Hyderabad: Sania Mirza, one of India’s most celebrated athletes and former doubles World No.1, received an outpouring of tributes after announcing her retirement from professional tennis at the age of 36. Mirza played her final match in Dubai on Tuesday alongside her American women’s doubles partner, Madison Keys, where they suffered a first-round defeat in the Dubai Tennis Championships 2023 to Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova with a score of 4-6, 0-6.
Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania Mirza’s mixed doubles partner with whom she won her first Grand Slam in 2009 (Australian Open), and former Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami were among those who shared their reactions on social media to the retirement of the Indian tennis icon.
— Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) February 21, 2023
End of an era!
Today #IndianTennis bids it’s goodbye to the icon who became a role model and inspiration for millions ??
— Jhulan Goswami (@JhulanG10) February 21, 2023
Sania Mirza – An island of hope in a sea of mediocrity …❤️??
A story of hard work, grit, determination & dedication finally comes to an end. From an emerging Tennis star to one of India's national sports icons, thank you for all the memories & love…?#The_Queen_Retires pic.twitter.com/T9OWIgeiUD
— All India Tennis Association (@AITA__Tennis) February 21, 2023
“All India Tennis Association tweeted, calling Sania Mirza ‘an island of hope in a sea of mediocrity’, and stating that her story of hard work, grit, determination, and dedication has finally come to an end. From an emerging tennis star to one of India’s national sports icons, thank you for all the memories and love,” while the Women’s Tennis Association congratulated the former doubles World No.1 and six-time major champion on her fantastic career. Former India cricketer Rudra Pratap Singh also expressed his admiration for Mirza, writing, “You are one of the finest athletes of this generation and have set a great benchmark so high with your extraordinary performances. Happiest retirement to you!”
Mirza, who has won 44 WTA titles in her career, including six Grand Slams, last won a doubles title at the Ostrava Open 2021 in the Czech Republic, where she partnered with China’s Zhang Shuai. She ended her legendary Grand Slam career as the runner-up in the Australian Open mixed doubles last month.