“Pregnancy is empowering” – Sania Mirza: woman on a mission

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Sania holding court

Former world doubles no.1 Sania Mirza is prioritising.

Her first – and biggest! – priority arrives next October.

That’s when her first child with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik is due to be born.

But the Indian superstar is already thinking about getting back on court – with Tokyo 2020 a clear goal in mind.

Mirza told the Indian news network IANS:

“The 2020 Olympics is a long way off. Having said that though, it definitely looks very doable right now… Most definitely, I would say coming back to playing is priority as soon as the pregnancy is done.”

Injury troubles

Mirza came close to winning an Olympic medal at Rio 2016, making the mixed doubles bronze medal match with partner Rohan Bopanna but they lost out to Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek.

Watch the 1min 19sec highlights here of Mirza’s brush with bronze at Rio:

Mirza was struck down with a knee injury the following season and hasn’t played since October 2017.

The 31-year-old is suffering from a condition called ‘jumper’s knee’, an inflammation of the tendon in the joint.

According to Mirza, “Rest was something everyone was recommending. I won’t say it (the knee) is perfect, but it’s better.”

With enforced downtime, she and her cricket star husband Malik, who have been married since 2010, decided it was the perfect moment to start a family.

They even decided on the surname for the baby: Mirza-Malik – a combination of mother and father’s surnames.

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#BabyMirzaMalik 👶🏽❤️ @daaemi

A post shared by Sania Mirza (@mirzasaniar) on

Pregnancy and empowerment

Mirza describes her experience of being pregnant as “empowering” and – much like Serena Williams – is ready to manage the demands of life on the tennis circuit with being a mother:

“Of course, my kid is very important in my life right now, but after that, I would like to come back to playing because it’s an example I’d like to set for my kid as well that you don’t give up on your dreams just because you’re pregnant.”

Tokyo 2020 would be Mirza’s fourth Olympic experience.

Clearly she has some big life decisions to take between now and the next Games, but the Indian has plenty of self-belief, affirming “I am young enough to come back and still play and be the best that I can be.”


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Author: Ken Browne
Ken Browne is a multimedia journalist for the Olympic Channel.