She has multiple feathers in her cap. The deftness with which she plays enthralls the country. She broke stereotypes and has risen to become one of the most successful tennis players the world has seen. She is Sania Mirza – a power to reckon with.

In this conversation at the FICCI FLO annual session, Sania talks about the barriers she had to break to prove her mettle in sports, why sports should be considered a natural career for girls and why we still have a long way to go when it comes to girls and women empowerment.

People would ask if I could be Martina Hingis one day, would she get dark practising in the sun, will she ever going to play Wimbledon etc, what if she turns into a tom boy.

Breaking barriers

“People would ask if I could be Martina Hingis one day, would she get dark practising in the sun, will she ever going to play Wimbledon etc, what if she turns into a tom boy. All this my parents had to stand up to. Today we can at least name ten sport superstars in India from PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal to Sakshi Malik and more.”

An inspiration to young girls

“Even today, cricket is something that everyone goes to and girls are unheard of wanting to dream of playing a sport or becoming a professional,” said Mirza, further adding, “Today, Hyderabad is a big city but 25 years ago, it wasn’t the biggest. We used to play on courts made out of cow dungs. My parents had to fight the cultural norms so that I could play. Today, it makes me feel proud to have inspired young girls and their parents.”

Sports is not a go-to option for every girl. When a girl does that, other parents are like – Oh wow, it is so commendable that you guys did this and you know you stood with her. But I think it should be natural for girls to pursue sports as a career option.

Pay parity in sports

“We talk about equality and women empowerment but we still live in a man’s world. Even in Tennis, we still have to explain why we must get equal prize money as men do and this happens throughout the world,” Mirza said on equal pay in the field of sports.

Also Read: We need to be the best version of ourselves – Sania Mirza

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