Tennis legend Sania Mirza said her final goodbye to her Gram Slam career after her heartbreaking defeat in the Australian Open mixed doubles final with Rohan Bopanna.
The 36-year-old Mirza had already stated that she would retire next month in Dubai and that the Australian Open 2023 would be her final major tournament. With 6 Gram Slam titles under her belt, Mirza bid adieu after her final appearance at the tournament.
During Mirza's final address, she spoke about how her professional career started in Melbourne and added that she "couldn't think of a better arena" to finish her Grand Slam career.
Her Grand Slam journey began and ended in Melbourne and she first appeared at a Grand Slam when she was only 18. She went up against the 2005 champion Serena Williams in a third-round match and lost.
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Sania Mirza Tributes
Mirza said, "I've had the privilege to come back here again and again, and win some tournaments and play some great finals". She added that Rod Laver Arena has been "special in my life" and said she couldn't think of a better arena to finish her career at a Grand Slam".
Tributes quickly poured in following Mirza's emotional address where she could be seen wiping her tears away.
The official Australian Open Twitter account shared a post calling her a "trailblazer for women in sport" and wrote, "Thanks, Sania. Six major titles across doubles and mixed".
They also shared a video of her final address and wrote in the caption, "We love you, Sania".
The Australian Open account wasn't the only account that paid tribute to the tennis legend. The official account for the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) also shared her final address and quoted Mirza saying, "I couldn't think of a better arena to finish my career in a Grand Slam" and responded, "No, thank you".
Former captain of the Indian Women's Cricket Team Mithali Raj wrote, "You’ve given your everything to tennis and to women’s sports. It's an iconic legacy indeed. It was always a pleasure to watch you play & watch you become the champion that you are. Best wishes for your future endeavours."