Tennis star Sania Mirza has officially announced that the 2023 Australian Open tennis championship will be her last Grand Slam event. She will play only one more tournament, namely the Dubai Open in February 2023 before leaving tennis completely.
When she retires, an era will come to an end. She was by far the most successful woman tennis player that India ever had. Before she entered the scene, not even the most tennis-mad fan in India could have imagined that one day an Indian woman player will win a Grand Slam. But she changed the very outlook of all Indians and gave us something to be proud of.
In her announcement, Sania stated: “Thirty years ago when I was a six-year-old schoolgirl studying in Nasr School, I first stepped onto a tennis court at the Nizam club. My mother argued with the coach to get his permission to allow me to play. He thought I was too small. So my dreams of becoming a tennis player started at the age of six.
“With the odds stacked against us, my parents and I dared to dream of playing in a Grand Slam event one day and representing our country with honour and dedication at the highest level. As I look back at my career, not only did I get to play in more than 50 Grand Slam events, but I was also fortunate enough to win some of them by God’s grace.”
Sania Mirza to retire at next month’s Dubai Tennis Championships
“To win medals for my country was my highest honour and I feel truly humbled at having stood on the winners’ podium knowing that our tricolor had been raised high for all to see and thereby gain the respect of millions of people around the world. I have goosebumps and tears in my eyes even now.”
“None of this would have been possible without the support of my parents, my sister, my coaches, physio, trainers, fans, doubles partners and my support team who have always stood by me through thick and thin over many years. I want to thank each and every one of them for their contribution and for the laughter, tears, joy and sorrow that we have shared. All of them have helped this little girl from Hyderabad to achieve her childhood dreams.”
“My Grand Slam journey began with the Australian Open in 2005 so it is fitting that I end it at the same venue in 2023. I take pride in everything that I have been able to achieve over the last 20 years. My greatest memories are those of seeing the happiness that I saw on the faces of my fellow countrymen every time I chalked up a victory or reached a milestone. But life must move on. This is not the end but the beginning of a new set of memories. It is time for new goals to be created and new dreams to be dreamt.”
Clearly, Sania has expressed herself in her inimitable style. For Indian tennis fans, Grand Slam events will no longer hold the same charm that they had when Sania Mirza was in action. She was named one of the “50 Heroes of Asia” by Time magazine in 2005. In March 2010, The Economic Times named Sania to its list of the “33 women who made India proud.” She was again named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of the World.
In her tennis career, she was a former World Number One in doubles, she has won six major titles – three in women’s doubles and three in mixed doubles. She is the highest-ranked Indian woman player ever, peaking at world No. 27 in mid-2007. However, a severe wrist injury caused her to quit playing singles and shift her focus to only doubles. From 2003 until her retirement from singles competitions in 2013, she was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as the Indian No. 1 in singles. Throughout her career, Sania has established herself as one of the most famous, highest-paid, and influential athletes of India. She is not only the pride of Hyderabad but also the pride of the entire nation.