At the Tokyo Olympics, Sania Mirza will be at it again. She is participating with Ankita Raina in the women's doubles. However, for the first time in the history of Indian tennis, no male tennis player will accompany them.
Yes, you heard that right. No male tennis player will represent India for the first time at the Olympics since 1920. Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are the only players who would be representing India at the Olympics in the tennis event.
This is a record 4th appearance for Sania Mirza at the Summer Games. She first participated in the Beijing edition in 2008. However, she failed to make an impact and made a first round exit in both women's singles and women's doubles.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Sania fared slightly better with Leander Paes in mixed doubles. However, they lost to the Belarussian pair of Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi in the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles event.
Sania Mirza at Rio Olympics: So near, yet so far
However, in 2016, Sania almost achieved what Leander Paes had done at Atlanta in 1996. She partnered with Rohan Bopanna at the mixed doubles event, and to everyone's shock, the duo stormed into the semifinals.
However, they went down fighting against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of USA in the semifinals. They then lost to Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic to finish outside the podium. After coming agonizingly close to a historic final, Sania had to bow out.
While Ankita Raina has a clear lack of experience, she is also capable of surprising the best on her day. What will certainly work in favor of the Indian duo is the absence of the Williams sisters this time around, which otherwise would have threatened their chances of a podium finish.
Sania certainly has the potential to hit it out of the park even today. Now it remains to be seen if she can go the distance at Tokyo.