Sania Mirza: Always a fighter


Sania Mirza: Always a fighter

The first Indian woman to reach top spot in doubles tennis never lacked fire

By Deepa Menon  April 14th, 2015

Sania Mirza has always had star quality. The first woman to bring Indian tennis to the global spotlight in a long time, Mirza started playing professional tennis at 16. The admiration she enjoys is not just down to her formidable forehand, the many medals won and titles seized, but also thanks to her fiery personality. She has run into controversies for the length of her skirts, her views on safe sex and for marrying a Pakistani. But Mirza has never been cowed by the moral police, the chauvinism of the All India Tennis Association or even career-threatening injuries.

These five quotes that will tell you exactly why Sania Mirza is both a sports and a youth icon:

“As long as I am winning, people shouldn’t care whether my skirt is six inches long or six feet long.” 

In 2005, Sania Mirza became the first Indian woman ever to win a WTA title. This was also the year a few religious groups publicly denounced her for the standard issue skirt and tee she wore on court. (At an event for the Hindustan Times)

“More than sacrifice, it was more about my body. I had a couple of conditions in my body that I couldn’t cope anymore and it was just about when I would get hurt again. I had to reset my goals and one of my goals was to become No. 1 in the world.”

In 2012, Sania Mirza made the decision to quit her singles career, thanks to a persistent wrist injury. (In an interview with the Women’s Tennis Association)

“I don’t know how many times I will have to justify my Indianess, prove my patriotism.”

In 2014, an enraged and upset Mirza reacted to Telangana’s BJP leader K Laxman statement calling her “Pakistan’s daughter-in-law” and questioning her appointment as the state’s brand ambassador. She has had to field insinuations like these since she married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in 2010. (In an interview with NDTV)

“When I was young, other parents would ask, ‘How come she never cries? Doesn’t she care enough?’ But I knew there was always a next time.” 

While 2015 is the year Mirza broke into the top spot, she really proved her mettle as a doubles player last year when she won the US Open mixed doubles, brought home a gold and a bronze from the Incheon Asian Games, and won the WTA Finals in October. (In an interview with Forbes India)

“One last thing I’d like to tell all the young girls-BELIEVE- believe in yourself so strongly that the world can’t help but believe in u too.”

@MirzaSania is very active and influential on Twitter, where she has over 2.5 million followers. Her timeline is a stream of match highlights, causes she supports, selfies and inspirational quotes, like this one (her own) posted after her victory at the Family Circle Cup with Martina Hingis catapulted her to the #1 spot in women’s doubles. (On Twitter)