Sania Mirza turns 24
Sania Mirza, who put India on the world map of women's tennis with her sensational performance on the court, turns 24 today. And there has been no dearth of achievements, accolades, glamour and controversies in this short span of her life.<br><br>Here's a look at her life so far...
Sania Mirza, who put India on the world map of women's tennis with her sensational performance on the court, turns 24 today. And in these 24 years, there has been no dearth of achievements, accolades, glamour and controversies in her life. Here's a brief look at her journey so far....
Currently in Guanzhou for the 16th Asian Games, Sania celebrated her birthday with her mother Nasima and husband Shoaib Malik.
His family and teammates were present when she cut the cake to mark her birthday celebrations.
Despite the presence of her husband, Sania made sure her mother was the first one with who she celebrated the occasion.
She definitely did not forget her husband Shoaib.
Shoaib, who has been travelling with Sania on her tours, was one happy hubby on her birthday.
Her fans were also present to congratulate her.
Born on November 15, 1986 to sports journalist Imran Mirza and Nasima Mirza in Mumbai, Sania was brought up in Hyderabad.
Sania picked up the tennis racquet at the age of six under the guidance of her father. She later went under professional coaching.
Sania made her debut in 2003 in the India Fed Cup team, winning all three singles matches. She also won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.
Her initial successes got her the Arjuna Award in 2004.
In 2005, she became the first Indian player to reach the fourth round of the US Open Championship.
Highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles, Sania holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament.
In 2006, Sania drew applause from everyone after she defeated one-time champion Martina Hingis. Her first WTA title came in 2005 when she defeated Ukraine's Alyona Bondarenko in the Hyderabad Open Finals.
In the 2006 Doha games Sania won a Gold in mixed doubles along with veteran Leander Paes. She also won Silver in the women's singles game. In the same year she was awarded a Padma Shri.
For her contribution to the sport, she was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai in 2008.
In 2009, Sania won the US Open Mixed Doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi.
In the recently concluded Commonwealth Games, Sania won a silver medal in the women's singles event.
Sania's brush with controversies is not unknown. There were fatwas against her for wearing short skirts on the court. She was also criticized once for showing disrespect to the national flag. Following that row, she had even considered to quit.
Sania entered into wedlock with Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik on April 12 this year. This happened two months after she broke her engagement with childhood friend Sohrab Mirza.
Sania had got engaged to Sohrab in 2009 July, but they called it off in January this year. Reason for the decision was not disclosed by either of the two families. Though Sania had said, "We were friends for years but found ourselves incompatible as fiancés".
Sania and Shoaib reportedly fell in love towards the end of Year 2009 and it could have been the reason for the breaking up of Sania's engagement with Sohrab.
Sania, the first Indian woman tennis player to break in to top 50 in the WTA rankings, was also linked to Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan in 2005 and later Bollywood heartthrob Shahid Kapoor. However, nothing was ever confirmed.
After her Grand Indian wedding with Shoaib, Sania went to Pakistan for the reception. However, the newly wed couple has been spending a lot of time in India after their marriage.