Home | The Year End Special-2005

The Sensational Sport Stars of 2005

Photograph: Getty Images

1. Sania Mirza

Obsession in India has a new name. Sania Mirza.

The 19-year-old tennis player's power-packed game served her well. She made the biggest leap in the World Tennis Association rankings this year.

In just the second year of her career as a professional tennis player, Sania became the first Indian woman to feature in the last 16 at the US Open. She also became the first Indian woman to claim a WTA title by winning the Hyderabad Open.

One of India's most admired youth icons, she has defied stereotype, shrugged off religious fatwas and defeated higher-ranked opponents to script a glorious start to her career.

Her appeal extends beyond Indian borders. At the US Open, Sania made waves with her power game, her frank comments and her quaint T-shirts. Time magazine's Asian edition chose the Hyderabadi teenager for the cover of its special issue on Asian heroes.

Text: Deepti Patwardhan

Also See: Seeking Sania's autograph

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