Hyderabad cleric bats for Sania Mirza

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Hyderabad, Feb 6 : A prominent cleric here has said that Sania Mirza should rise above trivial controversies nagging her in the last two months and return to the court on the domestic tennis circuit. Qazi Mir Muhammad Khadir Ali of Shariat Panah hoped Sania would review her decision not to play in the Bangalore Open.

"Such controversies keep taking place but that does not mean that Sania should stop playing in her own country. She should give priority to her own country," he said.

Sania on Monday said she had been advised by her manager and mixed doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi to skip the Bangalore Open tournament starting on March 3.

Mirza, who emerged a youth icon since becoming the first Indian to win a WTA tour event in 2005, would have been the big draw alongside American sisters Serena and Venus Williams.

But in the face of mounting criticism, she said she had thought about ending her playing career.

The world number 29 has been summoned by a court in Bhopal after allegedly showing disrespect to the national flag during the Hopman Cup in Perth last month. If proved, Sania could be sent to jail.

The twenty-year-old Asian number one was also forced to apologise to mosque officials in Hyderabad for shooting an advertisement on its premises in December. A complaint of trespass was filed against her then.

Mirza has also faced opposition from Muslim groups for playing in normal tennis attire.

ANI

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