Sania Mirza is currently the highest-ranked professional tennis player from India. Born on November 15, 1986 in Mumbai, Mirza started to play tennis at the age of six. She was coached by her father, Imran Mirza, after another coach refused to train her because he thought that she was too small for the game. She turned professional in 2003 and went on to become the first Indian woman to reach the 4th round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 US Open. She is also the first Indian woman to win a juniors Grand Slam title and a WTA singles title.
Mirza won the Wimbledon Championship Girls’ Doubles titles in 2003 with Russian Alisa Kleybanova. She was a wild card entry at the 2005 Australian Open and created history by being the first Indian woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament. After losing the round to eventual champion Serena Williams, she went on to defeat Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine at the Hyderabad Open finals on February 12, 2005, becoming the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title.
In 2006, Mirza reached the quarterfinals at Kolkata against Hingis and won tour doubles titles at Bangalore and Kolkata. 2007 started strong for the Indian player, although she soon had to undergo knee surgery which cost her a two-month lay-off. She reached the semifinals as the third seed in the Western and Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, losing to eventual champion Anna Chakvetadze. However, she bagged the doubles title with Bethanie Mattek. She also won another doubles title with partner Shahar Pe’er at the Bank of the West Classic.
She reached the quarterfinals of the Acura classics after defeating Pe’er and Safina, eventually bowing to top seed Maria Sharapova. In the East West Bank Classic, fans saw her beat tennis great Hingis for the second time. She went on to win the doubles title with partner Mara Santangelo at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament.
Mirza lost to Venus Williams in the 2008 Australian Open, where she was seeded at 31. She also lost the mixed doubles with partner Mahesh Bhupati.