Sania Mirza, one of India’s greatest tennis players, bid farewell to her illustrious career on Tuesday after a first-round defeat at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships. Mirza, who turned pro in 2003, has been an inspiration to millions of young girls in India and around the world.
The 36-year-old’s career has been nothing short of spectacular, with six Grand Slam titles to her name. Mirza won three women’s doubles Grand Slam trophies with Swiss great Martina Hingis and three mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, two with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi and one with Brazilian Bruno Soares.
Mirza, who has been struggling with injuries in recent years, announced her retirement in November 2021, citing her desire to spend more time with her family. She had hoped to end her career on a high note by winning the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Rohan Bopanna, but they lost in the final to the Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matao.
Despite the disappointing result in Dubai, Mirza received a warm send-off from the tennis fraternity and her fans on social media. Indian tennis legend Leander Paes praised Mirza for her contribution to Indian tennis and her fighting spirit.
“Sania has been a great ambassador for Indian tennis, both on and off the court,” Paes said in a statement. “She has inspired a generation of young girls to take up the sport and has always fought hard for every point. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on.”
Mirza’s retirement marks the end of an era in Indian tennis. She was the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, the first Indian woman to reach the top 30 in singles rankings, and the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam title.
Mirza’s success on the court has inspired many young girls in India to take up tennis, and her impact on the sport will be felt for years to come. She has been a trailblazer for women’s tennis in India, and her contribution to the sport cannot be overstated.
Mirza has also been an advocate for women’s rights and has spoken out against gender inequality in sports. She has been a role model for young girls in India, showing them that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
As Mirza bids farewell to tennis, she leaves behind a legacy that will inspire generations to come. She has been a true champion on and off the court, and her contribution to Indian tennis will never be forgotten.