Former Doubles world No.1 and Indian tennis star Sania Mirza got her fans and her country teary-eyed as she bid adieu to her Grand Slam career forever. As Indian No. 1 in singles tennis delivered her last speech on the Rod Laver Area and walked down memory lane over the matches she has played at the International courts, she couldn’t hold back tears.
Sania and her partner Rohan Bopanna lost the Australian Open Mixed Doubles final to the Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos making them clinch their maiden title. After the match, Sania greeted the winning Brazilian team and praised them for their victory.
Sania, who is 36 years old, announced that she would retire from Grand Slam tournaments after the Australian Open in 2023. She noted that she would continue playing a couple of more tournaments before she hangs up her racket. “My professional career started in Melbourne… I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my [Grand Slam] career at” she said.
“Rod Laver Arena has been special. Never thought I’d be able to play in a Grand Slam final, in front of my son.” she further added.
Sania has played 11 Grand Slam tournaments in total. She has 43 doubles titles to her name and is currently the highest-ranking player for the last 91 weeks in the women’s doubles division of the World Tennis Association. She has won a total of 43 doubles titles – including six Grand Slams.
Sania won her first Australian Open title in 2009 with Mahesh Bhupathi. She then partnered with Martina Hingis for her last Grand Slam title in 2016.
Fellow Indian and doubles partner, Rohan Bopanna, was in his 4th Grand Slam. He won his first title at the 2017 French Open with Timea Babos.
Post her semifinal win at the Australian Open on Wednesday, Sania revealed that her most special tennis moment was her defeat in the third round of the 2005 Australian Open. She was 18 years old and lost to the biggest competitor Serena Williams.
“Honestly, that was when belief was installed there that this is where I belong and this is where I want to be. Even though Serena won the tournament that year, for me, it made me believe that as a young Indian girl, the dream that I had to play in the slams, try and win them, was something that happened that year for me in 2005.” Sania said in her farewell speech
Sania Mirza’s tennis career isn’t over yet. She’s scheduled to play her last tournament at the WTA 1000 event in Dubai next month.