Mom-to-be Sania plays ball, will be back on court

The Asian Age.  | Moses Kondety

Sports, Tennis

Post-maternity Sania surely wants to return to the tennis court.

Sania Mirza

Hyderabad: Mom-to-be Sania Mirza is taking a break from tennis but is pondering plenty of points through her pregnancy. To feel life growing inside her has left her ‘amazed’ at the wonder works of nature. “Pregnancy is the greatest gift of God that a woman has ever received. It’s very difficult to put into words what you feel,” Sania told this newspaper on Friday.

What are the challenges a pregnant sportswoman face? “The toughest part is to stay still,” she laughs, before adding, “usually about 7-8 hours of my day are focussed around tennis, fitness or physio. Now, I can’t do too much activity. However, I try to keep myself busy by doing a bit of yoga, swimming because physically it is important for me as a woman and an athlete.”

However, she is taking the drastically reduced activity in her stride.  “This is a different phase of my life that I have to enjoy. It’s about moving forward, embracing it as well. But it’s kinda nice being at home a lot and taking clothes out of cupboard as opposed to my suitcase,” Sania giggles.

Sania admits she was not quite ready but has surprised herself. “I was not maternal a couple of years ago. Sometimes I used to be jokingly worried, that I don’t have those maternal instincts in me, and my Mum used to tell me ‘don’t worry, they’re gonna come to you.’ And it really is like that. It’s pretty incredible to think about it now. When we go for scans, it’s extremely moving to see that there’s another person inside you. For me, the joy is probably the same as winning the biggest tournaments... I can only compare and equate to that for your body is doing something incredible. It’s such a natural process for a woman to go through but it still amazes you,” the 31-year-old says.

Speaking of the time she found out about her pregnancy, Sania said: “We were in Dubai and it just so happened that the whole family was together at that time. Actually Shoaib had just finished a match and was at the ground. When I told him about it he was excited. We had my first scan a few weeks after, when I came to Hyderabad. It was really emotional... an incredible feeling to know what your body can do by itself. Being an athlete, I’ve been in touch with my body a lot. I would know everything that happened to my body whether it was hurt or improved... but I wouldn’t ever imagine that I can grow another person inside me.”

Does she feel the kicks, speak to her baby? “Not yet. It’s still quite early days but I think in a month or two I’ll get there,” she chuckles. “You just feel that you are with someone who is yours and will always be only, only yours. Obviously I can’t wait to meet my kid,” Sania says as she looks forward to October when the baby is due.

So what’s it going to be for Mirza-Malik — tennis or cricket? A round of laughter follows before she stands on neutral ground. “If you probably ask me I would say no tennis and he (cricketer-husband Shoaib Malik) would say no cricket. We just want a healthy child, that’s what we are praying for. Whatever our child wants to do, he/she can. To play tennis or cricket or not play any sport at all, that’s fine as well,” she says.

Sania had earlier announced her pregnancy in a rather innovative way, on Instagram. Her post showed a diagram of a locker room with two jerseys bearing the names “Mirza” and “Malik” with a tiny onezie with the words “Mirza-Malik” in the middle. “It was my sister’s idea. There was a lot of thought process that went into it. It would have been too monotonous to just put some lines out there,” she reveals.

She had been smart not to attribute colours (blue or pink) to the tiny costume though. “No colours, only black and white, just like I am,” she laughs.

Post-maternity Sania surely wants to return to the tennis court. “That’s obviously on my mind but I don’t have a time frame for that,” she says. “I don’t know how my body’s gonna react to something that is so drastically changing, so hopefully after the delivery I should be back on the circuit.”