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Sania Mirza to play for Pakistan?

india Updated: Apr 01, 2010 15:26 IST

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Shoaib-SaniaPakistan Tennis Federation chief Dilawar Abbas wants Sania Mirza to play for Pakistan after her marriage with former cricket captain Shoaib Malik later this month.

Sania intends to continue playing for India even after tying the knot with Shoaib on April 15 in Hyderabad but Abbas said she should give playing for Pakistan a thought.

"It is great news for our tennis community that Sania Mirza is getting married to Shoaib Malik. 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," Abbas told The News.

"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.

The 23-year-old Sania, who is the most successful woman tennis player from the sub-continent, will settle down with Shoaib in Dubai post marriage.

Abbas said even if she decides to continue playing for India, Sania can still help her husband's country by promoting the game among women here.

"She can encourage our girls to take up tennis, she can inspire them to become world class players," he said. "We would hope that Sania would lend a helping hand to women's tennis in Pakistan," he added.

Abbas suggested that Sania team up with Pakistan's number one tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in the mixed doubles circuit.

"Both Sania and Aisam are really good doubles players. I believe that their team would not just achieve great results internationally but will also help bridge the gap between India and Pakistan," he said.