Mumbai, Nov 22 (IANS) Swiss veteran tennis player Martina Hingis heaped praise on her women’s doubles partner Sania Mirza on Sunday, terming the Indian as an extremely professional and optimistic and a partner she is lucky to play with. The unstoppable duo of Mirza-Hingis came up with yet another stupendous performance recently to win the women’s doubles title at the prestigious $7 million WTA Finals in Singapore. It was the pair’s ninth title together this season, having also won in Beijing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, US Open, Wimbledon, Charleston, Miami and Indian Wells. Sania also won the Sydney International in January with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands to take her doubles trophy count to 10 this year. 

“It has been a great year for me with Sania. She is a great player. We have great respect for each other. She is extremely professional and an optimistic player. Our friendship and relationship both on and off the court has lead to this success,” Martina said at a press conference here. 

“Sania has improved a lot on the nets. We all know she is an extremely good at the backhand, but she has improved on the nets too. Hoping to continue this good runs in days to come. Lucky to have Sania as a partner in the incredible journey,” the 35-year-old said. Speaking on her mixed doubles partner Leander Paes, she said, “Paes is a legend in this game. I can rely on Paes as he is a great player in the nets and I can concentrate at the back. He also has great volleys.” Praising both Sania and Paes, the Swiss star said the duo might have some weakness in the court but their strengths make them a champion in the game. “They both have different strengths and weaknesses. They have good qualities and that makes them champion that is their strengths,” she said. Martina is in the country to play for Hyderabad Aces in the Champions Tennis League starting on Monday which is the mastermind of the legendary Vijay Amritraj. Reigning US Open women’s singles champion Flavia Pennetta will play for Mumbai Masters in the six-team tournament featuring Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Chennai. 

The current men’s top players who will feature in the league are, Marcos Baghdatis (Punjab Marshalls, Chandigarh), and French professionals Feliciano Lopez (Team Nagpur) and Fernando Verdasco (Chennai). Among the women players who will play in the six teams alongside Pennetta and Hingis are Serbian Jelena Jankovic (Nagpur), France’s Alize Cornet (Raipur), Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina (Chandigarh) and Heather Watson of Britain (Chennai). Speaking on the competition, Hingis said, “This is a great tournament to play in. I am looking forward to giving my best for my team and do well. Amritraj has brought this up and I wish him all the best for this.”

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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