Australian Open 2023: A grand goodbye to Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna’s mixed doubles partnership at the Australian Open 2023 has been a spectacle.
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza (Photo | AP)
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza (Photo | AP)

BENGALURU:  Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna’s mixed doubles partnership at the Australian Open 2023 has been a spectacle. The duo settled for the runners-up trophy, as a result of 6-7, 2-6 defeat to Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos. Despite the defeat, the match is still considered special as it was Mirza’s last Grand Slam match.

Sharmada Balu, who initially trained at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy, feels the duo making it to the finals itself is phenomenal. “The perfect fairytale ending would have been had they won. That’s what all of us were hoping for. Despite not winning, it is phenomenal to even be in the finals. The ending is quite poetic because he was her first mixed doubles’ partner and her last too,” say Balu, a coach at Rohan Bopanna’s Academy. In a special word for Mirza, she says, “She has broken many barriers and it’s really inspiring to see someone lead the path for many of us.”

Former tennis player Deeraj Shetty met Mirza sometime in 1999-2000 when she came to spend time at the Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academies in Bengaluru. “The Australian Open could not have been more perfect than this. The fact that they came all the way till the end, I feel, is good karma for all that she has given to Indian tennis. For her family to be as open-minded as they were over 25 years ago is nothing short of extraordinary,” says Shetty, who was earlier in Melbourne to watch the Australian Open live.

When Mirza broke into the top 30 WTA ranking, it was a landmark moment in Indian tennis history. Coach Arjun Gowtham recalls, “What she has accomplished during her journey is something I hope other Indians are also able to. Being in the top 30 in singles, Number 1 in doubles, and then concluding her career at a Slam is huge for Indian tennis.” With Bengaluru boy Bopanna by her side, Gowtham adds, “He was not there just for his own journey. For both Saina and Rohan to play this mixed doubles is like the perfect end for her,” he concludes.

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna ended up with a runners-up trophy at the mixed doubles category of Australian Open 2023. The last Grand Slam of Mirza was an emotional one for many who know her and share how she paved the path for young girls

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The New Indian Express