The Indian Tennis Star, Sania Mirza announced her retirement from her outstanding 22 year-long tennis career yesterday, after she lost in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Sania Mirza- The Indian Star
Sania Mirza, born on November 15, 1986, is a former Indian tennis player. She started playing tennis at the age of six. She moved to Hyderabad from Mumbai, where she was coached by her father, Imran Mirza.
She started her career as a pro in 2003. She has won six Grand Slam trophies: three in Women’s doubles with Swiss star Martina Hingis, and three in mixed doubles, two of which were with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi and one with Bruno Soares. She was ranked as the Indian no 1 in Women’s singles from 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, by The Women’s Tennis Association.
However, her aim to achieve success on the big stage, the Olympics, was a close miss. She almost won a bronze at the 2016 Rio Games but lost the play-off with Bopanna.
She has won many national awards like the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and Arjuna Award. In 2014, the government of Telangana appointed her as the brand ambassador of the state. She is also the first woman to be the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia.
Besides tennis, she also likes swimming and cricket. In 2010, she married a popular Pakistani cricket player, Shoaib Malik, which brought many controversies into her life. However, she tried to remain unfazed by all that was thrown at her and never gave up, though she felt the urge to quit tennis a few times.
Sania, when addressing to one of her controversies, said that she doesn’t play to prove a point, and that she plays for her country and for herself. She also added that if she fell she had the ability to achieve something, she would keep trying until she succeeded. She emphasised that as long as she is winning, people shouldn’t care whether her skirt is six inches long or six feet long.
Sania Mirza’s autobiography was named ‘Ace Against Odds’, was written with the help of her Father, Imran Khan and sports journalist, Shivani Gupta. She had written this book as a motivation for girls to realize that even girls can excel in sports and to never give up on what they like.
Retirement and Her Last Match
Sania Mirza ended her astonishing career after being defeated in the first round of Dubai Duty Free Tennis. The former doubles world No. 1, partnering American Madison Keys, lost to Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova 6-4, 6-0. Sania and Keys failed to find the pace in the second set, as they were brought down early and couldn’t stand up from the blow.
When asked about her early retirement by her teammates, she said she was grateful to have that much respect, but she thinks that life’s about facing new challenges and moving on.
“For me, I just don’t have that drive any more to be playing at this level, the amount of work that goes into it, to take care of my body, the physical part of it, the mental, emotional part of it is just something that I don’t have that drive”, she said
She also added, “I think if you love something so much, you shouldn’t have to push yourself (to do it) that much”.
“It’s not like I’m retiring at 25 years old. I’m 36. I’ve had a full tennis life. I’ve been able to achieve many of my goals and more”, she said