Indian tennis star Sania Mirza was conferred with Padma Bhushan at a glittering investiture at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Tuesday for her contribution to the game.
Sania and her partner Swiss legend Martina Hingis took the tennis world by storm for much of last year with a 41-match winning streak which finally came to an end with a shock loss at the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open earlier this year. The Indo-Swiss pair won 10 titles together, including nine consecutive ones.
Had they managed to win a 10th consecutive title at Qatar, Sania and Martina would have tied Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova for the longest winning streak since 1990 at 44 matches. But they still would have a long way to go before catching up with Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver, who together put 109 straight wins between 1983 and 1985.
The pair have won three Grand Slam titles so far — the Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015 and the Australian Open in January this year.
Sania is the fourth Indian tennis player to receive the Padma Bhushan. Vijay Amritraj, Ramanathan Krishnan and doubles legend Leander Paes had earlier been honoured with both Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Sania was conferred with Padma Shri in 2006.
“Humbled. Honoured. And truly thankful .. #PadmaBhushan,” Sania tweeted later.
On Monday night, Sania was also honoured at the NRI of the Year Award 2016 where she was conferred with the Global Indian Icon of the year award.