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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Mirza-mania
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Sania Mirza
The fans expect a lot more than I can actually do
Sania Mirza
Tim Henman may think the hype surrounding him at Wimbledon is over the top, but at least he has a chance of winning the title.

India's Sania Mirza admits she has already fulfilled her expectations by getting past the first round, not that that will stop the whole of India expecting her to progress much, much further.

The 19-year-old is a superstar in her home country, largely thanks to her February triumph at her home-town tournament in Hyderabad.

That made her the first Indian woman in history to win a WTA title, a landmark which followed her run to the third round at the Australian Open, another first for her country.

Asked what life is like in India now, she replied: "Whenever I go out I need security, let's put it that way.

"It's tough. People have never had a woman doing well in such a big sport so they're very, very excited."

Mirza is relaxed and cheerful as she discusses the response from her home country, but it is clear the pressure is never far from her mind.

Does it faze her?

"It fazes me here, it fazes me everywhere but it's not in my control," she said.

"The fans expect a lot more than I can actually do. Do I think it's fair? No, but there's not much I can do about it.

"All I can do is go out there and give it my best."

Mirza already knows India will expect her to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round on Wednesday, as she did earlier this season in Dubai.

However, the teenager, a fearsome baseline hitter not unlike her Russian opponent, has only just returned to action after an ankle injury and is wisely playing down her chances

"Since I've beaten her once, they expect me to win this time but I have nothing to lose, " she said.

"My aim was to clear the first round so I am happy."

And if she does go out on Wednesday, Mirza has already ensured she can retreat quietly from SW19.

"I change my number so no-one can phone me anymore," she said with a smile.


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