New Delhi, May 1: Adding another feather to her cap, the ace tennis player Sania Mirza on Thursday turned out to be the first Indian player to be nominated for the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I Heart Award.
The 33-year-old came back into Fed Cup court for the first time after four years and showed the way for Team India with her flawless performance. She even smashed three doubles wins in the Asia/Oceania Group I tournament earlier this year in March. Her performance, along with another senior compatriot Ankita Raina, was a crucial victory which became India's historic qualification in the Fed Cup Play-offs.
Speaking on her nomination, the former world number one said the Fed Cup result at the Asia/Oceania tournament is one of the greatest achievements of her playing career."Stepping on to the court for the first time in India colors was a moment of pride for me, back in 2003. It has been an eighteen-year long journey since then and I feel extremely proud and privileged to have contributed to the success of Indian tennis, " she said in a statement.
"The Fed Cup result at the Asia/Oceania tournament last month is one of the greatest achievements of my playing career. These are the moments an athlete plays for and I am grateful to the Fed Cup Heart Awards selection panel for this recognition" multiple Grand Slam winner added.
The Fed Cup Heart Award is an International Tennis Federation (ITF) initiative established in 2009 to recognize Fed Cup players. This year, six players have been nominated for the three regional Group I Fed Cup Heart Awards.
In Fed Cup Heart Award's 11th edition this year, along with Saina, Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia is the second player nominated from the Asia/Oceania region. They are joined by Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) and Eleonora Molinaro (Luxembourg) from Europe/Africa; Fernanda Contreras Gomez of Mexico and Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg from the Americas, as the remaining four regional Group I nominations.
The winners of the Heart Awards will be determined by online voting by fans which will go live on 1st May and will go on until 8th May. In 2019, Zarina Diyas from Kazakhstan emerged victorious from Asia/Oceania Group I.