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I thought of quitting before Aus Open: Sania

sports Updated: Jan 15, 2008 18:28 IST

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Tired of being dragged into various off-court controversies time and again, Sania Mirza on Tuesday disclosed that she considered quitting tennis last week.

The world number 31 from India, often in the eye of storm, said she found it tough to deal with question marks on her loyalty towards the country after being photographed at the Hopman Cup in Perth with her bare feet positioned near Indian national flag and was charged for "disrespecting" the tricolour.

"It's not easy to deal with things like that off the court. I am not a superhuman so it does affect me. As much as I try to block it out, it's still in the back of your mind... A lot of thoughts went through my head in the past couple of weeks, and one of the thoughts was (quitting)," said the player who was also criticised by the orthodox Muslim clergy for her short skirts and T-shirts.

"But I wouldn't say that they were serious enough that I would quit right now... (But) it was very tricky to play again, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to blank out everything and play a tennis match," she said after defeating Uzbekistan's Iroda Tulyaganova 6-4 6-2 in the first round of the season's first Grand Slam.

Sania defended herself by saying, "I wouldn't do anything to disrespect my country, I love my country. I wouldn't be playing Hopman Cup otherwise. But other than that, I am not allowed to comment because it is before the courts.