It’s Saina (not Sania)…

June 23rd, 2009

Disclaimer: Yes, I agree that Sania Mirza has done wonders for Indian Women’s Tennis.
But the comparison ends there.

I have a rather bad habit. Before going to sleep, I watch news. Sometimes, it’s a business channel (yuck to many), but mostly normal tamasha on news channels.
Yesterday, there was real tamasha. Some channels went quite gaga over Saina Nehwal’s super series win and Sania Mirza’s first round win in Wimbledon.
And while I am quite fine with the hoopla around Mirza, I am quite surprised with the lack of bandwidth for Nehwal.
In the last few years, Nehwal has consistently done well. Yet, for one tournament she was hassled for a visa (she rightly said that a cricketer wouldn’t have faced any hassles).
In fact, in this T-20 nonsense, I wonder if anyone even knew that Nehwal was quietly winning match-after-match.
In comparison, Mirza has to win one single match to be in the headlines. While I believe that Mirza has done wonders for Indian Women’s Tennis, but it’s simply as an ambassador. As a player, she has a long way to go.
At the age of 18-19, she had promise. At 22-23, she is still someone with promise. In singles, she hasn’t been in the quarter-finals of any of the Grand Slams.
But I guess tennis has more glamour than badminton. Everyone remembers Anna Kournikova…some, perhaps, even more than Chris Evert or Bille Jean King.
And someone may even argue that tennis is a more inclusive sport. Badminton is, after all, mostly an Asian sport. And the top ten have a lot of Chinese players and sometimes, a few Danish players.
For an Indian to break into the league is mighty impressive. If Nehwal’s coach is to be believed, she will be ranked sixth in the world after the recent win – in tennis, only
Ramanathan Krishnan was seeded fourth in the 1961 Wimbledon…
Sadly, talent and performance seldom gets reflected in television or newspaper coverage. Glamour, it would seem, works wonders.

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