Indian tennis star Sania Mirza said that the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has caused her a great deal of anxiety with her husband Shoaib Malik, Pakistani cricketer, away from her and her child.
Mirza and her child Izhaan are in Hyderabad while Malik is in Sialkot Pakistan with his mother.
“So he got stuck in Pakistan, I got stuck here. That was very difficult to deal with because we have a small child. We don’t know when Izhaan will be able to see his father again. It’s as basic as that,” Sania Mirza told The Indian Express in a video conversation.
“We are both pretty positive and practical people. He has a mother who is over 65 and by herself, so he needs to be there. So in the end, it worked out best that he was there with her. We hope we are healthy and come out of this on the right side of it,” she added.
“I don’t have anxiety problems but a couple of nights ago, I was having anxiety out of nothing. I was lying in bed and thinking of things because there’s so much uncertainty. Having a toddler in the house, you don’t know how to protect yourself, how to protect your child, you have parents who are older. So, you are not really thinking about work or tennis,” she continued.
Mirza felt tennis would be the last among the sports to resume because of the constant travel the sport requires its players to do.
“Many people feel tennis is not a team sport so it will be easy to resume it but there’s so much travel. How can you play if you don’t get to the stadium” she said.
“The second you travel, you are compromised. The second you sit on a plane, you are compromised. It’s impossible to have a tournament where you’re going to have 500 players from 100 different countries and nobody is going to have the virus. It’s just too big a risk,” she added.
The 33-year-old though is concerned about sportsmen who rely on sport for their weekly or monthly earnings and don’t have a big reserve of savings, while also adding that the pandemic largely disturbs training of Olympic-bound athletes.
“It’s very, very tough for the athletes. Imagine (the condition of) runners who were supposed to be peaking this year for the Olympics. A lot of athletes try to peak for the Olympics,” she said.
“For tennis, we have Grand Slams, other tournaments, so many things to look forward to. There are so many sports where they have only one or two things in a year. So, it’s a huge, huge miss. A lot of things change because of this. You have to find motivation, who knows what their mental and physical state is going to be. Even for myself,” she added.
However, Mirza’s focus right now is away from sports.
“I am really looking forward to being back as a family again and being at the same place. It’s really not been easy staying away from my husband and for Izhaan to stay away from his father,” she said.
“No amount of virtual video calls can do justice to actually meeting in person. I also look forward to a normal world where hugging and shaking hands become normal again, where we don’t think that we might die if we hug someone we love or kill them, you know,” she added.