To win medals for country has been my biggest honour: Sania

Sania Mirza, who is competing in her final Grand Slam at the Australian Open where she bagged the women’s doubles crown in 2016, penned an emotional note for her fans on social media.

Sania, 36, will call time on her career after next month’s Dubai Tennis Championships. She has won six Grand Slam doubles titles.

“Thirty (yes, 30!) years ago a 6 year old girl from Nasr School in Hyderabad, walked on to a tennis court at Nizam Club with her young mom and fought the coach to let her learn how to play tennis as he thought that she was too little :). The fight for our dreams began at 6! With a lot of hope despite all the odds stacked against us, we dared to dream of playing in a Grand Slam some day and of representing our country with honour at the highest level in sport. As I look back at my career now, not only did I get to play well over half a century of Grand Slam tournaments but I was fortunate enough to win a bunch of them, too, with God’s grace,” India’s tennis great said on Twitter.

Sania is the first Indian to win a WTA singles title, when she won her hometown Hyderabad event in 2005. She broke into the top 30 by 2007 and reached her career-high ranking of world number 27. She had initially planned to retire at the end of the 2022 season but an elbow injury in August last year ruled her out of the US Open.

“To win medals for my country has been my biggest honour and I feel truly humbled to have been able to stand up on the podium, knowing that the tri-color had been raised high to be seen and respected by millions all over the world all because of something that I was privileged enough to achieve. I have tears in my eyes and goosebumps even as I type this,” she said.

Sania will compete alongside Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina at the Australian Open, which begins on January 16, before bidding farewell to the sport in the United Arab Emirates

“None of this would have been possible without the support of my parents and sister, my family, my coaches, my physios, my trainers, my fans, my supporters, my partners and my entire team that has stood by me through thick and thin over the years. I want to thank each one of them for the contribution, the laughs, the tears, the pain and the joy we have shared. It’s all of you, who have helped me through the toughest phases of my life and helped this little girl from Hyderabad to not only dare to dream but to achieve those dreams, as well. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.”   

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