In a surprising turn-of-events, ace tennis professional, Sania Mirza announced that she will be retiring after 2022 season. India’s second of only two female grand slam winner Mirza has achieved a career high of being ranked 27th in singles.
However, the 35-year-old has claimed that with her age, recovering from injuries is taking more time than usual. Further, she also stated that as a mother of a 3-year-old son, she doesn’t want to put her son at any risk by traveling extensively. Her announcement came after she lost her first round at the doubles of the ongoing Australian Open. Earlier in 2013, Sania had announced retirement from singles. The highest-ranked woman player ever, Sania is also one of two women to have won a WTA title.
The Facts of the Matter
India has given tennis some shining stars in the form of Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Rohan Bopanna. However, in a country which has men dominating in almost every field, Sania Mirza tore through ranks and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of above-mentioned stars.
On Tuesday, she surprised tennis fans in India and across the world by announcing she would be retiring from professional tennis after the 2022 season. Her retirement announcement was followed after she and her partner Nadiia Kichenok lost to Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek 4-6, 6-7, 6-7 at the ongoing Australian Open.
“Putting 3-Year-Old Son At Risk…”
After her match, she spoke to the broadcasters where she dropped the bomb, “There’s a few reasons for it. 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 three-year-old son at risk by travelling so much with him, that’s something I have to take into account.”
She further added that her body has been wearing down and as she grows older, recovery comes to her slower than before. “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,” the 35-year-old tennis star said.
Process Loses its Charm on Sania
The currently 68th ranked tennis player further added that the process of preparation is not something she enjoys anymore. “I’ve always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process which I’m not sure I’m enjoying as much anymore,” she added.
Mirza further added, “I’ve worked very hard to come back, get fit, lose the weight and try to set a good example for mothers, new mothers to follow their dreams as much as they can. Beyond this season, I don’t feel my body doing it. It’s beat.”
She also mentioned that her initial loss at the Australian Open wasn’t triggering the retirement announcement. ”I was pretty sure this is my last season, if I do finish it. I am sure I am not coming to Melbourne to play Australian Open again,” Mirza said in her announcement.
Sania Mirza’s Illustrious Career
Known for her strong forehand, Mirza was formerly ranked number 1 in the doubles. The first ever Indian woman to win any Grand Slam, Sania had won three of six total Grand Slams with her doubles partner Martina Hingis, including the Wimbledon, US Open, and an Australian Open.
For her achievement on both grass and clay, she won Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award.