Indian tennis star Sania Mirza on Wednesday announced she will hang up her boots after the 2022 season, saying her “body is wearing down”. The announcement comes after the 35-year-old and her Ukrainian partner Nadia Kichenok suffered an opening-round loss in the women’s doubles event of the ongoing Australian Open.   

The Slovenian pair of Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek defeated Mirza and Kichenok 6-4, 7-6. Speaking at the post-match press conference, Mirza highlighted the physical toll on her body, which has pushed her towards the decision to retire.   

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“There’s a bunch reasons for it. It’s not as simple as ‘okay I’m not going to play’. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I’m putting my 3-year-old son at risk by travelling so much with him, that’s something I have to take into account. I think my body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I’m getting older.” 

“Also for me to find that motivation everyday to come out. The energy is not the same anymore. There are more days than there used to be where I don’t feel like doing that. I’ve always said that I will play until I enjoy that grind, the process which I’m not sure I’m enjoying as much anymore.”

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“Having said that, I still want to play the season because I’m enjoying it enough to play the year. I’ve worked very hard to come back, get fit, lose the weight and try to set a good example for mothers, new mothers to follow their dreams as much as they can. Beyond this season, I don’t feel my body doing it.”