India's Sania Mirza says Tokyo Olympics medal dream motivated her return

Mirza, who became a mother in Oct. 2018, also said she is motivated to inspire women to chase their dreams

  
Sania Mirza of India (R) and Martina Hingis of Switzerland slap hands after defeating Casey Dellacqua of Australia and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the women's doubles final match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2015.

Sania Mirza of India (R) and Martina Hingis of Switzerland slap hands after defeating Casey Dellacqua of Australia and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the women's doubles final match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2015.

Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

India's Sania Mirza said the elusive dream of winning a medal at her fourth Olympics in Tokyo this year motivated her to return to the WTA circuit after a year-long gap.

Mirza, paired with Slovenian Andreja Klepac, reached the semi-finals in the women's doubles at the Qatar Open on Wednesday, her first tournament since Feb. 2020 when she played at the same Doha event.

The 34-year-old, who recovered from COVID-19 in January, said she wanted to avenge the defeat she suffered in the Olympic bronze medal play-off match in 2016 when she lost 6-1 7-5 in mixed doubles with partner Rohan Bopanna.

"The Tokyo Olympics was definitely one of the reasons (for my comeback)," six-time Grand Slam doubles champion Mirza said.

"We came really, really close to winning that medal last time (when) we lost the bronze medal match.

"I feel when I sort of close this chapter of my life... an Olympic medal is something that I would have loved to win. So I want to give myself another shot at it.

"Whether I can be or will I be able to Time will tell, but that is something important to me and it was one of the motivations for me to come back."

Mirza, who became a mother in Oct. 2018, also said she is motivated to inspire women to chase their dreams.

"Women sort of think that once they have a baby, life is over, but it's not," she said.

"You don't have to crush your dreams because you have a child. You can still go after them."

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((Manasi.Pathak@thomsonreuters.com;))

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