Pakistan may want Sania Mirza to play for them after marrying cricketer Shoaib Malik but the tennis ace remains committed to representing India, the All India Tennis association said here on Thursday.
“Sania Mirza and her parents have informed AITA that she will continue to play for India after her marriage with Shoaib Malik. She has confirmed to be part of the Indian team in the 2010 Commonwealth Games at Delhi, Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, the 2011 Fed Cup and the 2012 Olympics at London,” AITA Secretary General Anil Khanna said in a statement.
The statement came after Pakistan Tennis Federation chief Dilawar Abbas said he hoped to see Sania play for Pakistan after marrying Shoaib later this month.
“Asian women traditionally follow their husbands which is why I’m hopeful that someday she would be inspired by Shoaib to play for Pakistan,” Abbas said.
Sania, however, had already made it clear that she intends to continue playing for India.
“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,” Abbas told ‘The News’.
The 23-year-old Sania, who is the most successful woman tennis player from the sub-continent, will settle down with Shoaib in Dubai post marriage.
Abbas also said even if she decides to continue playing for India, Sania can still help her husband’s country by promoting the game among women here.
“She can encourage our girls to take up tennis, she can inspire them to become world class players,” he said.
“We would hope that Sania would lend a helping hand to women’s tennis in Pakistan,” he added.
Abbas suggested that Sania team up with Pakistan’s number one tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in the mixed doubles circuit.
“Both Sania and Aisam are really good doubles players. I believe that their team would not just achieve great results internationally but will also help bridge the gap between India and Pakistan,” he said.