HOBART, Australia - Former doubles World No.1 Sania Mirza was back on the court at the Hobart International after maternity leave - and it was a winning return.
She and partner Nadiia Kichenok beat Miyu Kato and Oksana Kalashnikova 2-6, 7-6, 10-3 to progress to the quarterfinals - and she is now all set to pair up with Rajeev Ram in the mixed doubles as well.
"Just being on court, the competition - that's what we live for, and that's what I'm back for," she reflected afterwards, following almost two years of absence during which she gave birth to her first child - a son, Izhaan, who was cheering his mother on.
"It was really good to have my son there, for the first time - it was really special," she confirmed, adding that she was surprised with the performance she was able to put in for her first match back.
Today was one of the most special days of my https://t.co/OmE4Vq7KlQ have my parents and my little baby boy wit me in my first match after so long..and we WON our first round.feel very grateful for the love I am receiving.. BELIEF!! Takes you places 🙃YES my baby boy,we did it💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/xxPQ4E2IFE— Sania Mirza (@MirzaSania) January 14, 2020
"I do think there were certain things I could do better, but I have very high expectations of myself, so I guess that just comes with match practice.
"I'm just really proud of myself, to be able to put myself in this position again after having a baby, and to be able to compete at the highest level is really great."
The Indian star was also glad to have the support of the rest of her family, especially her parents.
"Tennis has been such an important part of our lives," she said. "I'm so grateful they are here with me, I wouldn't be able to do it without them."
Mirza was the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam and to hold the WTA No.1 ranking, and has a career record now of six doubles and mixed doubles Slams, plus 41 WTA doubles titles.