New Delhi, Nov 23 (MNN) Sania Mirza has been nominated for the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) ‘Best Comeback Player of the Year’ award for 2021.
Sania Mirza will compete for the WTA’s comeback award with three other nominees.
Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro returned to action in 2021 after a battle with cancer, the Russian Tennis Federation’s Elena Vesnina also returned from a maternity break, and Croatia’s Ana Konjuh, who is back within the top-100 rankings after injuries hampered the better part of the past three years.
Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia, French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka of Japan and US Open winner Emma Raducanu of Great Britain – who became the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam – are battling for the WTA ‘Player of the Year’ award.
Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza of Spain; Poland’s Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus are the other players in the running for the award.
Barbora Krejcikova is also up for the WTA’s ‘Most Improved Player of the Year’ and the ‘Doubles Team of the Year’ with compatriot Katerina Siniakova.
The awards are decided by the members of the media, who will vote for players in each category. The deadline for the votes is December 2.
Indian tennis legend Sania – a six-time Grand Slam champion and four-time Olympian – returned to the WTA tour last year after a two-year maternity break.
Sania Mirza won her comeback tournament, the Hobart International with Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok.
She competed at the 2020 Australian Open and a few other events but was then out of action for a year as COVID-19 affected the tennis season. Sania Mirza herself contracted the virus later.
Sania Mirza returned to action in March 2021 at the Qatar Open where she made the semi-finals with Andreja Klepac of Slovenia.
Since then, Sania Mirza has been a regular on tour. She played at the 2021 Wimbledon, US Open and Tokyo 2020, and won the women’s doubles title at the Ostrava Open alongside China’s Zhang Shuai.
Sania Mirza is currently ranked world number 63 in women’s doubles.
The Indian tennis star has previously won the WTA ‘Best Doubles Team of the Year’ award in 2015 – a year in which she won the Wimbledon and US Open and rose to world number 1 with Swiss legend Martina Hingis.
Sania Mirza has also won the WTA ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award in 2005 – which was her breakthrough year in the singles.
She reached the third round of the Australian Open that year, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams and became the first Indian to win a WTA title, at her home event, the Hyderabad Open.