Six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza won the ‘Inspirational Icon’ award at the Sportstar Aces Awards at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai on Monday.
Tennis star Sania, who announced her retirement earlier this month, was a trailblazer. Sania returned stronger than ever from a wrist injury in 2008, and has served an inspiration for young girls across the nation. She reached a highest career singles ranking of 27.
Sania received the award from former India cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar. “Growing up, like most youngsters, I read Sportstar magazine. I dreamt of being on the cover one day. I put up Sportstar posters of Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and others who have inspired me. It is a true honour for me to be here, and to be a part of the Sportstar family,” Sania said.
It has been an emotional few weeks for Sania, who hung up her boots at the WTA Dubai Open recently.
“I’ve played professional tennis for 20 years, and I suppose all good things must come to an end. I am full of gratitude for getting the chance to play for India, my family and for all of you. You have all been with me through thick and thin. There is no better way for me to start this new phase of my life than to receive this award from the great Sunil Gavaskar. He is one of my heroes; it doesn’t get better than this,” Sania said.