Sania Mirza, who received a wildcard for the Olympics on Tuesday, hit out at the Indian tennis system, saying in a release that it was “humiliating” to be used as a “bait to try and pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennis”.
“While I feel honoured and privileged to have been chosen to partner Leander Paes, the manner and timing of the announcement wreaks (sic) of male chauvinism where a two-time Grand Slam champion, who has been India's number one women's tennis player for almost a decade in singles and doubles is offered in compensation to partner one of the feuding champions purely in order to lure him into accepting to play with a men's player he does not wish to play with!
“This kind of blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood needs to be condemned even if it comes from the highest controlling body of tennis in our country,” she said.
“I believe I can expect a little more respect from the national tennis federation than what has been accorded to me even if they did not think it necessary to send me a simple congratulatory message after I had won my second Grand Slam title three weeks ago.
“What is even more shocking is the manner in which facts have been misrepresented to the public at large to paint a totally wrong picture in an attempt to justify the breaking up of a team that won a second Grand Slam title only days earlier.
“Leander and I are not the only combination likely to get a direct entry into the mixed doubles draw at the Olympics, as has been wrongly portrayed. If that was true, a highly intelligent man like Dr. Paes would not have felt insecure enough to ask for my written declaration to partner Leander.
“To Leander, I would like to point out that Vishnu Vardhan is an extremely talented player, who I had the privilege of partnering. We went on to win a silver medal for India at the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou, when all the three male stalwarts of Indian tennis opted to stay away.
“Mahesh Bhupathi has firmly stood by his commitment to play together with his partner, Rohan Bopanna as he genuinely believed it was good for India. However, in the process, he sacrificed the commitment he made to me to try and win an Olympic medal. Each person has his or her own priorities and I would like to believe that Mahesh made his choice in the best interests of the country.”