India’s most celebrated Tennis star and the current World No.1 in Women’s Doubles, Sania Mirza, turns 30 today.
It has been an epic journey for the girl who hails from a middle-class family in Hyderabad. From breaking perceptions that India cannot produce a woman tennis star to winning grand slams for the country, Sania’s story of success is one that is of sheer determination and will power.
Here are 12 little-known facts about India’s women tennis sensation.
1 Born on November 15, 1986, Sania Mirza first held a tennis racquet at the age of 6. Her first coach was Krishna Bhupathi, the father of tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi.
2 Sania started training under her father at the age of 12. Imran Mirza nearly risked his Journalism career in quest of chasing his daughter’s dreams.
3 Sania Mirza showed glimpses of brilliance on the court when she was a teenager. She went on to win the coveted Wimbledon Junior Championship in 2003.
4 She is the first Indian woman to win a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title. She won the title in 2004, after the Wimbledon win.
5 During her initial days of struggle, it was Adidas that sponsored her training and took a little burden off her parent’s shoulders. Sania Mirza has repaid Adidas back by becoming one of its brand ambassadors.
6 A powerful striker of the tennis ball, Sania was recognized by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) as the “Best Newcomer of the Year” in 2005.
7 Sania began her career as a singles player but switched to doubles after finding it more suiting to her game. She won her first grand slam with Mahesh Bhupathi at the Australian Open in 2009.
8 Sania Mirza is the first Indian women tennis player to earn more than US $1 million in prize money. She is also the highest ranked Indian women’s player since 2003.
9 Sania Mirza was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2004 and became only the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be conferred upon a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2015.
10 Sania Mirza is the first Indian woman to win a Women’s Doubles Grand Slam. In fact, she has won 3 Women Doubles Grand Slams, all with the same partner, Martina Hingis.
11 Sania is married to Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Malik since 2010. She neither resides in India nor in Pakistan. The couple lives together in Dubai, UAE.
12 Sania Mirza is the brand ambassador for the state of Telangana. She is also the first woman to be appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia.
Wishing the Pride of Indian Tennis, a Very Happy Birthday! 😀