In a recent interview, former world No. 1 Sania Mirza confirmed her plans to retire at the WTA 1000 event in Dubai next month. Mirza initially planned to hang up her racket after the 2022 season, but after being sidelined by injury problems in the second half of the year, she decided to postpone the decision.
The 36-year-old will play in women’s doubles at the Australian Open this month alongside Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan, her last appearance at a Grand Slam event after missing the US Open last year due to an elbow injury.
Other fitness issues have also plagued her in the recent past – including a persistent calf problem – but she’s adamant about being able to say goodbye to competitive field play. “Honestly, being the person I am, I like to do things on my own terms. So I don’t want to be forced out with an injury. So I trained,” she told wtatennis.com.
Her father, Imran, told this newspaper last year, after her last appearance at Wimbledon, where she narrowly missed out on the mixed doubles final, that dropping out of the WTA Finals – competing against the best in the world – was a fitting way to win a end her career. career. However, injuries messed up that plan.
Mirza was one of the shining lights of Indian tennis in a generation that had not seen much success outside the doubles circuit. Before winning six Grand Slams and becoming the world No. 1 in doubles, she also had a remarkable career in singles, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 27 in the world rankings. She remains the last Indian to finish the second week of a major, reaching the fourth round of the 2005 US Open.
At 36 years old, after suffering several serious injury problems, Mirza’s priorities have changed. “I really don’t have the capacity in my head anymore to push so much emotionally. I turned pro in 2003,” she told the WTA. “Priorities change, and now my priority isn’t to push my body to the limit every day.”
After retirement, Mirza plans to focus on her academies in Dubai, the city where she has been living for more than ten years, in addition to the education she started in Hyderabad. “For me it is important to share my experience in the places where I live, that’s why I have one in Hyderabad and one in Dubai,” she said.
Her last professional event, the Dubai Tennis Championships, starts on February 19.