Sania Mirza is feisty. I make the mistake of asking her view as an 'Indian Muslim' on the Mumbai terror attack. I could almost see the hackles rise in annoyance. 'I'm an Indian. Not an Indian Muslim or any other Indian, but just Indian,' she counters sharply. First point to her, and I'm already on the defensive from this slightly built woman who carries the hopes of a billion people. India's top woman tennis player was born 22 years ago in Mumbai. Her birthplace was the scene of terrorist attacks last November which left at least 173 people dead and more than 300 injured. Almost six weeks have passed, but Mirza still cannot get the images she saw on television out of her mind. She reveals she could have been caught up in the massacre. 'I was supposed to be in Mumbai that day and if I had been, there was a 99 per cent chance I would have been in one of the hotels where the attacks took place,' Mirza shudders. 'Luckily for me, my appointment was cancelled the day before it all happened and I stayed at home in Hyderabad. But the tragedy still struck home, as a very close friend of my family was shot.' Her mother's best friend's husband was having dinner with two other friends when the terrorists struck. He was injured, but his two friends died. 'I was transfixed in front of my television, watching almost non-stop for 72 hours. It was very personal. Apart from the fact that I might have been there, seeing my mum's best friend on television brought the horror home. 'It was so shocking,' says Mirza. 'We had four days of horror. It was horror for everyone in India. The whole country was at a standstill. It happened to India and I'm talking as an Indian, not as a Muslim or a member of any other religious community.' Mirza stresses the point that neither religion, race nor creed should come into the picture these days. She wishes to be known as an Indian. Full stop. I dare to dredge up the fatwa issued against her by a Muslim cleric inflamed at her attire on court in 2005, when she burst on to the scene and became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth-round of a grand slam tournament, the US Open. The centre of attention in the Indian media, she also drew the wrath from some orthodox Muslim groups who criticised her for wearing short skirts on court and saying it didn't conform to Islamic dress codes. One Muslim cleric said: 'The dress she wears on the tennis courts leaves nothing to the imagination.' She shrugs. She is wearing shorts as she practises on the newly refurbished centre court in Victoria Park. 'That is all in the past. That problem was three years ago and I have gotten over it and I don't think it is an issue now, unless you [the media] bring it up again. I don't have anything more to comment on it,' Mirza says. Her tone brooks no argument. Then she adds: 'It was all blown up by the media. I have even heard a version which said there was no fatwa issued against me. It happened a long time ago.' Despite her denial, it is clear it is still a prickly topic for Mirza. Fed up with all the controversy, she has taken the path not to play in tournaments in India. 'Every time I have played in India there has been some kind of problem,' said Mirza last year after she took the decision not to play at home. Mirza revealed she had come close to quitting the game after she was accused of disrespecting India's flag during the Hopman Cup in 2008. She was pictured sitting with her feet resting on a table next to a flag. But, on the surface, she has put all those worries behind her and is now looking forward to coming back from a career-threatening injury which has kept her on the sidelines since the Beijing Olympics last August. 'I feel very blessed right now. At one stage, I couldn't even hold a fork in my hand, let alone play tennis. But my injury [wrist] is OK now and I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things,' says Mirza. A painful wrist problem forced Mirza to tearfully withdraw during the first round of the women's singles event in Beijing. Since then she has been forced to pull out of six other tournaments, including the US Open, resulting in her slipping down the WTA rankings where she is now ranked 100. But after being convinced by Indian cricket star Yuvraj Singh to try Korean spiral therapy on her wrist - which involved the painful jabbing of needles - Mirza has miraculously recovered and believes she can soon get back to her career-high ranking of 27 which she held in August, 2007. 'I just want to get on with it now and play at the highest level again. After all that has happened to me in the last few months, I feel lucky to be back. I'm just going to live for the day, enjoy every moment, and hopefully the ranking will take care of itself. 'Everyone goes through highs and lows. Obviously, I would have preferred to have played and gone through a low than be injured. Professionally, it hasn't been a great year, but personally, I have done a lot of things which I couldn't do when I was playing tennis. 'Things like sleeping in my own bed back home in Hyderabad and going out with my friends and hanging out, having coffee and stuff. 'This has made me realise there is a lot more to life than just tennis.' Mirza will leave Hong Kong for Australia. First stop will be Hobart before she goes on to Melbourne for the season-opening grand slam. The past few months have changed her. Death and injury has shown how fleeting life can be. Mirza aims to enjoy every moment she can. Nothing is going to stop her.