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Tennis star Sania Mirza set to retire after this season
Sania Mirza has announced her retirement from professional tennis after the 2022 season. The Indian tennis star announced after she and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok suffered an opening-round loss in the women's doubles match at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
"I've decided that this will be my last season. I'm taking it week by week. Not sure if I can last the season, but I want to," the 35-year-old said at the post-match press conference.
"There's a bunch of reason for it. It's not as simple as 'okay I'm not going to play. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I do feel, considering my son is three years old, I'm putting him at risk by travelling so much with him, that's something I have to take into account. My body is wearing down. My knee was 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," she added.
Mirza is still not completely out of the Australian Open as she is set to play mixed doubles with Rajeev Ram next.
"Also for me to find that motivation every day to come out, the energy is not the same anymore. Right this minute, it's there but there are days where I don't feel like doing that. I've always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process, and not just winning but you have to enjoy the process and I am not sure I'm enjoying it anymore. I am enjoying it enough to play this season. I've worked very hard to come back, get fit, lose weight and try to set a good example for mothers, new mothers to follow their dreams as much as they can. Beyond this season, I don't feel my body doing it. It's beat," she said.
However, the former doubles world's No.1 also said that the first-round loss didn't trigger it.
"I am playing at a good level. The first week in Adelaide, we (she and Kichenok) beat top-10, 20 players. I am playing at a decent level. I was pretty sure this is my last season if I do finish it. I am sure I am not coming to Melbourne to play Australian Open again.
"I had great memories here, singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. It's been a great journey. I am not looking forward to June or July, I am literally going week to week, with my body, with a virus, there is so much uncertainty. Every time I play, I feel I have a chance to win, that's why I am here. It is not because of the disappointment of today's match. Just the way my body is. I am not sure if I can finish the season. I want to play a full season, I am still (ranked) 50-60 in the world, I do feel I have the level to play.
"As an athlete, I feel I can go deep in tournaments. But I have a bit of a meniscus issue going on my right knee, I woke up with wrist pain a couple of days ago. There is nothing wrong with it. At 35, I am waking up with a couple of things that I don't know where they're coming from. I want to finish the season, try to play until US Open, that is my goal. But I still have to take it week-to-week," she said.
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Words: Abhishek Nandwani