Indian tennis star Sania Mirza yesterday announced her return to competitive tennis at the Hobart International in January, two years after taking a maternity break. The 33-year-old, who last played at the China Open in October 2017, will team up with Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok — ranked 38 in the WTA doubles chart.
Mirza, who married former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik, gave birth to her first child — a son the couple named Izhaan. “I am playing in Hobart, then I am playing the Australian Open,” Mirza was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.
“I am planning to play a tournament in Mumbai, which is a $25,000 (ITF women’s event) next month, but I am 50-50 about it, so let’s see how my wrist behaves. We will see, but Hobart and Australian Open (for sure).”
She added that she had experienced “a lot of change” after having a baby. “Your routine and sleep pattern changes. I (now) feel fit, my body is where it used to be before I had the baby,” Mirza said.
The Hobart WTA takes place between January 11-18 and is a key lead-in tournament to the Australian Open. Mirza, regarded as India’s best-ever women’s tennis player, will partner American Rajeev Ram for the mixed doubles at the Australian Open.
Mirza in 2005 became the first Indian to win a WTA tournament singles title. She reached the fourth round of the US Open in the same year, and by 2007 was among the women’s top 30. (Gulf Times)