.: Opinions

Date: 23 Jul 2014

Tennis ace Sania Mirza to be Telengana's ambassador


Indian tennis star Sania Mirza was on July 22 appointed ‘Brand Ambassador’ of Telangana, one two new states created recently by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh- other sisterly new state is Seemandhra. Sania Mirza will promote the new Telengana state’s interests in India and abroad.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao handed over a letter of appointment and also a cheque of Rs. one crore to 27-year-old at an interaction session with industrialists in Hyderabad. Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, Special Chief Secretary (Industries) K. Pradeep Chandra and other officials were present.

On the occasion, the Telengana Chief Minister said that Telangana is proud of Sania who is a true Hyderabadi. She’s now ranked number five in international tennis doubles “and we wish she becomes the number one”.

Sania Mirza born on 15 November 1986, in Mumbai is a professional Indian tennis player. For a decade starting in 2003 through to 2013, she was ranked by the Women's Tennis Association as India's highest ranked player, both in singles and doubles.

In her career, Mirza has notable wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Marion Bartoli; and former World No. 1s Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, and Victoria Azarenka. Unfortunately Sania Mirza switched her focus from singe to mixed and other doubles. She is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 5 in doubles She is the first Indian female player to surpass US$1m in career earnings; first Indian to win a WTA Tour title of any kind; and, by winning the 2009 Australian Open – Mixed Doubles Event, became the third Indian, male or female, to win a Grand Slam title.

Mirza has won the 2012 French Open – Mixed Doubles Event (her second Grand Slam title. Earlier, as a junior player Mirza had won 10 singles and 13 doubles titles. She won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title,

Mirza was named one of the '50 heroes of Asia' by Time in October 2005.[4] In March 2010, The Economic Times named Mirza in the list of the "33 women who made India proud". The Telangana government appointed her as the first brand ambassador of the Telangana state, India on 22nd July, 2014.

Sania was born on 15 November 1986 to Imran Mirza, a sports journalist and builder, and his wife Naseema, who worked in a printing business in Mumbai, Maharashtra. She was brought up in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh in a Shi’a Muslim family. She is related to former cricket captains Ghulam Ahmed of India, and Asif Iqbal of Pakistan.

Mirza began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She was trained by her father. She attended NASR school in Hyderabad and later graduated from St. Mary's College. Mirza started to show early success as she made her debut in April 2001 on the ITF Circuit as a 15-year-old. Her highlights of 2001 include a quarterfinals showing in Pune and a semifinal finish in New Delhi.

As the 2002 season began, she turned around a season of early losses to winning three straight titles; her first in her home town Hyderabad and the other two in Manila, Philippines. In February 2003, Mirza was given a wildcard to play in her first ever WTA tournament, at the AP Tourism Hyderabad Open, in her hometown.

Sania is not without controversies. The short tennis clothes she wears on the court has drawn criticism from some Muslim religious group but she blasted the critiques saying they should not worry too much about how she dresses up but how much she does for India by wining tournaments.

In 2009, Sania Mirza became engaged to childhood friend Sohrab Mirza. However the engagement was called off shortly after. She started seeing Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. On 12 April 2010, she married Shoaib Malik in a traditional Muslim Islamic Wedding ceremony at the Taj Krishna Hotel in Hyderabad, India followed by Pakistani wedding customs for a mehr of 6.1 million (US$137,500). Their Walima ceremony was held in Lahore, Pakistan.

Sania could have focused on singles instead of switching to doubles as per the wishes of the tennis management and sport ministry. Had she played more seriously the singles instead of shifting to doubles in order to win more games, Mirza would have, like Maria Sharapova, become one of the top most payers today.

Sania Mirza is current youth icon of India. Sania Mirza created history in tennis by becoming the first ever Indian to break into the top 50 WTA rankings. Sania's stellar play and winning personality has won her an Arjuna Award, India's top sports honor. Sania has also appeared on the South Asian cover of TIME magazine where she was included in the publication's list of "Asia's 50 heroes." Sania Mirza recently became the first Indian to be seeded number one in a WTA event. Sania Mirza only 22 has a huge fan base in India and is turning heads all over the world. Sania Mirza is celebrated and adulated for her attitude towards life, her fashion sense and her immense talent.

Sania Mirza received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai on 11 December 2008.

The decision of Telengana government to bestow upon Sania Mirza who made India and Telengana proud, the honour of the state ambassador is indeed a step in the right direction.

More honors maybe are in the pipeline.

-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL has been an Educationist, Prolific writer, Commentator on world affairs Expert on Mideast Affairs, New Delhi . Email: (abdulruff@gmail.com

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