Written by Team ParentCircle and published on 23 December 2021.
She smashes gender stereotypes with her aces, has six grand slam titles to her name and is hungry for more. And Sania Mirza also hopes to imbibe in her son, the spirit of sport and fair play!
A Padma Shri awardee with six grand slam titles to her name, Sania Mirza is undoubtedly one of the world's finest tennis players. Courageous and spirited, her efforts have put India on the global tennis map. A role model to aspiring young girls pursuing sports passionately, she has challenged gender barriers and busted the myth – 'Girls can't excel at sport!' In fact, Sania thoughtfully penned her autobiography Ace against odds to motivate young players to dream big and reach for the skies.
ParentCircle is delighted to share an exclusive interview with the Sania Mirza.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
Q. Do you think we have enough female sports role models to encourage young girls?
A. Today we do have several female sports icons in India. When I started out playing tennis professionally, India only had PT Usha. I used to look up to her. But now, apart from me, we also have Mary Kom, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Dipa Karmakar among many others, who have done phenomenally well in their respective fields. These amazing sports personalities are bound to inspire young girls in our country to pursue sports.
Q. What advice would you now give your 10-year-old self?
A. Play a sport if you love it and have a passion for it — never for fame or for money. This has been my motto all my life and I would still give myself this same piece of advice.
Q. What role has your family played in your upbringing and achievements?
A. I think the role my family has played in my life and career is immense and well-documented. It would be safe to say that I would not have been in any position to accomplish (whatever I have been fortunate to achieve to date) if not for their strong and unfaltering support.
Q. How supportive has your spouse Shoaib and in-laws been of your trailblazing career?
A. Shoaib and his family have always encouraged me in my career and also take immense pride in my achievements. As an international sportsman himself, Shoaib fully understands the hardship and effort, in terms of what it takes to succeed. So, he has been a consistent source of strength and inspiration.
Q. Does this also shape the way you wish to bring up your little boy?
A. Just because he is the son of two sporting personalities, who have achieved international recognition, it does not necessarily mean that Izhaan will be a world-beater in sports as well. He is free to choose a career of his choice — whatever that may be. However, we will certainly imbibe in him the spirit of sport and fair play, which has been intrinsic to our lives.
Q. We often talk about how important it is to raise boys who respect women. How vital is that in the current world we live in?
A. I think that it is extremely important to instill respect for women, early on in boys. There can be no compromises on that front.
Q. How is motherhood treating you? Any special moments you would like to share?
A. Being a mother has been the most exciting and fulfilling aspect of my life and I am savoring every little moment. I have realized that when you become a mother, it completely changes one's priorities. It happens very naturally to every woman.
Q. How do you spend quality time with your family?
A. As a family, we don't indulge in any specific activity as such. I think just being together as a family gives us a feeling of serenity, togetherness and happiness and that is hard to beat.
Q. Can you share a challenging moment in your life and how you overcame it?
A. As a sportsperson and a woman, there have been several challenging moments in my life and career. There have been some stressful and difficult times, just like in anyone's life. It is not easy to single out any one such moment. But yes, there have been challenges and I have faced them.
Q. If you could change something in your life. What would that be?
A. I may have made some mistakes during the course of my life but I regret nothing. I believe in destiny and trust in God's will.
Q. What are your future plans — in your career and life?
A. I hope to play professionally for a few more years. I am looking forward to balancing my career with my family life. I believe it is possible to get the best of both worlds!
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