"No matter how many times you hold a trophy or medal, it brings you goosebumps," said the six-time Grand Slam winner, Sania Mirza at Goafest 2018.
Recounting her journey, she said, "At the age of six (when I started my tennis journey), when my parents would tell people that I wanted to become a tennis player, people found it funny. That made it even more challenging. I think I was very stubborn back then. As an athlete you have to go through a lot before you start winning. And you don't do this for the fame, but for the joy of representing your country."
She added, "Even today, girls have to justify why they want to play. It's better than what the situation was a few years ago, but it's still a great struggle. Being a successful athlete is a great struggle and it's even more so for a girl."
Mirza was in conversation with Wion's Molly Gambhir.
She then spoke about how the gender bias is not only a problem India faces. "Serena (Williams) is being called the best female tennis player. I'm a big fan of Roger Federer, but I think Serena is the best tennis player in the world. The term 'female' before tennis player needs to be done without."
The duo spoke about Mirza's so-called 'attitude problem'. Mirza believed that all successful sports stars have that attitude, but there's a thin line between that and arrogance. "I believe, if you're good, you have that attitude. People want winners in the country to have a different attitude. I think Virat Kohli has that attitude too and that's what makes him the winner he is. I also believe that having an opinion and voice it is important. I will always do and say what I feel is correct."
Mirza also stated the importance of belief. She said, "I can't stress enough on belief. You have to have the belief. I like pressure. If I don't have it, I can't perform to my bests. Tennis has taught me no matter how bad things are, they will come to an end."
She was also of the opinion that India has become for of a multi-sport country after hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She said, "It helped the other sports grow and viewership too. We have 15-20 sports channels and we're seeing more sport on TV."
Coming to the disparity in pay between genders, Mirza said that she was appalled by the fact that she stills need to answer questions regarding that. She said, "People argue that one of the reasons we should be paid lesser is because we play three sets versus the men playing five-setters. We're okay with playing five too."
She also claimed that the arguments are getting lesser as authorities are looking to address these issues.
She ended with a plea to media. "We are a cricketing nation, and there's nothing wrong int hat. We are not a sporting nation. It's just that if the media can give two pages from the four they have to cricket and the remaining two to others sports, it'll help."