‘I’m not a crier in front of people, but I’m almost there right now’: Sania Mirza on mixed doubles final run

“I’m so emotional – I’m not a crier in front of people, but I’m almost there right now.”

The emotions were at an all time high as Sania Mirza secured a place in the mixed doubles final of the 2023 Australian Open, the final grand slam of her playing career that spanned over two decades.

The 36-year-old partnered alongside Rohan Bopanna to best Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski 7-6(5) 6-7(5) [10-6] and reach the final.

“We were playing one of the best mixed doubles teams on tour and we knew we had to come up with the best – I’m glad we were able to do that,” Mirza said post-match.

She further added, “It was an amazing match, obviously there’s a lot of nerves playing my last Slam and it’s so special to play with Rohan,” added Mirza, who plans to retire later this year. Rohan was my first-ever mixed doubles partner when I was 14 years old … we’re so excited to come back here and give ourselves another chance.”

On playing in Melbourne the India international added, “I feel the love here, for the 18 years that I’ve been coming here it feels like home for me because honestly I’ve got family here, I eat at home, I get so much home food and I have all these Indians coming out and supporting me. It’s been quite a journey, and I’m really going to miss coming back here.”

Melbourne Park was where she combined alongside Mahesh Bhupati to win her first mixed doubles grand slam title in 2009. She would later bag French Open and US Open titles in 2012 and 2014.

“The most special memory remains playing against Serena here when I was 18 years old, even though I lost that match, got blown off the court,” Mirza said while recollecting her favourite Australian Open moment.

“My belief was installed there, that this is where I belong and this is where I want to be. Even though Serena won that tournament that year, for me it made me believe that a young Indian girl, the dream that I had to play in the slams, try and win them, was something that happened that year for me That memory … I’m getting goosebumps when I talk about it.”

Mirza and Bopanna will face Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the mixed doubles final on Friday at the Rod Laver Arena.

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