Sania Mirza’s mother Naseema has been made the member of the support staff who will be assisting the Indian Tennis team at the London Olympics 2012. Naseema Mirza has no expertise in the field and this decision might have been a step taken to please Sania, who wrote a scathing letter to the AITA after the tennis selection row which involved Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.
Naseema is the only one of the five support staff with no real expertise or specialisation in the field. Along with Naseema, the four other members of the support staff are India’s regular Davis Cup non-playing captain S P Misra, Sanjay Singh (Paes’s trainer), Shayamal Vallabhjee (Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna’s training consultant) and Milos Galecic (Somdev Devvarman’s physio).
Col. Ranbir Chauhan, who is the member of AITA executive committee, first said “Naseema would be the women’s team coach” but later changed his words and said that “she will be the team manager as she has been in past”. It has also been noted that Naseema travels as team manager when Sania is playing at a tournament.
She might have traveled as a team manager in many big tournaments but considering her complete lack of specialisation in the game of tennis, the decision can prove very risky for the Indian players in the Olympics. Interestingly, those with much more experience, like present Davis Cup coach Nandan Bal and Fed Cup coach Enrico Piperno, were not considered for the job.
In the list that has gone to the Indian Olympic Association, Naseema and Mishra are named as mere “officials”. While the two of them, along with Somdev’s trainer, will stay at the Olympics Village, the support staff for the men’s doubles team will stay outside. Sania Mirza, who will be competing in women’s Singles, women’s doubles and Mixed Doubles in the upcoming Olympics, was very upset with her pairing with Leander Paes in the Mixed Doubles. Previously, Sania had also said that she was used as bait in the row over the team selection for the Olympics. So it is possible that this step to appease Sania Mirza could land All India Tennis Association into one more controversy.