Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has decided to hang her boots.
The 35-year-old, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, said 2022 will be her final season. She and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok suffered an opening-round loss in the women’s doubles event of the ongoing Australian Open.
“There are a few reasons for it. It is not as simple as ‘okay I’m not going to play’. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I’m putting my three-year-old son at risk by traveling so much with him, that’s something I have to take into account,” said Mirza after her match.
“I think my body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I’m getting older,” she added.
She said that finding the motivation to come out and play every day has not remained the same for her anymore.
“There are more days than there used to be where I don’t feel like doing that. I’ve always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process which I’m not sure I’m enjoying as much anymore,” said Mirza.
“Having said that, I still want to play the season because I’m enjoying it enough to play the year. I’ve worked very hard to come back, get fit, lose weight and try to set a good example for mothers, new mothers to follow their dreams as much as they can. Beyond this season, I don’t feel my body is doing it. It’s beat,” she added.
Sania said she feels that she was playing at a decent level but she always knew that 2022 will be her last season and Wednesday’s defeat was no trigger for it.
“I am playing at a good level. The first week in Adelaide (event), we (she and Kichenok) beat top-10, 20 players. I am playing at a decent level. I was pretty sure this is my last season if I do finish it. I am sure I am not coming to Melbourne to play Australian Open again,” she said.
“I had great memories here, singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. It’s been a great journey. I am not looking forward to June or July, I am literally going week to week, with my body, with a virus, there is so much uncertainty,” she added.
The Indian tennis player has won six Grand Slams and reached the summit of the WTA doubles ranking. Mirza is also the first Indian to break into the top 30 in the WTA singles ranking.