Sania Mirza has had an incredible time after deciding to partner Swiss star Martina Hingis in the WTA doubles circuit. The pair has been successful in clinching three consecutive titles, starting with Indian Wells, then the Miami Open and fianlly the recently-concluded Family Circle Cup.
With such performances the Indian has climbed to such heights never before seen in women's tennis in India. She has overtaken Sara Errani in the top of the individual doubles ranking and has become the first Indian to achieve this feat.
Before pairing up with Hingis, the Indian was quite far off the number one ranking.
"When we went to Indian Wells, honestly, I was two and a half thousand points away from being No.1. So for this to happen over three tournaments is pretty amazing, and for me to have Martina on my side, she helped me in some very tough moments and it helps she's been there and done that so many times. She's a great champion," WTA's official website quoted Sania as saying.
But, the Indian had to go undergo a lot of hardships before she attained this ranking.
Sania, 28 now, was a kid watching Martina Hingis win WTA singles titles and Grand Slams galore. She remembers how people used to compare her with Hingis, which she found funny.
"And funny enough, people used to say, 'Is she going to become the next Martina Hingis?' It was those kinds of remarks from that side of the world where obviously sport is not the first thing women go to," she said.
In a country like India where it used to be tough for women to make a career in sports, Sania has come a long way. The Indian is also writing an autobiography and the title is set to be 'Against All Odds'.
"I'm actually writing an autobiography, and the working title is Against All Odds, because that's truly what I believe, and as a family, where we've really come from, it's really against all odds," she said.
It was a huge challenge for Sania, where she did not even have proper tennis courts to practise when she was six years old. The courts that she played were made out of cow dung.
"Tennis at that point when I was six, there were no clay courts, there were no hardcourts. We used to play and practice on courts made out of - I'm sorry, but made out of crap. Cow s***. No jokes. That was the only court that was available."
Irrespective of what things might have been said about Sania Mirza, she has always given her best on the tennis court. Though, she might have started her career as a singles player, her performances in the doubles arena of late have been fruitful and she will have no regrets for not being able to reach greater heights in singles.
However, one should not forget there was a time when she was ranked 27 in the singles circuit as well, but she lacked consistency and injuries led to her downfall.
In the competitive WTA doubles circuit, one does not know for how long a player can retain the world number one ranking, but even if she loses it in a few weeks' or months' time, she will never forget this moment, when she became world number one in doubles.
"Even 50 years from now, I'll go down as the former World No.1, and that's something very, very special, " added Sania.