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Sania Mirza ends her career in the place where it began Sport-rated

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With “tears of happiness”, Indian tennis legend Sania Mirza ended her pioneering journey as a player in the place where it all began on Sunday. Playing exhibition matches with Rohan Bopanna, Yuvraj Singh and her ‘best friend’ Bethanie Mettek Sands, Sania finally bid farewell to her illustrious career at the Lal Bahadur Tennis Stadium, the venue where she marked her arrival on the big stage with a historic World Cup triumph. WTA singles title almost two decades ago.

The exhibition games were watched by eminent personalities including Union Right Minister Kiren Rijiju and former India cricket team captain Mohammed Azharuddin.

Arriving at the venue in a stylish red car, 36-year-old Sania was greeted by cheering fans, among whom were also prominent personalities.

Sania, who was emotional while giving her farewell speech, said the greatest honor for her has been playing for the country for 20 years.

On the occasion, the six-time Grand Slam winner (three in women’s doubles and as many in mixed doubles) played two mixed doubles exhibition matches and won both.

The venue, where she had won some memorable titles, sported a festive look with banners reading ‘Celebrating the legacy of Sania Mirza’.

Some fans carried banners saying ‘thanks for the memories’ and ‘we will miss you Sania’.

The spectators, mostly school-age children, cheered as she entered the court.

“I’m very excited to play my last game in front of all of you,” she said, speaking before the game.

Rijiju, who was previously the union sports minister, Telangana minister, KT Rama Rao, Azharuddin and Yuvraj were among the guests present at the venue.

“I have come to Hyderabad for Sania Mirza’s farewell, her farewell match. I am delighted to see so many people attending this. Sania Mirza is an inspiration not only for Indian tennis but also for Indian sports,” Rijiju said.

“When I was Minister of Sports I used to be in contact with Sania. I wish her all the best for her future projects.” His family and friends were also present at the scene.

After the match, Sania was congratulated by Rama Rao and Telangana sports minister V Srinivas Goud.

“The greatest honor for me has been playing for my country for 20 years. It is the dream of every athlete to represent their country at the highest level. I was able to do it ”, Sania, who thanked everyone for supporting her on her way. she said.

As the fans cheered her on, Sania became emotional.

“These are very, very happy tears. I couldn’t have asked for a better send-off,” she said.

Although he may have retired, he will be a part of tennis and sports in India and in Telangana, he said.

He hoped that “many, many Sanias” would emerge in the country.

Azharuddin, whose son is married to Sania’s younger sister Anam, praised her contribution to tennis.

“I think today we are giving Sania a great send off. What she has done for tennis for women in India and around the world, I think is an example. I wish her all the best,” Azharuddin told reporters. .

“I know that people would want him to continue playing more. But every career has to end. I think he has made the right decision,” he said.

Several fans said they are saddened by Sania’s retirement from professional tennis.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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