Tennis

Mirza looks for Olympic gold

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)

For a country of 1.2 billion people, India has struggled to find success at the Olympics, winning just one individual gold medal.

Sania Mirza, the country's top women's tennis player, hopes to help double that total in London this year.

India only has one singles player ranked in the top 100 - Somdev Devvarman at No. 86 in the ATP rankings - but it does have some of the world's best doubles players. Mirza is ranked 11th in the WTA doubles rankings, while Leander Paes is No. 7 in the ATP doubles rankings, Mahesh Bhupathi is No. 8 and Rohan Bopanna is No. 11.

Mirza, who lost her first-round singles match at the Australian Open to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria on Monday, says she's planning to play mixed doubles with one of the three men at the 2012 London Games.

It's the first time since 1924 that mixed doubles will be included at the Olympics.

2012 AUSTRALIAN Open

2012 Australian Open

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''Funnily enough, a medal is a medal at the Olympics. It doesn't matter if you get it in singles, doubles or mixed,'' she says. ''We're a big country, and obviously (the) Olympics is important to us.''

As for her partner in London, Mirza says she'd be happy with any of the three men's players. Mirza partnered with Bhupathi to win the Australian Open mixed title in 2009 and won the mixed gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games with Paes.

''I'm in a great position to chose from three people who are in the top 12 in the world (in doubles),'' she said. ''Obviously, the best people will be put forward.''

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