India’s Sania Mirza bid farewell to her grand slam career after the Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos beat Mirza and Rohan Bopanna on Friday.
It was Mirza’s last match at a Grand Slam tournament before her retirement.
Mirza, who has won six Grand Slam doubles championships — three in mixed, including the 2009 Australian Open — will retire next month after a tournament in Dubai.
Mirza became the first Indian woman to be seeded at a Grand Slam event at the 2006 Australian Open.
At the time, she had beaten two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in her opening game
On Saturday, Azarenka paid tribute to her Indian counterpart and wrote: “Just want to say congratulations on your career @MirzaSania and thank you for being such an inspiration to so many girls who can dream so big! I will still see you soon but those tears of joy on the court you had made me cry too”
Just want to say congratulations on your career @MirzaSania and thank you for being such an inspiration to so many girls who can dream so big! I will still see you soon but those tears of joy on the court you had made me cry too ❤️
— victoria azarenka (@vika7) January 28, 2023
Earlier, on Friday, an emotional Mirza spoke at the trophy presentation and said, “Disclaimer, if I cry it is happy tears,” Mirza said. “I don’t want to take away the moment from Matos-Stefani who have deserved this.”
The 36-year-old Mirza first appeared at a Grand Slam tournament 18 years ago in Melbourne, when she was beaten by eventual 2005 champion Serena Williams in a third-round match.
“I’ve had the privilege to come back here again and again, and win some tournaments and play some great finals,” Mirza said. “Rod Laver Arena has really been special in my life and I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my career at a Grand Slam.”