Sania flies the flag for sporting mothers

Star has entered another critical phase of her career, says father Imran

Six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza embarks on yet another journey carrying the message that an athlete’s life doesn’t stop on attaining motherhood. The 34-year-old Sania is partnering CoCo Vandeweghe at the US Open, which begins on Monday.

Her father-cum-coach Imran Mirza says Sania is going through another critical phase of her career.

“As long as she wants to play, she will. But, her priorities have obviously changed a bit after the birth of son Izhaan.

“She is mature enough to know what she wants and what is good for her and her family,” Imran said during a virtual interaction with fans and Shivani Gupta, co-author of Sania’s biography Ace Against Odds.

“Yes, she will have to make a few adjustments. It will be a tough ride. If she wins one more Grand Slam, and even if she competes on level terms with the best in the world, she would be making a very strong point — life doesn’t stop after motherhood,” he said.

“We (family) have always made her smile, even in defeat, with the right dose of humour. Nasima (mother) and I have always ensured we never put pressure on her by way of expectations,” Imran said.

To be in rhythm at the highest level, a player needs at least 30-40 matches a year.

But, due to injury, pregnancy followed by her son’s birth and then the pandemic, she had only played around 25 matches in the last four years, Imran said, adding “that’s just not enough.”

“I am more than satisfied with her achievements. It is up to her to take a call on how long she will play and balance her role as a mother as well as her family commitments,” he said.

“But, Sania is keen to prove what a mother can achieve in the world of sport. I’m happy she wants to make a point and she has the entire family’s support,” Imran said.

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