Tributes pour in as Sania Mirza bids farewell

Sania Mirza
Sania, a six-time Grand Slam winner, won 44 WTA titles in her career. File photo: IANS

Tributes poured as former doubles world No.1 Sania Mirza, one of India's most celebrated athletes, retired from professional tennis at the age of 36 on Tuesday.

Sania and her American doubles partner Madison Keys lost their Dubai Tennis Championships first round match 4-6, 0-6 to Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova.

From Sania's mixed doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi, with whom the Hyderabadi won her first-ever Grand Slam in 2009 (Australian Open), to former India pacer Jhulan Goswami many shared their reaction on social media to the icon's retirement.

Taking to Twitter, Bhupathi took a walk down the memory lane, sharing a picture from their Grand Slam win and said: "Welcome to retirement @MirzaSania you outdid yourself time and time again both on and off the court. Proud of you !!"

Jhulan wished Sania a happy retirement, calling her a role model and inspiration, "End of an era! Today #IndianTennis bids its goodbye to the icon who became a role model and inspiration for millions. Happy retirement @MirzaSania"

"Sania Mirza - An island of hope in a sea of mediocrity ... A story of hard work, grit, determination & dedication finally comes to an end. From an emerging Tennis star to one of India's national sports icons, thank you for all the memories & love..." All India tennis Association tweeted.

Women's Tennis Association said: "Six-time major champion, Former doubles World No.1 Congrats on a fantastic career"

Former Indian cricketer Rudra Pratap Singh wrote: "You are one of the finest athletes of this generation and have set a great benchmark so high with your extraordinary performances. Happiest retirement to you!"

Sania, a six-time Grand Slam winner, won 44 WTA titles in her career. Her last doubles triumph came at the Ostrava Open 2021 in the Czech Republic, where she partnered with China's Zhang Shuai.

Sania wrapped up her Grand slam career as Australian Open mixed doubles runner-up last month.

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