Sania Mirza becomes the first Indian woman to become World No.1 in double rankings

Indian tennis sensation, Sania Mirza created history by becoming the first woman tennis player from India to achieve the World No 1 ranking in doubles.

Sania bagged the top ranking after winning the title at the WTA Family Circle Cup with her Swiss counterpart Martina Hingis in Charleston. The pair entered Indian Wells as the top seeds and went on to win the titles in their debut. En Route they beat fancied opponents including former world no. 1s Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur 6-0, 6-4. Hingis and Mirza didn’t even lose more than four games in any set all fortnight. After cruising through the first set of the final that looked a little dicey as they fell behind 4-2 second set they defeated second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in straight sets as well 6-3, 6-4 completing a dream first tournament together. They also won the Miami masters event again beating the same opponents. Sania jumped two places on the Ranking table to be ranked at her career best No. 3 in the Doubles Rankings.

“It’s a dream for every kid to be No.1 one day,” Mirza said to the crowd at the trophy ceremony.

“I can’t think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind, to get No.1, and she really helped me get there. She helped me through some tough moments this week. She’s just a great person and a great player. We also become the No.1 team in the world today with this.

In her career, Mirza has notable wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva and Marion Bartoli; as well as former World No. 1s Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, and Victoria Azarenka. She is the highest ranked female player ever from India, peaking at World No. 27 in singles in mid-2007, however a major wrist injury forced her to give up her singles career and focus on the doubles circuit, where she has been ranked as high as World No. 1.

sania and martina

She has achieved a number of firsts for her native country, including surpassing US$1 million in career earnings (now over 4 million), winning a Pro-level title, and winning three major mixed doubles titles at the 2009 Australian Open, the 2012 French Open and the 2014 US Open; as well as qualifying for (and eventually winning) the WTA Finals in 2014.

Mirza is also the third Indian woman in the Open Era to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam tournament (going as far as the last 16). On top of that, she has won a total of 14 medals (including 6 Gold) at three major multi-sport events, namely the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Afro-Asian Games.

Mirza was named one of the 50 heroes of Asia by Time in October 2005. In March 2010, The Economic Times named Mirza in the list of the “33 women who made India proud”.

In a country where female athletes are few and far between, and where cricket and Bollywood loom large on the cultural horizon, she has become an icon in her own right. Sania Mirza has been appointed as the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia during the event held to mark the International Day To End Violence Against Women on 25th November 2014.

Sharanya Bharathwaj

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