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Holding Court

Published Aug 9, 2015, 6:04 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 6:40 am IST
Sania becomes first Indian to win a women’s doubles grand slam title, at Wimbledon
Sania Mirza
 Sania Mirza

This year, Sania Mirza couldn’t have asked for more — being ranked World No.1 in women’s doubles; becoming the first Indian to win a women’s doubles title at Wimbledon, which completed her set of all Grand Slams; the first pair (with Martina Hingis) to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals and a nomination for the country’s highest sporting award, the Khel Ratna — events that have evinced enough interest in Bollywood to line-up a biopic on her. The tennis ace has peaked, and is rocking alright.

However, the humble Hyderabadi prefers to keep her feet on the ground. “It’s been an amazing year and a huge honour to be nominated for the Khel Ratna. I thank the Sports Ministry for thinking that I am worth the nomination,” she submits. Sania’s struggle to the top has been wrought with countless challenges — physical, professional and mental. But she has soldiered on. “I think that’s the kind of fight a sportsperson needs to take up. If you believe in yourself, you can do a lot of things and I am fortunate to have a good team around me who have been very supportive — we have all come through in tough times. It’s been a long ride but a fantastic journey.”


Besides those ferocious forehands on the court, her attitude has been the Hyderabadi’s greatest strength. “Never say never,” she exclaims. “That’s one of the things I truly believe in and tennis has taught me that there will always be a next time as long as you want there to be a next time. If you keep believing in that and fight to live another day great things can happen,” she explains.

Yes, she loves to wear her attitude too, evident from the ‘Hero,’ ‘Dream, Suffer, Succeed’ inscriptions on her shirts after winning Wimbledon. “Hahaha That’s just what I am as a person — a self-believing one with confidence on and off the court,” she laughs. Being on the move through the year means she misses out on a lot but Sania takes it in her stride. “We just cannot have everything in life. In order to have the best of something, you’ll have to make some sacrifices and that’s life. If I had to live my life all over, I wouldn’t change even one thing,” she says.


As an afterthought, she adds: “One of the main things I miss is spending time with family.” However, the jet-setter is not too fond of planes, and considers running about airports to catch flights frequently as “definitely one of the worst parts” of her routine. Probably the only thing she likes at airports is shopping. “I am a shopaholic!” chuckles Sania, who gets a kick out of buying shoes. “I indulge in shoes. There’s a joke in the family that whenever I go shopping, no matter what I find or not, I’ll come back with a pair of shoes at least,” she laughs.


How many pairs of footwear does she have? “I haven’t counted, but it’s definitely more than I should have,” she giggles. Prompt her with a ‘90?’, and she comes right back: “Nooo. It’s a couple of hundreds.” Not many of them are meant for dancing though, for Sania admits she is a “terrible, terrible” dancer. How many points would she give herself on a scale of 10 on the dance floor? “Just 2 I think. I’m horrible,” she roars. “Dancing is all about being happy and expressing yourself and I don’t think I’m up there. I wish I could dance well.”


When it comes to music, Sania listens to “a lot of John Legend and quite a bit of Bollywood songs.” She also enjoys “watching Bollywood movies.” Talking of which, she did get offers to act in but never considered them. “Movie offers, not at the moment. I don’t think I would take them up,” she says. Sania likes “food in general” and is “not fussy about it.” The globetrotter has savoured them all. “I like tasting food and have had quite a variety, including frog and snake,” she reveals. However, “being a Hyderabadi I like my biryani for sure.”


On court, Sania may have thrown the kitchen sink at her opponents but stays far from the cooking room. “No. I don’t cook at all only eat,” she blurts out.
Given the stressful circuit she is on, how does she unwind? “I try and catch up with friends and family whenever I can, not so much of going out though... it’s mostly staying indoors and watching a movie or staying at a friend’s house and having dinner or something.”

Sania is also attached to a couple of feline friends at home, “Posh and Fluffy,” the Persian Cats that are her adorable pets. It’s not all play for the 28-year-old though. She does spend some time with books as well. “I read a little bit, not too much I like reading autobiographies of successful people,” she says. Of sportspersons? “In fact everyone’s... the last one I read was of Mike Tyson (former heavyweight boxing champ).” Well, that explains how she has packed a punch. It’s glove all!