Tennis – Former World No. 1 Sania Mirza says that having a child has changed her outlook towards life – moving away from her life being revolving around her to her life now revolving around her child. Mirza says, “The biggest change I’ve had since having Izhaan is that it’s a very selfless kind of love you have with your child while as a tennis player, everything revolves around you.
Your training, your warm-up, your cool-down, your recovery. It’s all about what you want to do. And then all of a sudden, it’s not about you anymore. It is challenging, but it’s a very natural process. It just happens by itself which is why it is quite hard not just to play tennis but to work if you have an office job, right after you have a child.
It’s very difficult because there’s so much in the beginning years when the mother is a lot more involved with the child as opposed to the father. Which is why it is very challenging to find that extra energy, motivation and inspiration.
Mine is not a routine office job. It requires a lot of self-determination and physical hard work. There are many times when he wakes up two-three times in a night. So you’re not actually getting that kind of sleep and rest that you probably need.
Most of the times he sleeps with me, so when I start to play matches, one of the things I will have to do — especially on match nights — is he will have to sleep separately because it’s not possible for my body to recover the same way if I’m not getting proper sleep.
Those are the things that are quite challenging. Again, it’s a natural sort of process so I’m just dealing with it. It’s a new experience, a lot of fun and different. But it’s not taking a toll on me yet.”
Mirza says she is coming back to the tour because she feels she still has some top-level tennis in her. “The simple fact is that I really miss competing. I feel that I still have a few years left in me at the top level.
It would be incredibly amazing for me if my son can watch me play at a big tournament and watch me win. I could’ve easily said it’s over and I would’ve been very proud and happy about the career I’ve had.
I have been number 1, I have won Grand Slams. What more can I do? But I just felt that I still had competition left in me. That’s one of the main reasons.” Mirza is aiming to come back in January and will join other top players who are also mothers on the WTA Tour, including Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters who also returns to the tour next season.
“It’s extremely inspiring. Of course, Serena has done it now but I think Kim was the first one to do it over 10 years ago when she came back and won a Grand Slam. She is making a comeback again. It’s pretty amazing and inspiring to see other women being able to pursue their dreams and keep them going.
I have seen most women, especially athletes, most people used to retire and have kids. That was kind of a norm. And it’s obviously changed in the last few years.”