Mumbai: Speaking out her mind, for the first time since her marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza said that she is happy to have married Shoaib, but also looks forward to representing India in the Commonwealth Games.
In an interview to a news channel on Friday, the newly wedded couple candidly spoke about their love, marriage and all the hype and hoopla over the India-Pakistan connection.
Asked how she felt about all the excitement in Pakistan about their marriage and the plans for a grand reception for her as well the buzz about her being Pakistan’s daughter-in-law, Sania simply said, “I am not a Pakistan ki bahu; I’m just his (Shoaib’s) wife.”
Opening up further, she added all through she felt, “I was not marrying a Pakistani, I was marrying a person. People try to make political statements but forget that we are human beings.”
On whether she was looking forward to going to Pakistan, Sania said, “I have been to Pakistan before. I have played matches in Islamabad.”
On whom she would support during an India-Pakistan match, Sania, without waiting a moment, quipped, “I will support India and want him to make a century.”
Representing India in Commonwealth Games ‘special’
When asked about how she felt when some of her fans felt betrayed that she was marrying a Pakistani, Sania said, “I would like to tell not just those people but everyone that nothing has changed. We both will continue to represent our countries…My immediate goal is to play in the Commonwealth Games as it`s in India, so it`ll be more special for me as an Indian.”
Shoaib, on his part, reiterated that Sania will always represent India as a sportsperson and will get all his support.
On the controversy regarding Ayesha Siddiqui, Sania said, “We always knew truth; we knew the truth from the start. I was confident about Shoaib.”
“What we went through in those 10-12 days is what couples go through in 25 years of marriage. But all through those days, we didn’t have a single argument or fight or even an irritating moment between us.”
A pensive Sania added that she never felt that she was being betrayed and that the whole issue has made their relationship stronger.
The tennis star admitted though that she did get some anxious moments through the controversy. “I never for a moment thought that we’ll not get married. But yes it sometimes felt that it may get postponed. We are humans after all.”
“It was a lot of emotions. Hardest to go out to meet the media just before your marriage and give clarifications. This is not what a bride wants to do, she added.”
When quizzed about the reported payment of Rs 15 crore to Ayesha by Shoaib to buy peace, Sania remained noncommittal, she said, “We negotiated a settlement and it would be improper for me to speak about it in an interview.”
Shoaib chipped in by only saying “a compromise had been reached” and that his “idea was to keep Sania and his in-laws happy”.
On the best moment, Sania said, “The Nikah was the best moment…that one moment when we became each others. It was the only private moment we had after being in the media glare for so long. It was just us and our families.”
Love developed slowly
Regarding how it all started, Sania said that they met through common friends. “First time we met in Hobart in Australia, but I didn’t fall in love then. I had met the entire Pakistan team then.”
“It was at the third time…he met me while I was having dinner along with my father in an Indian restaurant. Shoaib walked-in with a team mate for dinner. They were living in a hotel just across the street.”
Shoaib then added his bit saying, “I walked across to meet her father, as he is an elder.”
“He suddenly developed an interest in tennis and that was it,” Sania added stealing a naughty glance towards Shoaib.
Sania said that she liked Shoaib for his simplicity despite being a sportsperson of stature and in spite of his having achieved what he had.
Shoaib on his part said that he wanted to marry someone who would understand him and would be a sportsperson and then went on to add, rather interestingly, that he married Sania because his late father wanted him to do so.
“My father told me to marry her five years back,” Shoaib said. His admission surely suggests that the Sania-Shoaib saga was in the making for more time than what is in popular perception.
In Sania’s words, “All’s well that ends well.”