PUNE: Sania Mirza says Team India should not be overwhelmed by the fame of their opponents and should “remember that the pressure is on them” once they take on Latvia in the Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie on Friday-Saturday.
“It is a great opportunity, especially for the younger girls. It is a historic tie as we have never been in this position before. It is going to give a lot of exposure and experience to these girls,” Sania informed The Times of India from Jurmala, about 40 kms from nationwide capital Riga.
“They are young and obviously willing, and excited to be here. They are gonna learn a lot from it, win or lose.”
Besides Sania, the Indian crew consists of Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale and Zeel Desai with Riya Bhatia as reserve and Vishaal Uppal as the captain.
The residence crew is spearheaded by 2017 French Open champion and world No. 52 Jelena Ostapenko and consists of No 47 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 274 Diana Marcinkevica, No. 492 Daniela Vismane and 18-yr-outdated rookie Patricija Spaka.
“Ostapenko is definitely one of the talented younger girls. She hits the ball really big. Probably where we can catch her is on the fact that probably she doesn’t move as well,” Sania mentioned.
“But besides that, she has got an absolutely world class backhand. That’s her biggest strength. She is someone who has played at the big stages, used to play big matches.
“We are simply going to must play properly. The ladies must put their head down and suppose of it as some other match and really overlook the state of affairs, and revel in the second.
“They have to remember that the pressure is on them.”
The April 16-17 tie may also see the Indian ladies being concerned in the residence-and-away format for the first time, in contrast to the continental group levels that are performed in a spherical-robin foundation at impartial venues.
The winner of the tie advances to the World Group Qualifier in early 2022.
Sania mentioned that though the change to enjoying an opponent at their residence was a bit “confusing”, she was “ok with either way” and “just happy to be there”.
One factor, nevertheless, she would like to have been totally different was having the doubles match performed between the two set of singles rubbers as an alternative of it being performed at the finish.
“If it was upto me, I would definitely play the doubles after the first two singles matches. I think that way it can make a huge difference to the result of the tie,” she mentioned.
“I don’t know how others feel about that, but I feel that should be the case because whether it is one-all or 2-0 on either side, doubles can make a difference.”
Sania performed down the issue of being away from her two-yr outdated son Izhaan whereas travelling to Latvia.
“Becoming a mother is the biggest blessing I have ever received, it is something I cannot compare with anything else. Having said that, while I play it is nothing different,” she mentioned.
“Obviously it is nice when he is around me. But with the covid situation I had to leave him (behind in Dubai). I don’t wanna risk travelling with him.
“It is undoubtedly not straightforward to depart your two-yr-outdated behind. He is along with his dad (Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik) proper now, so he is high quality.
“This is a one-off thing. Usually I do travel with him most places because that’s where I feel most comfortable both mentally as well as physically.”