Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Sania Mirza received a special award after retiring from her professional tennis career at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Dubai, UAE – February 23, 2023: Sania Mirza, India’s first Grand Slam winner, was honoured on Centre Court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium tonight after bringing down the curtain on a glittering professional career that spanned almost two decades and blazed a trail for future generations of Indian tennis hopefuls.
The 36-year-old Mumbai native, who won six Grand Slam Doubles titles and reached World No.1 in Doubles after joining the WTA Tour in 2004, was contesting her final tournament this week in Dubai, where she has lived for more than a decade. A former winner in the emirate in 2013, Mirza – playing alongside American Madison Keys – lost on Wednesday to Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova.
“I’m just really grateful for everything that I’ve been able to achieve and been able to do in my last 20 years,” said a tearful Mirza after that last match. “It’s been a long career, and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life. I guess it’s still sinking in a little bit. I’m sure I’ll have a couple of cries before tomorrow morning. But I think the good part about taking a decision on your own and doing it on your own terms is you’re very happy with what you’re doing. It is very important to believe.”
To honour her career and special relationship with the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, she was presented with a replica of the tournament’s famous silver trophy by Dubai Duty Free in front of a vocal crowd on Thursday night immediately after Coco Gauff’s singles quarterfinal victory over Keys. Representatives of the WTA also presented her with a framed photo montage.
“To be standing here and having achieved World No.1 was a victory for us as a family in so many ways,” said Mirza. “I thank my parents in believing in me. A lot of my professional career and lot of things for me in life started here in Dubai. Eighteen years ago, in 2005 I had my first top 10 singles match here and that changed my life in so many ways. I thank the organisers for supporting this side of the world with tennis because it’s really important that tennis not just grows, but also in parts where it has not before.”