Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal are perhaps the top two women sports personalities in India at present. Both of them have earned fame at international level and are now considered to be the icons for young girls willing to follow their footsteps in sports.
While Sania Mirza has been an inspiration for many young tennis players in India, especially for young girls, Saina Nehwal has been so for the aspiring badminton players.
Though Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal are involved in two different sports, they have something in common- becoming the first Indian women in achieving some of their successes. For example, Sania Mirza became first women tennis player from India to take part in a Grand Slam tournament as a seeded player. Saina Nehwal, on the other hand, is the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championship.
So, it is natural that both of them are celebrity in India and have star status among their fans. However, for some reasons, tennis sensation Sania Mirza gets more media coverage than her badminton counterpart Saina Nehwal.
Here, I am stating five reasons why Saina Nehwal should get more media attention than tennis star Sania Mirza:
1. Performance: Saina Nehwal is well-ahead of Sania Mirza in terms of performance. Saina became the first Indian women to win a Super Series title in badminton (similar to Grand Slam title in tennis) in June 2009 when she won the Indonesia Open title. She has so far bagged four Super Series titles including three in 2010.
Mirza, on the other hand, has not yet won any Grand Slam title. Reaching the 4th round of US Open 2005 has so far been her highest accomplishment in a Grand Slam tournament (though this is the highest achieved by an Indian women so far).
Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza can be differentiated in terms of their rankings too. Sania’s best ever rankings in singles so far is 27 which she achieved in August 2007. On the other hand, Saina Nehwal reached at no. 2 in the women’s singles world rankings in badminton in December 2010.
Saina Nehwall can outclass Sania Mirza when it comes to achievements too. Besides her four Super Series titles, Saina Nehwal has become the first woman from India to reach the quarter final of the singles event in Olympics.
On the other hand, Sania Mirza is yet to come this far in Olympics, though her fans may indicate that she is the only Indian female tennis player to have won a mixed doubles title in a Grand Slam tournament. She along with Leander Paes won the mixed doubles title in Australian Open 2009. Still, mixed doubles can no way come to the comparison with singles event.
In addition, the 20-year-old badminton star has already won Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards, two of India’s most prestigious awards for achievements in sports, while Sania Mirza could win only Arjuna Award until now.
3. Glamour and Dress up
When it comes to representing Indian culture, Saina Nehwal has been much more successful than her tennis counterpart. Sania Mirza attracted huge criticism for her low-cut dress up and there are many who criticized her for using glamour to get maximum media coverage.
Saina Nehwal, on the other hand, has never tried to attract media by wearing glamorous dresses. Rather, she always puts her hundred percent focus on her game.
Sania Mirza has been involved in a number of controversies so far in her career. Her dress up often becomes the issue of intense criticism from group of Muslim people who believe her dress up does not go with Muslim culture. Moreover, she was once criticized for allegedly insulting national flag of India, though she later denied it.
In contrast, Saina Nehwal has not been involved in any controversy yet and has a clean image.
That means, Saina Nelwal has already established herself as one of today’s best badminton players in the world and maintained a very clean image without being involved in any controversies. So, naturally she deserves to get more attention and coverage in the media than Sania Mirza.