When you think of Indian tennis, more often than not, the names of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi come first to your mind. Very few think about Sania Mirza. However, this Indian tennis ace has now given you a strong reason to believe in her.
In April earlier this year, following her sensational title win with partner Martina Hingis at the WTA Family Circle Cup, Sania Mirza created history, becoming the first Indian to bag the World No. 1 rank in women’s doubles.
And now, her latest title win at Wimbledon alongside Martina Hingis is nothing short of historic.
Though Sania Mirza’s singles career went into free fall she broke into the top 30 in 2005, her doubles achievements have been remarkable. The 28-year old also has the credit of becoming the first Indian woman to claim a Grand Slam title when she bagged the 2009 Australian Open mixed-doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi,
Sunita Iyer, lists the10 lesser known facts about the golden girl of Indian tennis.
Sania started playing tennis at the age of six. Her first coach was her father Imran Mirza, who gave up a career in journalism to guide his talented daughter.
Brought up in Hyderabad, Sania is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Letters from the MGR Educational and Research Institute University, Chennai.
Sania was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2004 and the Padma Shri in 2006. The WTA named her ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in 2005.
Growing up, Sania had a huge crush on Russian tennis star Marat Safin.
In 2014, objections were raised against Sania’s dresses on court and a fatwa was issued against her. This hurt Sania very much and she vowed never to play in India.
In 2009, Sania got engaged to her childhood friend and millionaire businessman Sohrab Mirza. However, the alliance fell apart.
We all know that Sania married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in April 2010. However, not many know that the haq mehr or dowry at their nikaah ceremony was a staggering Rs 61 lakhs.
Post her marriage, Google saw an unprecedented hike in searches related to Sania. In 2010, she was the most searched person on Google.
Sania, who lives with her husband Shoaib in Dubai, plans to start a family after retiring from tennis so that she can devote enough time to motherhood.
In 2005, Time magazine named Mirza one of the ‘50 Heroes of Asia'. In March 2012, the Economic Times included her in a list of ‘33 Women Who Made India proud'.