You Have To Believe In Your Dreams And Yourself, Says Tennis Player Sania Mirza
- IWB Post
- December 6, 2018
In October this year, ace tennis player Sania Mirza gave birth to a baby boy and she is all ready to take on the world of tennis by storm again. While naysayers out may call her an irresponsible mother or doubt that she would be able to balance her career along with her baby, she is of the opinion that women don’t need to choose between things. They can have it all without giving a single thought to the judgments others reserve for her.
In an interview with Femina, she talked about her pregnancy, missing tennis and why women shouldn’t adhere to cultural norms.
On her pregnancy
“The experience was good—it was overwhelming and different. I think, as women, we underestimate our bodies and what they can do, and I had that self-realization. I feel privileged that I was able to go through it. I had a decently easy pregnancy if there is such a thing.”
On missing tennis
“Of course, I miss being away from tennis and playing. With the knee, I was out of action for a few months and I had thought that I would go back as soon as it healed. But then we decided to have a baby. I think that mentally I was prepared for this long gap, and at the end of the day, in life, you should experience everything. That said, yes, I do miss tennis and that’s why you saw me playing occasionally even during my pregnancy.”
On when she plans to get back to competitive tennis
“My plan is to try and get back whenever possible, but there are many factors that go into post-pregnancy recovery. I am going to take it as it comes. The first goal is to try and regain full fitness, which is not easy because you have to start working out. Also, there is a timeline to be followed immediately after the delivery, and you can work out only after a few weeks. So, there are a number of things to be decided, but the plan is to try to get back by the 2020 Summer Olympics.”
On how she was fit and active enough to play tennis in her seventh month of pregnancy
“I played tennis. I did yoga three to four times a week. I walked, almost three to four kilometers a day. I tried to stay as active as possible. That’s the message I wanted to give out as well. It’s important for women to be active during pregnancy, as long as there are no medical complications or they haven’t been advised against it. It was getting tougher to stay as active late into the pregnancy, but I still tried to walk a few kilometers every day, and practice yoga.”
On her advice to women who want it all—a career, marriage, babies, and more
“The most important thing I would like to say to girls and women is that you have to choose what you feel is right. There are certain cultural dos and don’ts that we are subjected to as girls while growing up, and even as adults after we have grown up. There is no right or wrong from that perspective, you have to go by what you feel. You have to believe in your dreams and, more importantly, yourself. I was lucky to have a family that backed and supported me in every decision—whether it was playing tennis, getting married, or wanting to have a kid. It was always about when I wanted to do it, and not about what the cultural norm was. I want to tell women that if you really want to do something, and believe in it, then you can have it all; you don’t have to choose.”
On women athletes performing well in the recent Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games
“I think the Indian sports scene has progressed in the last decade. Everybody talks about me being the first to do many things, and that is probably harder than being the second or third, simply because I had to find my own path. When there is no path to follow, you make your own mistakes and learn from them.
The fact that we have got such amazing athletes today in all sports across the country is incredible. That we are able to name so many women sport stars is something that was not possible 15 years ago. We have moved in the right direction and, obviously, it makes me proud as a woman and an athlete, to be part of this generation that has seen this change come through.”
On moments when she wanted to quit playing
“Yes, it has been a long career span for me, but I don’t remember a moment when I wanted to give it up for something else. I may have wanted to take a break, but, no, I think I was born to play tennis.”