India’s star tennis player Sania Mirza bowed out of the Australian Open as mixed doubles finalist in the last Grand Slam appearance of her career, on Friday. However, the six-time Major winner asserted that the result was not as important to her as knowing that she could still compete on the biggest stages in the sport.
“For me, whether I win six Grand Slams or seven Grand Slams, that wasn’t going to change much in my life, right? Sure, on the record books maybe another slam, but for me, it’s more important of how I’m doing it,” she said in the post-match press conference after she and partner Rohan Bopanna lost 6-7(2), 2-6 in the final to Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos.
“Today I’m here, sitting after a Grand Slam final, knowing that I still have the level to make it to a Grand Slam final. I’m choosing to say that I want other things, and that is very important for me. I feel like after you have a child, especially, you know, winning and losing tennis matches, it really puts things into perspective of how small or big that is.”
Australian Open: Sania Mirza bows out of Grand Slams on her own terms, leaving a trail to blaze
The 36-year-old is a six-time Grand Slam finalist, winning three events in women’s doubles and just as many in the mixed doubles event. Till date, she’s the only Indian woman to have broken into the top 100 singles rankings – reaching a career high of 27. She’s also the only one to have become world No 1 in doubles, have won a Major, and tour titles in singles.
Over the years though, struggles with injury has kept her away from the tour for lengthy spells prompting her to decide to retire following the Dubai Open in February. However, she did manage to come up with one last memorable performance in her final Grand Slam appearance.
“I think that if I had to picture (a) dream scenario in my head how I want to go out, it would be on center court, biggest or one of the biggest arenas in the world. Of course I would win in that dream, but I didn’t in this one,” she added.
“We are very proud of our efforts. You know, Rohan and I go obviously a long way back, but just the fact that we are still here playing at the highest level is something that we are very proud of ourselves for.”