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Sania Mirza Announces Retirement Plan; 2022 Will be Her Final Season

Sania Mirza made the announcement post her defeat in the women's doubles in Australian Open.

Updated
Tennis
3 min read
Sania Mirza Announces Retirement Plan; 2022 Will be Her Final Season
i

One of India’s most celebrated and accomplished tennis players, Sania Mirza has said that the ongoing season will be her last. The 35-year-old made the announcement after her first round exit from the women's doubles draw at the Australian Open.

Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok lost 4-6, 6-7(5) to the Slovenian team of Tamara Zidansek and Kaja Juvan in one hour and 37 minutes.

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"There's a few 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'm putting my three-year-old son at risk by travelling so much with him, that's something I have to take into account. I think 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," Sania told broadcasters after the match at Melbourne Park.

"Also for me to find that motivation everyday to come out. The energy is not the same anymore. There are more days than there used to be where I don't feel like doing that. I've always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process which I'm not sure I'm enjoying as much anymore," she added.

"Having said that, I still want to play the season because I'm enjoying it enough to play the year. I've worked very hard to come back, get fit, lose the 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."

Sania made her debut in 2003 and has been a former World Number 1 in women’s doubles. She has also won 6 Grand Slam titles, three in women’s doubles and as many more in the mixed doubles. Her highest singles ranking was 27 in 2007.

The veteran Indian ace also said that she had made up her mind at the end of 2021 and is playing her 14th Australian Open in her 19th year as a professional tennis player.

Mirza, the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam, has won Majors in doubles along with medals at Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. Her last Slam came at the 2016 Australian Open with Martina Hingis.

"I was very sure that this was going to be my last season when I started the year or even in December. Just the way my body is playing, I don't think I can finish the season. I want to play the full season, I'm still 50-60 in the world, I played nine tournaments last year. I do think I have the level to play, it's not about that. As an athlete, I think I can go deep into tournaments."

"I have a bit of a meniscus issue going on my right knee, woke up with wrist pain couple of days ago. 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, to at least play until US Open, that is my goal. But I still have to take it week-to-week," she stated.

Sania is still in the mix for glory at the Australian Open where she will team up with Rajeev Ram from USA.

The Indian has not played on the WTA tour as regularly in the last few years, first due to her maternity break in 2018 and then due to the pandemic right after her comeback in 2020. Her last title came in September 2021, when she won her 43rd doubles trophy at the Ostrava Open with Shuai Zhang.

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