During the WTA 1000 Dubai Tennis Championships, which begin on February 19, former doubles world No. 1 Sania Mirza declared that she will play her last tournament.
The 36-year-old Mirza has intended to retire at the end of the 2018 season, but an elbow injury forced her to give up the sport in August. This meant that she was unable to compete in the US Open.
The six-time Grand Slam winner Mirza has committed to playing with the Kazakhstani player Anna Danilina in the mixed doubles event at the Australian Open this month.
After more than a decade of calling Dubai home, the Indian tennis star will attempt to bid farewell to the land where she has built a legion of dedicated fans.
Mirza is hoping to be able to say her goodbyes to her fans on the tennis court despite a persistent calf injury.
“I was planning to retire after the WTA Finals because we were going to make it, but I tore my tendon in my elbow before the US Open, so I had to withdraw from everything,” Sania said.
“As the person that I am, I like to do things according to my own preferences. As a result, I hope that no injury will compel me to give up my career prematurely. That’s why I’ve been working out. During the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, I hope to be able to retire,” she said.
Sania gave an interview not too long ago in which she discussed why she thinks now is the ideal moment.
“I’m 36 years old, and my body is worn down; this is the primary cause. As for my emotional reserves, they have long since been depleted. I began my career in 2003. There comes a time when you realise, “Oh, it’s not worth it to me to push my body to its absolute limits every single day,” and you realise that priorities shift.”
Mother to a 4-year-old called Izhaan, Mirza has just started a tennis academy in Dubai. It now has three sites and plans to open two more in the coming weeks.
Former world No. 27 in singles Sania remarked, “We’re trying to promote and bring tennis to people’s homes, and that’s really the idea.
If the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has so much to offer in terms of resources and facilities, then why aren’t more players emerging from there? There’s an issue somewhere, and we should focus our efforts on addressing that issue.
I feel it’s vital to give back to the communities where I make my home, which is why I’ve maintained a practise in both Hyderabad (since 2013) and Dubai.”, said Sania.