Sania will continue to play for India: AITA


New Delhi: Quashing rumours of Sania Mirza playing for Pakistan after her marriage to cricketer Shoaib Malik, All India Tennis Association (AITA) Thursday issued a statement confirming her participation for India till the 2012 Olympics.

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“Sania Mirza and her parents have informed AITA that she will continue to play for India after her marriage with Shoaib Malik,” AITA secretary-general Anil Khanna said.

“She has confirmed to be a part of the Indian team in the 2010 Commonwealth Games at Delhi (October 2010), XVI Asian Games at Guangzhou, China (November 2010), 2011 Fed Cup (February 2011), 2012 Olympics at London (July/August 2012).”

The rumours of Sania playing for Pakistan were fuelled by Pakistan’s Tennis Federation (PTF) chief Senator Dilawar Abbas’ who Thursday said he would request Sania to take up Pakistani nationality and start representing her husband’s country in future.

Dilawar said that as an Asian woman she should pick her husband’s country as her new homeland.

Sania, however, has made it clear that she would continue representing India at the international level even after marrying the former Pakistan captain later this month.

“It is a great news for our tennis community that Sania Mirza is getting married to Shoaib Malik,” Dilawar was quoted as saying in The News Thursday.

“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.

“Asian women traditionally follow their husbands which is why I’m hopeful that someday she would be inspired by Shoaib to play for Pakistan,” he added.

Dilawar even went on to suggest that Sania should think about teaming up with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi — Pakistan’s tennis ace – on the mixed doubles circuit.