Poison Pen

don't worry, she doesn't bite anymore.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

why i dont like sania mirza

ok, you can shoot me now. i know shes the darling of the press (both indian and western), but im sorry for being the spoilsport here who just refuses to buy into the whole "sania-mania" thing. so the question is why dont i like her?

am i jealous of her because shes done more in 18 years than ive managed in 20-something? no, because then id have to hate half the world. ive adjusted quite well to the fact that im mediocre.

then is it because shes not good? no, no, not that either. i saw her play against the best in the world and hold her own. she's pretty good, and if she works on the first serve a bit she could be a world-beater.

no, the reason i dislike her is that shes decided to play up the fact that shes a "muslim girl from a third world country". in all the coverage shes got from the western press, this fact about her has harped upon. somehow she doesnt fit the image of muslim girls that the western media has, so they all ooh and aah about her.

then she goes and makes ridiculous statements about how she asks allah fro forgivenbess every night, because shes forced to play in a miniskirt. she says she never wears minis in public in india. ummm, i have to ask, WHO DOES??? girls (of all religions, btw) in india dont wear miniskirts in public because its not safe, not for religious reasons! but thats not the case in the us, so everyone goes "wow, how conservative is THAT?"

and her father goes one step further. the wta should change the rules so that women can play in trousers. apparently the only reason more girls dont play tennis in india is cos their fathers freak out at teh thought of their little cherubs showing off their bare legs (this is straight out of "bend it like beckham" but less funny). i hate to point this out to the man, but the wta has very little to do about this. if sania wants shes perfectly free to wear a burqa on court. it might restrict her movement, but hey its for the cause of all girls held back by western licentuousness.

no please, look at her. forget teh miniskirts. see the bold message tees she wears in press conferences. see the multiple piercings in her ears. look, and youll see a spunky young girl, but who is a TYPICAL INDIAN URBAN TEENAGER. the key word is TYPICAL. but see, if shes just like any other girl of her age group. but then thats not unusual. that doesnt make her stand out in a crowd of great players from a hundred countries. mahesh and leander never played up their religions and remained marginal in the tennis world, in spite of a string of grand slams.

so sania harps on the fact that shes a conservative muslim and all of a sudden shes different. and the western media lap it up.

so the reason i dont like her is that shes using her religion as her USP. which is pretty much what politicians in india have been doing for years. but i expected better from her. she could have gone down as a great indian player, but instead shell be the best FEMALE MUSLIM player from india.


  • At 8:46 AM, Blogger S said…

    i think a lot of people (indians at least) don't look at sania as the 'best female muslim player', but just as a young gutsy indian girl. that's why they like her. cause she's gutsy and because she's damn good.

    the comparison with mahesh and leander doesn't really hold because they were never really singles players and that's what the tennis world is about. if leander reached the 4th round of the us open when he was 18 and was playing the world number 1 maybe he would have got at least some of the coverage sania got.

    and i seriously doubt that this 18 year old girl is deliberately trying to use a muslim card for popularity. the poor kid is probably just confused (i mean think of what her dad must be like if he made a statement like that)

  • At 3:16 PM, Blogger thalassa_mikra said…

    Vish, given the sort of threats she's received from the loonies recently, I'm not surprised she's making statements like asking forgiveness from Allah for wearing a mini-skirt. I don't think that's something that's her personal conviction, but more for public consumption, especially for the sections who can cause her actual bodily harm.

    Indeed if she or her family were so uncomfortable with the mini-skirts, they wouldn't have let her continue playing tennis in the first place. I went to school with girls who came from conservative Hindu families whose parents wouldn't allow them to do sports wearing shorts.

    The way I see it, most of the conservative Muslim rhetoric is to allay the fundamentalist morons who have been issuing threats against her. I mean, she's been playing for a while, and it's only recently that she's said stuff like that.

  • At 4:43 AM, Blogger Sleepyface said…

    if she has answered she asks forgiveness every night from allah, that actually means, one reporter with pea brain which is filled with shit has made it a point to ask her about her thighs and what she thinks of it. more than sania, this reporter should have some ethics when asking questions.

    In womens sports this is not new. why didn't P T Usha say this? because nobody asked her! i think its got nothing to do with sania or her religion. its the reporters who need training when dealing with people.

    I m quite sure sania wouldn't call a press meet only to announce that she prays everynight. i mean, it doesn't sound logical either..

    On the other hand, i would love to know what the reporter in question would've asked mallika sherawat..


  • At 11:38 PM, Blogger Anurag said…

    Well, I don't like her for another reason -- she is not all that good. Press loves new people. They like underdogs winning, and she has beat some of the big names. What is worth noticing is who she beat and when:

    i) She beat Kuznetsova, who is clearly not in a very good form now, despite having won a US open.
    ii) She beat another Russian who is in the top 10, but she had just come back on circuit after an elbow injury. I could have beat her that day.

    People also like her because she is gutsy and is not scared to lose. The thing is, I would rather back an intelligent winner who knows when to hold back than a foolhardy loser who sprays balls all over the court.

    Also, she chooses the tournaments she enters very carefully. Let's wait and watch how much her ranking rises further, because now she will have to consistently beat better players, which is not easy suddenly.

    She is slow on court, has a bad serve, is inconsistent, cannot volley and lacks concentration. I do give her the good crosscourt backhand and forehands, though.

  • At 7:10 PM, Blogger www.gypsynan.blogspot.com said…

    I agree that she is over hyped, but how is that her fault? I kinda liked her no bullshit focus. She never seemed diplomatic and is slightly cocky which is gutsy and different and so I do like her and hope she does well and does not fizzle out. But did she really say all that stuff? Where? I actually thought it was cool how she ignored the critics and just did her own thing. But the fanatics must really be getting to her and her dad if they are saying such stuff - not their usual style at all. I was actually annoyed at how the Western press latched on to her Muslim identity.I did a quick google search and could not find the things you reported but she did say this

    "No Muslim is perfect and no human being is perfect," she said.

    "I guess I'm not dressing the way Islam states but I guess we all make mistakes and that's why Islam has forgiveness."

    Not so bad, is it?

  • At 3:00 AM, Blogger Mangs said…

    You know I think the media (indian and foreign) and other people (including those issuing fatwas against her) are the ones hyping the Third World-Muslim image. I'm not sure she's propogating it herself. When she's constantly pushed to the brink on how she feels reconciling being a Muslim with the tennis star image, then i think she backs off and says, "Well, everyone sins and so do i, I ask forgiveness" (or to that effect on NDTV). I see that as a sort of - "what else do I say" response than anything else.

  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Nikhil said…

    come to my hostel and you'll be lynched!!

  • At 2:55 AM, Blogger BridalBeer said…

    I am disappointed in Sania. She should use her powers to cleanse the warped interpreation of Islam such as Talibanistic stuff like short skirts. Instead, she implicitly endorses the perverted aspects of the religion as she (and the media) knows it. It's almost unethical on her part-she's old enough to know better.

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Shinu Mathew said…

    Her duty is to play tennis and she is good at it. As far as I can see. The mere suggestion of her trying to change the outlook of Islam is rubbish. She is not a diplomat or an ambassador. Let her play in whatever outfit she feels good. Just take the Islam out of her playing career. Nowadays, we started to link religion to everything. Politics, movies, actors and now this. it's too much.

  • At 12:59 AM, Blogger 4WD said…

    You shouldn't believe everything the press says.

    Here's what i do when i want a quote. ``Mr. (beep), the (beep organisation) is too big and needs an overhaul.''
    ``hmm,'' he says.

    Next days headline : (beep)says (beep organisation) too big to be effective.

    Thats a fictitious example. Never did that, but have gotten quotes like that.

    Personally, i would like to date her. You know, just hook up.
    Sania, if you're reading this, for some odd reason, i'm at http://fourwheelhigh.blogspot.com/

    I'm also plugging my new blog, so other people, please look. Its not cerebral, its shallow. But thats ok, no?

  • At 12:43 AM, Blogger Ali Thanikkal said…

    Much ado about nothing, this!

  • At 3:13 PM, Blogger Prometheus_Unbound said…

    Came across your article pretty late in the day, but you could not have said it better.

    I find Sania Mirza one of the hottest women around and would probably bive a leg and arm to have a 5% chance of making it with her. But rationally speaking I find it damn hypocritical in the way she's handled the recent crisis. Just because someone makes a public pronouncement by denouncing her un-Islamic dress does not mean its a serious threat. Most probably the very section that criticized her was just trying to cash in on the media hype surrounding her. How many times do you get these people to comment on what Zoha Ali Khan, Tabu or some of the upcoming models and their dresses.

    Its irresponsible and vaccous of the way both she and especially her father reacted. Would have really respecte dher if she went out and said that her dress was dictated by what was convenient.

  • At 4:09 AM, Anonymous RAMAN SANDHU said…

    Hello Sania ji
    mujhe jab apki chot kebare me pata chala to mujhe bahut dukh huya do din ke aap bare me news pepar me parha tha phir 4march ke news pepars me apke housepital se discharij hone ki sari news parhi to tab kahi jake mere man ko sakoon mila haa abh docter log kya kehte hai aap kab tak theek hogi khuda aapko jaldi theek kare je hamari famliye ki duya hai
    ya khuda kare aap par koy bhi mushibat naa aye aapko jo hona hai mujhe ho jaye aapki har dukh har balaye khuda mujhe de de
    i am raman from faridkot (punjab)
    my email Rmanabeyymaan@sanaiamirza.net
    my mobile no. 09872986051 09872520621

  • At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm in the US, and I just watched her 8 minutes (yes, 8 minutes) of coverage on the US Open. I had never even heard of her despite being a modest tennis fan, so I googled the only story they told me, that some Muslims thought tennis attire was not modest.

    The fact that this random blog was in the top hits shows me this is not a big story. period. I don't know what Western media you are talking about, but it takes a whole lot more flesh baring and/or success to make it as a "darling" in the US media. Now, give her a title, and the media will react as you suggest, I speculate.


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