Sania Mirza set to make a comeback at Hobart International

The 33-year-old will team up with Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok, the current World No. 38, for the tournament in January, 2020.

Sania Mirza has one eye on the Olympics in Tokyo, 2020, too.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Sania Mirza on Thursday confirmed she will be back to competitive tennis at Hobart International in January, 2020, two years after taking a maternity break. The 33-year-old, who last played at the China Open in October, 2017, will team up with Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok, the current World No. 38.

Sania, married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, gave birth to their first son, Izhaan, in October last year. “I am playing in Hobart, then I am playing the Australian Open. I am planning to play a tournament in Mumbai, which is a USD 25,000 (ITF women) event next month, but I am 50-50 about it, so let’s see how my wrist behaves. We will see, but Hobart and Australian Open [for sure],” she said at a press conference.

Back to full fitness

Sania, a winner of six Grand Slam titles, revealed she was back to her best shape. “There are a lot of changes when you have a baby. Your routine and sleep pattern changes. I [now] feel fit, my body is where it used to be before I had the baby. It was only six-seven months ago, where I thought about it as a realistic possibility,” she said.

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Sania will partner American Rajeev Ram for the mixed doubles at the Australian Open. She was speaking after inaugurating the newly relaid tennis courts at the iconic Khar Gymkhana here in presence of Mahesh Bhupathi, Gymkhana’s president Vivek Devnani and secretary Gaurav Kapadia.

‘Ready to compete again’

Sania said she encountered a bout with Chikungunya fever recently. “Three months ago I got this virus Chikangunya, that was a setback because for two weeks I was sick. I have left wrist pain out of the blue because of this virus and it can last up to three months to one year. All and all I feel good. Today I can tell you that I am ready to compete again. Of course, it will take me time to the level that I was playing [before], but it is [a] good start for me to feel good physically,” she said.

Sania also said Tokyo 2020 Olympics was on her mind. “I have been there (Olympics) three times and last time we were unlucky to not win a medal. If I am able to put myself in that position to be able to compete at the Olympics again for the fourth time in my life, I would be really honoured and privileged. I have got three slams before Olympics and for me it’s week to week and day to day,” she said.