Feeling no pressure, Sania Mirza plans to return in January

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Feeling no pressure, Sania Mirza plans to return in January
Feeling no pressure, Sania Mirza plans to return in January

The six-time Grand Slam champion and the winner of 41 WTA doubles titles, Sania Mirza had to miss the entire 2018 season after giving birth to a son Izhaan in October. A former world no. 1 and the conquer of three different Majors in both doubles and mixed doubles was the dominant figure on the Tour in 2015 and 2016 with Martina Hingis before starting to compete with various partners in 2017, winning the crown in Brisbane with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and reaching the latter stages of Sydney, Doha, Dubai, Miami with Barbora Strycova.

Paired with Shuai Peng, Mirza was the semi-finalist at the US Open, Wuhan and Beijing and those were her last tournaments before deciding to take a break and focus on her pregnancy. In December last year, Sania said she wants to make a return at the end of 2019 but that will probably not happen, with the Indian targeting the beginning of 2020 as the potential return to the court.

The injury-prone player wants to do everything right at the age of 33 and make the best possible moves to extend career and compete at her best again. Losing 26 kilos, Mirza has been working hard on her physical shape recently and there are no massive expectations, avoiding to put pressure on her and chase big targets and goals, saying that every notable result would be a bonus and mentioning 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the event she is looking for.

"I have achieved everything which I could have dreamt of in my career, whatever happens next will be a bonus for me," Mirza said. "I thought I would be able to come back by August but January looks like a possibility at the moment.

Having son Izhan is the biggest blessing I could have so If I'm able to come back, it will be amazing. The only reason to come back would be that I love playing and competing, and I still have to see how my body reacts. The picture will be clear in the next two months and I don't want to compete when I'm not ready because there is no point in returning and getting injured.

There is enough self-motivation to come back but it's nice to see people like Serena competing at Grand Slams after having a baby, it's obviously very inspiring. I have been able to get back to being as strong as I was before, which is great, although I still have a bit of knee issue since it hasn't gone away completely.

I train about three-four hours a day in two sessions with fitness and with tennis it's more than that. Initially, the focus was on losing weight and now it's back to the same rigorous sessions I was having before. I put on 23 kilos and lost 26 now.

There is no goal, whatever happens in life hereon, regrading tennis, it will be just a plus. If I can make a comeback, the Tokyo Olympics is something I'm looking at."

Sania Mirza

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