Sania Mirza to partner Rohan Bopanna for the first time since Rio

This will be Sania Mirza’s first Grand Slam since becoming a mother.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

The once-celebrated mixed doubles pair of the nation, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna will be playing together again in the Australian Open, scheduled to start from January 20.

This will be the first time in almost four years that the duo will be on the same side of the court after they ended just one spot shy of a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

"She was initially teamed up with Rajeev (Ram) but he had pulled out. I am obviously excited to be partnering with her, partners from the same countries are a rarity. I am looking forward to it," said a 39-year-old Rohan Bopanna in an interview with The New Indian Express.

Getting an in-form partner

While the early season will be more of a warm-up for the 2016 Australian Open winner, who is trying to get to her paces after a two-year maternity break, Rohan Bopanna is fresh from an ATP 250 title that he won in Doha on Friday, alongside men’s doubles partner Wesley Koolhof of Netherlands.

The pair was playing their first tournament at any level together but the duo combined well at the Qatar Open and defeated the duo of Luke Bambridge and Santiago Gonzalez 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 in the final.

The 2018 Australian Open finalist will be partnering Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama in the men’s doubles in Melbourne before he resumes his partnership with old partner Denis Shapavalov from February.

Completing the Rio circle

After having disappointing exits in the round of 32 in both the men’s and women’s doubles category in the 2016 Olympics, India had its hopes pinned on the mixed doubles duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, who looked to be in fine form.

They had beaten Australian pair of Samantha Stosur and John William Peers, and UK’s Heather Miriam Watson and Andy Murray in straight sets to march onto the semi-finals.

However, they faced consecutive defeats against USA’s Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in the semi-final and Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek in the bronze medal playoff, to finish fourth.

While Sania Mirza had contemplated playing her last Olympics soon after, the veteran has now announced that she is targeting the 2020 Olympics.

Sania Mirza is set to make her competitive return to tennis after a 15-month hiatus at the Hobart International, which starts on Monday, where she is partnering Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok in the women’s doubles.