Ace India tennis player Sania Mirza has set her sights on an Olympic comeback after missing most of last season. Mirza, who had also contracted Covid-19, will return to competitive action in March with tournaments in Doha and Dubai.
"Having gone through Covid - I had it last month as I was unlucky to get it - I don't wish it on anybody. It was pretty scary for me," Mirza was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express.
"Olympics is something that I had made a comeback for last year, but unfortunately it didn't happen. It is certainly something in the back of my mind," she added.
Mirza is currently ranked 245 in the world in doubles. But the Indian, who returned to the tour early last year after giving birth to a baby boy, can use her protected ranking of 9 to make the cut for the Olympics.
She didn't have the most memorable of Olympic debuts at Beijing 2008 and was forced to withdraw from her first round singles match with a wrist injury. In doubles, she lost in the second round, partnering Sunitha Rao.
Mirza's best shot at an Olympic medal came at Rio 2016 when she, and Rohan Bopanna, contested in the bronze medal match. Having narrowly lost to American pair of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in the semi-finals, they endured another heartbreaking defeat to Czech Republic's Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek in the third-place match.
However, the 34-year-old has six Grand Slam titles to her name and is undoubtedly the finest women's tennis player that India has ever produced.
Even though none of the Indian women have come close to her success on the tennis court, Ankita Raina made a breakthrough at the Australian Open. The 28-year-old became only the fourth Indian woman, and first since Mirza, to make a Grand Slam main draw when she played in the women's doubles event at the 2021 Australian Open.
However, Raina and her partner Mihaela Buzarnescu went down in the opening round. But Mirza is hopeful that Raina becomes a regular feature at the majors. Raina has continued her form by winning the Phillip Island WTA trophy, becoming only the second Indian woman after Mirza to win a WTA title.
"Ankita is a very talented player. She's been working really hard and has been number one in the country for a few years. I think it's a matter of pride that she was only the fifth (fourth) woman to play a Grand Slam and I think we should take pride in that. She is still young and hopefully, in the next couple of years, she can try to get better and better and hopefully become a regular at playing these Grand Slams," Mirza added.