WIMBLEDON: Sania Mirza Only Adult in India Olympic Room. Fights `Blatant Humiliation of Indian Womanhood.’

REPORTING FROM WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND – If you still believe in the Olympic spirit, then you know it hasn’t been entirely hijacked by corporations and commercials and made-for-TV and shoe-company showdowns. You know it can have meaning bigger than gold, about cultures coming together, about celebrating the best of humanity.

Sania Mirza understands. And when three male tennis players from India were bickering, looking small and refusing to play with each other in the Olympics, Mirza was offered up as the solution, placed in what amounted to an arranged tennis marriage for the Olympics.

But the All India Tennis Association messed with the wrong woman.

Calling the arrangement “blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood,’’ Mirza courageously, gracefully and very publicly wrote a letter that served as a public statement and a reminder of the values of the Olympics.

“As an Indian woman belonging to the 21st century, what I find disillusioning is the humiliating manner in which I was put up as a bait to try and pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennis,’’ she wrote. “While I feel honored and privileged to have been chosen to partner Leander (Paes), the manner and timing of the announcement wreaks of male chauvinism …’’

Mirza was the only one given real reason not to play. Yet she’s also the only one who didn’t threaten to pull out.

Here’s what happened:

Please read the rest of my column at FoxSports.com

About gregcouch

I can talk tennis all day long, and often do. And yet some of the people I talk to about it might rather I talk about something else. Or with someone else. That’s how it is with tennis, right? Sort of an addiction. Sort of a high. I am a national columnist at FoxSports.com and a FoxSports1 TV insider, and have been a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2010, I was the only American sports writer to cover the full two weeks of all four majors, and also to cover each of the U.S. Masters series events. I’ve seen a lot of tennis, talked with a lot of players, coaches, agents. I watched from a few rows behind the line judge as Serena rolled her foot onto the baseline for the footfault, a good call, at the 2009 U.S. Open. I sat forever watching a John Isner marathon, leaving for Wimbledon village to watch an England World Cup soccer game at a pub and then returning for hours of Isner, sitting a few feet from his wrecked coach. I got to see Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling joke around on a practice court on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, placing a small wager on a tiebreaker. Djokovic won, and Soderling pulled a bill out of his wallet, crumpled it into his fist and threw it at Djokovic, who unwadded it, kissed it, and told me, “My work is done here.’’ And when Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2010, I finished my column, walked back out onto the court, and filled an empty tic tac container with the red clay. I’m looking at it right now. Well, I don’t always see the game the same way others do. I can be hard on tennis, particularly on the characters in suits running it. Tennis has no less scandal and dirt than any other game. Yet somehow, it seems to be covered up, usually from an incredible web of conflicts of interest. I promise to always tell the truth as I see it. Of course, I would appreciate it if you’d let me know when I’m wrong. I love sports arguments and hope to be in a few of them with you here. Personal info: One-handed backhand, serve-and-volleyer. View all posts by gregcouch

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