With Baby in Stands, Sania Mirza Made Comeback, Becomes 1st Indian to Win Fed Cup Heart Award

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With Baby in Stands, Sania Mirza Made Comeback, Becomes 1st Indian to Win Fed Cup Heart Award

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Tennis ace Sania Mirza became the first Indian to win the Fed Cup Heart Award for her successful return to court after a maternity break earlier this year. Her son Izhaan was only 18 months old when she made a comeback.

The 33-year-old was playing the Fed Cup after four years and helped India qualify for the playoffs for the first time in history. She won the crucial doubles match that helped Team India bag a victory over Indonesia in their final Group 1 match and they finished second in the group. All along her infant was in the stands.

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Sania Mirza,The former world number one in doubles and six-time Grand Slam champion received $2000 as prize money.

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Mirza beat Indonesia’s 16-year-old Priska Madelyn Nugroho for the award in Asia/Oceania regional category.

“It’s an honour to win the Fed Cup Heart Award as the first Indian. I dedicate this award to the entire country and to all my fans and thank everyone for voting for me. I hope to bring more laurels to the country in the future,” Mirza said in a statement issued by the All India Tennis Association.

The former world number one in doubles and six-time Grand Slam champion received $2000 as prize money, which she has decided to donate to the Telangana Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was among the first to congratulate the tennis star. “The award is a befitting recognition of your hard work…” he wrote.

Others on social media soon joined in.

The winners of the Fed Cup Award were determined via online voting by fans. Mirza’s vote share of over 60 per cent of the total votes is a testimony to her popularity at the competition.

The Fed Cup Heart Award is an International Tennis Federation initiative that was established in 2009 to recognise those Fed Cup players who represent their countries with distinction, show exceptional courage on court and demonstrate outstanding commitment to the ideals of the competition.

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