Hobart International 2020: Sania Mirza returns to the Tour after two years
On Tuesday morning, Indian tennis fans will be keenly following the WTA International event in Hobart, Australia as Sania Mirza will be making her long-awaited return to the Tour. This will be the six-time Grand Slam champion's first competitive tournament since October 2017.
The 33-year-old, who reached the pinnacle of the women's doubles world rankings in 2015, will be seen in action for the first time since giving birth to her son Izhaan Mirza Malik in October 2018.
The Indian has paired up with Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok on her comeback and the two will be facing the Georgian-Japanese combine of Oksana Kalashnikova and Miyu Kato. A win will pit the Indian and the Ukrainian against the pair of Vania King and Christina McHale, who upset fourth seeds Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Mirza and Kichenok have been placed in the top half of the draw and are likely to face the top seeds Hao-Ching Chan and Latisha Chan, should they win the first couple of rounds.
However, given this will be her first appearance since her long sabbatical, the Indian would be careful not to overburden herself with high expectations. The highly pragmatic Mirza knows that she has to take one match at a time as she is making her way back to the rigours of the Tour.
Mirza has taken inspiration from fellow mothers, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters to make her return to the Australian Open later this month. The first Major of the season will see two of India's finest tennis stars, Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, joining forces. The two, who narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal in Rio, teamed up following the withdrawal of Rajeev Ram who was initially paired with Sania.
The Australian Open has forever been a happy hunting ground for Mirza where she tasted Slam glory for the first time in 2009 alongside Mahesh Bhupathi. She went on to add the women's doubles title in 2016 in partnership with Martina Hingis.
It would be a treat for Indian sports fans if Mirza and Bopanna can bring the mixed doubles crown especially after Bopanna began the 2020 season with a title at Doha.Modified 14 Jan 2020, 01:33 IST