From the beginning of her career, Sania Mirza was defined by her boldness to deal with battles thrown on both off and on the tennis court . She defied people when questioned about wearing shorts, emerged as icon for women players in a male dominated nation and more recently, trumped even the cross-border relations for her love marriage.
Sania Mirza, by all virtue is pretty much justified in her statement (read here). But is this some sort of tactical move? Leander Paes, who by now knew that Sania slammed her attitude yet he wants to partner with her still? Sania words such as used as bait, male dominance and humiliation of womanhood will trigger nation outrage of women vs men and will open the doors of selection of her choice? Why not for sake of country keep all the anger till the end of Olympics? Suddenly why everything is discussed in media? After all, players need to maintain certain decorum especially in team play (doubles). But here, everything gone into pieces. We are dealing with absolute trust deficit here. We are pushed to state of not knowing whom to trust and whom to support in this “personal” glories fight.
This situation is very much expected the day AITA said, they were hopeful that Leander will accept their offer of pairing him with Mirza in mixed-doubles after been given low ranked Vishnu as partner for him. Both Leander and his father took the matter to next level when they asked for written assurance from Sania Mirza and AITA that Sania Mirza will play only with Leander Paes in mixed-doubles.
Sania Mirza came out with well prepared answers to all the drama’s that happened not only concerning her in the Olympic tennis selection row after she got wild card entry. She started by telling her happiness in playing for India at Olympics, then moved on to slam Dr. Paes who asked written assurance from her on TV itself and questioned his mislead statement of “Leander and Mirza is the only combination likely to get direct entry.”
The statement could had been so easily termed as outrage shown by Sania for not pairing with Mahesh Bhupathi had she did not extended support to Vishnu Vardhan and reiterating her commitment to play with whomever AITA chooses. Her statement of winning silver medal with Vishnu Vardhan when all three (Bhupathi, Leander and Bopanna) opted out of 2010 Asian games is a telling one. It not only shows that Vishnu poses potential playing in big stages but also reiterates the fact that “serving to nation” statement used by all three players is nothing more than tool used to buy their stakes from AITA.
The participation of Leander Paes in London Olympic is still under the cloud and this statement is only going to make the matter worse. Sania Mirza clearly said if given choice, then she want to play with her choice of player (Mahesh Bhupathi). Also the another fact that must be noted is Sania is manged by Globalsports, the company owned by Mahesh Bhupathi. So, is this press release came without their (and Bhupathi) knowledge?
Mixed doubles is the best bet for winning medal
With only 16 teams in mixed doubles, Leander and Bhupathi knew their best chance of winning a medal lies in mixed doubles. If you win three matches, then you are assured of either silver or gold medal.
The deadline for nominations of mixed doubles is still a long way to go (July 31st). Till then, we shouldn’t expect any ceasefire. Anything might happen; Leander might walk out, only one doubles teams will go and Sania will get to partner Mahesh as per her wish. Or they may all go and get medals at Olympics but in truth, India lost already.