Sania Mirza ( born 15 November 1986) is an Indian professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in the women’s doubles rankings. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as India’s No. 1 player, both in singles and doubles. Throughout her career, Mirza has established herself as the most successful female Indian tennis player ever and one of the highest-paid and high-profile athletes in the country.

In her singles career, Mirza has notable wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva and Marion Bartoli; as well as former world No. 1s Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, and Victoria Azarenka. She is the highest-ranked female player ever from India, peaking at world No. 27 in singles in mid-2007; however, a major wrist injury forced her to give up her singles career and focus on the doubles circuit, where she is currently ranked No. 1. She has achieved a number of firsts for women’s tennis in her native country, including surpassing US$1 million in career earnings (now over $6 million), winning a singles Pro-level title, and winning six majortitles (three each in women’s doubles and in mixed doubles), as well as qualifying for (and eventually winning) the WTA Finals in2014 alongside Cara Black, defending the title the following year partnering with Martina Hingis.

In addition, she is the third Indian woman in the Open Era to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam tournament (going as far as the last 16). She has also won a total of 14 medals (including 6 Gold) at three major multi-sport events, namely the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Afro-Asian Games.

Mirza was named one of the “50 Heroes of Asia” by Time in October 2005. In March 2010, The Economic Times named Mirza in the list of the “33 women who made India proud”.She was appointed as the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia during the event held to mark the International Day To End Violence Against Women on 25 November 2013. She was named inTime magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Early life

Sania Mirza was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India on 15 November 1986, to Imran Mirza, a builder, and his wife Naseema, who worked in a printing business. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Hyderabad where she and younger sister Anam were raised in a religious Sunni Muslim family. She is the distant relative of former cricket captains Ghulam Ahmed of India, and Asif Iqbalof Pakistan. She took up tennis at the age of six. She has been coached by her father and also Roger Anderson.

She attended Nasr School in Hyderabad and later graduated from St. Mary’s College. Mirza received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai on 11 December 2008. She is also a very good swimmer.

Tennis career

2001–2003: Success on the Junior ITF circuit

Sania Mirza began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She was trained by her father. Mirza won 10 singles and 13 doubles titles as a junior player. She won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls’ Doubles title, partnering Alisa Kleybanova. She also reached the semifinals of the 2003 US Open Girls’ Doubles, with Sanaa Bhambri, and the quarterfinals of the2002 US Open Girls’ Doubles. On the senior circuit, Mirza started to show early success as she made her debut in April 2001 on the ITF Circuit as a 15-year-old. Her highlights of 2001 include a quarterfinals showing in Pune and a semifinal finish in New Delhi. As the 2002 season began, she turned around a season of early losses to winning three straight titles; her first in her hometown Hyderabad and the other two in Manila, Philippines.

In February 2003, Mirza was given a wildcard to play in her first ever WTA tournament, at the AP Tourism Hyderabad Open, in her hometown. She lost the tough first round encounter to Australia’s Evie Dominikovic in three sets. The following week, at the Qatar Ladies Open, she fell to Czech Olga Blahotová in the first qualifying round. She had a good result representing India on the Fed Cup, winning three straight matches. She helped India win a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event of the 2002 Asian Games inBusan, partnering Leander Paes. In addition, Mirza picked up 4 gold medals at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad.

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Women’s Doubles: 4 (3–1)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
Runner-up 2011 French Open Clay  Elena Vesnina  Andrea Hlaváčková
Lucie Hradecká
4–6, 3–6
Winner 2015 Wimbledon Grass  Martina Hingis  Ekaterina Makarova
Elena Vesnina
5–7, 7–6(7–4), 7–5
Winner 2015 US Open Hard  Martina Hingis  Casey Dellacqua
Yaroslava Shvedova
6–3, 6–3
Winner 2016 Australian Open Hard  Martina Hingis  Andrea Hlaváčková
Lucie Hradecká
7–6(7–1), 6–3

Mixed Doubles: 6 (3–3)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
Runner-up 2008 Australian Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Sun Tiantian
Nenad Zimonjić
6–7(4–7), 4–6
Winner 2009 Australian Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Nathalie Dechy
Andy Ram
6–3, 6–1
Winner 2012 French Open Clay  Mahesh Bhupathi  Klaudia Jans-Ignacik
Santiago González
7–6(7–3), 6–1
Runner-up 2014 Australian Open Hard  Horia Tecău  Kristina Mladenovic
Daniel Nestor
3–6, 2–6
Winner 2014 US Open Hard  Bruno Soares  Abigail Spears
Santiago González
6–1, 2–6, [11–9]
Runner-up 2016 French Open Clay  Ivan Dodig  Martina Hingis
Leander Paes
6–4, 4–6, [8–10]

Girls’ Doubles: 1 (1–0)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
Winner 2003 Wimbledon Grass  Alisa Kleybanova  Kateřina Böhmová
Michaëlla Krajicek