Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday heaped praise on India tennis star Sania Mirza after the latter became the first Indian to win the Fed Cup Heart Award.

Taking to Twitter, Sania wrote: “It’s an honor to win the Fed cup Heart award as the first Indian and first person from the subcontinent. This award is for the entire country and to all my fans and thank everyone for the votes. @FedCup @AITA__Tennis.”

Retweeting the post, Rijiju said: “Congratulations Sania Mirza on becoming the First Indian to win Fed Cup Heart award! The award is a befitting recognition of your hardwork and the distinction that you have shown on court making India proud.”

Sania won the award for Asia/Oceania zone after securing a whopping 10,000 plus votes out of the total 16,985 cast for this year’s three regional Group I nominees.

The Fed Cup Heart Award winners were determined via online voting by fans which went on for a week starting from May 1.

Sania’s vote share of over 60 per cent of the total votes is a testimony to the global popularity of the Indian star at the Fed Cup competition.

The tennis star made a comeback to Fed Cup after four years and helped India qualify for the playoffs for the first time in history.

(With inputs from PTI)