Not a ‘rule breaker or trendsetter’: Sania Mirza opens ahead of final tennis event Sport-rated
Sania Mirza does not apologize for being unique. Some people chose to call her a pioneer, while others labeled her a rebel. She says that she is nobody and that she simply lived life “on her own terms”. Dotted with mind-blowing successes and achievements that no Indian tennis player could enjoy and are unlikely to be emulated in the imminent future, Sania has lived an inspiring life. During an informal chat at her Dubai villa, Sania implored society to accept differences of opinion and not brand people who dare to do things her way as “villains or heroes.”
“I don’t think I broke the rules. Who are these people making these rules and who are these people saying this is the norm and this is the stereotype?
“I think every individual is different and every individual should have the freedom to be different,” Sania told PTI in an exclusive interview, before bidding farewell to her tennis career.
The 36-year-old Indian added: “I think that’s where as a society we can probably do better, a little bit where we’re trying to greet people or make people the bad guys just because they’re doing something different.”
“And I don’t necessarily think I was some kind of big rule breaker or trend setter. That’s not what I was trying to do. I was living my life.”
“We all say things differently, we all have different opinions. I think once we all accept that we’re all different and that we can coexist with those differences, that’s when it’s not about breaking the rules anymore.” Holder of six Grand Slam doubles titles and a year-end WTA Championships trophy to go with her career best singles ranking of 27 hers, if Sania isn’t a trendsetter, what is she? “I see myself trying to be as authentic as possible. That’s what I’ve tried to do. I’ve tried to be true to myself. And I’ve tried to live life on my own terms.”
“I think everyone should be able to do that and have the freedom to do it without being told they’re breaking the rules because they’re doing something they want to do,” he said.
“That’s something I take a lot of pride in because I think it’s not like I was necessarily different. It might have been different for you, but that doesn’t mean I’m someone rebellious, or someone who’s breaking some kind of rule.
“It’s just my individuality and someone else’s individuality.” A lot has changed in Indian sport in recent years, but in the not too distant past, female athletes struggled to be accepted and recognized, and were not even considered worthy of pursuing a career in sport.
And if one was from a Muslim family, it was more difficult.
There are female Muslim wrestlers who wrestle off the mat just so they can pursue their passion.
In Sania’s case, she was lucky that her parents protected her from negative comments that could have affected her morale and allowed her to follow her tennis dreams.
They managed to strike a good balance where she could pursue tennis without hurting religious feelings. She mostly had her arms and legs covered while she played.
Supporting women athletes
Sania says not supporting female athletes isn’t just limited to Muslim families.
“I don’t think it’s just a Muslim community issue. We need to clear that up. It’s in the subcontinent itself, otherwise if that was the case we would have a lot more young women playing from all communities.”
“You hear a Mary Kom say they didn’t want me to box. It really doesn’t have to do with a community per se. I come from a family that was way ahead of its time, who put their girl in tennis, which was a world sport. that he hadn’t been heard of in Hyderabad and then dreaming of playing at Wimbledon, he hadn’t been heard of.
“I don’t know, they (the parents) felt pressure or anything, but they didn’t make me feel that pressure. They kept me protected, I didn’t really understand much until I got a little older.
“I heard the whispers here and there from aunts and uncles, ‘kaali ho jayegi a kya hoga, shaadi kaise hogi (if your complexion turns dark, who is going to marry you). These kinds of things, all the girls will tell you from this side of the world.
“A young woman is considered competitive only when she looks good or rather looks a certain way, gets married, has a child. These are the marks that a girl must have to be complete.
“One of the reasons I came back and played as a mother was to show that you can be a world champion and still have a full life.
“It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice some parts of your life. That you can’t be a mother, a wife or a daughter. You can still do it and be a world champion,” Sania said.
what hurts the most
If success crossed Sania’s path throughout her career, controversy followed her too, and often unnecessarily. When she was asked what hurt her the most, she Sania chose not to go back to the disturbing incidents of the past.
“I honestly don’t remember. It’s been too long. And honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. I think everything that happened in my life has made me the person I am today and has made me very strong as a human being internally and has made my self-confidence even stronger.
“My honest truth is that I don’t remember. I have a great ability to omit many bad things in my life. It is not something that is relevant in my life, it does not bring me any positivity,” she said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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