Indian trailblazer Sania Mirza bowed out of Grand Slam tennis Friday with defeat in the Australian Open mixed-doubles final playing alongside Rohan Bopanna -- her first playing partner 22 years ago.
The 36-year-old Mirza, regarded as her country's greatest women's tennis player, returned to Melbourne Park for one last hurrah and made it all the way to the decider.
Mirza 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.
Mirza, 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.
Mirza, known as a feisty convention-breaker, was the first Indian to win a WTA singles title, in 2005 at her hometown Hyderabad.
She is due to retire from all tennis after a tournament next month in Dubai.