Life is not a fairytale. Sania Mirza nearly proved it wrong. In her last Grand Slam appearance, she fell agonisingly short of winning the Australian Open. She and her partner Rohan Bopanna went down 6-7(2) 2-6 to the Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Mataos in the final at the Rod Laver Arena to finish as runners-up of the mixed doubles event. With tears in her eyes, she did announce that this is not the absolute end of her career as she is planning to play a couple of tournaments more but they certainly won’t be Grand Slams.
“If I cry, these are happy tears. That’s just a disclaimer. I’m still going to play a couple of more tournaments,” an emotional Sania said as she struggled to hold back tears.
Pakistan cricketer and Sania’s husband, Shoaib Malik hailed the Indian tennis ace for her achievements on the tennis court.
“You are the much-needed hope for all the women in sports. Super proud of you for all you have achieved in your career. You’re an inspiration for many, keep going strong. Many congratulations on an unbelievable career…” Malik tweeted.
Sania had won the mixed doubles titles at the 2009 Australian Open and the 2012 French Open with Mahesh Bhupathi and the 2014 US Open with Brazilian Bruno Soares.
The Rod Laver Arena has been a happy hunting ground for the Hyderabadi. She has a women’s doubles and mixed doubles title each and has finished runner-up four times at the Australian Open.
“It started in 2005 when I played Serena Williams in the third round as an 18-year-old and that was scarily enough 18 years ago. I have had the privilege to come back here again and again, win some tournaments here and play some great finals amongst you all. Rod Laver Arena has really been special in my life and I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my career at in a Grand Slam,” Sania said.
The presence of her son Izhaan , alongside family and friends made the occasion sweeter.”I never thought I’d be able to play in front of my child in a Grand Slam final, so it’s truly special for me, to have my four-year-old here and my parents here, and Rohan’s wife, my trainers, my family in Australia who made me feel like home away from home.
“Cara Black who is my best friend and one of my first partners, it’s been truly special I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything without you all,” Sania said.
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