International Women’s Day is a day where we celebrate womanhood in India and one of the trailblazers in this country for athletes has to be tennis superstar Sania Mirza. She is one of the biggest athletes in this country and also a big name in the tennis circuit overall.
The Hyderabad based tennis star started her professional career way back in 2003 and has achieved several accolades over almost two decades. She has spent 91 weeks at the top rank in the Doubles category. The 34-year-old has also won six Grand Slams combining her titles in Women’s and Mixed Doubles. Recently in an interview with Financial Express, she shared anecdotes about her journey so far.
“Honestly, the goal was not to be well-known, but to achieve the goals and the dreams, working hard towards them, and playing for the love of the sport. I feel extremely grateful and humble to have achieved so much love over the years. Most definitely, being among the first women in the country to be recognised in this male-dominated arena was special, but it was not something I was aiming for. It just kind of happened. So, I don’t know about challenging, but it was surely special,” she told FE Online.
The 34-year old highlighted how being a female it was different for her than the male athletes. “Internally, I don’t think the expectations from players are different based on their gender. Everyone goes to play the sport, to give their best and to win. So, in the sense of hard work and training, the expectations are the same. Maybe the treatment is a little bit different, but that I think is a barrier and a gap which everyone is working to fill,” Sania added.
The Six time Grand Slam winner took a break from her career for two years as she gave birth to her first child in 2018 with her husband and famous cricketer Shoaib Malik. While a lot has changed ever since her return in January 2020, Sani reveals the challenge that she had after coming back to the court from a long hiatus.
“It has been quite challenging because I had to lose 23 kgs, get back into the fitness regime and become strong again to compete at the highest level. But fortunately, I had a great team around me and a great support system with me.”
Currently, Sania has paired up with Slovenian tennis player Andreja Klepač and are participating at the Dubai Tennis Championships in the Women’s Doubles category. They have already crossed the first hurdle with their 6-1,6-3 win over China-USA duo of Saisai Zheng and Shelby Rogers.