Sania Mirza, 29, has qualified for Rio 2016 Olympics on the back of her World No 1 status in women’s doubles as of June 6 – the cutoff ranking point to qualify for the Summer Olympics. Playing at her third Olympics and in women’s doubles category as well, Mirza will partner Prarthana Thombare in the competition. At the 2008 Olympics, she had played just women’s doubles (with Sunitha Rao) and lost in the second round. At London Olympics, she partnered Rushmi Chakravarthi and lost in the first round. Then in the mixed doubles event, she reached the quarters with Leander Paes before bowing out. Since then, the Hyderabadi has excelled in the doubles category with her Swiss partner Martina Hingis. Mirza likes to play on the deuce side of the court thanks to a huge forehand that bothered opponents even when she used to play singles in the early 2000’s. Then an injury forced her to make a decision on whether she wanted to retire or give up the single’s career and focus on the less arduous doubles career. In Rio, Mirza will play mixed doubles with Rohan Bopanna.
Event: Women’s doubles (with Prarthana Thombare) and Mixed doubles (with Rohan Bopanna)
Event Schedule: The women’s doubles begins on August 6 or 7 with mixed doubles from August 10.
Qualification: Sania Mirza qualified for the Olympics thanks to her World No 1 ranking on the cutoff date of June 6.
Career Highlights: The last two years have been the highlight ones for Mirza’s career picking up Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles with Hingis including three in a row at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open from 2015 till this past year. Their attempt at four-in-a-row was trashed in the third round of the French Open. In mixed doubles, she won the 2014 US Open with Bruno Soares. Since then she’s reached two semis (with Soares and Ivan Dodig) and final with Dodig again. As far as playing under the India colours is concerned, she and Saketh Myneni bagged the gold medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and bronze medal in the same event with Thombare.
Record: Sania Mirza is India’s top female tennis player ever and has proven herself on the court and even away from the court by her outspoken attitude amid controversies. Most recently, she won the WTA Finals two years in a row (in 2014 and 2015).