My Sister Sania Mirza, World No. 1

Published: April 14, 2015 11:52 IST
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(Sania Mirza, 28, has become the first Indian woman to be crowned the world's top-ranked doubles tennis player. Her sister, Anam Mirza, 21, explains the journey to that mega-accomplishment.)

My first memory of Api was watching glimpses of her forehands while I climbed up a slide behind the tennis courts. Little did I know, one day my Api would be world-famous tennis player Sania Mirza.

Babba and mamma narrated to me a story a while ago - when Api was a child and they drove her around the country to play tournaments, people asked them extremely sarcastically if they were crazy, and if they thought they could make Api another Martina Hingis. Little did anyone know that was Api's plan. People were right, Api was crazy, crazy enough to think she was strong enough to change the world.

I don't remember a day in my 21 years when I haven't seen Api fall in love with tennis every day. There were days when mamma, Api and I woke up before sunrise. The two of us followed Api in a car, while she cycled all the way to the courts. There were weeks when my entire family drove through the country for tennis tournaments. There were months when I didn't see Api because she was playing tournaments in different countries. And there were years when the four of us worked on being a happy family while being on different continents.

My Api is super-human, she trains for six hours a day, she goes to the gym for two hours, she manages to fit in a family dinner and catching up with her friends. She travels to five different countries in three weeks, she doesn't get time to go sight-seeing, she manages to stay active on all forms of social media and she barely eats dessert. And this has been a constant routine for 21 years now.

I've seen her closely all my life, she's been the most disciplined person I know. She hardly ever gives up. She's the most determined person I know. She is passionate towards what she does. In the 21 years of my life, I've seen Api work to reach where she is today. All her teenage life, when her friends cared about looking pretty, she wasn't uncomfortable being tanned, she is the most self-confident person one can know. While her friends went for birthday parties, she chose going for practice. That is the thing about her, she did what she loved, and she loved tennis. And that is what it takes to make history.

She is not lucky to be the World Number One today. She has worked hard every day of her life. I've spent my life watching Api work and grow towards her dream. She knew it was hard, she knew it wouldn't be easy but she knew it wasn't impossible. Api has always been my World Number One, but today, she is everyone's.

Sania Mirza had finally turned one - it's been a 21-year-long journey.

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