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Sania Mirza

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Status: Single
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Biography

Sania Mirza (born November 15, 1986) is an Indian tennis player. She was born in Mumbai, brought up in Hyderabad. Coached by her father, Imran Mirza, she began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 20 in doubles. She is now ranked 27th in the singles category and 20th in the doubles category, as of 27th Aug, 2007.

Sania Mirza holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament when she was seeded 26th in the 2007 US Open. Earlier in 2005, she had become the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 US Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In 2004, she finished runner up at the Asian Tennis Championship. In 2005, Mirza reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. On February 12, 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open Finals.

Mirza won the Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title in 2003, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. Mirza does not enjoy clay court. Her best performance in French Open singles has been a second round appearance in 2007.

As of September 2006, Mirza has notched up three top 10 wins against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Martina Hingis.

Mirza had the best results of her career during the summer hardcourt season, finishing eighth in the 2007 U.S. Open Series standings. She reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic and won the doubles event with Shahar Pe'er, and reached the quarterfinals of the Tier 1 Acura Classic.

She has stated that two of her best friends are fellow WTA tour players, Anna Chakvetadze and Bethanie Mattek.

Criticism have been raised in some Islamist quarters supposedly due to her attire not being conformant to Islamic Dress Code. According to one report published September 8, 2005, an unnamed Islamic scholar had issued a fatwa, saying that her attire is contrary to what is permitted by Islam. A further report published the next day on this fatwa elaborated that Mirza was unfazed by the comments made by Syed Yousaf Bin, the chief patron of the Ulema Board, in Hyderabad. Large numbers of Muslims clerics protested her attire, accusing her of being a "corrupting inflence on the youth" She has been widely attacked and vilified in Islamist circles, including a cleric named Haseeb-ul-hasan Siddiqui who said "The dress she wears on the tennis courts…leaves nothing to the imagination, She will undoubtedly be a corrupting influence.". Islamist groups such as Jamiat-ulema-e-Hind allegedly threatened to disrupt her tennis matches, following which the Calcutta police had to tighten security measures to protect her.

In 2006, Some newspapers reported that Mirza declined from playing with an Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer for fear of violent protests from India's Muslim clerics and their opposition to the existence of Israel. However, these reports were dismissed by Mirza as "baseless" and in 2007, Shahar Peer and Mirza teamed up again at Wimbledon. The duo made the third round of Wimbledon before being knocked out by the top seeds.



 


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