“As an Indian woman belonging to the 21st century, what I find disillusioning is the humiliating manner in which I was put up 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 of male chauvinism where a two time Grand Slam champion, who has been India’s number 1 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!” wrote Sania Mirza in a scathing letter to AITA.
It raised more than a few eyebrows when the letter was made public. But none were more shocked than the top brass at the Tennis Association. They hadn’t accounted for this.. this outrage. After all, she was supposed to be a silent pawn, quietly bartered to whichever side that needed pandering.
They seem to have forgotten that this was no female Olympic gold medalist, who will fade away once the games were done. No, this is still the same spunky girl who once wore her mind her on her t-shirts, except she is now grown up and raging mad. She is the face of modern tennis in India and she’s demanded her due. And there’s one thing women across the country are saying and that is “go girl!”
For the longest time, Sania has given me little reason to cheer for her. Her non-existent first serves and her eternal second round exits have me wonder what about her was supposed to be an inspiration for young women or aspiring tennis players. But today, the only other grand-slam champion from India proves her mettle off court. Her professionalism, her commitment and above all, her quiet dignity are all traits of a world-class athlete, traits that our leading men should learn a thing or two about.