Sania Mirza, is one of the leading tennis player in India as well as in the world. A former world No. 1 in the doubles discipline, she has won six Grand slam titles in her career. From 2003 to her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the WTA as India’s No. 1 player in both categories in doubles as well as singles.

She is the third Indian woman in the Open Era to feature and win a round at a Grand slam tournament. Mirza has established herself as one of the most successful female tennis player and one of the highest paid and high-profile athletes in the country.

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. 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’. Apart from tennis, Mirza is also particularly good at cricket and swimming.

Career Overview

 

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 surpassing $1 million in career earnings (in the end over $6.9 million), winning a singles WTA title, and winning a Grand Slam title (eventually, 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.

Mirza is one of the two Indian female tennis players to win a WTA title of any kind, and the only to reach the top 100 singles rankings. 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 advance past the second round. With 42 crowns, Mirza has won more WTA doubles titles on the tour than any other active player.

 

In addition, she has spent 91 weeks as the world No. 1 in doubles. In 2005, Mirza was crowned the WTA Newcomer of the year, and in 2015 she and Martina Hingis were the doubles team of the year, and later had a 44-match winning streak, one of the longest in history. 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.

                                                                  Singles
Career record 271–161 (62.7%)
Career titles 1
Highest ranking No. 27 (27 August 2007)

 

Sania has a win strike of 62,7% in singles. She played first events of career on ITF Circuit in India 2001. In 2002 she won three single titles on ITF circuit. In 2005, became the first Indian woman to win a singles WTA Tour title, picking up the crown at her hometown event in Hyderabad. Sania’s highest ranking in singles is 27th

 

                                                Doubles
Career record 500–220 (69.4%)
Career titles 42
Highest ranking No. 1 (13 April 2015)
Current ranking No. 160 (28 Jun 2021)

 

Sania has a win percentage of 69.4% in doubles. However, a major wrist injury forced her to give up her singles career and focus on the doubles circuit. She has won many titles in doubles as compared to singles.

                                                        Grand slam doubles
Event Result Partner
Australia open Won (2016) Elena Vesnina
French open Loss (2011) Martina Hingis
Wimbledon Won (2015) Martina Hingis
US open Won (2015) Martina Hingis

 

Mirza has won 3 grand slam titles in women doubles paring with Elena Vesnina and Martina Hingis. She eventually won 2 grand slam titles in doubles within a same year in 2015 with Martina.

                                                       Grand slam mixed doubles
Event Result Partner
Australia open Won (2009) Mahesh Bhupathi
French open Won (2012) Mahesh Bhupathi
Wimbledon QF (2011-13-15)
US open Won (2014) Bruno Sores

 

She eventually won 3 titles in mixed doubles in 2009 and 2012 paring with fellow native Mahesh Bhupathi and won US open in 2014 with Bruno.

She has won six Grand Slam titles in her career. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as India’s No. 1 player. She is semi-finalist in Olympics 2016 in mixed doubles.

Awards and Recognition
  • Tennis player Sania Mirza became the first Indian to win the Fed Cup Heart Award for her successful return to the court post motherhood. Sania won the award for Asia/Oceania zone after securing a whopping 10,000 plus votes out of the total 16,985 cast for this year’s three regional Group I nominees.
  • She won arjun award in year 2004
  • WTA Newcomer of the Year (2005), WTA Awards are given by the Women’s Tennis Association to players for achievements during the season or their career.
  • Mirza won Padma Shri in 2006,which is the fourth-highest civilian award in the Republic of India.
  • She eventually won Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2015.
  • She was named in BBC list of 100 inspiring women (2015)
  • She was awarded with Padma Bhushan and NRI of the Year in 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 She was named in the Time magazine’s 2016 list of 100 most influential people in the world.
  • 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”.
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 ceremony at the Taj Krishna Hotel in Hyderabad. According to Google Trends, the online attention the wedding received made Mirza the most-searched woman tennis player and Indian sportsperson in 2010.

The couple announced their first pregnancy on social media on 23 April 2018. In October 2018, Shoaib Malik announced on Twitter that Mirza had delivered a baby boy and named him Izhaan Mirza Malik.

Social contribution

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.

When it comes to women’s empowerment in India, sports can be a great source of inspiration. We have had some big female names in different sporting disciplines. In this respect, Sania battled religious conservatives and also her identity as a Muslim girl to get where she is. Thanks to the support from her family, she went on to do well on the tennis court, won several Grand Slams as a double’s player. The child prodigy inspired several girls to dare to dream to take up the sport. She has shut down patriarchy several times and that is what makes her a champion for women.