Aren’t we done with Mars vs Venus debates at the office watercooler? No, they are far from over. The glass ceiling was shifted from the board room to the tennis court and a fuming Sania Mirza played some heavy duty volleys to try and shatter that barrier. And on we go with the second part of the games that Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes have been playing, with Sania jumping onto the court.
As the All-India Tennis Association (AITA) managed to pull off a wild card coup, making Mirza eligible for the mixed doubles slot in the London Olympics, she broke her silence alleging that the selection reeks of male chauvinism. She further went on to say that as an Indian woman of the 21st century she finds it humiliating to be used as a bait to pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of India tennis. Well, we would agree with her if she was in any way referring to the radio show ‘Sania Bhabhi’, which was launched after her marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik wherein a fetching housewife ‘Sania Bhabhi’ who considers all cricketers her ‘dewars’ has topical conversations with her listeners. It is here that her name is being used as a bait to attract audiences.
By dragging gender into the debate, Mirza is just serving up no balls and running the risking of deflecting attention from problems like the crippling bureaucracy that plagues not just the AITA but almost all government-run sports bodies in India. She must realise that she is one of the best players in the nation, and, oh yes, she is a woman as well. That the AITA selected her as it was left red-faced in the wake of the Lee-Hesh controversy smacks of mismanagement, not chauvinism. Let us hope that at least now her sporting spirit will come to the fore. She should be in the centre court of attention, but not to tell us that she is being done in because she is a woman. We are not welling up with sympathy.