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Notion that Shoaib Malik and I got married to unite India, Pakistan is not true, says Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza discusses a wide range of topics - tennis, questions over nationalism due to fact that she's married to Shoaib Malik and obviously, the baby. 

By: Sports Desk |
August 13, 2018 2:27:30 pm
Pregnant Sania Mirza on the cover of HT Brunch magazine Sania Mirza on the cover of HT Brunch.

Sania Mirza had shared a video last week on her Instagram account where she played tennis with sister Anam. It looked difficult to concur that ace Indian tennis player was 28 weeks pregnant and her delivery is due in October. On Sunday, she adorned the cover of Hindustan Times Brunch and discussed a wide range of topics – tennis, questions over nationalism due to the fact that she’s married to Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik and obviously, the baby.

Many had questioned her love for the country when she married Shoaib with social media still rife with trolls bringing up Pakistan in her posts. She clarified on her relationship and that of the two countries. “A lot of people have this notion that Shoaib and I got married to unite the two countries. That is not true. Whenever I have been to Pakistan – and I go once every year to meet my in laws – the love that I get there is immense. The whole country calls me ‘bhabhi’, and they give me so much respect. I also know that that love is not necessarily for me, it is for my husband who has been cricket captain and what he means to everyone there. The respect they have for him transcends to the respect for me… Just like when Shoaib comes here, and he gets the love and respect of our countrymen,” she said in the interview.

“Tags are a part of being a public figure. I play for my country, my family, for myself, and so does my husband. We are aware of the responsibilities we carry, but we do not take these tags seriously. They may make for a good headline, but don’t mean anything to us at home!” she went on to add.

Mirza announced her pregnancy and decision to start a family came at a time when she was out of action with a knee injury. She underwent surgery after playing last at the China Open in October. “When we got married we were both clear that our careers wouldn’t be compromised,” says Sania. “He has been more ready for this than me for the last few years, to be honest. He’s also a few years older than me, so that’s understandable. But he never told me, ‘Maybe we should… this is the time…’ I really respect that in a man. It is often taken for granted that as a woman you will put your life on hold and do what’s expected. I never felt that pressure. I’ve always wanted to have a child and have a family, I just didn’t know when…”

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“I found out early that I was pregnant, and quite by chance. I remember it was the 25th of February, and the only thing that concerned me immediately was that I had been training like a dog. They say you must be most careful in your first trimester, and I was running so much, it got me a bit worried. Once I knew, I took it easy. I didn’t have as much morning sickness as I’d expected, just a few mood swings. And I kept myself active throughout,” she elaborated on early few weeks.

Mirza and her love for tennis, while pregnant, can be compared to new mother Serena Williams. Serena, like Sania, was active when she found out about the pregnancy. “I don’t think she played tennis till her eighth month. But she did exercise, which every woman can do provided you’ve been doing it before you got pregnant. You mustn’t think a pregnancy is an excuse to put your feet up and do nothing, unless there is a complication. I’ve been doing yoga four times a week through my second trimester, though it did take a bit of convincing my mother. (‘How can you exercise,’ she was worried!) But I’m still walking four to five kms daily, though I am beginning to tire a bit faster. I do miss tennis… I have a court at home, but my mother will kill me if I try to sneak in a game!” said Mirza.

With allegiance in both sports from parents for the baby-to-come, Sania was asked if the baby will take the cricket bat or tennis racquet. Sania had a different reply up her sleeve, “Honestly this comes up very late in a child’s life. I’d prefer my child being a doctor (laugh),” she said.

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