Thank you for the memories, @MirzaSania ❤️ The two-time #AusOpen doubles champion has played her final match in M… https://t.co/YZHAvhZC7M
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1643089988000
Sania had earlier crashed out of the women’s doubles draw and had at that time announced that 2022 will be her last season on tour and that her aim is to try and finish the season, but that as of now she is taking it one tournament at a time.
Aus Open 2009 was the first time I started watching tennis regularly mainly due to Sania Mirza’s exploits that year… https://t.co/E5rlgVqOsq
— MarcusGreenwood (@pseudorandom0) 1643090565000
Thank you @MirzaSania for the all the amazing sporting memoriesWe wish India’s woman tennis 🎾 legend #Sania the… https://t.co/UzUCWM5unG
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) 1643104303000
Over the years, Sania Mirza has been an absolute champion, a trailblazer and a pioneer for Indian women’s tennis. A six time Grand Slam champion, the 35 year old Sania has now realised that it’s getting harder and harder for her to compete at the level that she is used to – the highest. That coupled with the pandemic and the fact that she has a young child has made her realise that the time to hang up the racquet and bid adieu to the grueling schedule that is life on the tennis tour is fast approaching.
But for those who know Sania well, the next phase of her life is something they are looking forward to as well. Like her compatriot and friend Somdev Devvarman, a former India number one tennis player.
Somdev Devvarman. (TOI Photo)
Somdev, who won two Asian Games gold medals for India and is a recipient of the Arjuna award and the Padma Shri was a guest on Times of India’s sports podcast Sportscast recently, after Sania made that announcement, and talked about Sania’s incredible career and how she put Indian womens tennis on the world map, among other things like the Novak Djokovic Australian Open visa controversy and the favourites to win the Men’s singles title at the year’s first Grand Slam this time.
“It’s been an incredible career really. Honestly not overtly surprised by this decision, it was around the corner, you just didn’t know when. If you have followed Sania’s career, she has been a phenomenal player. World Number 1, winning Grand Slams, even in singles, the things that she did. When you have a career like that, when you have goals like the one she did, staying around on the tour and just participating in Grand Slams is probably not the most interesting thing, especially once you have a family, once you have a child and travelling is hard. And also as a tennis player one of the things that you need to do and is required is to be brutally honest with yourself about where you stand and how much better are you getting and if you are not getting better and becoming stagnant then the game is going past you. Now you mix that with the injuries. She has had knee problems, wrist problems and it doesn’t get easier with age, that I can tell you.” Somdev said on TOI Sportscast.
Being a professional athlete also means knowing when to call time on your career and Somdev, who is now a tennis expert on TV, echoed that sentiment, while saying that he is sure that Sania will have plans for the next phase of her life.
“You are used to training a certain way as a tennis player and when you know you can’t train the way you like to, then when you are not performing up to the mark, it becomes very clear that listen – if I can’t train this way then I can’t perform this way and if I can’t train and perform (like I would want to) then what am I doing out here. That’s the hard bit about being a professional athlete – at some point you have to call it and to be young – 35 for Sania. I couldn’t have seen her continue to compete by barely being there at tournaments, losing in first or second rounds – it’s not the kind of mentality she has. But, it is a bombshell (Sania saying this is her last season on tour) in a sense. But that being said I am excited about the next phase of her life. If you know Sania you know she is ambitious and I am sure she has a few things she is interested in and I am very interested in seeing what direction she moves in. I do expect to see her back in action in some way, shape or form and I am excited about that because Sania is a very driven person, she wants to succeed, so it’s always going to be interesting to see what the next stage of her life brings.” Somdev further said on TOI Sportscast.
You can listen to the full episode of Sportscast with Somdev Devvarman here: