Sania Mirza said on Wednesday that it took a lot of stubbornness and determination regarding her fitness to come back to playing tennis after giving birth to her son.

At the Australian Open earlier in 2020, Mirza joined an elite band of players in the current era including Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters to have returned to tennis after giving birth.

Speaking to India cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana in a video chat show titled Double Trouble, Mirza said it took a lot of mental strength to get back to her best fitness.

“The day I returned home from the hospital after my C-section was the last day I had a cheat meal I had gained 23 kgs during my pregnancy because I ate everything I could. When I got on the treadmill for the first time after giving birth, I felt so heavy. And it took a lot of stubbornness and determination for me to lose 26 kgs,” the former world No 1 doubles player said.

In a wide-ranging interview with the two Indian cricketers, Mirza also spoke about choosing tennis as her career.

“Obviously my husband is a cricketer but when I started playing, my dad used to play cricket. My uncle was a Ranji Trophy player, my dad’s brother-in-law was the captain of Indian cricket team. So we had a lot of cricket in the family.

“The natural progression for me, if I was a boy, I would have just played cricket. Things have changed a lot over the past 10 years but when I started, it was unheard of for girls to pick up cricket bats. My parents wanted me to play a sport. I used to rollerksate, swim and play tennis. I happened to be a lot better at tennis than the other two,” Mirza said.

The 33-year-old tennis star also spoke about being married to a cricketer from subcontinent and how that comes with a set of challenges, when Mandhana asked her about the tweet regarding Mitchell Starc flying back to support Alyssa Healy.

“Me and Anushka relate to this the most. whenever our husbands perform it is because of them and whenever they don’t it is because of us. I don’t know how that works, There is a much deeper issue is that women can always be a distraction but not a strength. That’s a cultural issue. ‘Oh, if your girlfriend or wife is there and you are going out for dinner, you are distracted.’ That doesn’t make sense,” Mirza said.

“When he went back to his wife for the World Cup final,everybody was hailing him. I was trying to picture Shoaib [Malik] do that for me, hell would have broken loose. Anushka and I had a long conversation about it afterwards.”

Mandhana asked Mirza what was special about Hyderabad that top woman athletes like Mithali Raj, PV Sindhu and Mirza herself hail from the city.

Pata nahi, yaar [I don’t know, mate]. Sport has really been encouraged in Hyderabad quite a lot. I honestly think, one my funny theories is that, in Hyderabad we didn’t have a lot to do. There are not many distractions as in other big cities. That is probably why a lot of champions come out of smaller cities,” she said.

Also watch: Sindhu talks to Rodrigues, Mandhana about WC gold, menstrual health & more

Also watch: Rohit talks to Rodrigues,Mandhana about daddy duty, daddy 100s & more

Watch the full video of the interview here where Mirza talks about long-distance relationships and more: