"Sania becoming the world number one is a matter of great achievement for any Indian sports person."
Sania Mirza has become the first Indian female tennis player to take the world’s number one spot.
Alongside Swiss partner Martina Hingis, Mirza triumphed decisively in the final of the WTA Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday 12th April 2015.
Mirza and Hingis completely dominated their opponents, Australian Casey Dellacqua and Croatian Darija Jurak, beating them in straight sets (6-0, 6-4) in just 57 minutes.
The top-seeded Indo-Swiss pair’s victory in the US$731,000 (£500,000) clay court event final secured their third consecutive women’s doubles title.
This follows their success at Indian Wells, which was their first tournament together, as well as in Miami.
At the trophy ceremony, Mirza was very excited and proud of her personal achievement: “It’s a dream for every kid to be Number One one day.”
The 28-year-old player was also full of praise and admiration for her amazing partner Hingis, the youngest Grand Slam Champion of all time.
Mirza said: “I can’t think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind – to get number one. And she really helped me get there.
“She helped me through some tough moments this week. She’s just a great person and a great player.”
She continued: “We also become the Number One team in the world today with this. I hope we have many, many more tournaments, and end the year on a high as well.”
Mirza acknowledged that she grew up idolising Hingis: “I don’t want to make you feel old, but I did watch you as a kid! You were an idol to most young girls at the time. You made it when you were 15!
“No tournament has been as special to me as the Family Circle Cup and no tournament will ever be as special to me, because I became Number One here.”
Those in the highest offices of the Indian government were keen to praise Mirza on her achievement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted:
An excellent accomplishment @MirzaSania! Congrats on being World Number 1 in doubles.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 12, 2015
President Pranab Mukherjee also congratulated Mirza:
Heartiest Congratulations Sania on becoming world no 1 player in Tennis Doubles #PresidentMukherjee
— President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) April 12, 2015
One of Mirza’s proudest supporters is her husband Shoaib Malik, the Pakistani cricket star. The Sialkot-born sportsman tweeted:
Mrs. Malik just became the 1st Indian tennis player to be the World’s # 1! Lots of love from all the Pakistani fans?? pic.twitter.com/XrPZIPNLWK
— Shoaib Malik (@realshoaibmalik) April 12, 2015
The chief of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Anil Khanna, said: “Sania becoming the world number one is one of the greatest achievements for any Indian woman sportsperson in the history of Indian sports. It is a matter of great achievement for any Indian sports person.”
Having won her seventh WTA doubles titles within the last 12 months and rising to number one, Mirza completes an exciting and ground-breaking fortnight for Indian women in racquet sports.
Watch our Exclusive Gupshup with Sania Mirza here:
She has followed in the footsteps of badminton star and fellow Hyderabadi, Saina Nehwal, who has recently earned the world’s number one spot in her own sport (read more here).
The only other Indian tennis players to reach the incredible milestone was the powerhouse pair, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, who ruled between 1998 and 2002.
Since pairing up in March 2015, Mirza and Hingis have not lost a single match in their three tournaments together, dropping only three sets in 14 matches.
In their short stint together, they are already at the top of the leader board for Road to Singapore – the end-of-season finale in which the top eight doubles teams compete in play-offs tournament.
In a country where cricket dominates culturally and financially, it is great to see Indian sportspersons succeeding in other sports.
It is even more refreshing that the latest Indian sports stars to reach the top of their respective sports, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal, are both women.
After struggling for some years as a singles player, Mirza has reinvented herself as a doubles specialist. Her perseverance and determination has paid off and she now sits at the top of the ladder in her sport.
DESIblitz congratulates Sania Mirza for achieving this record-breaking milestone and making Indians and South Asians everywhere very proud!