BEIJING: India’s doubles world number one Sania Mirza has promised to take a measured approach to next year’s Olympics, promising “I’m not going to kill myself!” if she fails to bring home a gold medal.
Excitement over the Rio de Janeiro Games is already ramping up with high speculation over who will team up with Mirza as she seeks to win a rare Olympic gold for India.
Mirza and her new partner Martina Hingis have cut a swathe through the doubles circuit this year, winning Wimbledon and the US Open among eight titles altogether including the China Open on Saturday.
The 28-year-old said it would be “amazing” to win Olympic gold, but also stressed that it wasn’t the only target in a sport which has four Grand Slam tournaments every year.
“It would be amazing. As players we do want that, but we also have four Slams a year,” she told AFP in interview at the China Open in Beijing.
“So it’s not like a lot of other sports where they get one opportunity every four years — we kind of get opportunities every four months.
“So it would be amazing, it would feel like probably I’ve won everything then if I win that Olympic medal. But if I don’t, I’m not going to kill myself.
“I mean life goes on.”
India’s Olympic successes have been few and far between, with only one non-team gold medal so far at any of the Summer Games — going to bespectacled shooter Abhinav Bindra at Beijing 2008.
Victory in Rio would push India’s Mirza-mania to fever pitch, but the player herself did her best to dampen growing expectations.
“People kind of expect that if you don’t have that medal, you’re depressed. It’s not like that,” she said.
“The last time, I remember we played the Olympics and before people left the Olympic village we were already competing in another tournament.”
“That’s how a tennis player’s life really is. It would be amazing to win a medal and I’ll do whatever I can, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
Mirza said it was too early to decide whether Leander Paes — who won singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games — or Rohan Bopanna would get the nod for mixed doubles, India’s best chance of success.