The veteran Indian tennis player announced her retirement at the end of the 2022 season.
Indian tennis queen Sania Mirza announced that she’ll be hanging her boots at the end of the 2022 season. She announced the decision after her first round loss in the women’s doubles at the Australian Open 2022. Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok lost to the Slovenian pair of Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
After the match, Sania took to the press conference where she spilled the news. “I’ve decided that this will be my last season. I’m taking it week-by-week. Not sure if I can last the season, but I want to,” said the 35-year-old.
Her retirement would mark the end of her 19-year-long and successful professional career. Here, we look back at 10 of her most memorable moments on court.
10. Won the 2003 Wimbledon Junior Girls Doubles
The first major success for Sania Mirza came after she turned pro in 2003. She, with Russian partner Alisa Kleybanova, won the prestigious junior girls’ doubles championship at Wimbledon. They beat the pair of Katerina Bohmova and Michaella Krajicek to win the trophy.
Despite going down the first set, the pair bounced back to reclaim the second and third. The match finally ended with a 2-6,6-3,6-2 scoreline. This gave Sania Mirza her first taste of Wimbledon glory and paved the road for greater achievements.
9. Won bronze medal at the 2002 Asian Games
Sania Mirza teamed up with Indian tennis ace Leander Paes at the Asian Games 2002 in Busan, South Korea. The team of Paes and Mirza reached the semi finals of the event, thus ensuring a medal for the nation.
En route, they defeated the top seed Japanese pair of Thomas Shimada and Shinobu Asagoe and the Thai pair of Vittaya Samrej and Tamarine Tanasugarn. The victory took India’s medal tally in tennis at the Asian Games to four.
8. Won four gold medals at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games
The 2003 Afro-Asian Games was contested in Sania’s hometown of Hyderabad. It saw 96 nations from both Asia and Africa participate across eight disciplines.
Sania Mirza left an indelible mark on the competition. She won four gold medals in the tournament, and become the athlete to win the most gold medals at the tournament.
7. First Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam
Sania Mirza holds the notable distinction of being the first Indian female to be ranked in a Grand Slam singles event. She entered the 2006 Australian Open as the 32nd seed.
Sania also beat the future two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in her opening game. She pulled off that victory in straight sets (7-6, 6-2) to move into the second round. However she lost the next game to Michaella Krajicek which signaled her exit from the event.
6. Won the US Open mixed doubles in 2014
The top seeded pairing of Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares won the 2014 US Open mixed doubles as expected. Soares and Mirza beat the pair of Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez 6-1,2-6,11-9 to win the title.
Throughout the tournament, Mirza and Soares complimented each other beautifully. On the way to the trophy, they had also defeated the sixth-seeded Indo-Slovenian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Katarina Srebotnik in the quarter-finals.
5. Won the French Open mixed doubles in 2012
The Indian pair of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi dispersed their magic at the 2012 French Open. They were so dominant that they did not drop a set throughout the entire tournament.
The seventh seeded pairing made quick work of all their opponents. The final saw them go against the Polish-Mexican pair of Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez. The first set was competitive but Bhupathi and Mirza were up for the task and sealed it in the tiebreaker. The second set, however, was one-sided, making it quick for the Indian pair. The final result a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory.
4. Won the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2009
The Australian Open mixed doubles in 2009 was the first major senior Grand Slam title for Sania Mirza. Hence, this was definitely was a special occasion. Mirza teamed up with Bhupathi and the pair entered the tournament as wildcards.
Like every wildcard to the podium story, this shook the world. Their understanding and years of practicing together helped Mirza-Bhupathi. In the finals, they made it look super easy. They trounced the French-Israeli pair of Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram in a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
3. Won the Australian Open doubles in 2016
After her mixed doubles win, it was time for Sania to win the women’s doubles as well at the Australian Open. The top ranked team of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza played some scintillating tennis on the Melbourne turf. After literally blowing away the 13th seeded team of Julia Gorges and Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals, they came face-to-face against a seventh-seeded Czech team.
However the Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka also suffered the same fate. Mirza and Hingis wrapped up proceedings in straight sets (7-6, 6-3).
2. Won the US Open doubles in 2015
Before winning the Australian Open doubles in 2016, Sania Mirza also had a memorable 2015. Her pairing with Martina Hingis produced special results. The US Open doubles title is another testament of that.
Sania, along with her Swiss partner, dominated the tournament. They did not drop a single set throughout the tournament.
1. Won the Wimbledon doubles in 2015
2015 was indeed special for Sania Mirza on several fronts. She won two Grand Slams that year. In fact, it was before the US Open that she won the Wimbledon. This was the first trophy of the Mirza-Hingis pair and it came at the prestigious All England Court.
Mirza and Hingis did not drop a single set till they reached the finals. The final was a classic showdown between the first seed and second seeded pairs. It was the former who ultimately prevailed, even after going down in the first set. The Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina could only watch the game slip away from their hands after their brilliant start.
The final scoreline of the match was a 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 victory.