Sania Mirza grateful to those who attended her farewell match at Hyderabad’s Lal Bahadur Tennis Stadium, where much-celebrated 20-year career began
India tennis ace Sania Mirza gets emotional during her speech after her farewell match at Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad yesterday. Pic/PTI
With “happy tears”, Indian tennis legend Sania Mirza on Sunday ended her path-breaking journey as a player at the place where it all began.
By playing in exhibition matches featuring Rohan Bopanna, Yuvraj Singh and her ‘best friend’ Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Ivan Dodig, Cara Black and Marion Bartoli, Sania finally said goodbye to her illustrious career at the Lal Bahadur Tennis Stadium, the venue where she signalled her arrival on the big stage with a historic WTA singles title triumph nearly two decades ago.
The exhibition games were watched by eminent personalities, including union law minister Kiren Rijiju and former India cricket team captain Mohammed Azharuddin, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Ananya Birla, Huma Qureshi, Dulquer Salmaan, her fans, family, friends, sporting personalities and students of the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy.
On the occasion, the six-time Grand Slam winner—three in women’s doubles and as many in mixed doubles—who turned emotional while giving her farewell speech, said the greatest honour for her has been to play for the country for 20 years.
“I am so excited to play my last match in front of you all. I have always wanted to play and express my gratitude by playing my last match in front of my home crowd in Hyderabad, and I’m so thankful to the Government of Telangana for making this happen,” she said ahead of the match.
“I didn’t think that I was going to get emotional today. But, these are really, really happy tears. I could not have asked for a better send-off,” she said.
Sania, who thanked everyone for supporting her in her journey, said, “The greatest honour for me has been to play for my country for 20 years. It is every athlete’s dream to represent their country at the highest level. I was able to do that. I would like to thank everyone, who came to celebrate. I couldn’t have asked for a better farewell,” said Sania.
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