The duo have a lot of expectations on their shoulders at the Grand Slam.

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna have reached the finals of the Mixed Doubles category at the 2023 Australian Open. It is the final Grand Slam for the former, who will call an end to her glorious career soon. The pair beat third seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski in three sets (7-6(7-5), 6-7(5-7), 10-6) to advance to the final. They will face Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the final on January 28 (Saturday).

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna beat Makoto Ninomiya and Ariel Behar in the second round to advance into the quarter-final where they got a walkover. Speaking on the tour, the Indian pair talked about their individual challenges and more in a conversation with Sony Sports Network.

Here are the excerpts from the conversation:

Sania Mirza on her experience at the Australia Open 2023

Sania Mirza’s ‘last dance” continued as she advanced into the next round in Mixed Singles. Speaking about her experience at the Grand Slam, she said, “I am just having fun now. I was having a great time, the atmosphere was great at the court. I have played all matches at Court 7, it is nice, cosy, and fills up really well. It is always a pleasure to play with Rohan (Bopanna).”

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna speaks off court at Australian Open 2023

Parenting is challenging

Being a famous personality, Sania Mirza spoke about the challenges she faces with her son and believes that he should experience a normal childhood. She said, “It is very challenging as a parent. Our job is to give the most normal childhood to the child. His normal is going to be different than mine. He is going to pick up his own plate in the kitchen and he has to do all that stuff.

“The fact is, pressure obviously comes. Even when I was pregnant, the first thing that was asked was, ‘so what is the child gonna play, tennis or cricket?’ It is like a given that they are going to play a sport.”

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Freedom of choice 

Sania Mirza points out how she will allow her son to choose his ideal career path. She said, “Great parents will tell you that the amount of pressure that comes on them is great. I as a parent will try to keep it as normal as possible. He can do what he wants, what he loves. If he wants to play a sport that is great, if he does not, that is fine by me too.

“I just want him to be a normal kid. I make sure that he goes in a car that is not very high-end. There is stuff like that I have to consciously make an effort to do. It is challenging and it’s the cards that I have been dealt with so I am going to try and do my best.”

Rohan Bopanna on facing Holger Rune in Davis Cup

Rohan Bopanna expressed that the prospect of facing Holger Rune will be tough in the forthcoming Davis Cup 2023 World Group I playoffs tie against Denmark. He said, “To be honest, extremely difficult. The way Holger is playing right now, I spoke to him he said he is ready to play both singles and doubles. It is going to be extremely difficult. Whoever is playing singles has to play lights out to even have a chance to come close to beating him. It is a tough task ahead anytime it is an away tie it is difficult. It is Davis Cup and we love competing for the country.”

Promising future

Rohan Bopanna also talked about how plenty of wonderfully talented Indian players are coming up. Reiterating the need to have Indian representation, Bopanna said, “Sania is playing her last slam here, having played for 15-20 years on the tour, today we have so many wonderful doubles players coming up, at the end of the day wherever there is representation whether it is singles or doubles, as long as India’s flag is flying in these big tournaments, I think that is more important.”

“For anyone watching, to watch a countryman in singles or doubles, I think that is where the inspiration comes from. There are a bunch of guys that are doing well, knocking on the door and it is the best way forward.” he further added.

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