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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Tennis star deflects clothing row
Sania Mirza
Mirza says she will take the controversy in her stride
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has refused to be drawn into a controversy over what she wears on court.

The Muslim player had been accused by a leading cleric of wearing "indecent dress" and being a "corrupting influence on young women".

Mirza said it was "disturbing" that her dress was a subject of controversy but she would take it in her stride.

Mirza, 18 and from Hyderabad, recently became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

Mirza said on her return from the US: "Every word I speak, every skirt I wear is discussed and analysed. I have to take all this in my stride.

"Wherever I go people look at me. That's why these days I prefer to stay at home. I have to learn to live with all this."

She added: "It is quite disturbing that my dress has become the subject of controversy I don't want to say anything on this".

'Not permitted'

Haseeb-ul-hasan Siddiqui, a leading cleric of the Muslim organisation the Sunni Ulema Board, said: "The dress she wears on the tennis courts not only doesn't cover large parts of her body but leaves nothing to the imagination."

Mr Siddiqui said Islam did not allow women to wear skirts, shorts and sleeveless tops in public.

"She will undoubtedly be a corrupting influence on these young women, which we want to prevent," he said.

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