Exclusive: Sania Mirza Reveals Reason Behind Her Decision To Retire At End Of Season
Sania Mirza said that while she plans to end her glittering tennis career at the end of the season, she is in it "100 per cent" until she finishes.
Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza shocked everyone earlier this month by stating that this would be her last year on the professional circuit as a tennis player and that she would retire from the sport at the end of the ongoing season. Sania, a former world number 1 player in women's doubles and a multiple Grand Slam winner -- in women's doubles and mixed doubles -- spoke exclusively with NDTV on Saturday and shed light over her decision.
"I am feeling exactly the same. I think it came as a bit of a shock to everyone and later I said that honestly, I shouldn't have announced it (about retiring at the end of this season) so soon and should have come closer to the end of the year and announced it because everybody got really emotional," Sania told NDTV.
"I got so may messages and for me tennis will always be a very important part of my life. I am grateful for the memories and the achievements I have had. I do plan to finish at the end of the year, but I am in it a hundred percent and it is a long year ahead," Sania said.
"It had been on my mind for a while and I had been thinking about it. At the press conference the journalists were taken aback and I thought 'I am 35 and you guys should have been expecting this at some point'. Australia has always been very special to me and it was here that I made my big mark, playing Serena in the third round after being a wild card. It was just a coincidence that it happened there and it is great that things pretty much have ended where it all started for me. It wasn't planned," she added.
The tennis ace also said that her body is taking a lot longer to recover nowadays and it played a big role in her decision to decide that she would not continue after this season. She also highlighted how priorities in her life have changed after she became a mother and the role the pandemic has played in leading her to take the decision about retirement.
"I do think that my body takes longer to recover. I have had three major surgeries, two knees and a wrist, and the body is just not responding the way I want it to respond. Maybe I am expecting too much out of my body too, the fact that I have had a baby and my body has gone through a lot.
"Maybe it is also about the mental frame. When you have a child, you want different things in life and there are some priorities that do change. I am lucky enough to follow my dream right after I have had him as well. He has been able to watch some of my matches and understands winning and losing," Sania said.
"I was actually hoping to inspire some young mothers and young women to follow their dreams even after having a child, even if it is a physical effort that goes into it like it does in my job. The pandemic has also made me think about it because it is not easy to travel with a toddler who is not vaccinated for so many weeks in a year and to put him under risk, which is not fair. I hope we magically find a solution to this and my body recovers so that I could change my decision," she added.