I was treated unfairly because maybe I am a woman, says Sania Mirza

I was treated unfairly because maybe I am a woman, says Sania Mirza

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Sania Mirza has revealed that she felt she was mistreated on many occasions just because she was a woman and that it has pushed her stand up against such things. The World No. 1 Doubles player also said that losing the Bronze medal match at the 2016 Rio Olympics was her lowest point of the year.

Sania spoke about the difficulties of a female athlete, saying that the treatment she received for being a woman made her strong enough to stand up to the problems in the society, in an exclusive interview to ToI on Friday.

“I experienced being treated unfairly on a lot of occasions because maybe I am a woman. The questions that are being asked to me would not be asked to a male athlete or to a male star, but I was being asked those questions which are unfair. 

“Those are experiences that made me want to stand up for these issues more than any other issue. I have always believed in standing up for things that are close to my heart, whether that's trying to help children or the poor, whatever it is.

“I felt that many a time, I was treated in a certain way because I am a woman, that's not necessarily the right or wrong way, but in a 'certain way'. Every time people ask me about women's issues, I say that the first step for a woman is to accept that she's not treated equally. Women still live in a delusional world to a large extent,” Sania said.

Sania, along with Rohan Bopanna, was one of India's best Olympic hopes, but the duo lost their semifinal and then lost their bronze-medal match-off against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of the USA. Speaking about the loss, Sania revealed how much of an impact it had on her. 

“The lowest point of my year was the match we lost for the bronze medal and the match before that (the semi-finals, playing for a place in the final). I cried like I haven't cried in a long time. I cried after the match, I cried even when I was doing press. I walked off the court and I wasn't able to control myself. People sometimes think because we deal with wins and losses on a daily basis that we get over them a lot easier,” Sania Mirza said.

Mirza also felt that the higher stakes at the Olympics has a great effect on the players since the chance to win a medal comes every four years.

“People saw Novak (Djokovic) crying when he walked off the court at the Olympics. As tennis players, we're so used to having another chance week after week. But at the Olympics you don't have that option, that's why you see so much more emotion from us tennis players at the Olympics,”  she said.

When asked about her plans for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, the 29-year old was unsure about taking part in the event.

“The chances of being in Tokyo 2020 are minute. Firstly I don't think my body will survive. Four years is a long time. Realistically, even if I make it, I'm not going to be at my peak. That's a fact, as athletes we have to accept that we peak at a certain time. I may still be in a position to compete, but will I be in a position to give myself a chance to win a medal? Probably not,” Sania said.

Speaking about splitting with her long-time doubles partner Martina Hingis, Sania said that the split has not affected their friendship.

“Like some relationships, partnerships to run its course. That's the nature of sport. People thought the split was all dramatic or we weren't speaking, but we share meals on the Tour, have lunch together. It was always very cordial. It was a professional decision,” she said.

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