Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza by Andrew Campbell – Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Facts about Sania Mirza


 

Sania Mirza is an Indian professional tennis player. A former doubles world No. 1, 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 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 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. Here are the top 10 facts about Sania Mirza.

1. Mirza is one of the two Indian female tennis players to win a WTA title 

Mirza is one of the two Indian female tennis players to win a WTA title of any kind, and the only one to reach the top 100 singles rankings. She is the third Indian woman in the Open Era after Nirupama Mankad and Nirupama Sanjeev; second in singles after Sanjeev to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam tournament, and the first to advance past the second round. 

With 43 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’s 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. 

2. Mirza was named one of the “50 Heroes of Asia” by Time in October 2005

Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza by Andrew Campbell – Wikimedia Commons

Time recognizes the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest impact on news headlines over the past 12 months. She was also named in Time magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

She was appointed as the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia during the event held to mark the International Day To End Violence Against Women on 25 November 2013.

3. Sania  took up tennis at the age of six

Sania Mirza began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She was trained by her father. Mirza won 10 singles and 13 doubles titles as a junior player. She won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls’ Doubles title, partnering with Alisa Kleybanova. She also reached the semifinals of the 2003 US Open Girls’ Doubles, with Sanaa Bhambri, and the quarterfinals of the 2002 US Open girls’ doubles.

On the senior circuit, Mirza started to show early success as she made her debut in April 2001 on the ITF Circuit as a 15-year-old. Her highlights of 2001 include quarterfinals showing in Pune and a semifinal finish in New Delhi. As the 2002 season began, she turned around a season of early losses to winning three straight titles; her first in her hometown Hyderabad and the other two in Manila, Philippines. Mirza is also particularly good at cricket and swimming. 

4. Mirza won six ITF singles titles in 2004

Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza by Andrew Campbell – Wikimedia Commons

On the ITF Circuit, Mirza had a runner-up showing at the Palm Beach Gardens Challenger, where she fell to Sesil Karatantcheva. Mirza won six ITF singles titles in 2004. Going into the 2005 Australian Open, Mirza defeated Cindy Watson and Petra Mandula in the first and second rounds, respectively, to reach the third round where she was beaten in straight sets by eventual champion Serena Williams.

In February, Mirza became the first-ever Indian woman to win a WTA title, by winning her hometown event, the AP Tourism Hyderabad Open, defeating ninth-seeded Alona Bondarenko in the final. At Dubai, she upset in round two 4th seed and reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the biggest quarterfinal of her career. In the second round of the Wimbledon Championships, she lost to Kuznetsova in a tight three-setter. 

5. Mirza became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the US Open

The US Open Tennis Championships is a hardcourt tennis tournament. Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Mirza became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the US Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin, and Marion Bartoli. She however lost to top seed Maria Sharapova in the Round of 16.

6. Sania Mirza was seeded at the 2006 Australian Open 

Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza by Andrew Campbell – Wikimedia Commons

Sania was the first female Indian to be seeded in a grand slam event, only falling to Michaëlla Krajicek. Next, she fell to Camille Pin at the Bangalore Open but won the doubles title partnering with Huber. 

She played at the Dubai Tennis Championships but lost to Martina Hingis. 

At the Indian Wells Masters, she reached the third round but lost to Elena Dementieva. She also lost in the first round of the French Open Grand Slam to Anastasia Myskina.

7. Mirza had the best results of her career during the 2007 summer hardcourt season

Mirza started 2007 in strong fashion, making it to the semifinals of Hobart, the second round of the Australian Open, the semifinals in Pattaya, and the quarterfinals in Bangalore. At the French Open, Mirza lost the battle against Ana Ivanovic in the second round. 

Mirza had the best results of her career during the 2007 summer hardcourt season, finishing eighth in the 2007 US Open Series standings and reaching her highest singles ranking of world No. 27. 

8. Sania represented India at the Fed Cup in Shenzhen, China

Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza by Andrew Campbell – Wikimedia Commons

In singles, she defeated Zhang Ling. Partnering with Isha Lakhani, the pair beat Chan Wing-yau and Zhang in three sets. With this performance, India advanced to the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I for 2013. Mirza then played at the PTT Pattaya Open where she won her first WTA main draw match since the 2011 French Open coming from a set down to upset Ayumi Morita.

In the second round, she beat Anne Keothavong to enter the quarter-final, where she lost to Hsieh Su-Wei. In doubles with Australian Anastasia Rodionova, she won her 13th WTA title: they defeated the Taiwanese sisters’ Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan. 

9. Mirza is an offensive baseliner with a very powerful groundstroke 

Mirza is known for setting up good attacks with the sheer velocity of her groundstrokes. Her main strength is her forehand, as well as her volleying skills. Her power game has drawn comparisons to Romanian legend Ilie Năstase.

She is also a great returner of serve finding many return winners during matches. Mirza goes for winners, which means she goes for many angles. Mirza’s second serve and relatively poor mobility are often quoted as her big weaknesses. But by 2012, a series of injuries had effectively ended her singles career.

10. The government of Telangana appointed Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of the state

Telangana is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao congratulated Sania Mirza on her being awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

In the year 2014, the government of Telangana appointed Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of the state.