Last updated: January 26, 2023, 12:35 PM IST
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, who is playing the last Grand Slam of her career, admitted her latest run in mixed doubles at the Australian Open is “so emotional”, adding that there are a lot of nerves playing her last major .
Sania, 36, and partner Rohan Bopanna cruised past third seed and reigning Wimbledon mixed doubles champions Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski 7-6(5) 6-7(5) (10-6) to reach the Australian Open final. reaches .
“We were playing against one of the best mixed doubles teams on the tour and we knew we had to come up with the best. I’m glad we were able to do that. It was a great game, of course there are a lot of nerves playing my last Slam and it’s so special to play with Rohan,” said Sania.
“Rohan was my very first mixed doubles partner when I was 14 years old… we are so excited to come back here and give ourselves another chance,” added the Indian ace, who plans to retire later this year to go.
Interestingly, Sania earned her first major in Melbourne Park in 2009 when she teamed up with Mahesh Bhupathi. And on Saturday she will end her illustrious Grand Slam career here.
“I am so emotional that I am not a cryer in front of people, but I am almost there now. I feel the love here for the 18 years I’ve been coming here it feels like home to me because honestly I have family here I eat at home I get so much food at home and I have all these Indians come out and support me. It’s been quite a journey and I’m going to miss coming back here,” she said.
Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian star. After his first triumph in 2009. Seven years later in 2016, she paired with Swiss star Martina Hingis to claim the women’s doubles title as the top seed. Outside of Australia, she won four other Grand Slam titles: 2015 Wimbledon and 2015 US Open women’s doubles with Hingis, 2012 Roland Garros mixed doubles with Bhupathi, and 2014 US Open mixed doubles with Bruno Soares.
With Sania chasing her third Australian Open and seventh Major, the Indian pair will cross swords with Brazilian duo Luisa Stefani & Rafael Matos in the final on Saturday.
Bopanna, 42, said: “It would be an absolute dream” to lift the winner’s trophy with the six-time Grand Slam champion.
“You can’t get anything better to finish her last slam with a title, I think it would be very special. We need it in India, we need to keep inspiring everyone there,” he said.
Saturday’s final will be the perfect Grand Slam farewell for Sania as she announced her retirement from professional tennis earlier this month following the Dubai Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event that kicks off on February 19.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed)