India’s ace tennis player Sania Mirza has said that playing in the 2002 National Games provided a major boost to her career. She said that it provided the perfect impetus to her career.
Notably, the 35-year-old had hinted about a possible retirement from professional tennis at the end of the 2022 season in January this year. However, she said that her retirement plans have changed as she announced her withdrawal from the US Open 2022.
"I was just 16 years old when I took part in the Games in 2002. I did well and came into the limelight. It proved to be the perfect impetus for my international career," Sania said.
The trendsetting and path-breaking Hyderabadi went on to win six Grand Slam titles in a glittering career. But before that, she had played plenty of tennis in India, starting nearly two decades back. From the junior nationals in Delhi to the National Games and then the WTA tournaments in Hyderabad.
Her journey has been an inspiration to almost every player, including Gujarat's Ankita Raina. The Super Mom is excited that the Games are being held in Gujarat after a gap of seven years. "Here is wishing the organisers all success and the competitors the very best of luck in achieving their aspirations," she said.
She has one simple message for all the competitors and not just tennis players. "This is the perfect platform to test yourself and, then, embark on the international stage," she added. She pointed out that National Games were unique, being a fusion of seasoned players, who have already scaled several peaks in the international arena, and rising stars.
"The presence of top athletes in National Games is a great source of inspiration to the emerging talent," Sania, currently recovering from a wrist injury she sustained ahead of the recent US Open, declared.
Notably, the 36th edition of the National Games is being held in Gujarat from 29 September to 12 October.