NEW DELHI: The sporting fraternity took to social media to laud star Indian tennis player Sania Mirza, who finished her Grand Slam career on a high as a runner-up in the mixed doubles competition at the ongoing Australian Open.
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna came second to Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos of Brazil in the Australian Open mixed doubles final on Friday at Melbourne Park.
The Brazillian pair clinched their maiden Grand Slam.
Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar lauded Sania on a “glorious Grand Slam career” that inspired a whole generation of tennis talent in India and abroad.
“Many congratulations on a glorious career at the Grand Slam @MirzaSania. You have inspired a whole generation of tennis talent in India & beyond. Wishing you the best of everything in life. You have made proud. Well played!,” tweeted Tendulkar.
Former Indian batting legend Mithali Raj lauded the tennis star for giving “everything to tennis and to women’s sports”.
“Congratulations on an amazing career, @MirzaSania! You’ve given your everything to tennis and to women’s sports. It’s an iconic legacy indeed. It was always a pleasure to watch you play & watch you become the champion that you are. Best wishes for your future endeavours,” said Mithali in a tweet.
Olympic gold medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra also tweeted, “Congratulations @MirzaSania
on a wonderful career. Thank you for your service to Indian sport and for inspiring millions of girls to take up sport!”
Wrestler Vinesh Phogat lauded Sania for inspiring “an entire generation of young Indian girls how to dream”. “Thank you,@MirzaSania for teaching an entire generation of young Indian girls how to dream, I was one of them.
You have always played with enormous passion throughout the challenges. Your legacy means a lot to Indian sportswomen. Respect and congratulations!!!,” tweeted Phogat.
Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh also extended his best wishes.
“Best wishes @MirzaSania as you bid farewell to your highly successful #GrandSlam career. History of #tennis will be incomplete without you. I am sure your life beyond the Tennis court will be as interesting as your accomplishments in sports.”
Sania Mirza was competing in her final Grand Slam with Rohan Bopanna and the duo lost 7(7)-6(2), 6-2 to Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos.
Rohan Bopanna, who will turn 43 in March, and Sania Mirza, 36, had a difficult beginning because the latter was broken on his first serve.
In the fourth and eighth games, the Indian pair pounced on Luisa Stefani’s serves but lost the set in the tiebreaker as Rohan Bopanna once more struggled to hold his serve in the ninth game.The Indian team, which advanced to the women’s doubles semifinals at Rio 2016, survived an early defeat in the second set. Rafael Matos and Luisa Stefani worked well together to break Sania Mirza’s serve in the fourth game.
Sania Mirza won two Grand Slam tournaments at the Australian Open. She won the Australian Open women’s doubles title with Martina Hingis in 2016 and the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi in 2009.
The 2017 French Open mixed doubles championship that Rohan Bopanna won with Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada remains his solitary Grand Slam triumph.
The Indian team defeated defending Wimbledon winners Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski in three sets in the Australian Open 2023 semifinals.
“My professional career started in Melbourne. I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my [Grand Slam] career at,” stated an emotional Sania Mirza in the post-match interview.
WTA Doubles World No. 1 for 91 weeks, Mirza finished second at the last Grand Slam competition of her career. She had said earlier this month that the WTA 1000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February will mark the conclusion of her professional tennis career. (ANI)