Indian icon Sania Mirza hopes to play a part in UAE's tennis growth

Mirza has created five academies in Dubai with three more on the way

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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Indian tennis player Sania Mirza. — PTI
Indian tennis player Sania Mirza. — PTI

Published: Sat 24 Dec 2022, 9:25 PM

Last updated: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 7:30 PM

It has been over a decade since Sania Mirza made Dubai her home and now the former World No 1 doubles player aims to give something back to the community through several tennis academies that she has launched in the Emirate.

Mirza, who is currently playing in the inaugural World Tennis League at the Coca-Cola Arena, has created five academies with three more on the way.

The first of these is the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy at Jumeirah Lake Towers, Jumeirah Park, and Umm Hurair 2 in Oud Metha.

"I’ve been living in the city for close to 13 years and it’s been my home away from home,” said the 36-year-old mother of one.

“I love it here and the plan always was to start a tennis academy to offer professional classes for youngsters.

"I’m really excited to start this new venture and we look forward to having a lot more tennis players come out of this region.

The Indian trailblazer was also full of praise for the World Tennis League, a unique team event that hopes to grow and revolutionise tennis.

The competition features teams of both men's and women’s players who compete in short two-set matches, in both singles and doubles, to earn points that will determine the eventual winner.

Similar in some ways to the World Team Tennis (WTT), also a mixed-gender professional tennis league in the United States, and the Davis Cup and Fed Cup events, the WTL adds an element of entertainment with major music concerts at the end of each day’s play.

“We didn’t really know each other well in our team before the tournament but were so excited that were spending Christmas together and we have all become friends. So it’s really cool,” said Mirza on Saturday.

“As people who play on the tennis tour know tennis is a pretty lonely sport because everybody is engrossed in their individual goals. So it's really nice to have tournaments like these where we can get to know each other and some great friendships come out of it.”

Mirza, who reached the mixed-doubles semifinals at Wimbledon this year when she teamed up with Croatia’s Mate Pavic, is next headed to the Australian Open where she will partner Russia’s Anna Danilina in the women’s doubles.

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