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Sania Mirza is happy to finish her career on a high in Dubai, beginning her doubles campaign on Monday. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Indian tennis has produced many greats and with Sania Mirza, the last one standing, heading into the sunset after playing her last tournament in Dubai this week, the future of the sport in the country looks bleak with none from the next generation ready to take on the mantle. The six-time grand slam winner attributes it to lack of system in the country for not producing champions.

“Unfortunately, there is no system in place. Whether it’s me or Mahesh [Bhupathi] or Leander [Paes] or Vijay [Amritraj] or Ramesh [Krishnan], we all will tell you that we have come out due to our individual efforts, despite the system and not because of the system,” said the 36-year-old, who will be retiring at the end of her doubles campaign in Dubai, told ahead of the start of the 23rd edition of the Dubai Women’s Tennis Championships on Saturday.

“Build a system where the player knows what to do, where to go, who to ask. None of that is existing at this point of time. That’s why you have a champion every 20 years. it’s not easy to create champions without the system.”

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First-round clash

The Dubai resident, who will partner American Madison Keys, will be eager to sign off on a high at her home tournament, where she has made a mark for herself in the past. The Indo-American duo will face Veronika Kudermetova and Luidmila Samsonava in their first round at 7pm on Monday.

Sania, who had won the 2013 Dubai women’s doubles title partnering American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, joined hands with her childhood partner Rohan Bopanna in the Australian Open mixed doubles, where the Indian duo lost to Brazil’s Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the final in January this year, falling just short in her final grand slam event.

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Sania Mirza will be aiming to retire from tennis on a high after she fell in the final hurdle in Australian Open mixed doubles in January. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Home tournament

“I have had amazing matches in Dubai and I was able to win this tournament in doubles, played well in singles. More than anything for a long time there were no tournaments in India and look forward to this as my home tournament. Not sure if me moving here had played a part, but I definitely always felt this as my home tournament.”

Sania feels that the country’s tennis federation has missed a trick by not capitalising on the popularity when she, Mahesh and Leander were world beaters, winning several grand slam titles.

“Hundred per cent, the popularity tennis gained from our feats could have been utilised better,” she concluded.