Srinagar, January 19: Indian Tennis Superstar Sania Mirza has said that she would be hanging her boots at the end of the year 2022.
Sania said this after her first-round exit in the women’s doubles at the Australian Open.
Mirza, 35, and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok went down 4-6, 6-7 against Tamara Zidansek and Kaja Juvan in one hour and 37 minutes under challenging conditions in Australia.
“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 said after the contest on Court 5 at Melbourne Park.
“Also for me to find that motivation everyday to come out. The energy is not the same anymore. There are more days than there used to be where I don’t feel like doing that. I’ve always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process which I’m not sure I’m enjoying as much anymore.”
Sania added that she had made the decision by the end of the year in 2021.
“I was very sure that this was going to be my last season when I started the year or even in December. Just the way my body is playing, I don’t think I can finish the season. I want to play the full season, I’m still 50-60 in the world, I played nine tournaments last year. I do think I have the level to play, it’s not about that. As an athlete, I think I can go deep into tournaments,” she said.
Sania is a former World No. 1 in doubles and also attained a career-best ranking of 27 in singles.
The first Indian to win a Grand Slam, Sania last won a major in women’s doubles at the Australian Open 2016 with Martina Hingis – with whom she formed one of the most formidable doubles pairs in women’s tennis.