India’s mixed doubles pair had come agonisingly close to winning bronze at the Rio Olympics 2016
Mirza came agonisingly close to a podium place at Rio 2016 alongside Bopanna.
In October 2017, however, Sania Mirza went down after a knee injury following the WTA China Open, and the one-year layoff saw her embrace parenthood. Now, with the decorated player preparing to return to court, she has expressed her willingness to team up with old partner and compatriot Rohan Bopanna at the Tokyo Games.
“... Tokyo Olympics is at the back of my mind. It’s not my main focus right now, which is to get back to playing and being healthy. But if I’m able to put myself in a position to compete at the Olympics again, I’ll be extremely proud of myself,” she said in an interview with Hindustan Times.
“Having not won that medal last time, having come so close was very painful. So, it would be amazing to play with him (Bopanna) again, if we could put ourselves in that position and compete for a medal again,” she added.
Regaining full match fitness for a physically demanding sport like tennis after pregnancy can be tough, and Mirza revealed how she took one objective at a time during her recovery. “The day after I gave birth, I decided that I wanted to lose 23 kg. For me, it was more about being healthy again; that was my first thought process. And I managed to lose 26 kg in four months,” she said.
“Once I did that, I said, ‘You know what, my body feels almost like it used to be’, which was strong and lean. And then I thought, ‘Let me try and hit some balls’. I started with once a week, then twice a week, and I kept enjoying it. After a couple of months, I realised my body was handling everything quite well, better than I had expected. That’s when I found that motivation and inspiration, where I was sure that I wanted to make a comeback,” she adds.
The six-time Grand Slam champions will hit the court on January 11, in the WTA Hobart International.