(Update, October 6, 2013:) If there was any rift, it seems fully healed:
India’s top female player, Sania Mirza, has played only doubles for the past year, after suffering repeated wrist and knee injuries. Since May 2012, Bethanie Mattek-Sands has been her regular doubles partner. But the last time they played together was in the third round of Roland Garros, where Mattek-Sands retired from the match with a groin injury (an injury she has suffered before as well). At the time, the team were down a set but leading Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova, 5-3 in the second.
This year’s Roland Garros schedule was not kind to Mattek-Sands. While some women’s doubles teams played their first round matches on day 4 of the tournament, rain pushed Mattek-Sands and Mirza’s first-round match back to day 8, the second Sunday. By that time, Mattek-Sands had already upset Li Na in the second round and gone on to beat Paula Ormaechea on day 7, reaching the fourth round of the tournament for her first time in singles. Her tweet that evening suggested her mind wasn’t exactly focused on doubles at that point:
Mattek-Sands and Mirza then had to play three days in a row, with Mattek-Sands losing in singles to Maria Kirilenko on the same day as their second-round doubles match.
Today the Wimbledon draws came out, and Mattek-Sands is not entered in women’s doubles (she could still enter mixed doubles). According to blogger Vishal Gajaria, Mattek-Sands has decided to concentrate on her singles career, after her recent success there. Such a decision wouldn’t be unusual—players with histories of playing both events make such choices all the time.
Instead, Mirza has teamed with Liezel Huber, another doubles specialist against whom she has a notably contentious history. The two also played together this week in Eastbourne, where they lost in the quarterfinals to Monica Niculescu and Klara Zakopalova.
All of these facts may shed some light on Mirza’s tweets for the past few weeks, which have shown unusual animosity toward some unnamed individual. The first tweet below is from the evening of June 4, the same day Mattek-Sands retired from their third-round match:
Of course, she could be talking about someone else.