Sport | Tennis

Sania: Controversies have helped me grow

Indian tennis star shrugs off incidents which have dogged her career

  • By Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 11:56 October 6, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News
  • Sania Mirza

Beijing: Controversies may have been a regular part of her life, but Indian star Sania Mirza has learned to shrug them off and concentrate on her tennis.

“I think that controversies have helped me grow in a lot of different ways,” she told Gulf News after moving into the doubles final here at the China Open on Friday.

“I really don’t know if the controversies were following me or they were being put on me. That’s debatable and it’s just a matter of opinion.

“But I think that’s all in the past and there have not been too many controversies that have taken place in my life in the past two years or so now. I think it’s really in the past.”

The last controversy to cross her path, though unwittingly, was earlier this year after both Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refused to partner Leander Paes in the men’s doubles at the London Olympics.

In return, Paes demanded to have Mirza as his mixed doubles partner, leading a furious Mirza to lash out at the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for using her as ‘bait’ to keep Paes happy. She had originally decided to partner Bhupathi, with whom she has won two Grand Slams.

In the past, people have questioned Mirza’s loyalty to the land of her birth following her marriage to Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malek, but she has time and again clarified her loyalty.

So when she was the only one seen without an Indian flag at the London Games opening ceremony, Mirza had to clarify her position. “To see the national flag go up while standing on the podium is the proudest moment in an athlete’s life,” she had said.

However, after years of consistently being mired in controversies, Mirza believes she has found the ideal way to circumvent them — by keeping away from unwanted tensions in her life. “Maybe people don’t want to create any controversy about me any more. Who knows?” she said.

“I have no idea why, but perhaps you should ask the people who created the controversies. I didn’t [create them].”

Gulf News
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