The Huddle 2019: Day 1

Sania Mirza: The comeback kid

Serving an ace: Sania Mirza speaks on tennis, motherhood and life lessons.  

Sania Mirza’s has always been a tightrope walk, be it in her playing style or outside the four corners of a tennis court. There is seldom a safety net.

In conversation with Veena Venugopal, Associate Editor, The Hindu and Editor, Briefcase, she was at her free-flowing best. Quite aptly, the 32-year-old, had the line of the session too.

“You were the original victim of being trolled and now with social media the rest of us [journalists] are at the receiving end,” she was told. “How does it feel,” came the pat answer, accompanied by a smile.

Early recognition

Things, though, weren’t as easy when she started. “When I won junior Wimbledon, I heard things like the ‘overnight star’,” she recollected. “That is something a lot of athletes are told when they first come into recognition.”

“I started tennis when I was six. Wimbledon came when I was 16. It was 10 years of struggle, but something nobody sees. People used to make fun of me saying, ‘What, are you going to become Martina Hingis’ and it is ironic that I achieved so much with Martina Hingis,” recalled Sania.

The doubles parternship with the Swiss ace, which carried the duo to the top of world rankings, was the most satisfying achievement of her career, Sania said.

“Everybody wants to be the best they can be. If you are privileged enough to be the best in the world then you are really, really special. It just felt like it was so complete. There was a movie reel playing in my head at that moment, my whole life until then in fast forward.”

No emptiness

The achievement led to no feeling of emptiness in her. “I wanted to win more. We sports people are very greedy. The moment we lose that, we should stop. I got to No.1, I wanted to stay at No.1. When I won one [Grand] Slam, I wanted to win another. So that’s the way you reset the goals.”

It is this drive which is making her contemplate a comeback by the end of the year following the birth of her son. “I would die.. it would kill me if I didn’t not try. How can I not? Tennis is my life. It has given me everything and I feel it is still not over,” she said.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 8:10:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/sania-mirza-the-comeback-kid/article26225796.ece

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