Sania Mirza: Decision not to play in India

       Indians are allowing bullies and cranks to hijack our way of life.

        Systems in place to preserve democracy and freedom are being misused to blackmail the powerless, the weak and the innocent. Criminals are given police protection , protected by security guards and NSG. Vulnerable citizens are harassed with false cases registered against them. It is shameful when women are victimised.

     It is time for good people to get together and raise their voices against bullies.

       Sania Mirza, India’s biggest tennis star, says she won’t play tournaments in her motherland. Issues other than the sport have forced her to take the decision.
Mired in controversies, ever since she emerged on the world’s tennis scene, she has been attacked for playing tennis in skirts and even posing for commercials.

     Speaking to MAIL TODAY from her home town, Hyderabad, she said: “Playing for India is more important to me than playing in India. I have never shirked my responsibility to represent my country, even if it has meant going against my doctor’s advice.”
Sania’s shocker came on a day when reigning Wimbledon champion Venus Williams confirmed participation in the $ 6,000,000 Bangalore Open tennis tournament starting March 9.
     Now, if the tennis ace sticks to her decision of opting out of tournaments in India, the Bangalore fixture would lose much of its sheen. Thousands of fans will be deprived of eeing her in action.
       Sania’s decision left greats of Indian tennis speechless. Vijay Amritraj said: “I am dumbfounded. Sania does not want to play in India. This is all new to me. She is such a fine player. She is the best not just at home but in the whole of Asia. In my times, to play in India was such a big thing. The crowds were always behind us. Even now, when my son Prakash plays Davis Cup matches the crowd cheers lustily.”
     The 21-year-old has thus far soldiered bravely for the country. Only last week, her dedication to the national cause was on display in Bangkok. Fresh from a hamstring injury at the Australian Open, she ignored medical advice and teamed up with Sunitha Rao to play the Fed Cup doubles rubber against Hong Kong.
        “I am still recovering from the hamstring injury. But I insist I want to represent India. I am very eager to play for my country in the Beijing Olympics,” said the World No 29 whose career earnings exceed one million dollars.
       “Pulling out of the Bangalore Open is not an extreme reaction,” she explained.         

      “Controversy keeps following me and this has been going on for far too long. It is not easy to deal with such stuff. I have gone through great lows in the past few weeks. It has been difficult to remain focused.”
             Sania’s niggling worries are understandable. Recently, when she was representing the country in the Hopman Cup at Perth, a photographer had clicked her with her feet on a table next to an Indian flag.
       The photograph was actually a smart piece of photography from an unusual angle. “I have never shown disrespect to the flag and that incident caused a lot of problems,” a pained Sania said. People got so upset seeing that picture splashed in the papers that a man in Bhopal went to court seeking action against her.
       That explains why there was no Indian tricolour near the Indian bench at the Bangkok event last week. “I was dragged into a controversy for no fault of mine,” she pleaded.
       Only weeks before that in December, Sania had to apologise to the Hyderabad police commissioner for shooting a commercial in the courtyard of the city’s Mecca Masjid.
Ever since Sania hit the big league, every action of hers has been questioned, especially by clerics.

       First, it was her comment on pre-marital sex in 2005 that landed her in trouble. A year later, when she was playing at the Sunfeast Open in Kolkata, she turned out in shorts because the clergy had hauled her up for playing in short skirts.
       Sania’s father, Imran Mirza, sounded concerned. “If she had to play in Bangalore, by now she should have submitted her entry. At this stage she doesn’t seem inclined.”
        But would she change her mind if the tournament organisers and the Karnataka government promised her there won’t be problems?

      “We have been advised by Sania’s agents not to play in Bangalore now. If at all, she changes her mind, she will need a wild card to play in the tournament,” Imran Mirza said.
      If Sania sticks to her decision, the biggest losers would be the country’s sports lovers.

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