SANIA Mirza, India’s tennis sensation turned 20 today.
On the occasion of Children’s day on Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cited her name alongside cricketing maestro Sachin Tendulkar as perfect role models for the budding generation.
‘Sania Mirza, who was a little girl like you, dreamed of becoming one of the world`s best tennis players. With hard work, she achieved that. We feel great pride in Sachin Tendulkar also. And I hope that from among you, many more Sania Mirzas and Sachin Tendulkars will emerge,’ said Singh as he awarded 29 young achievers from across India.
Born in Mumbai in 1986, Sania was ranked 435 in WTA singles ranking in June 2004. She debuted 2005 at 169 and rose to a meteoric 42 before the 2005 US Open.
Thanks to her performance in the US, Sania reached a ranking of 31, becoming the highest-ranked female tennis player ever from India.
So far, 2006 has been a slow one for the star, who has been plagued with a string of injuries apart from an inconsistent form. A surprise victory against former world number one Martina Hingis in the Korean Open, apart, Sania has had a poor run, finishing at rank 66.