Srinagar: Tennis Superstar Sania Mirza on Friday bid a teary-eyed emotional farewell to her Grand Slam career after defeat in the final of Australia Open Mixed Doubles.
The Unseeded pair of Sania MIrza and Rohan Bopanna fought their way through to the final, but failed to have their hands on the elusive mixed doubles trophy as they lost 6-7(2) 2-6 to Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Mataos in the summit clash at Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
But more than the loss, it was the goodbye that left Sania teary-eyed during her emotional farewell speech after the match.
Sania announced earlier this month that she would end her career at the WTA 1000 Dubai event in February making the 2023 Australian Open her final Grand Slam event.
It was at the Melbourne Park that Sania had begun her major career, against the legendary Serena Williams, in 2005. And it was at the Rod Laver Arena, four years later, where she won her first Grand Slam trophy, alongside Mahesh Bhupathi.
“If I cry, these are happy tears. I don’t want to take away the moment from Matos-Stefani who have deserved this. I’m still going to play a couple more tournaments but my career started in Melbourne in 2005 when I played Serena as an 18-year-old. I have had the privilege of coming back here again and again and win tournaments here and play some great finals here. Rod Laver Arena has been really special life. I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my last Grand Slam,” said Sania, who finished her career with six majors, which includes three women’s doubles and as many mixed doubles trophies.
“Like Rohan said, he was my first ever mixed doubles partner when I was 14 and we won the nationals. It wasn’t a same arena like this one. But that was 22 years ago. And I couldn’t think of a better partner, he is one of my best friends and best partner to finish my career with. Obviously we couldn’t get over the line but there is no better person for me to finish my Grand Slam career with. Thank you, Rohan,” she added.
Sania will play her final WTA event in Dubai Championships which will begin from February 19 onwards.