Verve’s Power Women: Sania Mirza
Tennis player Sania Mirza has been a role model for young women all over the country for her power strokes, personality and spunk. The young sportsperson blazed her way onto courts all over the world, proving her mettle by becoming the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam, crack Top 50 and, in July 2014, became the first Indian woman to break into the top five in women’s doubles. In addition to these achievements, the Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee not only became the first South Asian woman to be appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador but also, last year, was designated by the government of Telangana as the brand ambassador of the state.
This April, however, she topped it all by becoming the first Indian woman to ever reach the WTA World No 1 doubles ranking. Mirza surpassed Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci to reach the top of the standings after winning her third successive doubles title with Swiss great Martina Hingis.
ON BECOMING WORLD NO 1 IN DOUBLES: “It is every person’s dream to be No 1 in the world in whatever profession he/she may choose and I am very fortunate to have achieved this. I feel blessed. This is my fifth consecutive week at the No 1 spot and I will do everything I can to stay at the top for as long as possible.”
EARLIEST TENNIS MEMORY: “I was six years old when my mother took me to a coach to enrol me in tennis classes and the coach refused to accept me in his courts as he thought I was too small.”
GREATEST CHALLENGE: “India did not have a history in women’s tennis when I started playing and nobody, including the potential sponsors, believed that I could make it as a professional. The biggest challenge then for me was to prove to the world that an Indian woman could make it in international tennis and by getting to the No 1 spot in the world, I believe I have justified my faith.”
RECOVERY ROUTINE: “An ice bath, though very uncomfortable, helps me to rejuvenate.”
WHAT TO EXPECT: “I am looking forward to many successes — I want to win a few more Grand Slams.”