(Last Updated on : 26/03/2016)
Sania Mirza is a professional Indian tennis player
who has seen tremendous success in the sport, prominently in the Womens Doubles category in which she is currently ranked World No. 1, along with Martina Hingis. She was ranked by the Women's Tennis Association as India's No. 1 player both in singles and doubles. She is the highest ranked female player ever from India, peaking at world no. 27 in singles in mid 2007, with her most notable wins including victories over world no. 1s like Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina and Victoria Azarenka. Sania Mirza has been most recently conferred the Padma Bhushan
, Indias third highest civilian honour
by the Government of India
in 2016, in the field of Sports -Tennis.
Early Life of Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza was born on November 15, 1986, in Mumbai
to Imran Mirza, a builder, and his wife Naseema, who worked in a printing business. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Hyderabad
. Sania took up tennis at the age of 6 and has been coached by her father and Roger Anderson. She attended Nasr School in Hyderabad and later graduated from St. Mary's College. She is also a very good swimmer.
Career of Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza started playing tennis professionally in 2003. She won 10 singles and 13 doubles titles as a junior player. She won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title, reached the semi finals of the 2003 US Open Girls' Doubles and the quarterfinals of the 2002 US Open Girls' Doubles. In April 2001, Sania made her debut on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) circuit as a 15-year-old. In 2002, she turned around a season of early losses to winning three consecutive titles, one in her hometown Hyderabad and two in Manila, Philippines. In February 2003, she got a wildcard entry into playing her first ever Womens Tennis Association (WTA) tournament, the AP Tourism Hyderabad Open in her hometown, where she lost the tough first round encounter to Australia's Evie Dominikovic 6-2, 1-6, 2-6. Later in the year, she represented India in the Fed Cup, winning three straight matches. She helped India win a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event at the 2002 Asian Games, partnering Leander Paes
. She also secured 4 gold medals at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad. In 2004, Sania put up a good fight at the 2004 AP Tourism Hyderabad Open, against the fourth seed and eventual champion Nicole Pratt in round one, but lost 6-4, 3-6, 2-6. She won her first WTA Doubles title at the same event, partnering Liezel Huber. Sania won 6 ITF Singles titles in 2004 and going into the 2005 Australian Open, she defeated Cindy Watson and Petra Mandula in the first and second rounds respectively, to reach the third round where she lost in straight sets to eventual champion Serena Williams.
In February, she became the first ever Indian woman to win a WTA title, at her hometown event the 2005 AP Tourism Hyderabad Open, defeating ninth seeded Alona Bondarenko in the final 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Mirza became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament, at the 2005 US Open where she lost to top seed Maria Sharapova in the last 16. With a successful 2005 season, Sania was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year.
Sania was seeded at the 2006 Australian Open, becoming the first female Indian to be so in a grand slam event. In December 2006, she picked up three medals at the Doha Asian Games - Gold in mixed doubles along with Leander Paes and Silver in women's singles and team. Her careers best results during the summer hard court season of 2007 made her reach her highest singles ranking of World No. 27. Sania won 4 Doubles titles in 2007 and reached the third round at the 2008 Australian Open as 31st seed, losing to 8th seed Venus Williams 7-6(0), 6-4, having led 5-3 in the first set. She was runner-up in the Australian Open Mixed Doubles, partnering Mahesh Bhupathi
. At the Wimbledon Championships 2008, no. 32 seed Sania was beaten in the second round by qualifier María José Martínez Sánchez 6-0, 4-6, 9-7, having had several match points.
Sania represented India at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing
. She was eliminated from singles when she retired in her match against Iveta Benesova because of a right wrist injury. Throughout the year, she was plagued with a slew of wrist injuries making her withdraw from several matches, including the 2008 French Open and US Open. At the 2009 Australian Open, Sania picked up her first Grand Slam title in Mixed Doubles at the 2009 Australian Open, partnering Mahesh Bhupathi and beating Nathalie Dechy & Andy Ram 6-3, 6-1 in the final. In 2010, Mirza struggled her way losing continuous matches and with her right wrist injury. She represented India at the 2010 Commonwealth Games
as the 2nd seed, losing to Australia's Anastasia Rodionova in the final and the 2010 Asian Games, where she won the Bronze medal in singles defeated by 3rd seed Akgul Amanmuradova 7-6(7), 3-6, 4-6 in the semi final and in Mixed Doubles, partnering with India's Vishnu Vardhan
, she lost in the finals winning the Silver.
In 2011, Sania won two Doubles titles with Russian Elena Vesnina, totalling to 11 WTA Tour Doubles titles. In 2011 French Open, she cruised up to the final in doubles, ending runner up with Vesnina. She reached her 3rd Grand Slam semi final in the 2012 Australian Open, in doubles alongside Vesnina and her 4th in mixed doubles alongside Mahesh Bhupathi. She and Bhupathi clinched the Mixed Doubles title at the 2012 French Open. Sania and Bethanie Mattek-Sands advanced to the third round of women's doubles at the 2012 Wimbledon, where they fell to the Williams sisters. She kicked off her 2013 season winning the Brisbane title with Mattek-Sands. Later in the year she partnered with different players winning 5 WTA titles throughout. Mirza with Bruno Soares became the 2014 US Open Mixed Doubles Champions, thereby winning her third Mixed Doubles grand slam. She later participated in International Tennis Premier League 2014 and helped the Indian Aces win the inaugural edition.
Sania began her 2015 season ranked no. 6 in doubles and shortly re-entered top 5. She paired up with Swiss legend Martina Hingis and they won the title at their debut at Indian Wells. The duo didnt lose more than 4 games in a set. They won the 2015 Miami Open title, not losing a single set. Mirza and Hingis won 2015 Family Circle Cup's double title in April 2015, defeating Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0, 6-4. With this win, Mirza became the first Indian to be ranked World No. 1 in WTA's doubles rankings. It was the pairs third successive title win. The duo won the 2015 Wimbledon Doubles, defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6(7-4), 7-5 in the final. The win gave Mirza her first Grand Slam title in Women's Doubles and Hingis her tenth. At the 2015 US Open, the top-seeded pair lifted the title, beating Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 6-3 in the finals. Their undefeated run continued through the rest of the year and they entered the 2015 WTA Finals as heavy favourites. This was Sania's second straight title at the WTA Finals and she remains undefeated at the year ending tournament. The pair ended the year with a 22 match winning streak and Sania secured the year ending No. 1 ranking, wrapping up with 10 WTA Titles including 2 Grand Slams. They kicked off their 2016 WTA tour in Australia winning tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. In the 2016 Australian Open, the top seeded duo won the Doubles title, bringing Mirza her third Grand Slam title in Doubles. The pair also lifted the inaugural St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy, completed a 41-match winning streak. Sania, thus far, has won 6 Grand Slams, 3 in Womens Doubles and 3 in Mixed Doubles.
Personal Life of Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik on April 12, 2010 in Hyderabad. In 2014, the government of Telangana
appointed Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of the state. Sania has established a tennis academy in Hyderabad. She was announced as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia, being the first South Asian Woman to be appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in UN's history.
Awards and Achievements of Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza in her successful career has been conferred the given honours.
Arjuna Award in 2004 by the Government of India
WTA Newcomer of the Year 2005
Padma Shri in 2006 by the Government of India
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2015 by the Government of India
Padma Bhushan in 2016 by the Government of India