Indian tennis great Sania Mirza made her final Grand Slam appearance during the Australian Open 2023 mixed-doubles final on Friday.
Having already announced that the season-opening Grand Slam tournament will be the final major appearance of her professional career, Mirza thanked the Melbourne crowd for their support. She also found it hard to control her feelings and broke down during the post-match presentation.
In a video shared by the Australian Open, Mirza can be seen sobbing while sharing her thoughts on her illustrious career. “I am still gonna play a couple of more tournaments, but the journey of my professional career started in Melbourne,” Sania said, before breaking down into tears. She further went on to shed light on how her journey in the sport started in Melbourne.
“It started in Melbourne in 2005, when I played Serena Williams in the third round here, as an 18-year-old. That was a scary lane, 18 years ago. I have had the privilege to comeback here again and again, win some tournaments here and play some great finals amongst you all. Rod Laver arena has really been special in my life. I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my career at, in a Grand Slam. Thank you so much for making me feel at home here,” the six-time Grand Slam champion said.
Teaming up with Rohan Bopanna, Mirza qualified for the Australian Open 2023 mixed doubles final by winning the semifinal, 7-6 (7), 6-7 (7), 10-6 against Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk. However, the Indian pair finished as the Australian Open runners-up after losing 6-7 (7), 6-2 against the Brazilian duo of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the summit clash.
The 36-year-old Mirza has already announced that the Australian Open 2023 will be the final grand slam tournament of her illustrious career. On January 13, Mirza put out a long letter announcing that the Dubai Open in February will be her last professional tennis appearance. She won the Australian Open twice, in the mixed doubles event in 2009 and the women’s doubles event in 2016.
She also won Grand Slam titles in the doubles event at the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open, both in 2015. She won the mixed doubles title at the French Open in 2012, before winning the US Open mixed doubles final in 2014. As a singles player, Sania’s best performance came at the US Open in 2005, where she reached the fourth round.