Sania Mirza has found support from Parupalli Kashyap, a fellow Hyderabadi practising another racquet sport — badminton. “This is absurd! How can a spouse be held responsible for a sportsperson’s performance on the field? It’s unfortunate for Shoaib to get out like that, first ball, but what has that got to do with dinner with his wife on match eve?”
He adds: “Sania and Shoaib would have gone out for dinner the night before a match on many occasions in the past and the latter would have got runs too, that’s something people perhaps do not understand. They are in no way qualified to tell them what is right or wrong,” Kashyap says.
He draws a parallel. “I and Saina too have faced this for many years. There are coaches to check and guide us. And we heed advice from people who matter.”
— Parupalli Kashyap, badminton player
Cricket is such a big sport, almost like a religion for Indians. However, one should realise that commenting on someone’s personal life is not acceptable. Sania Mirza being such a big sportswoman herself has been specifically targeted, I feel it is unfair to comment on someone’s personal life. Such behaviour is seen across the world, as a sportsperson, I feel we should filter out such negativity and keep our focus on our game. Let’s not allow it to get to our nerves.
— Bhaichung Bhutia, former footballer
How can you blame her for Pakistan’s defeat! It’s ridiculous. It’s really unfair Sania has been constantly blamed from both sides of the border. She has been targetted for all kinds of issues, all through her career. It’s a bit harsh that she has been shouldering this extra pressure, having also crossed so many hurdles to be one of the top Indian sportspersons. She is a super strong woman and knows how to deal with it though. She always has the support of true sports-loving Indian fans, no matter what. Social media is a double-edged sword. It helps you stay closer to your fans knowing that all of them are not going to behave the same way. People are going to say a lot of things, but as sportspersons, we know how to keep our focus.
— Joshna Chinappa, a multiple time national squash champion As told to Moses Kondeti, R. Mohan and Simran Kapur