Sania Mirza is currently ranked 157th in the World but has a protected ranking of 9 (doubles ranking) based on which she is likely to go to Tokyo Olympics this year.
What is protected ranking or special ranking and how does Mirza fit in the category?
According to WTA, special ranking is a ranking freeze assigned to a player who is out of competition for a minimum period of 6 months due to a medical condition.
When a player is out of competition for more than 52 weeks, they get a ranking freeze for 3 years based on their last tournament played. Within this 3-year period, the player can enter 12 tournaments using their protected ranking (1 Grand Slam/Olympics & 1 WTA 1000 Mandatory Event)
Mirza was out of competition for more than 52 Weeks that is from October 2017 and returned to competition last year in January 2020 when she made a comeback by winning her first doubles tournament in nearly 2 years. (Hobart Open)
Mirza’s out of competition period began in October 2017 with application for special ranking of 9. In October 2018 she ended her pregnancy period and started parental care with deadline of 104 weeks (October 2018 – October 2020) until her return to competition.
In January 2020 she made her comeback and entered 3 Tournaments including the Australian Open before the Covid-19 Pandemic partially concludes the Tennis season. During this time, the return to competition deadline is extended for additional 52 weeks, thus extending Sania’s protected ranking till October 2021.
She has 9 tournaments remaining including the Tokyo Olympics out of 12 to enter through protected ranking of world no. 9. Hence, she will gain direct acceptance into the Women Doubles Draw of 32 and can pick anyone as a partner who is ranked inside the top 300 from India as at 07/06/2021.
Tokyo Olympics Doubles Qualification Criteria
– Total of 32 teams (64 Tennis players) can qualify for the men’s and women’s doubles events (maximum 2 teams per NOC)
• 31 of these would get direct acceptance while 1 spot is reserved for the host nation.
– Players ranked 1-10 on the World Rankings of 7th June 2021 will get direct acceptance to the doubles event provided –
1) Their nominated partner has a minimum ranking of 300 on the singles or doubles rankings of 7 June 2021,
2) They and their partner have been nominated as a Doubles team by their respective NOC/National Association,
3) The nomination does not bring the total number of competitors of the respective gender from that NOC to more than six (6)
Won 36 Doubles Titles
Won 3 Grand Slams Women’s Doubles & 3 Mixed Doubles Titles
Won Each of the 4 Grand Slams once in Doubles.
WTA Year End Finals Doubles Champion – 2014 & 2015
Former Doubles WTA Year End World No. 1 – 2015 & 2016
Mirza with TOPS