Sania Mirza, 28, becomes first Indian woman to win a Wimbledon title
Mirza partnered Switzerland's Martina Hingis to claim the women's doubles
Mirza has received congratulations from a host of leading figures
Tennis is growing in popularity in cricket-mad India
If you think India only tunes into cricket, you’d be very much mistaken.
The country has happily awoken to sporting history, as Sania Mirza, 28, its top female tennis player, won her first Wimbledon title, claiming the women’s doubles crown with her legendary partner, Switzerland’s Martina Hingis.
The pair beat Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, trailing 5-2 in the third set, before winning 5-7 7-6 7-5 Saturday evening on Centre Court.
Mirza was also the first Indian woman to win a WTA title in 2005 and reach a grand slam final (at the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2009).
She is also ranked world number one in women’s doubles.
But it wasn’t just Mirza who achieved a career highlight – 34-year-old veteran Hingis won her last Wimbledon title in 1998 and adds a third doubles trophy to her mantlepiece.
Tennis is not a new game in India, but great efforts have gone into improving it at the grassroots level.
Last year, the Champions Tennis League and International Premier Tennis League organized star-studded tournaments.
Legends such as Hingis, Roger Federer, Pat Cash and Venus Williams took to the courts, playing alongside the country’s homegrown talent.
With such a triumph, where better to express excitement than on Twitter?
Even the stars of other arenas joined in. “And happiness by @MirzaSania & Hingis,” tweeted legendary Bollywood actor Sharukh Khan. “Well done well deserved well played. Love to you.”
“Congratulations @MirzaSania & @mhingis. You both were simply fantastic at #Wimbledon2015 ! Many more trophies to follow.. You make us proud,” said Sachin Tendulkar, India’s former star cricketer.
Even the country’s leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showed he had kept his eye on the game.