PTF chief denies saying Sania should play for Pakistan

"How can she play for Pakistan when she is an Indian national and wants to remain an Indian national?" Abbas told reporters.

"I said that she should play in Pakistan not for Pakistan. Obviously you need to be a Pakistani national to represent this country in any sport," he said.Abbas' remarks was in contrast to what appeared in 'The News' which quoted the PTF chief as saying that Sania should don Pakistan colour after her marriage.

"It is great news for our tennis community that Sania Mirza is getting married to Shoaib Malik. We welcome her and hope that she would become a Pakistani national and play for us in future. She has a great future ahead and we would be delighted if she plays for Pakistan," Abbas was quoted as saying.

"Asian women traditionally follow their husbands which is why I'm hopeful that someday she would be inspired by Shoaib to play for Pakistan," he added.

Abbas, however, claimed he had been misunderstood."I was misunderstood. I meant that after marriage she should play in Pakistan. She can take part in our national events and we will allow that as it is allowed under our PTF constitution," Abbas said.

He said there was no doubt that Sania was a tennis icon for many female sports lovers and if she came to Pakistan she should play exhibition matches or hold coaching clinics.
"If she comes to Pakistan and does this I am sure she will attract a lot of her fans to take up tennis and also help us improve our overall tennis standards," he said.

Abbas said he wished the couple a happy married life and hoped Sania would visit Pakistan regularly and get involved in the sport in any capacity.Pakistan's top tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq also ruled out Sania's chance of playing for Pakistan.

"How can she do that? She has been representing India all these years, she is a big star there and she has a lot of Indian fans. She has so many of her sponsors in India so I don't think it is possible for her to come and play for Pakistan," Aisam said.
He, however, felt that if Sania visits Pakistan and takes part in tennis activities, it would be a big boost for the sport in the country."Tennis in Pakistan needs big names to come to Pakistan," he added.

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