Known for her steely determination and ferocious forehand, Sania Mirza revealed a very different side of her personality on the third episode of 'Chai with Raja'. The show, hosted by doubles ace Purav Raja every Sunday on the Instragram handle of Indian Tennis Daily, unveiled quite a few lesser-known aspects of India's tennis queen.
In a candid conversation, the six-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 doubles player talked about her admiration for India’s 2011 World Cup-winning cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. During the fun segment ‘Three Course Lunch’, Sania picked Dhoni to have lunch with.
“I have just said hello to Dhoni a few times but we aren’t friends. I would like to have lunch with him. I am a huge fan,” Sania Mirza said.
Olympic dream keeps Sania Mirza going
Sania Mirza is one of the best doubles players in the world and has already won a ton of titles, but her hunger for excellence and sheer love for the sport still keep her going. Having tasted glory at all the four Majors in tennis, she still yearns for an Olympic medal - perhaps the only big miss in an otherwise glittering career so far.
Having grown up idolizing Steffi Graf with a forehand that can blast her opponents off the court, the 33-year-old is determined to put in the hard yards and grab that one elusive medal.
The freewheeling chat also veered towards Sania Mirza's passion for Bollywood, which isn’t a secret. She let her fans know of her tremendous respect for Aishwarya Rai, whom she wants to know more about.
"I think she is the most beautiful person in the world and I find her quite interesting,” said Sania Mirza on the former Miss World.
Raja also tested Sania's memory and general knowledge in an interesting segment, where there were 10 trivia questions. Sania got eight of them right; she aced the questions on Bollywood songs and dialogues, India’s finance minister, and even her husband Shoaib Malik.
Some of the best answers from Sania Mirza:
World No. 1 in doubles or No. 27 in singles - which is more special to Sania Mirza?
Answer: "No. 1 in doubles. I think being No. 1 at anything is just incredible."
Biggest life inspiration – "My parents"
Brad Pitt or Bradley Cooper? – "Bradley Cooper"
Best coach you have ever worked with? – "Tony Roche"
If Sania Mirza hadn't been a tennis player, what would she have been? – "An interior designer"
Recent show finished on Netflix – "Money Heist"
Would Sania Mirza rather play an IPL match for Hyderabad, or a Premiership match for Manchester United? – "IPL match for Hyderabad"
Toughest life moment? – "Losing the mixed doubles semi-final at the Olympics in 2016 and then losing out on the bronze medal."
What does Sania Mirza have left to achieve? – "Winning a medal at the Olympics."
How much per cent of your forehand is natural and how much is hard work? – "60-70% is definitely natural. A lot of it comes naturally to me like the wrist movement. When I look at pictures of myself when I was around 8, it's the same forehand motion that I have today. There is absolutely no change."
Over the last one decade there have been a lot of men's tennis players from India, but there haven't been many women. Can you put that down to one sole reason? – "I think the boys are getting high-level coaching from a younger age than girls. For example, Sumit Nagal has gone abroad since 12-13 years of age. I don't see many girls having that exposure or training. I think when they finally make that move, it becomes a bit late."
In terms of brighter future, Karman Thandi or Sumit Nagal? – "I want to say Karman because of the way she is built. She hits a humongous ball. But right now, I think it's Sumit because Karman's been so injured over the last year or two."
Favourite women's player of all time? – "Steffi Graf"
The full episode: