India’s tennis star Sania Mirza, who recently had her first child, is planning to return to the court by the end of 2019 season.

The 32-year-old had last played at the China Open in October 2017 where she suffered a knee injury and was out of competition in the early part of last year. She now wants to return to the game and would start her training soon.

“Realistic possibility for a comeback is by the end of the year,” she said in an interaction at The Huddle held by  The Hindu .

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“My conditioning trainer is coming in the next ten days. Now that I have lost weight, I do tennis specific training.

“I am 32 years old, I am not so young as a tennis player. But I would die if I did not try. Tennis is my life, it has given me everything. I still have it in me.” 

Sania said she looks up to German legend Steffi Graf, a winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, as she has achieved a lot even after marriage and having a kid.

“I am still star struck whenever I see her (Steffi Graf). She is a great example because people say a woman cannot have to it all, but she had it all,” she said. 

“She is the greatest player. She married and had kids and achieved many things in life despite it.” 

Talking about her favourite player, Sania said, “I will go with John McEnroe because he had personality. I don’t smash rackets, but it is fun to watch others do that.” 

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She added that she had the backing of parents and Mahesh Bhupathi in the initial stages of her career.

Sania also pointed out that tennis cannot compete with cricket in terms of popularity because a billion people prefer to watch the latter.

“We are a country of a lot of people. We need to have more people making it to the top. I do regret that there isn’t any system to promote players to the top level,” she said. 

“We are doing better as a country in different sports, but in tennis, we are not quite there.”