How may we help you ?
Book an Appointment
  • We value your time

  • Book an Appointment
Of Sania’s foot and the Laxman-Leipus hand

Hyderabad physio Badrinath Prathi recalls how VVS Laxman & Andrew Leipus played a big role in helping Sania Mirza recover from a career-threatening ankle injury back in 2005

Nadim Siraj

Kolkata, May 16: For tennis fans, Sania Mirza’s success story may be their answer to the fanatical craze surrounding cricket in India. However, not many know that it was cricket after all that, in a way, played a key role in helping young Sania recover from a career-threatening injury two years back.

Early in 2005, when the tennis sensation returned from the Australian Open with an ankle bruise, it was the Indian cricket team’s middle-order mainstay VVS Laxman and Team India’s then physio Andrew Leipus who turned to Sania’s rescue. Laxman, also a fellow Hyderabadi, referred Sania’s foot injury to Leipus, who in turn, referred the case to professional physio Badrinath Prathi.

Looking back at that little-known phase in 20-year-old Sania’s illustrious career, Hyderabad-born physio Badrinath has this tell-tale story. “After Sania returned to Hyderabad with the ankle injury, people later learnt that she quietly underwent intensive treatment at home. For one whole week, Sania stayed low-key, and with the guidance of Leipus, I was deputed to work on the bruise and the recovery,” 29-year-old Badrinath told Newsline yesterday.

Sania, who crashed out of the Morocco Open yesterday despite being the top seed, emerged from the career-threatening injury in February first week 2005, and continued her dream run that year. After the short injury lay-off in February that year, Sania came back with a bang the very next week, winning the Hyderabad WTA Open, becoming the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title. Sania’s dream run continued as she sent shockwaves across the world, upsetting Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Dubai Open later that year, following it up with a shock win over Nadia Petrova in the Acura Classic and an impressive 4th round finish in the US Open.

Badrinath recollects that even as Sania’s fan base increased manifold since her return from the February 2005 injury, Laxman’s suggestion and Leipus’ involvement was a major “turning point” in her career that looked like in jeopardy thanks to the ankle bruise, which Sania picked up soon after her Australian Open adventure earlier that year.

“The moment Laxman got to know that Sania has picked up this injury, he immediately got in touch with Leipus. Since Laxman knows me well and Leipus too knew me a little, I was entrusted with the job and we had to really keep things low-key,” said Badrinath, who is currently a full-time physio with the Delhi Ranji Trophy team. Badrinath is town for the ongoing National Cricket Academy’s (NCA) zonal Under-19 camp.

Back then, Laxman was a key member of the Indian Test team and Adelaide-based Leipus was the Indian team’s outgoing physio in early 2005.

Sania’s short career so far has been peppered with stray injuries, this year being her third straight season of long injury lay-off after she was sidelined for over two months following yet another ankle injury at the Qatar Open in February this year.