Indian tennis star Sania Mirza confirmed her retirement plans following a first-round exit in women’s doubles at the Australian Open.
“I’ve decided 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,” Mirza said during the post-match press conference.
Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia defeated Mirza and Kichenok 6-4, 7-6 in the opening round to march ahead in the ongoing Grand Slam.
Mirza made her senior debut in 2003 and holds the record for the highest-ranked women’s singles player from India (no.27). She had retired from singles in 2013 and registered notable victories against renowned players like Martina Hingis, Victoria Azarenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina, among others during her 10-year career.
While injury issues shortened her singles stint, Mirza specialised in doubles and went on to secure wins in Wimbledon and US Open (both in 2015), as well as the Australian Open (2016) in women’s doubles alongside Hingis. She also won three mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, making her one of the most decorated players in Indian tennis history.
“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 3-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,” Mirza further said in the press conference as he confirmed her decision to retire.
A former world no.1 in doubles, Mirza is also one of the only two women tennis players from India to win a WTA title.