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Sania Mirza Announces Her Retirement After 19 Years on the Tennis Court

The year 2022 marks the athlete's last season on tour. 

One of India's greatest athletes—and the winner of six grand slam titles—Sania Mirza has announced her retirement from world tennis, marking the end of a 19-year stint on the court. "I've always said that I will play until I enjoy the grind, the process, and not just winning, but you have to enjoy the process, and I am not sure I'm enjoying it anymore," the star sportswoman revealed. 

She made the official announcement after losing the Australian Open Women's Doubles first round with Nadiia Kichenok, stating that 2022 will be her last season before she bids adieu to the sport. Post her declaration, several fans and Bollywood celebrities took to social media to honour the 35-year-old Tennis star, calling her an 'inspiration'. "Truly an inspiration to many," wrote actor Arjun Kapoor. Ranveer Singh also posted a picture of Sania Mirza on his Instagram Story, captioning it "Queen."

Spelling out the flurry of reasons for her decision at the post-match press conference, she said, "It's not as simple as 'okay I'm not going to play'. I do feel my recovery is taking longer. I'm putting my 3-year-old son at risk by travelling so much with him, and that's something I have to take into account. 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."

Sania added, "Also for me to find that motivation every day to come out. The energy is not the same anymore. There are more days than there used to be where I don't feel like doing that. Beyond this season, I don't feel my body doing it. It's beat." Exclusively speaking to Cosmo about her realisation during the pandemic crisis, Sania admitted, "The pandemic has made me realise how vulnerable we all are and how a virus can bring the entire world to a standstill. It has made me rethink my priorities and what is truly important in well-being, staying close to family, the importance of relationships."

Sania Mirza is the first Indian to break into the top 30 at the WTA Tennis Players singles ranking.