Taking everyone by surprise, India’s star tennis player Sania Mirza, on Wednesday, confirmed her retirement following a first-round exit in women’s doubles at the Australian Open.
“I’ve decided 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 said during the post-match press conference. She went on to add that there are “a few reasons for it.”
Talking to us about the announcement, Sania’s close friend, actor Rakshanda Khan says, “With a career spanning almost 20 years and 43 wins, six of which are Grand Slams, this girl has made her country so so proud. She put us on the international map for tennis. For a cricket hungry nation that recognised just one game, suddenly the world of Indian sports was no longer only male dominated.”
Rakshanda adds that with Sania, finally, “there was an icon for young girls to look up to and want to grow into”.
She continues, “My own little girl was asked to choose a sport in senior kg and she said, ‘I will choose tennis and grow up to be like Sania khaala’. I think her decision is a pragmatic one. Of late, she has been bogged down by injuries and I think its very sensible to bow out at this point. Of course, we know that her expertise is always available for upcoming talent and we are hoping her tennis academy can soon find another Little Sania.”
The 35-year-old, who started playing the sport at the age of six, became professional in 2003 and won 10 singles and 13 doubles titles, said, “It’s not as simple as ‘okay I’m not going to play’. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I’m putting my 3-year-old son at risk by travelling so much with him, that’s something I have to take into account. I think my body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I’m getting older.”
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