Sania Mirza retires: Bopanna, Myneni, Bhambri, Raina, Thandi on her legacy

Sania Mirza performed her final profession match alongside Madison Keys in Dubai. Picture: Instagram/indiantennisdailyofficial

Dubai: Sania Mirza performed her final match on 21 February in Dubai in a one-sided thrashing in ladies’s doubles. Partnering Madison Keys, Mirza misplaced 4-6, 0-6 to Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova. The walloping is simply a minor blip to what had been a storied profession.

One of many best tennis gamers to emerge from India and even South Asia, Mirza received six Grand Slams titles together with three doubles and three blended doubles crowns. She additionally bagged 44 WTA titles throughout a 20-year profession.

Additionally Learn | ‘Competitiveness is in my blood’: Sania Mirza

Final month on the 2023 Australian Open, she performed her final main – ending runner-up within the blended doubles competitors alongside Rohan Bopanna.

The 36-year-old has been a supply of inspiration for a lot of in Indian tennis with quite a few milestones and ‘firsts’ to her title. Notably, she holds the report for being the primary Indian girl to win a WTA title and a Grand Slam.

Firstpost spoke to Sania Mirza’s friends on what she meant for Indian tennis and the legacy she leaves behind.

Rohan Bopanna: “The best way she has impressed so many individuals across the globe, I believe that’s actually her legacy. The time when she got here to the game, she received into top-30 on the earth. She was the primary feminine participant to take action in any sport within the nation. And that was one thing else.

“She actually received lots of people impressed to begin tennis and watch tennis. I’ve a variety of implausible recollections together with her. We performed blended doubles on the Nationals in Delhi when she was 14 years previous to play Hopman Cup to play a variety of blended doubles within the Grand Slams, to play the Olympics. It’s been such a implausible journey.

“All of us be taught a lot from her in the best way she performed herself on and off the court docket. It doesn’t matter what the scenario was, she was all the time able to win, introduced that firepower and I believe that’s what makes her the champion that she is. She she has been via lots, on and off the court docket however the best way she has dealt with and managed every part, I imply it’s not been straightforward in any respect.

“Superb credit score to her for what she has executed for the game, for folks outdoors the game as nicely and you recognize, I believe hats off to her household, all people who has actually made such a huge impact for Indian tennis.”

Saketh Myneni: “I’ve identified her for like 20 years now. She’s from the identical metropolis as I’m so like I’ve identified her on-court, off-court. She’s had among the finest careers popping out of India, particularly a ladies’s tennis participant taking part in and motivated a variety of gamers to take up the game. It’s nice to see that and I hope a variety of ladies had been motivated and much more gamers come out from India that manner.

“She set the ceiling and for the following technology can see that somebody from India can do it additionally. It’s not simply the ladies however even guys get motivated to see her taking part in at this degree.

“She was within the top-30 in singles after which a Grand Slam champion in doubles so the barrier has been set. It’s not straightforward steps to fill in however it’s a giant problem after which hopefully she makes use of her information to the following technology and coming ahead it’ll be a superb section of her life. It’s a brand new change and I want her good luck.”

Yuki Bhambri: “She’s an absolute legend of Indian tennis and first hand noticed a increase of a variety of children selecting up a tennis racket particularly throughout the time when she received the WTA title in Hyderabad. I believe that was a really massive deal clearly successful on house soil and he or she motivated lots of people. It helped children take up the game and comply with their dream.

“I’ve been lucky sufficient to see her from a really younger age when she was competing. She’s been a part of the Fed Cup group with my sisters. So I’ve been capable of watch up shut when she received the gold medal on the Asian Video games in Busan alongside Saketh. She really set the ceiling very excessive for anybody else to comply with and he or she deserves all of the all of the accolades.”

Ankita Raina (throughout Wimbledon in 2021): “She has been an inspiration for me. Rising up I used to observe her, watch her matches at Wimbledon. It’s nice to be right here together with her in the identical event. I really feel honoured.

“We’ve performed Fed Cup (now Billie Jean King Cup) matches through the years collectively. I received time to coach together with her earlier than the Fed Cup group playoffs (in opposition to Latvia). I received to be taught lots, she has a lot expertise on tour, is aware of precisely what a participant goes via.

I’ve all the time mentioned that she’s fearless on the court docket and it doesn’t matter who’s on the opposite aspect. I noticed that the primary time I noticed her play within the Fed Cup and I nonetheless see that. And that’s very motivating.”

Karman Kaur Thandi: “I believe sport in India modified together with her, when she got here into the image. Loads of women took up sport, took up tennis. There’s lots, lots to be taught from her. I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to share the court docket together with her.

“She’s shared some experiences that solely a participant can share with a participant. She’s performed at that degree and when somebody like that believes in you, your recreation, it motivates you to maintain going via the proper monitor and hold bettering on the issues they see as nicely.

“For me, she has been an unimaginable sportsperson and a human being. In any case that she’s been via, we don’t must undergo it that a lot. She’s a really sturdy girl and has an excellent character. Her angle is one thing I sit up for and be taught from – on and off the court docket.

“Our recreation types are additionally related in being aggressive, the excessive threat tennis however believing in it and backing your self via all these moments. So that’s one thing I’m going to cherish. We are going to miss her on the tour however I might actually like to continue to learn from her.”

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