Sania Mirza, Indian Tennis Player. Former World No. 1

Sania Mirza, (born 15 November 1986) is an Indian professional tennis player. A former world No. 1 in the doubles discipline, she has won six Grand Slam titles in her career. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the WTA as India’s No. 1 player in both the categories. Throughout her career, Mirza has established herself as by far the most successful Indian women’s tennis player ever and one of the highest-paid and most high-profile athletes in the country.

In her singles career, Mirza had notable wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, and Marion Bartoli, as well as former world No. 1s Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, and Victoria Azarenka. She is the highest-ranked female player ever from India, peaking at world No. 27 in mid-2007. However, a major wrist injury forced her to give up her singles career and focus on the doubles circuit. She has achieved a number of firsts for women’s tennis in her native country, including winning a singles WTA title, and winning six major titles (three each in women’s doubles and in mixed doubles), as well as qualifying for (and eventually winning) the WTA Finals in 2014 alongside Cara Black, defending the title the following year partnering with Martina Hingis.

In addition, she is the third Indian woman in the Open Era to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam tournament, and the first to reach the second week. She has also won a total of 14 medals (including 6 gold) at three major multi-sport events, namely the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Afro-Asian Games.

Mirza was named one of the “50 Heroes of Asia” by Time in October 2005. In March 2010, The Economic Times named Mirza in the list of the “33 women who made India proud”. She was appointed as the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia during the event held to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Women on 25 November 2013. She was named in Time magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Early life

Sania Mirza was born on 15 November 1986 in Mumbai to Hyderabadi Muslim parents Imran Mirza, a sports journalist, and his wife Naseema, who worked in a printing business. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Hyderabad where she and younger sister Anam were raised in a religious Sunni Muslim family. She is the distant relative of former cricket captains Ghulam Ahmed of India, and Asif Iqbal of Pakistan.[13] She took up tennis at the age of six. She has been coached by her father and also Roger Anderson.

She attended Nasr School in Hyderabad. Sania in a recent interview credited her school for giving her the freedom to pursue her dream. She called Nasr ‘a home she misses’. A prestigious girls day school, she recalled the faces of joy whenever she walked into Nasr after a tournament, regardless of its result. This boosted her morale and determination, she said. She later graduated from St. Mary’s College. Mirza also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai on 11 December 2008.[14] Apart from tennis, Mirza is particularly good at cricket and swimming.

Tennis career

2001–2003: Success on the Junior ITF circuit

2004–2005: Success in WTA Tour and Grand Slam tournaments

2006–2007: Top 30 breakthrough

2008–2009: Grand Slam mixed-doubles championship

2010–2012: Injury, struggles & doubles specialization

2013–2014: Top 5 doubles breakthrough

2015–2016: Rise to world No. 1 and women’s doubles major titles

2017–2019: Split with Hingis, maternity leave

2020–present: Winning return

Awards and recognition

• Arjuna Award (2004)

• WTA Newcomer of the Year (2005)

• Padma Shri (2006)

• Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2015)

• BBC list of 100 inspiring women (2015)

• Padma Bhushan (2016)

• NRI of the Year (2016)

In the year 2014, the government of Telangana appointed Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of the state. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao congratulated Sania Mirza on her being awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award She was named in the Time magazine’s 2016 list of 100 most influential people in the world.

Personal life

In 2009, Sania Mirza became engaged to childhood friend Sohrab Mirza. However, the wedding was called off shortly after. On 12 April 2010, she married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in a traditional Hyderabadi Muslim wedding

Social contribution

Currently, Mirza is the brand ambassador for the Indian state of Telangana.

Mirza has established a tennis academy in Hyderabad. Former world No. 1s and multiple Grand Slam winners Cara Black and Martina Navratilova have both visited the academy on different occasions.

Sania Mirza was announced the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia. She is the first South Asian woman to be appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in the organization’s history.

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