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Bopanna, Sania raring to go

New Delhi: Sania Mirza, pairing up with Rohan Bopanna is confident of posing a strong challenge to their rivals in the mixed team championship of the Hopman Cup, starting in Perth from Saturday.

India, placed in group B along with the US, Australia and Czech Republic will face the American team — composed of reigning Australian Open champion Serena Williams partnering Mardy Fish, in their opening encounter.

Sania, who prepared for the grind with Bopanna at the Bhupathi Tennis Village in Bangalore, said they are ready to face the heat in the $1 million event at Burswood Dome.

“We have a very tough draw, having been pitted with the US, Australia and Czech Republic. But Rohan and I are ready to give it our best shot,” Sania said.

Sania and Bopanna have got a direct entry for this year’s Hopman Cup after their sensational show last year, where they beat Croatia and the Czech Republic before losing to Spain which thrashed their dream of making into the final.

“Only the elite countries are included in the Hopman Cup and it is a great honour that India has been included in the world group without playing the qualifying draw for the first time,” said Sania .

Sania is looking forward to playing against Serena and said taking on the American great will be a rare experience for her.

“She is a pioneer and one of the greats of all time. It is always a great privilege to play against an athlete of her calibre,” Sania said about her first match of the season.

Serena, on her part, is coming back after recovering from a knee injury and missing the season ending tournament in Madrid.

After working out with her new physical trainer Renuka Pinto, Sania said she is concentrating on her overall game and will try to stay fit through out the year.

“We concentrate more on the overall improvement in my game and fitness level with special emphasis on things like my serve and volleys,” she said.

Serbia, France, Chinese Taipei and Argentina are the other teams featuring in group A.        (PTI)

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