'I've decided this will be my final season' - Sania Mirza after Australian Open loss
Deciding to hang up the racquet, ace Indian tennis star and 6-time Grand Slam champ Sania Mirza mentioned that 2022 will be her final season on the tennis tour.
In a sudden announcement, 6-time Grand Slam champion and poster girl of Indian tennis, Sania Mirza announced that she has decided that 2022 will be her last season on the professional tennis tour. Mirza, who is married to Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik and is the mother to the couple's son, Izhaan Malik Mirza, mentioned this after losing her first-round women's doubles match at the Australian Open 2022.
Deciding to hang up the racquet after having spent nearly two decades on the professional tennis tour, Sania Mirza has been a former World No. 1 in doubles and brought incredible laurels to the country for her exploits on the tennis circuit. An inspiration to many women, Sania Mirza has always led by example and she made a rousing comeback to the sport even after motherhood.
"There's a bunch reasons for it. It's not as simple as 'okay I'm not going to play'. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I do feel, considering my son is three years old, I'm putting him at risk by travelling so much with him, that's something I have to take into account. Unfortunately, the pandemic is making us take certain decision for the well-being of ourself and family" Mirza said at the post-match press conference.
"Still feel I can play well, go deep into tournaments and all that. But beyond this season I don't see my (sic) body do it either. It's beat," Mirza mentioned in the post-match conference. Struggling with weight gain and fitness issues of late, Sania's decision comes as a sad occasion for all ardent Indian tennis fans.
"Also, my body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I'm not saying that's the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I'm getting older," she said. Sania, who became world number one in doubles during her successful partnership with Swiss legend Martina Hingis, said there were certain issues that influenced her decision.
"Also for me to find that motivation everyday to come out, the energy is not the same anymore. Right this minute, it's there but there are days where I don't feel like doing that. "I've always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process and not just winning but you have to enjoy the process and I am not sure I'm enjoying it anymore. "I am enjoying it enough to play this season. I've worked very hard to come back, get fit, lose weight and try to set a good example for mothers, new mothers to follow their dreams as much as they can. Beyond this season, I don't feel my body doing it. It's beat," said the world number 68.
Calling curtains to an incredible career, 2022 will be seeing the last of Sania Mirza whip out those classy forehands after the star tennis player made this decision. Mirza, who started the year on a decent note with a semi-final run at the Adelaide International, will be looking to end her well-decorated career on a strong note and hopes that she can last out the entire season.
"I am playing at a good level. First week in Adelaide (event), we (she and Kichenok) beat top-10, 20 players. I am playing at a decent level. I was pretty sure this is my last season, if I do finish it. I am sure I am not coming to Melbourne to play Australian Open again. "I had great memories here, singles, doubles and mixed doubles. It's been a great journey. I am not looking forward to June or July, I am literally going week to week, with my body, with virus, there is so much uncertainty." "Every time I play, I feel I have a chance to win, that's why I am here."
"It is not because of disappointment of today's match. Just the way my body is. I am not sure if I can finish the season. I want to play full season, I am still (ranked) 50-60 in world, I do feel I have the level to play.
"As an athlete I feel I can go deep in tournament. But I have a bit of a meniscus issue going on my right knee, I woke up with wrist pain couple of days ago. There is nothing wrong with it. "At 35, I am waking up with couple of things that I don't know where they're coming from. I want to finish the season, try to play until US Open, that is my goal. But I still have to take it week-to-week," she said.
Talking about her first round match against Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek, Sania said the conditions were tough but they could have handled the match better tactically. "Definitely conditions were tough, very gutsy, sometimes it's not about tennis. We should have won the second set. "When the wind is blowing one side and the stadium is on the other side, the ball bounced on leave and changed directions when I was hitting the ball. It was tough conditions but when you come to Australia, you can have days like this. "On days like that, you should take a little bit more charge at net. That's where we made a mistake."
While her campaign in the women's doubles may have come to an end after the pair of Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok lost to Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek in straight sets, Mirza did show signs of greatness at the net still. Mirza will be pairing up with America's Rajeev Ram for the Mixed Doubles event at the calendar year's first Grand Slam as well.
[With inputs from PTI]