Inspiring Indian women’s tennis player Sania Mirza will retire after Dubai Duty-Free Championships next month.
After inspiring a generation of Indian women – tennis players or otherwise – Sania Mirza will call time on her impressive career next month in Dubai, which has been her home for more than a decade now.
The former World No. 1 doubles player told the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) website that she plans to retire from professional tennis at next month’s Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships.
“The plan is to try and retire in Dubai during the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships,” she told wtatennis.com. The Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event, begins on February 19.
A six-time major champion – three in doubles and three in mixed doubles – Mirza is scheduled to join hands with Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina in this month’s Australian Open.
The 36-year-old originally planned to retire at the end of last season. However, an elbow injury ruled her out of the US Open and forced her to end 2022 in August.
“I was going to stop right after the WTA Finals because we were going to make the WTA Finals, but I tore my tendon in my elbow right before the US Open, so I had to pull out of everything,” Mirza said.
“And honestly, the person that I am, I like to do things on my terms. So, I don’t want to be forced out by injury. So I’ve been training,” she added.
Post-retirement, Mirza plans to focus on her recently launched tennis academy in Dubai. The academy currently has three locations, and Mirza intends to expand its operations.
“I feel like why don’t we have players coming out of the UAE when you have money, you have the infrastructure, you have everything, but you don’t have the players?” she said.
“There’s a problem somewhere, so we’ve got to tap on the problem, whatever it may be, and try to be part of a solution,” said the mother of a four-year-old boy. Mirza is married to former Pakistan cricket skipper Shoaib Malik.
“For me, it’s important to share my experience in the places that I live in, that’s why I have one in Hyderabad (since 2013) and one in Dubai,” she said.
Regarded as India’s greatest women’s tennis player, Mirza became the first Indian to win a WTA singles title, when she won her hometown event in Hyderabad in 2005. She broke into the top 30 by 2007 and reached her career-high ranking of world number 27.
Mirza’s first Major title came in 2009, when she partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi to clinch the Australian Open mixed doubles title. The partnership with Bhupathi also saw her win her second title – the French Open mixed doubles, in 2012.
Her third mixed doubles title was at the 2014 US Open, where she partnered with Brazilian Bruno Soares.
In 2015, Mirza joined hands with Swiss legend Martina Hingis to win three back-to-back Grand Slam doubles titles.