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I need to work on my fitness: Sania

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Last updated on: September 08, 2005 17:24 IST

Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza, who created history by becoming the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of the US Open, said there are many challenges ahead and fitness is one of them.

"Your tennis is never perfect. There are a lot of things that I need to work on, and fitness is one of those things," Sania said in Mumbai, after returning from United StatesĀ on Wednesday, before leaving for her hometown Hyderabad.

The world no. 42 also said she is not aiming for anything in particular for the rest of the year, now that she has already broken into the top 50 of the WTA Tour rankings.

"At the beginning of the year, I set the top-50 ranking target, but now probably I'll come to around the top 35 or 36, so whatever comes now is a bonus," said Sania.

Sania, who was knocked out in the fourth round of the US Open by Russian top seed Maria Sharapova, said she enjoys playing under pressure.

"It's like a billion people expecting me to win everytime I step on court. But I enjoy it," she added.

The Indian ace will set off to Bali to play in a Tier-III tournament, starting on September 12, featuring big names like world no. 1 Lindsay Davenport and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.

She will then take part in the Sunfeast Open 2005, to be held in Kolkata, from September 19-25. Touted as South Asia's biggest sporting spectacle, Sunfeast Open 2005 is Tier-III event with prize money of US$ 170,000.

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"The Sunfeast Open is going to be a very tough tournament. Just because I won the Hyderabad Open, it doesn't mean that I will win this tournament. Let's hope I can do well," said Sania, who won the Hyderabad Open in February this year.

Sania will be partnered by world's top doubles player Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain in the women's doubles event of the Sunfeast Open.

"It's a honour to play with Virginia Ruano Pascual, who is the world's top doubles player. Hope we can make it a good team," Sania said.

Ruano Pascual claimed three French Open doubles titles and won the US Open doubles for three consecutive years -- 2002, 2003 and 2004. She has also won the coveted Australian Open doubles in 2004.

As for now, Sania is looking forward to set her foot on Hyderabadi soil. "It's been two months and I am looking forward to Hyderabad," she says before disappearing into the Airport terminal, with her father Imran Mirza and S M Haq, the spokesman of G K V Industries, who was instrumental in arranging the short press conference at the airport.

Harish Kotian