Happy birthday Sania Mirza: India’s Tennis ace Sania Mirza turned 35 this year. In a country where cricketers are only considered as superstars from the sports fraternity, Sania made a name for herself and became an idol for many budding tennis players in India.
Arguably India’s greatest women’s tennis player and arguably the best overall in single’s competition, Sania was born on November 15, 1986, in Mumbai (later shifted to Hyderabad) and from a very young age of 6, started playing Tennis and aimed to make it big in the sport.
Sania’s journey started in 2006 at the Australian Open, when she became the first female player from India to be seeded in a grand slam event.
Sania never backed down from any challenge as in her singles career she enjoyed some big wins over the legends of the game like Martina Hingis, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva and Marion Bartoli. She was ranked India’s No.1 player from 2003 to the time she retired from singles in 2013. During the peak of her glorious career in singles, she managed to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
Meanwhile in the double’s career, Sania made India proud many times with her list of achievements at the biggest of stages. The 33-year-old won three Grand Slam titles (Australian Open 2016, Wimbledon 2015 and US Open 2015) in her career. She was even ranked world no. 1 player in Doubles on 13 April 2015. Sania’s doubles pair with Hingis was considered as one of the most dominating duos at one time.
The positive results followed her in the mixed doubles category too as she won three major grand slams (Australian Open 2009, French Open 2012 and US Open 2014) while she reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015). She formed a formidable pair with India’s Mahesh Bhupati as two of her grand slams wins came with him.
Sania Mirza was recognized well for her excellence in the field of tennis and was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2004, Padam Shri in 2006, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2015 and later won Padma Bhushan in 2016.
In the personal life, Sania is married to Pakistan’s star cricketer Shoaib Malik on 12 April 2010, the pair was later blessed with a boy Izhaan Mirza Malik in 2018.
In 2018, after the birth of his boy, Sania said that she will aim to make a comeback in professional tennis for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Sania had a bitter-sweet Olympics at Tokyo. She became one of the rare Indian women athletes to play a 4th Olympics, but exited in the first round of the women’s doubles event partnering Ankita Raina.