TOKYO, Oct 4 (AFP): India's teenage star Sania Mirza shrugged off Tuesday a threat from an Islamic militant organisation about her on-court outfits.
Shortly before a WTA event in Kolkata last month, the Jamat-e-Ulema group in Hyderabad issued a statement warning her to stop wearing short skirts and sleeveless shirts saying it was an affront to Islam.
Koklata police had to provide extra security for Mirza to ensure nothing untoward happened during the 170,000-dollar tennis tournament.
"Yes, there was a group who are opposed to it," said Mirza after winning her first-round singles and doubles matches at the Japan Open, her first senior tournament in the country.
"But you just have to do what you have to do. I'm there to play tennis. I don't think I need to focus upon anything else that's happening around me," added the 18-year-old star.
Last year, Mirza became the first woman from India to capture a WTA Tour title, winning the doubles on home turf at Hyderabad.
She became the first Indian woman to reach the third round in her grand slam debut at the Australian Open in January this year and posted her first singles title, again at Hyderabad, the following month.
In her US Open debut, Mirza reached the fourth round to move up to her highest ever ranking of 34th in the world last month.
Meanwhile, Sania Mirza got off to winning start at the Japan Open Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Vilmarie Castellvi of Puerto Rico.
The eighth seed, making her senior debut in Japan, broke Castellvi in the first game and cruised to victory with a succession of angled winners from the back of the court.
"Great," said the 18-year-old from Mumbai. "I played a good match, I got to play two good matches today. I'm hitting the ball good and I like the court. Hopefully, I can continue the way I'm playing."