After a career-pausing break and motherhood, will Sania Mirza bounce back once again to the tennis court for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? It’s a long way off, feels the former doubles World No 1 who says resuming her game is really a priority the moment the pregnancy is done.She wants to create a good example that people shouldn’t stop trying dreams just because they’re pregnant. Sania and her cricketer husband Shoaib Malik, who got married in 2010, announced her pregnancy last month.
“It was more or less time… I was down with my knee injury anyway and we’d been contemplating it for a while… We thought it had been a good time to begin a family and experience this new phase of our lives,” Sania told IANS over phone from Hyderabad.
The tennis ace is struggling with a condition called jumper’s knee, which includes kept her off the overall game for over six months. She even missed the Australian Open earlier this year.
May be the knee any better?
“It will be is. I haven’t played since mid-October, so that it is a huge solid half a year and more. Rest was something everyone was recommending… So, I won’t say it’s perfect, but it’s better,” said the sportswoman, who finds it difficult to rest.
Will she compete at the 2020 Olympics?
“The 2020 Olympics is a long way off. I’ve said this many times that as tennis players, we wish we knew what our lives brought us tomorrow. Having said that though, it will be looks very doable right now. But you have to attend and watch where life really takes you. Most definitely, I’d say returning to playing is priority the moment the pregnancy is done,” said the 31-year-old, who is due to deliver her first child in October.
She isn’t letting weight woes worry her.
“Weight is really superficial. For a lady, it’s exactly about embracing the pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, what’s most important is having a healthy baby. I really want women to understand that whether you’re a celebrity or not, it doesn’t matter. You will develop when you’re pregnant and you’ll lose the weight so long as you want to.”
Sania, whose baby’s surname would be Mirza-Malik — an amalgam of the last names of the parents — is confident she won’t let motherhood hold her back her career.
“Pregnancy is not a thing that holds you back anyway. It’s very empowering and is something that is part of being a lady and it’s something I looked forward to… having a family… (I knew) tennis is something that will take a backseat eventually.
“My goal is obviously in the future back and that’s the main thing. Of course, my kid is essential in my entire life at this time, but from then on, I want to return to playing because it’s a good example I’d like to create for my kid as well that that you do not give through to your dreams just because you’re pregnant,” said the youth icon, adding: “I’m young enough in the future back and still play and be the best that I could be.”
Does she see anyone effective at overpowering her mantle in the domestic circuit?
Sania laughed and said: “After all, I don’t know… I’m pregnant, so hopefully, someone can. I do believe there are a couple of young girls that are quite good. There’s Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi and Prarthana Thombare… They’re the girls that are the next generation. They are 23, 24 years of age, and these are the girls I’ve seen since they certainly were 16 or 17.
“They will take the race, whether it’s today, tomorrow or when I’m done and retired. So hopefully, one of them will come out. It’s about making that next big step… A few more things if they belong to place, we may have one of them come out.”
Overall, the star athlete is very buoyed by the success of women in the global sports arena of late.
“It’s pretty incredible even as we come from a culture where sports isn’t the initial profession that people think of putting the youngster in… Things are obviously changing… There’s still a lengthy way to go, but it’s changed a whole lot, at least since I began playing tennis.
“Today, a parent is putting the confidence in the youngster, a lady or a child — a lady more I do believe — that they can be considered a professional athlete, and it doesn’t need to be their second job,” she said, adding that Indian athletes’ performance at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 is proof that “we’re moving in the proper direction “.