However I find myself cold to the idea of the Padmashri award for Sania Mirza. I believe the Padma award is too much too soon.
Sure she has done what no other Indian woman tennis player has. Yes, she has had a fantabulous year in 2005. And there is no denying that she has captured the imagination of the nation like no other sportsperson has ever done before (excepting possibly a 16 yr old Sachin Tendulkar).
But if one were to take a hard look at the facts what would they reveal? A ranking of 34 on the WTA. (she was ranked No.32 last week) and some endorsement contracts from corporate India.
Surely a ranking of 34 on the WTA is nothing to crow about. I also get the sneaking suspicion that all the endorsement contracts that she finds coming her way are not due only to her sporting prowess but also for the visual appeal that she holds for the sexually repressed Indian male.
Sania’s only good year was 2005 and of course the last few months of 2004. She lost in the second round at the Australian Open 2006 and has done nothing of note as yet in 2006.
I am not saying that she does not deserve the accolades and endorsement deals coming her way but recognition of this kind from the Government is a bit too premature. Just to provide a perspective on how quickly Sania has been awarded a Padmashri by the Government; Sachin Tendulkar, a virtual demi-god in India was awarded the same in 1999. A good ten years into his career. By that time he had established himself as one of the all time greats of the sport. Has Sania Mirza done that?
And how do we know whether she would perform even as well as she has done up until now in the future? Can she keep up the momentum of 2005? It would have been much better to have waited a couple of years before awarding her the Padmashri.