Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Tennis star Sania Mirza calls off engagement

By Omer Farooq in Hyderabad

Sania Mirza with Sohrab Mirza at the engagement
The couple were engaged in July last year

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her fiance have called off their engagement, according to a statement issued by the player's family.

Ms Mirza was officially betrothed to family friend Sohrab Mirza last July.

Ms Mirza said that she had been friends with Mr Mirza for five years, "but found ourselves incompatible during our engagement period".

Ms Mirza is India's most successful woman tennis player. Mr Mirza is a business management student.

At the time of the engagement, Ms Mirza's family had said that the marriage would take place after two years.

'Personal choice'

Imran Mirza, the tennis star's father, said that the calling off of the engagement would not affect the friendship of the two families and the decision had been taken after the families discussed the matter.

Adil Mirza, the father of Ms Mirza's fiance, confirmed the development and said "we agreed to it for the children's' happiness".

During the last six months, Ms Mirza and her fiance travelled together to the tennis star's professional tours abroad.

Ms Mirza sprang a surprise earlier this month when she said that she would retire from tennis after marriage.

"Well, it's just my personal choice. I just think that after marriage, priorities change in a lot of different ways and if I had to keep playing tennis and travel 35 weeks a year, why get married? I would like to live with my husband I think," she told reporters.

The two had got engaged in a lavish engagement ceremony last July amid tight security, following the unwanted attentions of love rivals.

Two men had allegedly tried to barge in to Ms Mirza's home before the engagement demanding that she marry them.

Both allegedly claimed to be smitten by her beauty and said they had fallen in love with her.

In a career often hit by injuries, Sania Mirza touched a high of 34 in world rankings and is currently placed at 56.

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