Sania Mirza has been the most successful female Indian tennis player. While she has won several laurels for India (she is currently ranked number one in WTA’s women’s doubles rankings), the tennis sensation has also embroiled in multiple controversies off the court. Hence, at the age of 29, Sania decided to write an autobiography. Here, she talk about that, her journey, and more.
What made you write the autobiography?
A lot has been written and spoken about me. Even though I’m just 29, I’ve had a long career. I have been around for many years, and it’s important for family and fans to hear my story from me. I also want to inspire kids. I want to show them a path so that we have more tennis players in the future.
When you suffered a wrist injury in 2010, it was speculated that you would retire. But, you are playing even now and going strong…
Even I thought I will retire in 2010, as I badly injured my wrist. But things turned around. I won four medals at the end of the year at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. It was a miracle. Now, I’m in 2016. In my career, people had written me off many times, and that’s how it works. You are criticised every time you lose a match. I just had to believe in myself. I feel blessed to have got a second chance -- from thinking of retiring to now playing and doing well. Let’s see how much I last. I’m not thinking of slowing down right now.
Apparently, a biopic is being planned on you. Is there any progress on that front?
There are talks, and a few people are interested. But I think that (the materialisation of the biopic) will take some time.
Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Parineeti Chopra are launching your book in various cities. How important it is for sports personalities to have connections in Bollywood?
It is more about friendship. It is good to have friends [from the film industry] who can come and support you. Parineeti and I share a relationship that has nothing to do with tennis. SRK and Salman are two of the biggest stars in the country. When I called them, they agreed to be part of the launch. That is what friends are for. I’m privileged to have them as my friends in good and bad times.
You started a tennis academy in your Hyderabad in 2013. Do you plan to take it to other Indian cities as well?
The academy is my way of giving back to society. But I don’t have plans to expand it right now. Since I’m still playing, it would be difficult to give that much time to the project of opening it across the country.
What do you want to tell parents and kids through your book?
I feel all parents should allow their kids to do what they love, and trust them with their choices. Parents often force their opinions on their children, and consider their kids rebellious if they choose something different. That’s not right. And, I feel all kids should follow their dreams, irrespective of all the difficulties. I had a dream when I was young. I dreamt of being where I’m today. Probably God gave me more than what I deserved, and a lot more than what I dreamt of.
What’s been your parents’ contribution in your career?
Tennis is a team game. While you are the one playing on the court, but around you, your team and your people are so important. Your parents play the biggest part, as they are by your side in the ups and downs.