Tennis champion Sania Mirza won the WTA Hobart International trophy in her first match after two years of maternity break, partnering with Nadiia Kichenok from Ukraine on Saturday.
“There was no pressure, no expectations. It is just going out there and enjoying the game which I love the most. I am really glad about the way things have gone right through the tournament, and it is good to have a winning start with Kichenok,” the six-time Grand Slam winner told reporters.
Sania had teamed up with Nadiia at the China Open in October 2017 as well, before she gave birth to her son, Izhaan, in October 2018. Dedicating the award to her son, the 33-years-old player and mother said she could not have hoped for a better comeback, and that her journey inspires mothers around the world.
She added, "I feel, especially, in the part of the world that I come from when women become mothers, it's treated as if their world has come to an end and it's all about the children. Women are made to feel, if they go out and chase their dreams, they're probably not the best mothers in the world.”
Many including Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, actors Esha Gupta, Neha Dhupia, Riteish Deshmukh, Ashish Chowdhry, among many others congratulated her victorious comeback on Twitter.
It's been a superb comeback for @MirzaSania in her first competitive tournament in over two years. The six-time Grand Slam Champion wins the Hobart International women’s doubles title with Nadiaa Kichenok. @KirenRijiju congratulates her on this big win!!— Kiren Rijiju Office (@RijijuOffice) January 18, 2020
Cricketer Yuvraj Singh also took to Twitter and wrote that being a mother makes one stronger in every way possible.
Congratulations @MirzaSania ! What a comeback. I guess being a mommy makes you stronger 💪Proud of you my friend— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) January 18, 2020
While Sania fully embraces her motherhood, she also does not shy away from the difficulties that come with it. She has opened up about the emotional and physical toll pregnancy took on her to get back on the tennis courts again.
Sania, who had pioneered as the first Indian woman to win the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) title in 2004, shared that she gained 23 kg in weight and had to lose 26 kg before she started her training.
After her landmark victory, she will be seen next with Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament.