Incredible Sania. She is the ultimate Indian tennis folk tale, one which is turning into a magnum opus that not many athletes can even dream of.
She is the ultimate Indian tennis folk tale, one which is turning into a magnum opus that not many athletes can even dream of. The significance of Sania Mirza’s achievement on Saturday is not just restricted to annexing the Wimbledon title in the company of Martina Hingis. It is the realisation of an incredible 12-year journey for Sania, who gave glimpses of her amazing talent when she won the 2003 Wimbledon junior girls doubles title in the company of Alisa Kleybanova.
Almost to the date, a dozen years later, she has annexed the senior doubles title with Martina Hingis, which, incidentally, is her maiden Grand Slam triumph in the women category. It was a trophy that she was desperate, which gets evidenced with her immediate reaction, “this is special given it is the Wimbledon. Every kid that picks up tennis racquet dreams of winning Wimbledon title or playing at the famed Centre Court.”
In a way, Sania, whose fierce forehand is dreaded by her opponents across the courts, has proved that her doubles playing skills are regal in that she has won nearly 24 titles in the company of different partners, which stands testimony to her dexterity and adaptability on any court. As the reigning numero uno in women doubles, she has demonstrated that she and the Swiss Miss have wonderful on-court chemistry, despite having joined forces only four months back.
Today, as the nation rejoices the epoch-making Wimbledon outing (even Rohan Bopanna and his partner did well while scalping the Bryan brothers in the men doubles), it is time the pundits did some retrospection on why no male or female player could hold aloft Grand Slam singles trophies. The beacons of hope have been the doubles specialists. Alas, it is a matter of ridicule that even now the country’s hopes rest on the shoulders of battle-scarred veterans like the 41-year-old Leander Paes and the 28-year-old Sania Mirza.
Answers to “who after the big three” remain elusive and there is no immediate hope in sight, the odd talent here and there, notwithstanding. Simply put, Indian tennis is devoid of a scientifically-driven blueprint to tap tomorrow’s torch-bearers. It is time the much-maligned All India Tennis Association woke up to the ground-realities and becomes pro-active.
In her hour of glory, Sania has hit the right chords while expressing her dismay at the state-of-affairs. “I hope my win will have a positive impact back home in cricket-mad India. Hopefully, it will inspire a lot of girls and makes them believe they can be Grand Slam champions, too.” That was as precisely put as any of her clinical lobs.
The first South Asian Woman to be appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in the history of the United Nations, and the Brand Ambassador for Telangana State has won for herself and the country the sweetest Ramadan gift, which could inspire many more future conquests and glories.