Sania Mirza’s decision to hang her boots at the end of the 2022 season has come as a shocker to both the tennis fraternity/sorority, as well as the Indian masses.
With the Australian Open underway, she has already snagged a couple of wins in the Mixed Doubles category, it’s only fair to assume that she’s only getting better with age. However, as things are, there always comes a time in an athlete’s life when they have to know when to retire.
Safe to say, nobody could have foreseen such an announcement at the start of the year since she is, perceivably, still at the top of her game. However, her reasoning for the same remains astute as he said that her drive for the daily grind is not the same anymore alongside her body not complying with the demands required for the sport.
Thus, to commemorate the legendary career that she has had in a sport dominated mostly by western athletes, we shall take a look at a few moments of her career that made her the athlete that she is now.
First Indian Woman To Play In A Grand Slam Tournament
In 2006, Sania Mirza was seeded as the 32nd contender for the Australian Open in a singles event. This made her the only Indian female athlete till then to be ranked in a Grand Slam singles event.
Her entry into the tourney was marked as revolutionary and incredibly motivational for female athletes in India, which had been mostly a cricket-playing nation.
She went on to defeat the then young Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who would go on to be WTA’s no.1 singles player in the future. However, the victory was short-lived as Mirza was then defeated by former Dutch international, Michaella Krajicek, in the second round. Yet, for the time it lasted, her presence in the international sphere had made her international compatriots take note.
Winning The Wimbledon Junior Girls Doubles
In 2003, she won her very first Wimbledon title alongside her partner, Alisa Kleybanova. Mirza along with her Russian partner went on to dominate the duo of Katerina Bohmova and Michaella Krajicek in the final. Her first Wimbledon title came in the form of a nail-biting match as they went down in the first set.
However, as most influential sports stories go, the duo got back on their feet and went on to dominate in the successive two sets. Thus, it marked the beginning of what was to be a parade of other such achievements that were to follow.
Dominating The World With Her Partner Martina Hingis
It would only be fair to include the legendary partnership Sania Mirza shared with her long-time doubles partner and Swiss legend, Martina Hingis, in a single segment.
From 2015 to 2016, they won almost everything that a tennis player could want in their lifetime. From a Wimbledon trophy to an Australian Open trophy, they had succeeded in winning three Grand Slam tournaments in that time period.
The first came in the form of the Wimbledon in 2015, which also marked the duo’s first trophy together. Up until the final showdown, the pair had not dropped a single set in their lead up.
However, during the finals, they found themselves trailing after the first set. Yet, in trademark style, they found their bearing in the succeeding sets against the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
The trophy cabinet only filled up as they joined hands again at the US Open in the same year where they, again, did not drop a single set during the entire tournament. Even at the finals, they dominated through and through. Their sensational run continued into the Australian Open in 2016, as well, with the pair of Mirza and Hingis being ranked as the best duo in the world.
They established and played to their strengths once again as they dominated all of their opponents in astounding style. The finale against the Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka was finished off in a jiff. In a matter of moments, the Indian and the Swiss international, found themselves clasping the silverware.
Bronze Medal At The Asian Games
Just having turned pro, Mirza teamed up with Leander Paes at the Asian Games in 2002. Their dominance during the entirety of the tournament was spellbinding to look at, as the nubile athlete sparsely played like a rookie. Her destiny was for all to see as she masterfully connected with Paes in the Mixed Doubles category.
They reached the semi-finals, defeating the Japanese maestros, Thomas Shimada and Shinobu Asagoe and the Thai pair of Vittaya Samrej and Tamarine Tanasugarn. Their efforts led to them getting a bronze medal for India which took India’s medal tally in Tennis at the Asian Games to four.
Sania Mirza’s career has been a whirlwind of a rollercoaster ride, with amazing highs and equally devastating lows owing to injuries. However, it is through the lows that she rose to the highs which remain as a statement to the youth of our country and the many athletes of our country.
Her presence on the court will forever be missed if she does decide to go through retirement at the end of the season. Her achievements are never-ending and her legacy deserves preservation.
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