The legacy and impact of Sania Mirza on Indian sports
The tennis superstar has a record of winning six Grand Slams and is the first-ever Indian break inside the top 30 in WTA singles ranking.
The torchbearer for women’s tennis in India, Sania Mirza recently announced her retirement at the end of the 2022 season. While the country has produced several top male players like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania filled out the emptiness of a women’s tennis superstar.
In her illustrious career, the former world No. 1 has won six Grand Slam titles (three doubles and three mixed doubles). Starting in the singles category, she retired from singles in 2013 following a major wrist injury and focused on doubles.
Saina’s success in the new category was evident after she won the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon Juniors along with partner Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. Moreover, Sania Mirza has achieved many firsts for the country. She is the first Indian woman to feature in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, at the 2005 Australian Open. Furthermore, she is one of the two Indian tennis players to win a WTA title and the only one to reach the top 30 singles rankings, with her best being 27 in the world.
Sania was at her peak in her doubles career. She won her maiden mixed doubles title at the 2009 Australian Open with Mahesh Bhupathi. This was followed by a couple of titles in mixed doubles as well as women’s doubles. Notably, she scripted history in 2015 by becoming the world No.1 women’s doubles player in the world. Sania Mirza and her partner, Martina Hingis went on to have a 44 match winning streak, which was one of the longest in history.
A couple of injuries and maternity leave saw Sania Mirza being absent between 2017-2019. Sania resumed playing in 2020 and was a part of the Tokyo Olympics Indian squad as well. However, the 35-year-old has now decided to retire at the end of the 2022 season.
Impact on Indian Sports
The legacy and impact of Sania Mirza on Indian sports is nothing short of a fantasy. Her strong International performances will always serve as an inspiration to all women of the country to reach the top of the world. Moreover, Sania proved the existence of Indian tennis through her victories in a cricket-dominated country.
Her gameplay and consistent performances helped her reach the top of the world ranking. However, a couple of injuries and poor movement abilities proved to be her major weakness. Despite all this, Sania was a fighter who gave her best in every tournament she competed in.
Sania Mirza was a part of a record four Olympic editions but ended all of them without a medal. Her commitment to the sport was witnessed after she made a comeback post-maternity leave. This showed how passionate she was about tennis.
Not only a strong sportswoman, but Sania has also raised her voice boldly for various issues concerning her and the country. For Sania, there was no living icon to get inspiration from throughout her career. However, the future generations could not have asked for better inspiration than Sania Mirza.