Indian tennis star Sania Mirza was included in the government’s Olympic podium scheme (TOPS) on Wednesday, four years after giving up the program.
Sania was selected in the TOPS during the 56th meeting of the Olympic cell of the mission here. The 34-year-old multiple Grand Slam winner dropped out of the scheme when she was last selected in 2017 due to an injury injury that led to a layoff.
“Yes, Sania has been selected in the recent TOPS list,” a source from the Indian Sports Authority told PTI.
Sania has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics based on her protected ranking before taking a break from the game due to pregnancy.
Sania is currently ranked 157th in the world, but according to WTA rules, when a player withdraws from the game for more than six months due to injury or pregnancy, they can apply for a “special ranking” (also sometimes known as ” protected classification “).
The special ranking of a player is their world ranking after the last tournament they played, and in Sanya’s case it is the China Open in October 2017. She was ranked 9th in the world. So Sania currently has a special 9th place finish and has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
The special ranking was introduced by the WTA because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanya was inactive for two years due to pregnancy and returned to court only last year after the birth of her son at the opening of the season at the Hobart International WTA. She partnered with Ukrainian Nadia Kichenok to win the women’s doubles title.