Sania-Bopanna focus on medal despite semis disappointment
By Hardev Sanotra
Rio de Janeiro, (IANS):
Crestfallen after losing in the mixed doubles semi-finals, the Indian tennis duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna are determined to recover from the disappointment and go for the bronze medal at the ongoing Rio Olympics.
Sania and Bopanna went down fighting to the US team of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram, winning the first set quite comfortably before squandering the lead and going down 6-2, 2-6, 3-10 in one hour and 17 minutes at the Olympic Tennis Centre here on Saturday.
Sania and Bopanna have another chance to bag India’s second-ever medal in tennis in the history of the Olympics as they will now contest the play-off for the bronze against Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic on Sunday.
“Ten minutes after you lose a match like that it’s difficult to be positive, but in tennis we don’t get many chances. We don’t get two chances in a week, usually. We are fortunate to have a chance at another medal,” Sania said after the match.
“It was unfortunate that results were not in our favour. We have to do the right thing and recover as soon as possible mentally and physically, probably more mentally than physically, and try and come out there and have another shot at a medal.”
Praising Venus for her superb performance, Sania lamented that the Indians faltered at crucial junctures which cost them a place in the final.
“Venus was serving good even in the first set. She started returning better in the second as opposed to the first set and that’s why she’s a champion,” the 29-year-old from Hyderabad said.
“Still we managed to get the third set tie-break. We managed to get the momentum in our favour. There were a couple of points which we should not have lost. But that’s how super tie-breaks work. It’s a toss-up,” she added.
“We have to try and get some sleep and put some food in our bodies and try and recover for tomorrow.”
Bopanna also asserted that Venus’ performance was one of the crucial factors in the closely contested match.
“It’s definitely a tough loss, no doubt. I think we were playing really good tennis throughout the match but Venus really stepped up her game and that made the difference. Once they got the momentum in the second set, we managed to get back in the tie-break. But it was a toss-up. Obviously they were playing with much confidence and it gets tougher when you get to the super tie-break,” he said.
“In the first set it was going all our way, but these things happen in tennis. The thing do is to rest and recover well and come back again as positive as we can, because the team we play tomorrow is also coming in from a loss,” Bopanna added.
The Bengaluru lad is however, determined not to let Saturday’s disappointment affect his performance in the bronze medal play-off.
“Both of the teams are going to be in the same situation. It’s the first time in our tennis that we have another chance to take a shot at a medal. There are so many emotions going on in my mind, But as tennis players we have to take it in our stride,” Bopanna asserted.
(Hardev Sanotra can be contacted at email@example.com)