At 34, six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza is chasing yet another dream — of winning an Olympic medal.
“Well, the Olympics has been at the back of my mind. I am back to full-length training now, practising for more than four hours daily,” Sania said in an exclusive chat with Sportstar after another long grind at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy in Hyderabad.
“I will try just to stay healthy, keep myself fit for the challenge of taking part in the [Tokyo] Olympics, which will be my fourth. Definitely, an Olympics medal is one thing which I feel I am missing in my list of achievements. And I want to shut this chapter of my life with a medal in Tokyo,” Sania said. “I do believe that I have a couple of more years of tennis left in me.”
“I just want to put myself in a position to be in with a chance. I love to stay positive and am conscious of the kind of challenges one has to face to win an Olympic medal too,” Sania said with a big smile.
“Honestly, I have been very lucky, by the grace of god, both in real life and on the tennis court. Importantly, I always have the support system that one needs to be a top-class athlete,” Sania said.
“Definitely, I am keen to take it step by step. It will be a different kind of challenge to be back in the circuit after such a long gap because of the pandemic. The bio-bubble is going to be another major issue,” the champion tennis player said after a long training session with Davis Cupper Saketh Myneni and others.
“There is nothing like setting a major goal as I look ahead. I would love to take it event by event, take one step at a time,” she said. “The biggest challenge during the pandemic is to stay healthy. Even I have recovered from COVID-19. That way, it took a little bit longer for me to start full length training,” Sania revealed.
With Nadiia Kichenok, Sania won the 2020 Hobart International doubles title on her comeback after the birth of her son. – Getty Images
“The sport took a back seat because of the pandemic, for sure. It also taught us how to lead a healthy life and understand the simple things in life and remind us that health is more important than anything else in the world,” she explained.
“I enjoyed spending quality time especially with the family. I loved being with my son Izhaan, which otherwise I would have struggled to do,” she said.
On yet another comeback when she competed in the Doha and Dubai Opens, Sania said she is really excited and it feels like the first comeback of the career.
“I am looking forward to being back and competing again… Last year around this time on my comeback (after being blessed with her son), I had won a WTA event in Australia before another injury,” she said.
“Hopefully, I can do it again and win some major events. I will see how things shape up in the days to come,” Sania concluded.