Hyderabad/Karachi, Mar 30, PTI: Announcing her marriage with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik on April 15 in Hyderabad, tennis star Sania Mirza on Tuesday said she would retain her Indian passport and play for India in the 2012 Olympics.
Flying back to Hyderabad after a lightning visit to Delhi, where she secured visa from the Pakistan High Commission for going to Lahore for a reception, she declined to go into “uncomfortable” details about where she met Shoaib, but said she knew him for the last seven years.
She made it clear that they would settle down in Dubai, which she called a “home away from home” and just three hours’ flight from Hyderabad.
During a brief interaction with the media in the company of her father at her residence, the 23-year-old Sania said she would be lying if she did not expect the development to be a shock.
But both of them and their families were happy about the marriage, the tennis star said. She said she had received messages of best wishes from several people both in India and Pakistan. “We are getting married. We are also not making any political statement or anything on (Indo-Pak) relations. It’s a simple matter. We are getting married,” she said when a reporter asked whether she would like others to emulate her example.
Asked who she would support in case of an India-Pakistan cricket match, she said: “I will obviously support India but I will also support my husband.”
To a question, she said she would continue to hold Indian passport and was looking to play for India in the 2012 Olympics. “I’m not going to answer nor will Shoaib be comfortable answering personal questions,” she said when asked when the two started seeing each other. Sania and her father distributed sweets to mediapersons during the interaction and when asked about opposition from the VHP and other rightwing groups on her marrying a Pakistani, she said, “We are happy. You should not speak such things with mithai in your hands.”
Saying that the marriage would not in any way affect their career, Sania said: “I will continue to play tennis after wedding and he will also continue to play for his country.”
In Pakistan, Shoaib Malik interacted with the media where he said both families were happy with the marriage. “Inshallah, we are getting married soon and our families are very happy,” he said. Six members of Shoaib’s family have reportedly applied for visas to travel to India for the wedding in Hyderabad.