Sania Mirza had watched silently as the ugly spat between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi unfolded. But in a no-holds-barred assault after her wild card came through, Sania lashed out ITA and the male players for humiliating her by using her as a bait in the Lee-Hesh row.
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Success finally smiled on Sania Mirza after a long time when she clinched the French Open mixed-doubles title this year. Here's hoping she can replicate the same at Wimbeldon. However, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the Hyderabadi lass.
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Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina suffered a crushing 2-6, 1-6 defeat against top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the doubles final at the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open.
Last year, Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina's defeat to the unseeded Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hredecka in the French Open final may have come as a disappointment to the Hyderbadi's fans, but it's also a matter of pride that she got this far.
Sania broke into the competetive league in 2003 when she was made part of the Indian Fed team and won all the games she played . In the same year, she went on to create history when she took part in the Wimbledon Girls Championships and won the doubles title with her partner Alisa Kleybanova. She earned the Arjuna award for her achievements in 2004.
Sania made her Grand Slam debut in 2005 in the Australian Open. Her skills were put to test and Sania made it to the third round, only to then be beaten by top-seed Serena Williams who ended her run in the singles event. Photo: Getty Images
She then took part in the 2005 US Open and made an entry into the record books when she entered the quarterfinal round. It took 51 years for an Indian girl to get so far, the last being Rita Daburr, who had finished runner-up in the singles event in 1952. Photo: Getty Images
The following year, Sania's playing career reached its peak as she defeated biggies like Martina Hingis, Nadia Petrova and Svetlana Kuznetsova and earned a place in the top 30 world rankings. She became the highest-ever ranked Indian woman tennis player. She was aptly awarded the Padma Shri for her achievements. Photo: Getty Images
Sania also had a fair share of controversies to deal with. For starters, she upset some sects of the Muslim community for wearing short skirts during her games. A fatwa was issued against her on grounds of indecency by a Muslim cleric.
In 2007, Sania partnered up with Mahesh Bhupathi in the mixed doubles event at the US Open but the Indian duo faltered at the quarter-finals stage, losing out to the eventual event winners, Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka. In the same tournament, she and her American partner, Bethanie Mattek-Sands bowed out at the same stage.
In 2008, during a Hopman Cup match, Sania was pictured resting her feet close to an Indian flag. The photo made her the subject of much criticism and Sania faced possible prosecution under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. But Sania later apologised and said wouldn't have been playing the Hopman Cup, if she didn't respect her country.
In 2009, Sania along with Mahesh Bhupathi rewrote history as they won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open defeating Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram in the finals. It was a much deserved victory for the Indian pair as they dominated the game winning in straight sets, 6-3 and 6-1.
Sania also represented India at the Asian Games and in 2006, she won a gold medal when she partnered with Leander Paes. At the 2010 Asian Games, she lost out in the finals to Australia's Anastasia Rodionova and eventually had to settle with a silver medal, which was by far her best performance in the singles category at the games. Photo: Getty Images
In 2009, Sania got engaged to her childhood friend Sohrab Mirza but soon after, due to personal problems, their engagement was called off. The following year, Sania got married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik but controversies continued to haunt her her as Shoaib's ex-wife Ayesha Siddiqui threatened that Shoaib was still married to her. Ayesha and Shoaib finally filed for divorce and Sania tied the knot with the cricketer.
Niggling injuries and a spate of poor performances kept Sania out of the game for a while. Even though she tried to return to the court, Sania's wrist injuries worsened. She fell in the rankings table and eventually dropped out of the top 50.
In early 2011, Sania was ranked 141, but made it to the top draw of the Australian Open. However she lost to Justin Henin in the first round. However a few decent performances later, she qualified for the singles event in the French Open. After winning her first match, she lost out in the second round and also crashed out of the mixed doubles events where she had partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi. Photo: Getty Images