How it all began.
New Delhi: It's an Indo-Pak love match that has created ripples on both sides of the border but no one seems to have a clue about just when and where did love blossom between Indian tennis queen Sania Mirza and dashing Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik.
A day after surprising almost everyone, except family, by announcing that they will tie the knot next month, speculation continues as to where exactly the romance began.
Sources say the two first met in Australia in January where Sania had just crashed out of the Australian Open and Pakistan had suffered yet another embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ricky Ponting's men.
Not a trip to remember professionally but personally it was to be a life-changing one at least for Sania, who broke off her engagement with childhood friend Sohrab Mirza at the end of that month, citing incompatibility.
The break up was stunning because their lavish engagement just six months earlier was still fresh in everyone's mind.
Neither Sania nor her family gave the exact reasons for the split but given yesterday's announcement, speculation is rife that the 23-year-old Hyderabadi's meeting with Shoaib may have contributed to the break up.
Shoaib too had been luckless in love before meeting Sania and that incidentally also had a Hyderabad connection. The all-rounder was accused of marrying and dumping one Ayesha Siddiqui but Shoaib denied that, insisting that he was merely engaged to the said girl.
Both seem to be controversy's favourite children with Shoaib, a former captain of the Pakistan team, currently serving a one-year ban for indiscipline on the Australia tour and Sania battling a wrist injury besides warding off queries about just why she ended her engagement with Sohrab.
Sania's career has veered off towards the uncertain after a breakthrough 2005. She rose to a career-high 27 in the WTA rankings in 2007 but poor form and never-ending injury battles have seen her slide to 92 currently.
Ironically, the two would be getting married at a time when India-Pakistan diplomatic ties have frozen following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.