Thursday, April 1, 2010

MIRZA- MALIK MARRIAGE: where did it all begin for them?

It’s an Indo-Pak love match that has created ripples on both sides of the border but no one seems to have a clue about just when and where did love blossom between Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik. A day after shocking almost everyone, except family, by announcing that they will tie the knot in mid April, speculation continues as to where exactly the romance began.

Sources say the two first met in Australia in January where Sania had just crashed out of the Australian Open and Pakistan had suffered yet another embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ricky Ponting’s men. Not a trip to remember professionally but personally it was to be a life-changing one at least for Sania, who broke off her engagement with childhood friend Sohrab Mirza at the end of that month, citing incompatibility.

The break up was stunning because their lavish engagement just six months earlier was still fresh in everyone’s mind. Neither Sania nor her family gave the exact reasons for the split but given Monday’s announcement, speculation is rife that the 23-year-old Hyderabadi’s meeting with Shoaib may have contributed to the break up. Shoaib too had been luckless in love before meeting Sania and that incidentally also had a Hyderabad connection. The all-rounder was accused of marrying and dumping one Ayesha Siddiqui but Shoaib denied that, insisting that he was merely engaged to the said girl. Both seem to be controversy’s favourite child with Shoaib, a former captain of the Pakistan team, currently serving a one-year ban for indiscipline on the Australia tour and Sania battling a wrist injury besides warding off queries about just why she ended her engagement with Sohrab.

Sania’s career has veered off towards the uncertain after a breakthrough 2005. She rose to a career-high 27 in the WTA rankings in 2007 but poor form and never-ending injury battles have seen her slide to 92 currently. Ironically, the two would be getting married at a time when India-Pakistan diplomatic ties have frozen following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. But they are certainly not the first cross-border couple. Former Pakistan Test opener Mohsin Khan had tied Indian actress Reena Roy in the 1980s but the marriage didn’t last. Marriage casts a shadow over Sania’s career but given the support Shoaib is promising, the Hyderabadi seems set to continue her on-court life as well.

“I fully understand what it takes to be an international sports person and I will support Sania in her career as long as she wishes to play. Representing India at the 2012 Olympics is very important for her and I will be the proudest husband if she can win a medal for her country,” said Shoaib. He said the exact date and place of his marriage have not been decided yet. “It is (marriage) happening next month somewhere and I think parents will decide the dates. It’s entirely up to our parents wherever they will decide,” Shoaib said. Shoaib said both the families were happy with the development, as was Sania. “Well Inshallah, we are getting married soon and our families are very happy. We both are also happy,” he told ARY TV channel.

Sania, who has lived in media glare ever since rising to stardom as an 18-year-old after moderate success on the WTA circuit, has pleaded for privacy. “My wedding is inshallah going to be the biggest day of my life. I have been in the constant glare for too long and would appreciate the privacy at this very personal moment in my life,” she said. But given the massive interest surrounding her new relationship, quote-hungry journalists are unlikely to leave her alone. Meanwhile, Sania flew to Delhi on a brief visit to get her visa to Pakistan where a post-wedding reception is scheduled next month.

Accompanied by her mother, the 23-year-old Mirza, went to the Pakistan High Commission and completed the formalities. “We have got the visa. We are happy. Now that we have got the visa, we will be travelling to Pakistan”, her mother Nasima Mirza told reporters. Sania herself declined to comment on the impending marriage. “I am not answering any questions,” she told reporters. Nasima said the family was very happy with Sania’s decision. “We are very happy about her decision. We are all with her and Inshallah we wish all the best to her,” she said.

Her mother refused to talk about Sania’s previous engagement with childhood friend Sohrab Mirza. “I don’t want to comment on what all happened in the past and we should all look ahead,” she said. While the marriage is likely to be held on April 11 or 12 in Hyderabad, the ‘Walima’ or reception is expected to be held in Lahore on April 16 or 17. Six members of Shoaib Malik’s family have also applied for visas to travel to India but Shoaib himself hasn’t submitted his application so far. But he is expected to do it soon,” official sources said.

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