Sania Mirza, a very familiar name in Indian Tennis, is well known for her ground strokes. She holds the record for being the highest ranked player from India for over a decade. In her career, Mirza has notable wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Marion Bartoli; and former World No. 1s Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, and Victoria Azarenka. She came into limelight like a wildfire capturing each and every heart. Before her arrival, no Indian ever achieved the top 50 WTA ranking in individual capacity.
Sania was born on 15th November 1986 in Mumbai to the family of Imran Mirza and Naseema. Later on they shifted to Hyderabad, where the family still resides, although Sania has shifted to Pakistan after maariage. Sania started her professional career in 2003 and since then there has been no looking back.
In a country where sports means cricket, making a mark and coming to popularity by one’s own is thoroughly praiseworthy. Sania Mirza not only made a mark in Indian tennis in female arena she also won many hearts by her performances, style and looks.
Sania made her debut in the India Fed Cup held in April 2003. Here she fetched instant recognition since she won all three singles matches. She went on to win the 2003 Wimbledon Championship Girls’ Doubles title, by pairing up with Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova. Soon she became the highest ranked Indian female tennis player. In 2004, Sania Mirza emerged as the runner-up at the Asian Tennis Championship .She is the only Indian women to have reached a Grand –Slam tournament.She set a record by entering into fourth round of 2005 US Open beating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In the same year, Mirza managed to enter the third round of the Australian Open, but eventually lost to Serena Williams
Her Major Achievements till now :
· Sania Mirza became the only Indian woman in the history of the Indian Lawn Tennis, to reach and register a win in any Grand Slam (She reached the fourth round of U.S. Open)
· Only Indian tennis player(women) to have secured a WTA rankings of under 50.
· She fetched the Arjuna Award for the year 2004.
· First Indian woman to win a WTA singles title (Hyderabad Open in 2005) .
· WTA’s Most Impressive Newcomer for the year 2005
· Padma Shri Award in 2006
She also won a silver medal in the Women’s Singles event and a gold in the Mixed Doubles event with Leander Paes at the 2006 Doha Asian Games. By winning the Mixed Doubles event at the 2009 Australian Open, with Mahesh Bhupati, she emerged as the first Indian woman to win a grand slam event.
Her success and popularity was eventually dawned by her injuries and consequent bad performances in many events leading to a dip in her rankings and game-play. In the late 2009-2010 she lost many tournaments and consequently her rankings toppled.
She lost the second round of Australian Open 2009. She then lost the second round at Wimbledon 2009 . She then again lost in the second round of ABC Classic 2010. She then played the Dubai Tennis Championship and suffered first round defeat. She then competed at the 2010 US Open – Women’s Singles Qualifying where she won three straight matches. She defeated Ksenia Lykina, Elena Bovina, Catalina Castaño to qualify for the main draw. In main draw she defeated qualifier Michelle Larcher De Brito 6-3,6-2. In next round she went down to 20th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2,6-4. In December she competed at 2010 ITF event in Dubai where she was able to clinch the singles title. Starting 2011 with a defeat in ASB Classic Open. She then competed at the 2011 Australian Open – Women’s Singles Qualifying where she won three straight matches to qualify for the main draw. In the first round she went down fighting to former world no. 1 Justine Henin 5–7,6–3,6–1.
Even though her career saw lots of ups and downs still she shines bright in the Indian tennis arena. But it's crucial she keeps away from injuries, maintains her fitness and improve her game to come at par with top tennis players around the world. She has the calibre and the capabilities, only requires determined efforts with focus on fitness.
We hope that she creates history by winning a Grand Slam for India….!!
-(Contribution by Sarthak)