Sania Mirza, one of India’s best known sportswomen, announced she will retire from the sport. The former Wimbledon doubles champion spoke to the press after losing in the first round of the Australian Open doubles.
Mirza began her career as a teenager, turning professional at the age of 17. Mirza was the #1 Indian on the WTA circuit for 10 years. During her long singles career Mirza only secured one singles title. The Indian didn’t enjoy singles success in the Grand Slams.
Mirza managed to reach the fourth round of the US Open only in 2005, her best showing. Wimbledon and French Open were the Indian’s worst slams. Mirza only ever reached the second round at both these events in singles. The Australian Open saw Mirza make the third round twice.
Injury forced Mirza to retire from singles in 2013. Deciding instead to concentrate on doubles, the India, was on much firmer ground.
Mirza to date has won 43 doubles titles, six of which are Grand Slam titles. Mirza is missing the French Open from a career slam in woman’s doubles. The India needs Wimbledon to complete the career slam in mixed doubles. Mirza’s most successful partnership was with Swiss Martina Hingis. The pair collected 14 titles in 16 months before they announced a split in 2016.
Mirza only managed to collect three titles after the split. The Indian announced in 2018 that she was pregnant and had a baby boy later that year. Mirza then spent two years away from the tour on maternity leave. Mirza returned to the circuit January 2020 partnered with Nadia Kichenok. The pair won the event in Hobart. Unfortunately, they then lost first round in the Australian Open due to a calf injury sustained by Mirza.
Mirza, of course, represented India at Summer Olympic Games. In 2008 in Beijing, Mirza partnered with Sunitha Rao. The pair made the second round. At London 2012 Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi lost in the first round. However, in the mixed doubles with Leander Paes the pair made the quarterfinal. In Rio 2016, Mirza and Rohan Bopanna got to the semifinal before being defeated, and they then fell in the Bronze Medal match.
Asian Games & Commonwealth Games
Mirza has eight medals at the Asian Games. A 15-year-old Mirza won a bronze medal with Leander Paes in 2002. Gold and Silver followed in 2006. Mirza bagged a bronze in singles and a silver in mixed doubles in 2010. 2014 saw Mirza clinch gold in the mixed and silver in the woman’s.
In announcing her retirment Mirza told the press, “I’ve decided that this will be my last season. I’m taking it week by week. Not sure if I can last the season, but I want to.”
Mirza’s retirement will leave a hole. The 35-year-old has inspired other young Indians to take up the sport. In a country where cricket is the major sport, that is a lasting legacy.
Sania Mirza, you will be missed. Good luck in your retirement.
Embed from Getty Images