July 2 : Germany's defeat of Argentina in the last eight
and French slaying of defending champions Brazil a day later
means that the FIFA World Cup semifinals would be all European
affairs after a gap of 24 years.
Germany will face off against Italy while 1998 champions
France will take on Portugal, who have made it to the semi-finals
after a gap of 40 years.
would have to go back to Spain, 1982 for the previous occasion
when the last four stage had only European teams. Then,
Italy, West Germany, Poland and France contested the semi-finals
before the Azzuri defeated the Germans in the final to win
the World Cup for a third time.
semi-final line-up would be a bitter pill to swallow for
South Americans as either Brazil or Argentina have been
in the final on every occasion since 1982, the Selecao being
in the title round on the previous three World Cups.
with the decline of two-time world champions Uruguay - they
did not even qualify for the tournament - the South American
aspirations at the business end of the World Cup have largely
rested on Brazilian and Argentine shoulders.
can be contrasted with the fact that apart from the four
European sides that made it to the last four, other continental
powerhouses such as Spain, the Netherlands and England,
fell by the wayside. One can safely argue that these three
sides could have made it to the semi-finals and possibly
lifted the title in Berlin on July 9.
final stages of the 2006 World Cup has a familiar feel with
the traditional powerhouses of the game making it to the
elite bracket. This is in stark contrast to the line up
four years ago when rank outsiders like South Korea and
Turkey made it to the last four.
to it the fact that teams like the United States and Senegal
made it to the quarterfinals, giving the final stages of
the World Cup a distinct international flavour.
can argue that the tournament being held in the heart of
the continent gives a distinct advantage to the European
teams as they are accustomed to the climate and other conditions.
It is also a much shorter distance for their supporters
to travel as compared to those from other parts of the world.
European team has ever managed to win the World Cup outside
their continent and Brazil is the only South American team
to win the ultimate prize in Europe when inspired by a 17-year-old
Pele, they claimed the Jules Rimet Trophy for the first
time in Sweden in 1958.
South American giants also won the first World Cup held
outside Europe and the Americas when it emerged victorious
in Japan and South Korea four years ago.
breaks all-time scoring record at World Cup
June 27: Ronaldo said he hoped he had given his countrymen
and women cause to start partying after his goal in a 3-0
canter over Ghana made him the top scorer in World Cup history.
Brazil striker scored in the fifth minute of his team's
match against Ghana in the second round of the World Cup.
He touched the ball past the goalkeeper after receiving
a perfect through pass from midfielder Kaka and then scored
with the outside of his right foot.
came into the match even with Gerd Mueller of Germany with
14 goals. He had scored twice in Brazil's 4-1 win over Japan
last week, surpassing Pele as Brazil's career leading scorer
in the competition. Tuesday's goal was Ronaldo's 67th in
103 matches withBrazil. Pele scored 95 goals in 114 matches.
goal came in one of Ronaldo's first plays of the match.
He broke through the offside trap, then rounded goalkeeper
Richard Kingson with a neat move before shooting into the
Real Madrid striker had disappointing performances in Brazil's
first two matches against Croatia and Australia,being held
scoreless and twice being substituted. The striker had been
bothered by a series of distractions, including a weight
controversy and a string of minor health problems.
his fourth World Cup, Ronaldo arrived for the tournament
overweight after enduring a series of injuries with Real
Madrid during the season, having to work separately from
his teammates to regain his form.
was crucial in Brazil's fifth world title in South Korea
and Japan in 2002, scoring eight goals in seven matches.
He scored twice in the final against Germany.
Indians to get Australian fellowships
DELHI, June 27: Six Indian professors and research scholars
have been chosen for the Australian Studies Fellowships
(ASF) for 2006-07. The Australian Embassy in New Delhi announced
in a statement on Tuesday the names of the six recipients
of the fellowship under the Australia-India Council (AIC)
recipients are Deb Narayan Bandopadhyay from Burdwan University
in West Bengal, Kamala Kanta Dash from Jawaharlal Nehru
University (JNU) in Delhi, Angshuman Kar (Burdwan University),
Professor Kapil Kumar from Indira Gandhi Open University,
Nabeel Ajmal (JNU) and Amita Singh (JNU).
this month, the AIC had announced the winners of the 2006
Border-Gavaskar Scholarship, under which three young and
promising Indian cricketers are currently training at the
Commonwealth Bank Centre of Excellence (CBCE) in Brisbane.
year's winners are Mumbai's Kshemal Vaingankar, a right-arm
pace bowler, Karnataka's Gaurav Dhiman, a right-hand opener,
and Vadodara wicket keeper Pinal Shah. An Indian cricket
board committee, headed by Gavaskar, had picked them. They
reached Australia June 19 for a six-week stint and they
will have access to all CBCE coaches and facilities.
the studies scholarship recipients, the AIC chairman Darren
Gribble said that the fellowships were aimed at consolidating
the education and research relationship between the two
countries. "I would also like to take this opportunity
to welcome the addition of the Australian National University
the university of New South Wales and the University of
South Australia (through the Hawke Institute) to the consortium
of universities," he said.
consortium of universities on behalf of the AIC manages
the Australian Studies Fellowships programme. Led by Curtin
University, the consortium includes the Monash University
and the University of Queensland.
fellowships cover a wide range of areas, including Australian
literature, politics and history, environment and health,
film, media communications and performing arts, issues relating
to indigenous Australians, ethnicities and multiculturalism,
and tourism and gender studies.
Nehwal wins Philippines Open
CITY, May 28: Saina Nehwal became the first Indian woman
to win a four-star badminton event when she clinched the
Philippines Open in Pasig City on Sunday. The Hyderabadi
teenager, ranked 86, defeated Julia Xian Pei Wong of Malaysia
21-15, 22-20 to win the women's singles title.
win has brought her as a new teenage sporting sensation
in Indian sports. After
all their 16-year-old daughter has done what no Indian has
done till now.
was was a very different kind of child. At the age of seven-eight
months we were worried about her because she was very serious
and would never smile. One day, I took her to the badminton
court and when she saw a game, she started laughing,"
her father Harivir Singh says.
talent was noticed when she was just nine and former all
England champion P Gopichand took her under his wing when
she was 13. "I think her achievement is phenomenal
because no Indian woman has done it so far. Also to do so
when she is just 16 is great. She has got many tournaments
to play in future. It is remarkable not only for her but
also for Indian badminton," Gopichand says.
game is simple as she relies on power to subdue her opponents.
It was on display at the 2006 Commonwealth Games when she
was part of the team which won the team bronze. At
16 Saina's best is yet to come. She celebrated her birthday
just 10 days back and her parents could not have asked for
a better gift from her.
wins bid to host 2011 cricket World Cup
May 1: Asia on Sunday won the bid to host the 2011 cricket
World Cup, defeating a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand.
The Asian Test playing nations - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
and Bangladesh - bagged 10 out of the 13 votes, well above
the required majority of 7, at the ICC Executive Board meeting
did a great job, the four countries put together an impressive
presentation and we got 10 out of 13 votes," BCCI Vice
President Lalit Modi said. "We are looking forward
to it. A lot of work has to go in. The four countries will
jointly sit down along with ICC to chalk out plans for hosting
the 2011 World Cup," he said. "A lot of infrastructure
needs to be put in place. We are mentally geared up for
it. We will do the task at hand," he said.
claims third gold as Indian shooters rule the ranges
March 20: Indian marksman Samaresh Jung clinched his third
gold medal of the Commonwealth Games when he teamed with Jaspal
Rana to win the men's 25-meter center-fire pistol event Monday.
Joining Jung in the multiple gold-winners' list were three
more Indians -- Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang and Tejaswini
Sawant -- as India extended its supremacy at the ranges, increasing
its gold tally to nine.
overcame a malfunctioning weapon at the start and paired up
with Narang for their second gold medal, winning the men's
50-meter rifle three-prone. Cyprus won its first gold medal
of the games, winning the final event of the day Monday --
the men's skeet pairs. George Achilleos and Antonis Nikolaides
finished first with 190 points, four ahead of silver medalists
Clive Bramley and Richard Brickell of England, with Australia's
Clive Barton and George Barton taking bronze.
also clinched her second gold, emerging best in women's 10-meter
air rifle event where Avneet Kaur Sidhu's silver gave India
a 1-2 finish. Jung teamed with Rana, who had the flu for the
past three days, to retain India's supremacy in the center
fire pairs event, which Rana had won with another partner
four years ago. Jung (577) and Rana (573) fired 1,150 to end
with a 12-point lead over England's silver medalists Peter
Flippant and Simon Lucas on 1,138.
in eight events in these games, pistol shooter Jung has already
won two gold medals and a silver, while his wife, Anuja Jung,
bolstered the family medal total by taking a silver Sunday.
``I don't want too much pressure by thinking of the entire
bouquet,'' said Jung, who was disappointed with his score
in rapid where he shot last. ``There was pressure on me as
Jaspal wasn't feeling well in the morning.''
creates history, hits 35th Test century
DELHI, Dec 10: Sachin Tendulkar created history by becoming the highest century-getter
as India laid the foundation for a mammoth first innings total in the second cricket
Test against Sri Lanka at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground here on Saturday.
cracked an unbeaten 100 for his record 35th hundred, the most in Test cricket,
as India reached a strong 245 for three at stumps on the opening day. Tendulkar's
seventh ton against the visitors saw him surpass former captain and compatriot
Sunil Gavaskar's tally of 34 for most number of hundreds in the all-time centurions
It was also Tendulkar's 125th Test appearance, again matching Gavaskar
and the second highest for an Indian. Only Kapil Dev had played in more Tests,
millionaire creates new hot air balloon record
Nov 27: An Indian business tycoon with a penchant for adventure created a new
hot-air balloon altitude record on Saturday, touching the edge of space in a climb
to nearly 70,000 feet.
Singhania, an amateur aviator whose family controls the JK Group, broke the 17-year-old
world record of 64,997 feet set by British-based Swede Per Lindstrand by ascending
to approximately 69,852 feet, the edge of space. Singhania,
67, had originally aimed for 70,000 feet, but decided against it towards the end
of the journey.
was only about a 100 feet short," he said after landing. "I encountered
problems with the burners. I could have stayed back, burnt a little fuel, maybe
for an hour and tried again. Above
45,000 feet it is dangerous territory. If something goes wrong, you have nobody
to blame. So better get the hell out of there as quickly as possible."
Federation Aeronautique International (FAI) says an aviator must achieve at least
a 3 percent improvement on an existing record to qualify for recognition as a
new record. Singhania's
record awaits formal ratification.
of the Aeronautical Club of India, who are here, will submit a report to the FAI,"
Colin Prescot, who designed the balloon with Andy Elson, told reporters.
took off at dawn in a specially designed nylon balloon -- powered by 18 burners,
fuelled by kerosene and propane -- from a polo ground in India's commercial hub
of Mumbai. He
rode the rising warm air west and then moved north before landing at 1130 am near
Nasik, 185 km from Mumbai.
avid flyer, Singhania flew solo a microlight aircraft from Britain to India in
a record 23 days in 1988. He also won the International Around the World Air Race
regains 31st spot in WTO rankings
DELHI, Nov 8: Sania Mirza's meteoric rise in international tennis continued as
she reached a career-high 31st in the latest WTA rankings despite being out of
action for the last three weeks. The Indian tennis ace moved up three places in
the women's singles rankings with 929.75 points.
recovering from a back injury that forced her to concede her second round match
at the $200,000 Thailand Open last month, moved ahead at the expense of Pen Shuai
of China and Russian Vera Zvonareva while Italian Silvia Farina Elia retired from
the circuit. Vera Zvonareva, who was defeated by Sania at the Japan Open, slipped
13 places and is currently ranked 40th. Peng Shuai lost four places to reach 33.
Al Sugiyama of Japan (994.50 points) is still the highest ranking Asian on the
circuit at number 30. Lindsay Davenport continued atop the singles rankings ahead
of Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova.
the men's doubles ranking, Mahesh Bhupathi slipped three spots to 19th place while
Leander Paes held on to 12th spot despite his first round loss at the Paris Masters.
American Bob Bryan continues to be the top doubles player in the world.
Junior Tennis Series Tournament concludes
DELHI, Oct 13: Hardarshan Singh of Jaipur and Manya Nagpal of Delhi bagged the
Boys and Girls Under 12 titles respectively at the All-India Junior Tennis Series
tournament, which concluded here on Thursday at Cosmic Sports Centre, Rao Tula
Ram College, South Delhi campus. Disha Sehgal beat Vaniya Dangwal (6-4, 6-2) to
bag the Girls Under 14 title.
Cdr Karan Rai, Managing Director of Cosmic Sports, gave away the prizes. He said
the six-day Talent Series commenced on October 8.
Cdr Rai said Mohan Meakin Limited was the main sponsor of the event. Indian Farmers
Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO) was also among the sponsors.
tournament had four events - Boys Under 12 and 14 and Girls Under 12 and 14 and
was well attended by more than 200 children.
tournament witnessed some interesting moments with "ranked players"
being toppled by lower ranked players. Mallika Saharia beat Manya Nagpal (ranked
2) under 14 years girls to enter the semi finals.
girls under 12 years, Manya Nagpal beat Abhilasha Ahuja 4-6, 6-2 and 6-1 to lift
the trophy. The match started well with both players holding their serves and
Ahuja's powerful groundstrokes saw her through the first set with 6-4 win. But
the crafty Manya Nagpal used excellent court coverage and strategy to beat Abilasha
Boys Under 12 years, Hardarshan Singh of Jaipur beat Yuvraj of Delhi 6-2 and 7-6.
The match saw some good aggressive tennis with both the players exchanging good
ground strokes and volleys. But the strategy used by Hardarshan Singh saw him
through tough times as he beat gritty Yuvraj.
Girls Under 14 category, Disha Sehgal of Delhi beat Vaniya Dangwal also of Delhi
by 6-4 and 6-2. Both the players exchanged controlled rallies and moved each other
"well on court".
Disha Sehgal with her accurate groundstrokes and placement overcame the challenge
of top seed Vaniya Dangwal and beat her in straight sets.
Boys Under 14 category, top seeded Shantanu Rajput, using his powerful ground
strokes and serves, beat Abishek Phore 6-2, 6-4.
playing his last year Under 14, is more interested in concentrating in the Under
16 and above events. He is ranked No. 48 in the country.
Phore, who has been playing for just two years, has shown tremendous improvement
and has done good by reaching the finals of the Boys U-14 event.
will change the world'
Oct 18: After making it to the cover of Time magazine, Sania Mirza finds herself
listed as one of the ten people capable of changing the world by London's intellectual
weekly 'New Statesman' published on Monday.
a 742-word article by Jason Cowley, the weekly says it is difficult to believe
that "a slender 18-year-old Muslim tennis player from India has the potential
to change the world, but it is equally difficult to overestimate the effect Mumbai-born
Sania Mirza, currently No.37 in the WTA singles rankings, is having on millions
of young men and women, and especially women.
is the first female Indian tennis player to be ranked in the world's top 40, indeed,
she is the first significant female athlete of any kind, in a country where women
have been typically discouraged from taking up sport," the article says.
notes that Sania has the discipline, tenacity, flamboyance and, above all, the
talent to go much higher in the rankings and, in so doing, inspire a whole new
generation of Indian girls to express their hopes and ambitions through sport.
is bracketed with the likes of Emir of Qatar, who is showing the Middle East a
different route to modernity, Barack Obama, America's fastest-rising political
star, current US senator for Illinois, Anton Zeilinger and Physicist and co-director,
institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna, Samira Makhmalbaf.
her recent tiff with Muslim clerics over her dress code, the article says, "at
home, in India, Mirza is a role model and an icon, her fame locating her somewhere
between Bollywood and the mass adulation that surrounds the Indian cricket team.
She is celebrated as much for her attitude and fashion sense (she wears a nose-ring
and librarian glasses) as she is for her talent
evidently enjoys the attention and delights in confounding expectations of exactly
how a young Muslim woman from the subcontinent should behave.
Wimbledon, she wore a T-shirt bearing the slogan: 'Well-behaved women rarely make
history'; at the US Open in September, where she lost in the quarter-final to
the Russian sensation Maria Sharapova, her T-shirt read: 'You can either agree
with me, or be wrong'.
this means that Mirza is in ceaseless demand for interviews, billboard advertising,
endorsements (her fee is reported to be second only to the great batsman Sachin
Tendulkar's) and television appearances.
the threats from a Muslim cleric, Cowley writes: "The cleric is correct in
identifying the world-transforming potential of a young, attractive, articulate
and media-smart teenage Muslim tennis star, but wrong in his assessment of that
influence. "He understands how sport has become a common language for the
global tribe, as well as an engine of change, an aggressive symbol of meritocracy
and the mirror in which we see reflected back at us the competitive, style-driven,
money-and celebrity-fixated world in which we live."
the question can Sania have a similarly transformative effect like Muhammad Ali
and Pele, not only in India but also throughout the world, the writer says, "she
may not have won a major tournament, yet already she occupies a role through which
flow many of the most significant intellectual and cultural currents of our times:
the clash between secularism and political Islam, the emancipation of women in
the Muslim world, the dominance of celebrity, the tyranny of the image, the emergency
of India as a world power."
to her recent complaint that "every word I speak, every skirt I wear, is
discussed and analysed," on return to India from the United States, Cowley
concludes: "If she continues to improve as rapidly as she has over the past
six months, Sania Mirza will simply have to get used to such obsessive scrutiny.
There is no turning back now."
ace: Sania Mirza features on Time cover
DELHI, Oct 3: In another ace for teenage tennis icon, Sania Mirza, she became
the first Indian sportswoman to feature on the cover of Time magazine and is being
included in its 2005 list of Asia's heroes.
the list of heroes, Sania shares the space with Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu,
South Korean footballer Park Ji Sung and Japan's Ken Watanbe. The tennis star,
who has been described by the magazine as a role model for women in the country
and the fastest rising star in the sport this year, features on the cover of the
special issue of the magazine, which would hit the stands on Monday.
the list is led by people who saved lives and rebuild families and communities
after last year's devastating tsunami, it also includes inspirational figures
in the field of arts and sports. Sania is creating history in Indian tennis by
becoming the first ever Indian to break into the top-50 WTA rankings. She also
became the first Indian woman to win a WTA tourney when she lifted the Hyderabad
Open trophy in February 2005. The Wimbledon junior champion also beat several
top-10 players and became the first Indian to reach the third round of Australian
Open and the pre-quarters of the US Open.
its spotlight on tsunami, the Executive Editor of Time Asia says "the tsunami,
which left 250,000 dead or missing across Asia, was almost unimaginably destructive...Yet
amid the grief and loss and mortal dangers, ordinary individuals proved themselves
capable of extraordinary courage and selflessness - the very essence of heroism."
the tsunami front, a 14-year-old girl from Maldives who took charge of her family
to hold them together and help heal their trauma after the tsunami is on the list.
group of Acehnese women who lost their families and homes in the tsunami and banded
together to rebuild their wrecked village and start over again, have also been
honoured in the list.
in the list include Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, who, with roles in The Last Samurai
and the upcoming Memoris of a Giesha, is now the face of Japan to Hollywood, the
International Crisis Group, an NGO headquartered in Brussels, which undertakes
the task of predicting and resolving deadly conflicts worldwide before they erupt
by transforming exhausting reports into erudite reports.
back in top 10, Nadal up to third in rankings
June 6: Spaniard Rafael Nadal climbed to third in the men's rankings after winning
the French Open singles title while women's champion Justine Henin-Hardenne has
returned to the top 10. Nadal ascended two places following his victory over Argentine
Mariano Puerta 6-7 6-3 6-1 7-5 in Sunday's final.
world number one Roger Federer, beaten by Nadal in the French Open semis, and
Lleyton Hewitt, absent from Paris because of injury, now separate the 19-year-old
from the summit of world tennis. Puerta, unseeded at the French Open, rises 26
places to 11th in the rankings released on Monday.
Henin-Hardenne thrashed Mary Pierce 6-1 6-1 in Saturday's women's singles final
and has risen to seventh in the rankings from 12th. The former world number one
dropped out of the top 10 after January's Australian Open which Henin-Hardenne
missed through a knee injury after a virus disrupted her performances in late
2004. Pierce rises to 13th from 23rd.
Tennis at French embassy in India
is India's new cricket coach
DELHI, May 20: India's new cricket coach Greg Chappell on Friday gave a "commitment
to excellence" and demanded the same from the players in their desire to
succeed and move forward. Chappell,
who was appointed by the cricket board's six-member committee in New Delhi on
Friday, termed his new job as "exciting and challenging" and said he
would bring in his own philosophies and plans to take the Indian team further
up the ladder.
is going to be exciting. There are going to be lot of challenges, a number of
priority issues... My job will be to maintain and improve the quality of the team,"
the 57-year old former Australian captain told a press conference. "I give
my commitment to excellence to Indian cricket on and off the field... It will
be a full time commitment, 24 hours, seven days a week," he said.
a world-class batsman of the 1970s and 80s with 7,110 runs from 87 Tests, said
talent would not bring success to the Indian team.
"I have my own plans
but if the 16 or 18 players don't find playing for India enough to get them motivated,
then it will be hard on me and them as well," he said.
are certain things that are non-negotiable. Commitment, preparation, discipline
from players and myself, and then the talent."
Assessing the past and
recent performances of Sourav Ganguly's men, Chappell said the team that reached
a World Cup final must have it in them to be the champion side but sometimes mere
desire was not enough.
"I suppose it is the will, determination
and discipline and the talent," he listed as characteristics of a world beating
team. "The preparation has to be spot on. We can't have players working harder
for the sake of working harder. We need people who work harder and smarter.
has to be a combination of both, we have to get the correct balance and it is
going to be a man management process. I can't guarantee that I will always get
it right, but will get it right more often than not. Playing has its own challenge
and idiosyncrasies. Coach cannot have a direct impact... But what is needed is
consistent effort and commitment."
court too, Sania volleys with power
DELHI, Feb 18: Sania Mirza is on a power trip now - meeting the who's who of the
country's politicos. The
teen sensation, who arrived in the Capital on Friday, began the day by meeting
minister of sports and youth affairs, Sunil Dutt; she then went on to call on
President APJ Abdul Kalam, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and finally Prime Minister
was an unforgettable day. I was overawed meeting all these great people. I didn't
want to let go of an opportunity like this. I'm sure even you wouldn't like to
give up a chance to meet the Prime Minister," Sania, who was accompanied
by her parents, Imran and Naseem, sister Anum and a family friend, said. "They
all had expressed a desire to meet Sania and our daughter was also very keen to
meet them. So it was by mutual consent that we set up these meetings," Nassem
Mirza, Sania's mother, said.
the rendezvous that Sania was most looking forward to was with Congress leader,
Sonia Gandhi. "She sent me a great letter and she spoke to me personally
after the Australian Open. I have been very, very keen to meet her since then,"
expressed Sania, who also attended an awards function on Friday night. "She
told me that she's proud of me," Sania said of her meeting with Sonia Gandhi.
ankles have also been attracting attention but the 18-year-old sounded upbeat
about a quick recovery. "Everything
is coming off very well. Better than we expected. I should start playing by Monday,"
she said, hoping to play in the Dubai Open, which will be her first tournament
after winning the Hyderabad title. Sania, ranked 99 in the world presently, was
gifted two books written by former Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and
though she's not really fond of reading, the teenager promised to make an effort.
will try and read them," Sania said, laughing. "Actually I just picked
up a book three days ago - Success vs Joy by Geet Sethi," she added.
An apt read looking at how her life has changed within six weeks?
enjoying as normal a life as I can. It's only when I go out that I've a lot of
people coming up to me. Nothing untoward has happened but the guards are there
to avoid that," the teen icon, who has just signed on three more deals, said.
So how is life with protection round the clock? "It's a little weird but
it's something you've to learn to live with," the teenager, responded, making
no big deal of the issue.
first Indian to win WTA title
Feb 12: Sania Mirza oscillated between occasional brilliance and erratic shot
selection but raised her game when it mattered most to create history and become
the first Indian woman ever to win a WTA tour title in the US$ 140,000 Hyderabad
Open tennis on Saturday. The unseeded 18-year-old, backed by a vociferous crowd,
held her nerve in a scintillating final match to beat ninth seed Alyona Bondarenko
of Ukraine 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh complex in
turned out to be a battle of nerves for both Sania and Bondarenko, both of whom
were playing in their maiden WTA tour final, as they looked more than anxious
to finish off the points and committed too many unforced errors in the bargain.
And Sania, two years younger to her 102-ranked opponent, handled the pressure
better in the two-hour encounter to send her thousands of supporters in to wild
was the third and final set which proved that the Hyderabadi lass has nerves of
steel as she broke her opponent in the first, third and fifth games to race to
a 5-1 lead and then managed to ward off tremendous pressure after dropping one
match point and a service game to clinch the title.
the Indian then came back strongly in the next game after being 0-40 down to break
her opponent and then raced to a 4-2 lead by winning the next three games.
with the set almost there for her to win, Sania seemed to get a bit over anxious
to finish it off quickly and committed a number of unforced errors to put herself
under pressure. In fact, the local favourite wasted as many as nine set points
and had to save three break points on her serve in the 10th game before wrapping
up the set.
second set began on a promising note for Sania as she got the break of serve in
the very first game. But it was struggle with herself thereafter as Sania lost
her rhythm completely and had problems even in sending in her first serves, the
barrage of unforced errors not helping her cause.
Sania lost her serve in
the second and sixth games to trail 2-5 and it was a spate of unforced errors
by Bondarenko which helped her to hold serve in the eighth.
rising star, who had earlier created history by becoming the first Indian woman
to reach the third round of a Grand Slam at the Australian Open last month, made
full use of the opportunity by saving three set points in the next game to break
the Ukrainian and then held her own to level the game score at 5-5.
problems with shot selection once again surfaced at this stage as Sania wasted
three game points to lose the set 5-7 and take the match to the decider.
third seed Zi Yan and Jie Zheng of China stunned Olympic gold medallists and compatriots
Ting Li and Tian Tian Sun to lift the doubles title.
and Zheng, who became the first Chinese women to reach a grand slam singles fourth
round at Roland Garros last year, were in total control and never really threatened
by their fancied opponents, cruising to a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
third, Yan and Zheng seemed a confident lot from the word go and took a 2-0 lead
in the opener and 3-0 in the second set to assert their supremacy. After a fairly
well-contested first set, Yan and Zheng tightened their grip and overwhelmed the
doubles title winners at Athens Olympics, who were second seeded here but appeared
to be struggling to get their act together.
Mirza wins, makes history
DELHI, Jan 17: Sania Mirza rewrote Indian tennis history as she registered her
first Grand Slam win and stormed into the second round of the women's singles
at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday. Sania
overcame a first set loss to down Australia's Cindy Watson 3-6 6-3 6-0 in the
first round to become only the second Indian woman to win a grand slam match.
was the first to accomplish the feat in 1998 and she too scored her only grand
slam win at the Australian Open.
was not exactly flawless tennis from the 18-year old Hyderabadi girl who entered
the main draw as a wild card which she earned after reaching the women's singles
final of the Asian Tennis Championships last year. Sania
hit only 32 winners and had 43 unforced errors including three double faults.
She was broken in her very first serve of the match and dropped serves three more
the teenager put it down to nervousness on the big stage and said there was no
worries about her form as such.
was quite tight in the first set and was also down a break in the second set ...
But I was hitting the net and not long or wide," Sania said. "Then
I concentrated on making her play, and it worked," said the former Wimbledon
girls doubles champion.
the moment she was down 2-3 in the second set, Sania began to tighten her game.
She kept the ball in play, and to her luck, Watson began to make mistakes. The
Indian went up 5-3 with her third break of the set in the eighth game, and from
there on there was no stopping Sania as she reeled off 10 games in a row. In all,
Sania converted seven out of 12 break points as against four out of 13 by Watson,
another wild card herself.
local girl, nine years elder to the Indian and appearing in her home grand glam
fifth time, wilted under pressure. The set times began to shrink as Sania stepped
on the gas, the decider lasting only 26 minutes. She also served the only ace
of the match in the last game.
got 34 WTA points for her first round win and moved into the sub-150 in world
rankings, another milestone in her fledgling career. Nirupama,
again, was the last Indian woman to be ranked above 150 which was almost eight
second round tie is on Wednesday when she plays Petra Mandula
of Hungary. A
win there would most probably pit her against American Serena
Williams in the third round, but the Indian is not looking too
far ahead. "I
know that. But I can't afford to think about it. I am happy
that I won the first round and want to give my best in the next
match," she said.