Know Your Stars – Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza is a name synonymous with Indian Tennis. Born in Hyderabad, the right-handed player boasts of an illustrious career. She started playing tennis when she was just 6 years old.
The tennis maestro turned professional in 2003, at the age of 17. She won 13 doubles and 10 singles titles as a Junior player. Spurred by the success in the junior circuit, Sania made her senior debut on the ITF circuit in 2001, aged just 15.
Why is Sania the finest Indian women’s tennis player?
Sania won multiple accolades throughout her career. The first notable triumph was winning the Bronze medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan alongside Leander Paes. In February 2015, the superstar made the nation proud by becoming the first-ever Indian woman to win a WTA title. She achieved the feat by winning the AP Tourism Hyderabad Open.
Several other good outings at the Japan Open (reached Semis), US Open (quarterfinal) made the tennis fraternity take notice, and she was honoured as the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2015.
2006 proved to be the breakthrough year for Mirza. She grabbed gold (in mixed doubles), and two silvers (women’s singles and team event, respectively) at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. She also defeated top seed, Martina Hingis, at the Hansol Korea Open before bowing out in the quarterfinals. Her brilliant run, spurred by her zeal to perform, continued in 2007. An eighth-place finish at the 2007 US Open Series helped her break into the Top 30 in Women’s singles, as she reached her career-best ranking of 27.
The tennis ace won a total of four doubles titles in 2007. The year 2008 was a difficult one for Sania as it was marred by injuries. Being the 2nd seed, Sania won silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She also won a Bronze at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou in Women’s singles. Mirza finished the year on a high by winning the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai.
Throughout her career, the Indian star paired with multiple other players in the Mixed doubles and Women’s doubles categories.
One of the most notable of these was the pairing with Cara Black of Zimbabwe, which was formed in 2013. The duo won their first title in their first outing itself. Then the women’s doubles pair went on to win the China Open trophy by defeating the then top seed and World Number 1 Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. More glory came their way as they emerged triumphant at the 2014 Portugal Open.
Mirza, alongside Saketh Myneni, won the gold in the mixed doubles event at the 2014 Asian Games. She also won the bronze in the women’s doubles category paired with Prarthana Gulabrao Thombare.
One of Sania’s most glorious wins came with Black as they bagged the WTA Finals title in 2014.
The pinnacle of Sania’s career:
In 2015, Sania teamed up with Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei for a brief period before forming an alliance with Martina Hingis of Switzerland. Rest, as they say, is history.
Sania-Martina formed a formidable pair and won their first title at the Indian Wells and soon after the 2nd — Miami Masters.
After winning the Family Circle Cup title in 2015, the duo jumped to the rank 1 in WTA’s doubles rankings. Mirza became the first Indian player to achieve such a feat.
The pair also won the prestigious Wimbledon Championships after defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final. This was Sania’s maiden women’s doubles Grand Slam. Soon after, the formidable pair won the US Open, and Sania bagged her 2nd Grand Slam. 2015 was a year to remember for Sania as she won 10 WTA titles overall, including 2 Grand Slams. They bagged their 3rd grand slam by winning the 2016 Australian Open.
2016 saw Sania partnering with Barbora Strýcová, with whom she won two titles.
In all, Mirza has won 41 WTA, 4 ITF titles in doubles category, and 1 WTA, 14 ITF titles in the singles category.
What lies ahead?
Mirza was away from the sport for quite some time as she had a baby boy with husband Shoaib Malik in October 2018. The Indian superstar is set to return to action in the 2020 ASB Classic, which is going to be a warm-up event for her before the 2020 Australian Open.
Besides tennis, only a select few know that the six-time Grand Slam winner is also adept at playing cricket and is also good at swimming. At the Fenesta Open National Tennis Championship in 2012, the prize purse for female winners was equaled to that of male winners upon Sania’s suggestion. This implied that the Champion Athlete was a key figure in ensuring the All India Tennis Association changes its rules accordingly.
For her notable contributions in the sport, Sania has been conferred the Arjuna Award (2004), Padma Shri (2006), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2015), and Padma Bhushan (2016). She is also the brand ambassador for Telangana and has set up a tennis academy in Hyderabad.
Stay Rackonnected and learn more about sports
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram to join our community of sports lovers.
Know Your Star – Sania Mirza,Know Your Star – Sania Mirza,Know Your Star – Sania Mirza,Know Your Star – Sania Mirza
Leave a Reply