Sania Mirza starts the #SupportSmallBySania initiative

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Sania Mirza starts the #SupportSmallBySania initiative

Former World No. 1 doubles tennis star Sania Mirza is doing her part to promote Indian brands to help the country move towards becoming self-reliant amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Sania Mirza starts the #SupportSmallBySania initiative

Sania Mirza took to social media earlier this week and announced she was starting an initiative called #SupportSmallBySania.

As part of her initiative, she was calling out to brands, designers, craftsmen, properties, restaurants and others and said she would choose 20 of her favourites among these and promote the on social media. In her statement, the six-time Grand Slam champion says, "Life as we knew it has changed forever.

The only way to overcome this to stand together and help revive our people and our country from the virus' aftermath. #SupportSmallBySania is my humble attempt to encourage Indian brands -- designers, craftsmen, properties, restaurants -- anything and everything that's created in our country.

It's my small way of lending support to our people because it's only when we come together we will win against the virus that has kept us apart." In a message to the country during the current lockdown, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged the country to become more self-reliant.

Sania Mirza is the most successful Indian women's tennis player in history and one of the highest-paid and most high-profile athletes in the country. A former world No. 1 in doubles, she has won three Grand Slam women's doubles and three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in her career - the only Indian woman to do so in tennis.

From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was India's No. 1 player and peaked at No. 27 in the singles rankings. She created a number of firsts for an Indian female tennis player - including surpassing $1 million in career earnings (currently nearly $7 million), winning a singles WTA title, and winning six major titles (three each in women's doubles and in mixed doubles), as well as qualifying for and winning the WTA Finals in doubles in 2014 alongside Cara Black.

She has won a total of 14 medals for India at events such as the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Afro-Asian Games. Sania returned to the tour earlier this year after a two-year break during which she had her first child.