Tennis is a far more global sport today than at any other stage in the game’s history but there are still large parts of the world where the sport has not yet managed to extend its reach. Both the ATP and WTA tours have been trying to get a foothold in Asia by increasing the number of tour stops on the continent and have had some success, shown by the increasing number of players from China, Chinese Taipei and South East Asia in general. One area in which the game hasn’t taken hold however, is on the Asian subcontinent, with massive countries like Pakistan and India showing little interest in taking tennis to their hearts. If this is likely to change any time soon, then tennis is hugely reliant on Sania Mirza and those involved with the game will be delighted to hear of her determination to win more tournaments and more Grand Slams before her career comes to an end.
Sania Mirza was born in Mumbai on the 15th November 1986 and first started to play tennis at the age of six under the watchful eye of her father Imran who, now along with Roger Anderson, continues to coach his daughter through her tennis career. After turning pro in 2003 the Indian player broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time in 2005 thanks largely to her maiden WTA singles title at Hyderabad. Mirza went from strength to strength in her early career and reached a singles rankings high of number 27 in 2007, which made Mirza the highest ranked woman ever from her country.
After 2007 however, Mirza began to struggle intermittently with both injuries and form but has found doubles play to be more suited to her game and her fitness in more recent years. The Indian player teamed up with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi to reach the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open in 2008, before the pairing went one better by claiming the title in Melbourne the following year. Mirza then went on to reach a women’s doubles final with Vesnina on the clay of the 2011 French Open before teaming up with Bhupathi again in 2012 in a victorious Roland Garros mixed doubles campaign.
So it is these Grand Slam mixed doubles titles that Mirza now claims to want to add to before she hangs up her racquet for good, but she will have to find a way to combat her increasing injury woes. Mirza herself admits that at the age of 26 it takes her longer to recover from injury than it ever has before and this is particular notable in her case due to her long standing struggle with her extra-lax joints which make the Indian player particularly susceptible to joint injuries. These fitness struggles have seen Mirza undergo three separate surgeries through her career but she claims that ‘right now, touchwood, I am away from these injuries’ and it is this new found fitness that fuels Mirza’s desire to add to her two Grand Slam victories.
In recent months, Mirza has teamed up with Romanian Horia Tecau, who currently sits as the 16th ranked man in the doubles list and this partnership reached the last eight at Wimbledon this year where they lost out to the eventual winners. The next target for Mirza and her new partner is next month’s US Open on the Indian’s favoured hard court surface and whether she can achieve her aim of grabbing another Grand Slam or not, a good run of form for Mirza can only be good for the game of tennis as a whole.