Sania Mirza has had a fruitful association with Wimbledon, right from winning Girls’ Doubles title with Alisa Kleybanova in 2003, to winning the Ladies’ Doubles title with Martina Hingis in 2015. Although she could not make it to the later stages of The Championships this year, she shares how she feels about the tournament, the memories she has associated with it, and much more:

Rohan Bopanna (IND) and Sania Mirza (IND) playing against Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) and Andreja Klepac (SLO) in the third round of the Mixed Doubles on No.2 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 8 Tuesday 06/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

Q) Wimbledon is the Grand Slam people generally adore the most. So did you have any sort of goals vis-a-vis Wimbledon when you started playing tennis as a kid?

Yeah, I think that when any child picks up a tennis racket, they always dream of playing Wimbledon, and obviously, I’ve had the privilege of being here for many years and also winning it. So it’s something that (what) really dreams are made of. Wimbledon is something that, just the way every cricketer wants to make a 100 at Lords, everybody wants to play Wimbledon.

Q) Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam you won in the Juniors. You were just 16 when you won it with Kleybanova in 2003. Any memories from that run/set of matches?

We were the last team to actually make the main draw, and I didn’t have a partner till one day before. It was me and Alisa Kleybanova, and we just decided literally the night before that we’d play together and we played the top seeds in the first round, and we won. I remember that was the first time that I’d believed that we were going to be able to win the tournament. We played in the final, we played Michaela Krajicek, if I’m not wrong and someone, I don’t remember the second person, but it was one of the most favorite and best moments of my career even though it was in Juniors. I think it really made me believe what I could achieve in the future after that.

Q) And what about your 2015 win with Hingis in the Ladies’ Doubles?

I remember bumping into Roger and he was coming to play his Singles Final and he was like, “Wow, I stayed up to watch that Women’s Doubles!” which meant a lot for Roger to say that he was watching the Women’s Doubles. So, Wimbledon is…like I said, its always been a dream to compete at Wimbledon, and obviously winning here has been extremely special.

Q)  You had some really nice moments with your son post matches this year. How special was it to see him cheering for you? Did he say anything to you before your matches? Or after a win/loss?

It’s been really special, I mean it’s special to become a mother and come back and play. I mean, I think as women we go through. lot physically when we get pregnant and have a by so, you know, to put me in this position again to be able to compete at the highest level is something that I take a lot of pride in, and obviously, it’s really good to have him, and you know he’s fine. He’s at an age now where he understands winning and losing, he understands that he’s cheering for someone. So it’s really nice and hopefully, when he’s older, he would be proud of me. I think that’s the goal, to know that I kept going after my dream and followed my dream. I think that is something that is a message that I always like to tell young mothers or mothers that you don’t have to kill your dreams just because you have a baby. You have to keep going after it and that doesn’t make you a bad mother or an incapable mother. It just makes you normal, and someone that will be able to inspire your children, because God knows your children will be inspired when they know that you have done everything that you could to follow your dreams and they will do the same thing.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) and Sania Mirza (IND) playing against Alexa Guarachi (CHI) and Desirae Krawczyk (USA) in the first round of the Ladies’ Doubles on Court 8 at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 4 Thursday 01/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

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