How Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik keep their bond going

Discipline, understanding and adjustment helped this India-Pakistan duo overcome challenges of a married life and keep on playing at the highest level.

By Naveen Peter

One is an ace tennis player and the other a famous cricketer. While one hails from India, the other from neighbouring Pakistan. Both have active sporting careers that involve a fair amount of travelling. And now they are proud parents.

India’s tennis sensation Sania Mirza married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik in 2010. Their relationship has only strengthened as the years went by.

And Sania Mirza believes that the discipline that their careers instilled made life a bit easier to adjust.

“Tennis requires a lot of discipline, just like cricket. It requires a lot of undivided attention,” she said on an Instagram Live session hosted by husband Shoaib Malik.

“When we decided to get married, I had a wrist injury at the time and at that point, honestly, I didn't think I was going to play tennis anymore. 

“I had taken six months off and when I had made my comeback at Wimbledon, I felt that nothing really changed," Sania told Shoaib.

“I felt that you (Shoaib Malik) were supportive because you came from the same kind of background, had to put in the same kind of hard work and dedication. 

“You (Shoaib Malik) never made me feel that since we are married that I would have limited responsibilities, that I cannot give this much time to my profession or tennis. So, I don’t think a lot had changed.”

Mirza-Malik, a successful partnership

It’s no surprise that it's this understanding that has helped them work out a successful marriage over the years despite hailing from different countries and staying apart for the most part of their lives.

“It depends on the individual, depends on the relationship, your understanding, as to how you have been tuned in the relationship,” reasoned Sania Mirza.

“We knew from before if we had to continue our relationship, it would involve a lot of travel, being in high-pressure jobs and something that is not in our control a lot of times. 

“We haven’t known it any other way, we are fortunate to have found each other and understand each other’s lives and professions before we got married and adjusted to it.”

The couple gave birth to their son Izhaan in 2018, with Sania Mirza returning to the court early this season before the pandemic brought the life around the globe to a standstill.