BANGALORE, India (AFP) — Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza opted out of next month's 600,000-dollar WTA Bangalore Open here to avoid controversies.
"I am not playing in Bangalore Open. I have been advised by my manager not to play because a lot has been happening in the past few months," said Mirza, ranked 29th in the world.
"Every time I have played in India, there has been some kind of problem. So we just thought it was better not to play this time."
Mirza had been criticised in the past by ultra nationalists for wearing short skirts and sleeveless tops on court, and before the Australian Open a row flared after she was shown with her bare feet resting near the Indian flag.
She also revealed before last month's Open she had considered quitting the game.
"It (withdrawing from the Bangalore Open) is not an extreme reaction. The controversies have been going on for a long time. It is not easy to deal with such stuff", said the 21-year-old.
"I have gone through great lows in the last few weeks. It has been difficult to stay focused."
Indian David Cupper Mahesh Bhupathi, whose company manages Mirza's career, said the decision to pull out of the Open was a "one-off".
"It is not a permanent decision. It is only this year she will not play in India", said Bhupathi, who also plays mixed doubles with Mirza.
"She has really been pained by all that has happened in the last few months. It is really unfortunate. We want that she should have the right frame of mind when playing in tournaments."
Six-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who beat Mirza in the Australian Open third round, will take part in the tournament, joining sister Serena in the draw.
The 27-year-old American, who lost in the Open quarter-finals in Melbourne, will compete for the title at India's richest tennis tournament from March 3-9.
"I can confirm that the Bangalore Open will have both the (Williams) sisters playing," organiser Sunder Raju told reporters.
Austria's Sybille Bammer, ranked 19th in the world, also confirmed her participation, he said.
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