The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Victory leaves Sania blinking

Hyderabad, Feb. 13: The phone rang, visitors came and went, journalists grew restless outside the upscale house on Road No. 12 on Banjara Hills, but Sania Mirza slept. The queen of the court crowned with India's first WTA title yesterday started her reign reluctantly well past 9 in the morning.

'We could go to bed only in the wee hours, around 4 am,' said Imran, Sania's father. The calls and visitors continued through the night after Sania's victory at the Hyderabad Open. 'We could not refuse anyone. Some even managed to peep into her (Sania's) bedroom,' he said.

After the thrilling final last evening, the Mirzas made time to visit the mosque near their residence and pray. 'I wanted her blessed by the maulvi, Sahabuddin, who has been a source of inspiration for all of us,' said Imran. They returned in the afternoon for another round of prayers.

The family had to bow to the demands of the waiting reporters and pulled Sania out of bed around 9.30 am for brunch. Looking comfortable in a pink kurta and a pair of Levis, Sania finally appeared in the drawing room to take questions. Though visibly tired, the giggle was back.

'Thanks for all your support without which I would not have achieved anything,' Sania said. 'Aap ke bina main kya karti.' Imran took most of the questions for his sleepy daughter. Sania needed a lot of rest, he said.

'I am allowed only bedside movies and a little jogging,' Sania said. Physio Andro had advised at least a week's rest.

Imran said Sania had not yet decided about the Dubai Open. 'She will decide after her injuries heal.'

The evening was spent shopping. Around 10, another Mirza called on her ' actor and former Miss India Diya.

Among the innumerable well-wishers was Sonia Gandhi. 'You have a bright future. Don't let minor problems deter you,' said Sonia, who invited her to her house whenever she is in Delhi.

The day ended with the state government announcing it would take care of the passage and hospitality for the upcoming star for all tournaments ' even abroad ' in the future.

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