Indore: Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza on Tuesday expressed disappointment over seven top women track and field athletes flunking dope tests but said that they should be handed stringent punishment if found guilty.
Seven out of the eight who tested positive in one of the country's worst doping scandals were women athletes, including double Asian Games gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, and Sania said they should not be held guilty until proven.
"Being a sportsperson myself, I think any of these athletes should not be accused of doing anything wrong until proven. But if they are proven guilty, of course they should be punished," she said at a function at the Indore tennis club.
Sania rued that the country does not have any up and coming woman player to take her place and feature in the Grand Slam events once she retires.
"I don't see a great future in women's tennis in the country. After me, I don't see any other woman tennis player who can feature in big tournaments," Sania said
"One day I will also retire. I am hoping that after me there emerges a woman player who can play in Grand Slam tournaments," she added.
She, however, painted a better picture about the men's tennis in the country.
"After Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, now there is Somdev Devvarman, who is doing well for India on the international circuit. So it's good for the country," said 24-year-old.
Asked about the tennis coaches in the country, she said, "We need good coaches. We have coaches but not of that high level."
Stating that there should be better sporting relationship between India and Pakistan, Sania said that the sportspersons from both the countries also want this to happen.