It's been a difficult ride for Sania Mirza. After soaring to world No 34 last year, the Indian tennis ace slid to world No 66 at the end of 2006. She changed coaches like racquets and was sorted out easily by the top women's players.
Sania's fitness has come under scrutiny, opponents exposed her weakness and the results did not back the hype. Though she developed a better all-court game than last year, her serve and movement left her handicapped.
2005 was ground-breaking for Sania. She shot to fame during the Australian Open, won her maiden WTA title -- the first by an Indian woman, used her forehand to devastating effect, turned on her brash charisma and galloped through the rankings.
At 19, she was the darling of the nation, worth millions, and an Asian icon.
But with just one semi-final appearance (vs Martina Hingis at the Sunfeast Open) in the year, she finished 2006 with a win loss record 20-24. The victory over Hingis in Seoul was the saving grace in a year when the Hyderabadi teenager left a trail of disappointments, though she had a fruitful doubles season, finishing a career-best 24, with 1070 points.
Will the appointment of a new trainer, Heath Matthewsof South Africa, and an emphasis on fitness get her back on track next year? Or will Sania continue to drop down the ladder?