Former Wimbledon doubles champion Sania Mirza, one of India’s most famous sports stars, has declared she would retire from tennis after 2022.
Mirza’s comments came following her first-round loss in the women’s doubles in the Australian Open, sources stated. “I’ve decided that this will be my last season. I’m taking it week by week. Not sure if I can last the season, but I want to,” she told reporters.
Mirza, 35, became the first Indian to win a WTA singles title in 2005. But injuries soon forced her to concentrate on doubles. In 2015, she won at Wimbledon with Swiss star Martina Hingis, then won the US and Australian Open.
She came near to capturing an Olympics medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics when she and Rohan Bopanna played the semi-finals against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram but finally lost. Mirza and Martina Hingis won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2015.
She has also won two Grand Slam championships with partner Mahesh Bhupathi – the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title and the French Open 2012 mixed doubles.
Mirza started playing tennis as a youngster during the summer holidays, but took it up seriously once she began winning adult events. She picked up her first senior championship, aged 15, in the 2002 Asian Games.
She debuted the WTA Tour in 2003 and eventually attained a career-high singles ranking of 27 in the world, still the highest by an Indian woman.
Mirza has drawn plenty of attention for her life beyond tennis – particularly for her marriage to former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik. The three-year-old boy is the only child of the couple.
After two-year maternity leave, she returned to competitive tennis in 2019.
Almost 25 million people follow Mirza on social media, making her one of India’s most popular sportswomen.
In a cricket-obsessed culture, she has been credited for motivating young ladies to take up tennis.
She has made news for her aggressive answers to being harassed on topics ranging from her spouse to her fashion choices.