Sania Mirza said on Tuesday she does not see an Indian talent emerging at the top echelons of women’s tennis in the immediate future but is hopeful that can change down the road. The Indian tennis icon played the final match of her 20-year professional career earlier in the day, losing alongside Madison Keys 6-4, 6-0 to Russian pair Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova at the Dubai Open. A former doubles world number one and six-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, 36-year-old Mirza’s trailblazing journey has inspired countless young people from her country to take up tennis.
“Every time that we see a glimmer of hope, we see either they go to college, and after college, they never sort of come back to competing, or they’re just not able to make that next jump,” Mirza told reporters.
“If you’re talking about someone trying to achieve, not just me as a benchmark, but more than what I have, I honestly feel that it will probably be someone who’s maybe five or six years old today.”
The highest-ranked Indian woman in singles at the moment is 30-year-old Ankita Raina, who stands at 245 in the world, and the only other player in the top 300 is Karman Thandi at 265.
Apart from Mirza, there are just two Indian women in the top 200 in doubles. “To see someone who is going to dominate at the highest level, I don’t know if I see that in the immediate five to 10-year future. That’s the honest truth,” said Mirza, who was accompanied by her four-year-old son Izhaan in her final press conference.
Read more: https://sports.ndtv.com/tennis/sania-mirza-predicts-tough-future-for-indian-womens-tennis-after-swansong-3802915