Hours after the local media quoted him as saying that Sania Mirza should represent Pakistan after her marriage to Shoaib Malik, Pakistan Tennis Federation Dilawar Abbas on Thursday denied making such comments, claiming he had been misunderstood.
“How can she play for Pakistan when she is an Indian national and wants to remain an Indian national?” Abbas told PTI.
“I said that she should play in Pakistan, not for Pakistan. Obviously you need to be a Pakistani national to represent this country in any sport,” he said.
Abbas’s remarks was in contrast to what appeared in ‘The News’ which quoted the PTF chief as saying that Sania should play for Pakistan after her marriage.
“It is great news for our tennis community that Sania Mirza is getting married to Shoaib Malik. We welcome her and hope that she would become a Pakistani national and play for us in future. She has a great future ahead and we would be delighted if she plays for Pakistan,” Mr. Abbas was quoted as saying.
Abbas, however, claimed he had been misunderstood.
“I was misunderstood. I meant that after marriage she should play in Pakistan. She can take part in our national events and we will allow that as it is allowed under our PTF constitution,” Mr. Abbas said.
He said there was no doubt that Sania was a tennis icon for many female sports lovers and if she came to Pakistan she should play exhibition matches or hold coaching clinics.
“If she comes to Pakistan and does this I am sure she will attract a lot of her fans to take up tennis and also help us improve our overall tennis standards,” he added.