Bopanna and Sania lost 6-7(2) 2-6 to Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Mataos in the title clash.
Their first Grand Slam as a team and certainly not the last!🇧🇷 Rafael Matos • @Luisa__Stefani • #AusOpen • #AO2023 https://t.co/2G82TDQQDB
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1674790022000
Coming into her final Major tournament, Sania had six Grand Slam titles – three women’s doubles and as many mixed doubles – in her cabinet. The 42-year-old Bopanna has one French Open mixed doubles title to his credit.
Sania was in tears in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Rohan was my first-ever mixed-doubles partner at (aged) 14 and we won the nationals,” said Mirza, a six-time Grand Slam champion, three in doubles and three in mixed.
“My professional career started in Melbourne… I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my [Grand Slam] career a… https://t.co/7l6oRzlGfV
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1674788045000
“It was a long time ago, 22 years ago, and I couldn’t think of a better person — he’s one of my best friends and best partners — to finish my career here and to play the final.
“There’s no better place for me, or person for me, to finish my Grand Slam career.”
Sania, who is married to former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik, has a young son Izhaan and said it was incredible to play in front of him in a major final.
“I never thought that I would be able to play in front of my child in a Grand Slam final, so it’s truly special to have my four-year-old and my parents here,” she said.
Sania was the first Indian to win a WTA singles title, in 2005 at her hometown Hyderabad. She reached the fourth round of the US Open the same year and by 2007 was among the women’s top 30. But a wrist injury caused her to concentrate on doubles, forging a partnership with Swiss great Martina Hingis which produced three Grand Slam titles.
(With inputs from agencies)