It wasn’t a typical Bollywood love-at-first-sight when Shoaib Malik met Sania Mirza in 2003.
In fact, Sania wasn’t all that welcoming and didn’t show interest in Shoaib. It took six long years when finally both agreed to start a life together.
For the first time, the couple spoke about their love story in a television interview. The cricketer revealed that when the two first met in 2003, Sania wasn’t all that welcoming and didn’t show interest in him.
In response to Shoaib’s comments, the tennis player replied, “We are all aware of the image cricketers had. Of course, I had to be careful.” Shoaib added cheekily, “Yet you decided to marry one after all.”
The couple has created a home in Dubai, a mid-point for both of them when it comes to matters of travel and otherwise. Upon the similarities and differences they’ve noticed and experienced between India and Pakistan during their decade-long marriage, the two shared that there are really no major differences. “Lahore and Delhi feel like the same place. Bombay and Karachi have the same people, the same kind of mood. If you go to Chandigarh and UP in Punjab, almost everything is the same,” said the cricketer.
Sania, who belongs to Southern India, said she felt her husband’s family is very “vibrant and colorful” but that it’s mainly due to the Punjabi culture that’s prevalent in both countries. However, since the tennis star grew up in a relatively quiet environment, she found it difficult to adjust to all the lively hullabaloo.
Speaking about favorite foods and delicacies, Shoaib revealed that he enjoys Sialkot’s, Halwa Puri. sharing, “Nobody does it better. I’ve often tried making it or trying it at different places, but it has no match.” Similarly, Sania is a fan of Hyderabad’s special chicken 65 and chicken chilli. “There’s something about the spices that no one can quite pick on. It’s delicious.”
When asked about how his frequent need to travel affects his relationship with his son, Shoaib said, “It definitely gets emotional at times. During Covid, I was away from them for about seven or eight months and Izhaan was very young back then. At that age, all they care about is their toys and playtime and barely stay still for video calls. I missed them a lot.” He added, “Despite that, whenever we would call, his first word would be ‘Baba’, so it was a happy feeling that he recognized me.”
On the controversies that are often stirred up by the media, Sania shared that despite the two having been together for 12 years, journalists continue to ask the couple redundant questions. She explained, “Every time there’s an India-Pakistan match, journalists always ask me which side I am supporting. They think it’s the question of the year, and I’m sick of it. I mean, it’s been twelve years. Get over it. For whoever is watching, please don’t ask me that again.”
The tennis player shared that journalists are always looking for dramatic answers. “They want me to say crazy things like, ‘He sleeps on the sofa when they beat India,’ or that we keep fighting, but three’s nothing like that. It’s a game, people lose and win and it’s high time media should understand that.”
However, dealing with media comes easy to Sania. She has been in the news since she was sixteen because of her work. “It was an anxiety-inducing situation when I was younger, but everyone learns with time. I apparently become a trending topic any time I have an opinion, so I’m still in the process of learning, I guess.”
Sania also revealed her family is obsessed with cricket, with her dad being a former sports journalist and her sister married to a cricketer too. “If I was a boy, I would’ve been a cricketer too, for sure,” said the tennis player with a chuckle.
“Marrying Shoaib was the closest thing to being a cricketer myself, so my dad was very happy about it,” added Sania.
On things that bother them about each other, Shoaib shared that Sania wants to sort issues and talk things out immediately after a misunderstanding, whereas the cricketer likes to sleep on things and ponder over them before reacting. The two often get into arguments and their approaches to the solution often become a cause of conflict themselves. However, the couple shared that Sania holds the upper hand usually and convinces Shoaib to sort things and return to normalcy.
While there was a lot of conversation, the show also featured some singing on the part of Sania, Shoaib, and their son as well. Izhaan crooned to his favorite Bollywood song, Gore Gore Mukhre Pe Kala Kala Chashma, while Shoaib dedicated Atif Aslam’s romantic ballad Tere Bin to his wife.