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Unlike many women tennis stars who share bitter relationship with their parents, Indian icon Sania Mirza enjoys the happiest of bonds with her father and mentor Imran. The 20-year-old, who shot to fame because of her exploits in world tennis, flaunts the strong relationship with her father as a reason behind her success.
"My dad has always been the super coach. I mean, he has always been around since I was a kid and I think he understands me, obviously on a personal level. He is my father, we get along great, he's very easy going.
"That helps a lot because he is very relaxed after a match, before a match. He takes tennis only as a sport and I think that's important. He does not think that this is it. It is part of life. I think we both understand that's what makes the relationship work," she was quoted as saying by The Age.
Sania, who is playing the Australian Open here, said she had no plans to hire a coach as everything was going fine for her at the moment.
"I always say 'never fix what's not broken'. When I have a bad patch, or if I do, then maybe we can work on getting a coach," she said.
Sania's drama-free relationship with her father is a rarity in women's elite tennis. Jelena Dokic's troubles with her father are widely known while the likes of Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati and the Williams sisters have had overbearing fathers. The 22 Grand Slam-winning legend Steffi Graf had her father and first coach Peter jailed for income-tax evasion.
Sania said besides her family's backing, the support of tennis fans in India served as a huge inspiration to do well.
"It's a great feeling when people come up and say 'I picked up a tennis racquet because of you and because of what you've done'.