The 33-year-old spoke about a major setback at the Rio Olympics.

The ultimate dream for any professional athlete is to win a medal for their nation at the Olympics. Tennis ace Sania Mirza came agonizingly close to bagging her first medal at the Rio Olympics but fell short at the final hurdle from realizing her life-long dream.

After gaining a one-set lead in the semi-final of the mixed doubles event, things started going downhill for the duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna. Their opponents Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram made a superb comeback to emerge victorious in the second set before clinching victory in the super tiebreaker. Following that loss, they had one final shot at glory but ended up suffering a demoralizing defeat to the Czech Republic pairing of Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in the bronze playoff.

“Losing in the match to go into the final at the Olympics and then losing out for the medal in the semis when we played for bronze (is my biggest disappointment). Two days in a row,” Sania Mirza told tennis player Purav Raja on his Instagram show, Chai with Raja.

In her illustrious career, the tennis star has picked up no less than six Grand Slam titles; however, tangible success at the Olympics in the form of a medal has evaded her so far. She said, “The only thing that I think I can achieve or could have done before was win a medal at the Olympics.”

Furthermore, she added that reaching the top of the doubles ranking remains of the biggest achievements in her career. “No. 1 in doubles a greater achievement for me than being no. 27 in singles because being no. 1 in the world in anything is a great achievement,” she remarked.

Sania Mirza has been a trailblazer for women’s tennis in this country and is a role model for countless kids in India. With that being said, apart from her, there haven’t been many women tennis players that have made a noteworthy impact at the highest level. Attempting to provide a reason for the same, she said that the lack of coaching from an early age could be one of the reasons that India has struggled to produce great women tennis players as frequently as they would have liked to do so.

“I can’t put it down to one sole reason, but I think the guidance and coaching that women get starts very late. Someone like a Sumit (Nagal) has been out since he was 13-14 and I haven’t seen any girl who has done that. That kind of coaching and exposure (is lacking) and when they do make that move I think it’s late,” she concluded.